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Anakao Madagascar – Explorer guide
Anakao is an idyllic fishing village in the southwest of Madagascar. The village of the ‘Vezo’ people is cozy, but there’s not a lot to do. Just good food, a beautiful coastline and a few special things to do in the area.
How to get to Anakao
Follow the RN7 and you will eventually arrive on the westcoast of Madagascar. Drive from Isalo National Park towards Tulear, then take a dirt road to Sarondrano. From here you can take a fast boat to Anakao or you can take the more scenic, local option, like a fishing boat.
We took the second option and departed from St. Augustin by Pirogue. A real experience!
Read more about the perfect Madagascar itinerary here!
St. Augustin village
This village is no more than a huge sandy plain behind the mountains. Arriving there feels like you arrived at the wrong party, at least for us it did. But, driving the soft sandy roads through the town was an experience we wouldn’t want to have missed. The people are nice, but don’t see a lot of tourists in their town.
Le paradise d’Espérance | St. Augustin
A nice place to stay, but keep in mind very simple living, is Le Paradise d’Espérance. Finding this place through booking.com it was idyllic and basic at the same time. Being right on the shoreline, you can really sit back and relax.
Go and eat at the small restaurant and you will be served with fresh fish of the day and a nice platter of fries!
Local boat from St. Augustin to Anakao
Ask the locals from the place you stay at or in town if they can take you to Anakao. It might not go as quick or well planned as you wish, so don’t expect that. But, you will get the real Malagasy experience for sure.
What to expect
When you find someone to take you to Anakao, you have to agree on a price. Nothing is expensive in Madagascar, so this part will be fine. The local fishing boats that will take you there, also called Pirogues, are in the river along the town and you will meet there.
The pirogues are very small and with some waves it can be quite a bumpy experience, so keep that in mind if you suffer from seasickness. Overall, just sit back, relax and wait until you arrive at the beautiful paradise of Anakao Madagascar.
What to do in Anakao
People come to Anakao for relaxation, for the white sandy beaches and its blue water. But, there’s more to do on this small part of Madagascar’s southwest coast than you’ll think.
Trip to Nosy Ve or Nosy Satrana
You can book a tour to one of the two coral islands that are close to Anakao. These stunning little islands are surrounded by crystal clear blue water and beautiful wild life.
Nosy Ve is the island straight across from Anakao, just 5 km away. This small but idyllic island has a beautiful serenity and is perfect for relaxing.
Nosy Ve’s tropic birds
With a boat or pirogue you will be taken there to have a picknick with fresh caught fish, walk around and enjoy the beautiful warm water. The island is home to the red-tailed tropic bird, a bird that is endemic to tropical parts of the Indian ocean.
Historical fact, this island was once inhabited by pirates, slave traders and merchants when they were trading with places like Tulear (Toilara) in the early days.
This tour is often combined with snorkeling in the reef just before you arrive to Nosy Ve.
A little more south, but closer to the coast lies the island of Nosy Satrana. This island is a little bit bigger, but just as beautiful and serene as Nosy Ve.
At low tide, a sandy bridge will appear and you can walk to the island. Maybe even alongside a herd of Zebu’s that are lead to the island to graze. A sight to see!
Nosy Satrana is also a great place for kitesurfing, because of the low crystal clear warm water and perfect wind conditions. You can arrange your activity or tour through your hotel or ask a local to take you.
Do you love the water? Get your mask out and just swim along the shoreline. You never know what you will encounter in this beautiful part of ocean.
Keep in mind that unfortunately even this part of the world the ocean is not as flourishing as it once was. But, there’s still good corals and sea life around the island of Nosy Ve and Nosy Satrana, so it’s worth a visit!
Anakao Madagascar has some great diving spots in the area. Around the island of Nosy Ve and Nosy Satrana are some great coral reefs, with caves filled with lobsters and sea life galore. You can choose from several beginners dives or experienced dives.
There are also a few beautiful deep dives between 40 and 65 meters for experienced divers.
Between June and October whales pass the Southwestern coast of Madagascar and is it possible to see and even dive with them.
Extinct Elephant bird
A huge bird once inhabited the island of Madagascar and its last home was close to Anakao Madagascar. The elephant bird was the largest bird ever living and most of them grew about 3m in hight, weighing 400 kg. The largest that was ever found was 3m tall with a weight of 730kg.
They unfortunately went extinct around 1000 – 1200 AD and remains of its huge eggs are still found in the area.
Elephant bird eggshells
If you are an explorer like us, the fact that you might still find pieces of their eggshells will get you excited. Just keep in mind, if you are so lucky to find a part of an eggshell.. It’s forbidden to take it out of the country.
Flamingo’s in Tsimanampetsotsa
South of Anakao lies lake Tsimanampetsotsa, a shallow soda lake with beautiful Pink flamingo’s as its inhabitants. With an unspoiled spiny forest, a huge ancient banyan tree and a lot of endemic species like the Grandidier’s mongoose and a blind fish species living in a sacred cave.. this is a special place.
Quad rides in the dunes
Inland from Anakao you’ll find a lot of sand dunes, which are perfect for some adventure! You can book a quad tour in town and ride through the sand dunes, passing small villages along the way.
Places to stay
From luxury to basic, Anakao has some great places to offer its visitors. Because Madagascar is less developed, the hotels are often also less developed than they sound. The rooms are more basic, but they’ve build the structures very nice and you have great amenities and views!
Anakao Ocean Lodge
A luxury resort for instance is Anakao Ocean Lodge, a bit more south from the main beach and hotels. The Ocean Lodge has a bit more of resort feel to it, with its great cuisine and more secluded location.
For a Mid-range Hotel we would recommend Auberge Peter Pan. This colorful place has a welcoming vibe when you arrive to this foreign coastal fishing village.
The place stands out because of its rainbow colored pencil fence in contrast with the white sand and blue sea. The arch that says ‘Peter Pan’, gives you a welcoming feeling right away and that all before you even met the owners.
A very nice and artistic Italian couple that will gladly make you feel at home. These guys are amazing!
Big plus, Peter pan has delicious Italian food in their oceanside restaurant. Drink your cocktail on the beach while swinging into the set. It’s a vibe. Their accommodation varies from more basic to mid-range bungalows and pricing.
The local Vezo fishermen are pull up fresh fish out of the ocean every day for their families and restaurants in Anakao. A great local place to have a taste of the Anakao oceanside is ‘Chez Clovis’, a simple beach restaurant runned by a local Malagasy family.
Hi! We’re Tim & Ilse
Together with our fluffy cat Snowy we travel around the world searching for adventures.