A crossroads placed on the Tropic of Capricorn in the south west of Madagascar.
Tulear or Toliara is a small sea town placed on the Tropic of Capricorn in the south west of Madagascar…it’s sleepy and quiet (from 12.30 to 16 there are no people in the streets)…there are no taxis jamming the roads or honking their horns. Instead, an abundance of rickshaw (pousse-pousse) drivers stand idly next to empty carts or dream on their carts about a new customer, anyway sweating profusely in the harsh southern sunlight.
Technically, Tulear is considered a tourist destination – but it would be best described as a place for a simple, quiet getaway rather than a luxurious, exotic adventure. I can’t imagine it every being overrun by tourist activity, but at the same time it’s apparent that the drop in tourism this year has hurt Tulear’s livelihood. Desert hotels, a seafront dotted with closed restaurants.
There are a few western-style cafés and restaurants along the main streets, but most of the eateries are local Malagasy-rice-and-beans type of places.
Ok, the city is not so interesting but I love these kind of cities…it’s a crossroads…it’s the place where the RN7 ends. The RN7 is the most important National road from Tana to Tulear, so most of the time it is an inevitable stage of your trip. From here you can decide to go to the north (Ifaty, Morombe) or more to the south (Anakao, Saint Augustin, Sarodrano), where we went, or to the south east to Fort Dauphin. Don’t forget this important tip, It’s quite easy to take a lift on the way back to Antananarivo, most of 4×4s arrive to Tulear full of tourists from Tanà and they come back the day after almost empty…it’s almost a pleasure for the driver to take someone back, some of them asks for few money but we were lucky we found one for free, but it’s another story…