Fort Dauphin - Guide Madagascar - Détours Madagascar

Fort Dauphin

Fort-Dauphin: a coastal city backed by a verdant mountain

Fort-Dauphin is an authentic city. It is one of the Big Island’s most beautiful destinations. It is built on a narrow part of the coast, surrounded by thick vegetation. One is guaranteed a memorable stay in the middle of a breathtaking panorama. Honeymoon in Madagascar, holidays with friends or family, heading for this destination!


The French first landed in a Mahafaly village called Sainte-Luce. A fort was built at the request of Étienne de Flacourt in 1643. This fort then became the most important French counter. The place was named Fort-Dauphin in honor of Louis XIV, the future Sun King. This foreign presence was tolerated by the Antanosy until 1674. Like the Portuguese, the French were forced to fight. The survivors were assieging the fort for months until the Blanc Pigeon boat docked in the region.

Many naves and galleons refueled at Fort-Dauphin, but only with the authorization of the natives. The inhabitants enjoyed bartering, which helped the foreigners build their business. The city served as a commercial base, which was much appreciated by the fleets passing through the Indian Ocean. The city’s history is also linked to pirates. According to legend, their treasures still lie on its seabed.

Fort-Dauphin today

Today, Fort-Dauphin has become a flagship destination on the Big Island thanks to its biodiversity, bays, green mountains and coves. Nestled in the heart of a heavenly setting, the city enjoys a great touristic potential. Lush vegetation and fine sand beaches await you in this extraordinary destination. The serenity of the place has allowed the development of a wide variety of fauna and flora that nature lovers will particularly appreciate.

Fort-Dauphin is a must-see destination while touring the south of the Big Island. It is far from being a mining city. Very attractive and bewitching, those are the words that describe it! It still retains vestiges of the past; reminding us that it was once a colonial city. To discover this history, a walk through the village of Sainte-Luce is required. You will find there historical monuments which trace the European occupation such as Fort Flacourt, or the Portuguese Fort.

The attractions of the sea

Fort-Dauphin is conducive to pleasant walks introducing you to the valley of Mandrare and the coves of Lokaro Bay. Lake Vinanibe is not far from the city. It allows different water activities such as windsurfing and flysurfing. Libanona beach would be perfect for the followers of idleness. The city counts other interesting beaches, such as Ankoba and Faux-Cap for surfers.

If you look for a wild environment, go to Lokaro Bay which is 40 km away. You can organize excursions to enjoy the charms of the region. Its coves are ideal for swimming and scuba diving. You can enjoy a boat trip while observing the vegetation that covers the lagoons, such as reeds, pandanus and “elephant ears”, a typical Caribbean plant species.

The attractions of the land

Admittedly, this municipality is the ideal destination for all categories of travelers. The ascension of Peak Saint-Louis, culminating at 529 meters, will undoubtedly delight trekking enthusiasts. From the summit, you can enjoy a breathtaking view over an abundant vegetation composed of raphias, orchids, periwinkle and Ravinala (the traveler’s tree), as well as the village of Sainte-Luce, the beaches of Libanona, the Dauphine cove, Cape Ranavalona, the False Gallions Bay and the Portuguese islet.

A walk through the Saïadi Botanical Garden will allow you to enjoy the beauty of the region’s fauna and flora. You will discover a great variety of palm trees, ferns, and orchids. Some species of lemurs also live there, like sifakas, makis and fulvus, not to mention crocodile, butterfly and bird species.

Nature reserves with remarkable biodiversity

Three nature reserves are to be discovered: Nahampoana, Berenty and Andohahela Park.

The Berenty reserve is characterized by the presence of nepenthes, a carnivorous plant, and a wide variety of thorny plants. The Mandrare valley overlooks a large sisal plantation. Berenty will also allow you to observe three species of lemurs: gidro, maki and sifaka. Gidros are curious by nature. They’re not afraid to meet people!

7 km away, the Nahampoana reserve is the ideal place to recharge your batteries and commune with nature. The reserve is home to a wide variety of endemic species, including five families of lemurs such as the bamboo hapalemur, crocodiles and turtles.

Andohahela is 40 km away. The presence of the Anosy mountainous chain allowed the development of a tropical rainforest and a dry forest. You will meet Iguanidaes, a species of lizard typical of Latin America. Thirteen species of lemurs also live there, including the red-collared lemur and the mouse lemur. The park is also home to 29 bird species with an endemism rate of 65%, as well as 61 reptile species and 49 amphibian species.


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