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About Toliara

Immerse yourself in the rustic ambiance of Toliara and allow the easy going tropical rhythms of Madagascar to relax your body and set fire to your soul. Toliara is a major import and export hub for peanuts, cotton, hemp, rice, soap and sisal and home to approximately 115,319 people. Attractions include Arboretum d'Antsokay, Musée Cedratom and La Table.

Get ready to discover a world that seems to move with the gentle currents of the Indian Ocean with cheap flights to Toliara. Toliara is home to Toliara Airport (TLE), which is a 15-minute drive from the centre of town. Toliara Airport serves Air Madagascar. Popular flights to Toliara depart from Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg. Flight duration from Johannesburg to Toliara is approximately 16 hours 15 minutes.

Why visit Toliara

toliara madagascan cuisine

Madagascan Cuisine

For a truly authentic experience, indulge your palate in the unique flavours of Madagascar. Traditional dishes include foza sy hena-kisoa, ramazava, lasopy and koba. Ranonapango is a popular local brew.

toliara rustic charm

Rustic Charm

Colourful façades peer out from wide avenues; rickety pousse-pousse bounce along dusty streets; lively street markets and bamboo-palm huts laze between towering coconut palms. Toliara pulsates with rustic tropical ambience.

toliara museums

Museums

Aphrodisiac sea cucumbers, a preserved coelacanth and other marine curiosities abound at the Musee Rabesandratana. While the Musee Cedratom offers up traditional Mikea masks and the fabled erotic Sakalava sculpture.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country Madagascar
Currency Malagasy Ariary
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 234.68 MGA
Language Malagasy / French
Hub Airport Toliara Airport
Time Zone GMT +3
Travel Adaptor Standard type C, D, E, J & K

Best time to visit Toliara

Toliara experiences a desert climate. It is dubbed “City of the Sun” because of the balmy temperatures that seep into the pores of the city throughout the year. However, the heat is tempered by the sweeping south winds of Tsiokatimo. Although Toliara receives less than 400 mm rainfall annually, a ‘wet season’ grips the city from December to February. Tropical storms seeking passage across the Indian Ocean can see hurricanes and storms licking the island of Madagascar. Although this is extremely unusual. Apart from the sporadic showers of the wet season, temperatures remain balmy and consistent throughout the year. The wet season sees temperatures peaking in the low 30 degrees Celsius region, while the rest of the year sees temperatures lingering in the mid-high 20s. Water temperatures are also idyllic (average temperature is 25 degrees Celsius).

Weather & Climate in Toliara

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 23°C 23°C 22°C 20°C 17°C 15°C 14°C 15°C 16°C 18°C 21°C 22°C
High °C 33°C 33°C 33°C 32°C 30°C 28°C 28°C 28°C 30°C 31°C 31°C 32°C
Rainfall (mm) 95 89 36 18 16 15 6 6 8 12 22 97

Overview

Known for its luminous sky, French colonial architecture, rustic avenues and trademark pousse-pousse, the city of Toliara is the quintessential Madagascan town.

Toliara was established in 1895 by a fabled French architect and has since flourished as a major import and export hub for sisal, cotton, rice, hemp, soap and peanuts. Its booming population is an eclectic mix of tribal origins such as Masikoro, Mahafaly, Antandroy and Karana. A nomadic group of fishermen known as Vezo glide along the coast with their canoes and square sails.

Explore the surrounding landscape with its spiky forests and iconic baobab trees for a glimpse into the wild side of Madagascar. Wander down wide lanes and dusty streets searching for undiscovered treasures that reveal the real heart and soul of Toliara. Or lose yourself in the electric whir of tsapiky music at the humming bars and discotheques.

Visa & Customs

South African passport holders do require a visa when travelling to Toliara, or anywhere else in Madagascar. Visas for stays of 90 days or less can be obtained upon arrival. Ensure your passport has two blank pages for entry stamps and has a validity of at least six months.

The South African Embassy is situated in Antananarivo. Lot Ivo 68 Bis, Antananarivo. Phone: + 261 20 224 3350 / Fax: Fax: + 261 20 22 9512.

Health & Safety

Toliara is considered safe. However, crime happens everywhere, even in small towns. There are a number of precautions that apply when travelling to an unfamiliar place. Travel insurance to cover theft and medical expenses is highly recommended.

Use taxis when travelling at night. Carrying a copy of identification is recommended. Avoid carrying around large sums of cash, valuables and important documents, as pick-pocketing and bag snatching can happen.

Tap water is not safe. Boil it before use or stick to bottled water. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are travelling from a yellow fever endemic area. Malaria is a risk in Madagascar. Anti-malarial medication should be taken before, during and after you trip. Other routine and recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A & B, typhoid, tuberculosis, tetanus, diphtheria and rabies. Bilharzia has been known to lurk in some regions of Madagascar. Avoid swimming in bodies of fresh water.

Cost of Living

ITEM CAPE TOWN JOHANNESBURG TOLIARA
Meal (inexpensive restaurant) R 100.00 R 100.00 R 52.42
Domestic Beer (0.5 litre draught) R 25.00 R 25.00 R 8.55
Cappuccino (regular) R 22.46 R 22.46 -
Taxi 1km (normal tariff) R 10.00 R 10.00 R 8.55
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) R 38.00 R 38.00 R 19.60

Where to stay?

Accommodation in Toliara is conveniently located near the coastline and major tourist attractions. However, it is the warm hospitality and island infused facilities that make staying in Toliara particularly pleasant and memorable. A stay in Toliara gives you a chance to experience the unforgettable charm and tropical ambience of Madagascar.

Accommodation ranges from rustic villas offering sensational sprawls of stone cottages adorned with bamboo-palm thatch coverings and azure swimming pools. Gaze beyond the wild green tangles of the surrounding plant life and you will be gifted with spectacular ocean views.

Bed and breakfasts and guest houses offer home-style comfort and all the touches and adornments of a tropical sanctuary. Island bars, hammocks, al fresco dining and palm tree shelters abound, inviting you to lose yourself in the easy going island life of Madagascar.

Get Around

Wandering through the city of Toliara on foot is a great way to explore its interesting attractions and get to know the welcoming locals. However, taxi brousse, car rentals and pousse-pousse are also available in abundance.

Taxi brousse are the Madagascan equivalent of a bush taxi. Packed to rafters with people and produce, these rustic buses rattle and roll along dusty roads, offering thrilling rides and a chance to get to know the locals.

Pousse-pousse are the most popular mode of transport amongst locals. Colourful and bountiful, these pulled rickshaws glide through wide avenues and along dusty roads, offering an exciting and unique way to explore the city. They are operated by local guys who are proud of the work they do. They are also the cheapest mode of transport – standard rates start at about Ar500.

For car rentals, ask your hotel for a recommendation.

Main attractions in Toliara

Honko Community-Based Mangrove Reserve

Honko Community-Based Mangrove Reserve

Antsokay Arboretum

Antsokay Arboretum

L'Univers de la Pierre

L'Univers de la Pierre

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