MORONDAVA – the early nineteenth-century Sakalava capital before it was absorbed by the Merina empire – used to be a remote backwater. But a new road connecting it to Tana was completed in 2012 and now this small town, the capital of the Menabe region, has a lively atmosphere and more hotels and restaurants than you’d guess. With its recently surfaced main street, Morondava seems slightly cleaner than the average Malagasy city – and it’s also a little pricier.
There are no specific attractions in town itself: the broad beach of white sand is a magnet for visitors from Tana, though it also serves as a working fishing beach and ad hoc toilet, so it can’t be wholeheartedly recommended. For a more unspoilt strand, check out Kimony beach, an 8km drive north of the town centre, turning north just west of the airport. You could walk there along the shoreline (5km), but there’s a creek halfway along, which may or not have a pirogue ferry in attendance.
Most of Morondava’s hotels are along the seafront lane that follows a former island, Nosy Kely, now joined to the rest of town. Coastal erosion is a serious problem here, with the northern seafront frequently awash at spring tides, and offshore sandbars forming and dissolving all the time.