Long the cultural meeting point of Madagascar and the rest of the world, Anosy’s tropical coastline and green mountains were the first corner of the island glimpsed by Europeans in 1500 en route between the Cape of Good Hope and India.

It was here that the Portuguese and then the French began trading with the local Antanosy people, later settling at Manafiafy and then founding Fort Dauphin, France’s first colony in the Indian Ocean, with a fascinating if turbulent history following. Now known as Tôlanaro, this important port is capital of the region, exporting coffee, sisal, rubber, sapphires, lobster and minerals.

While the town itself is now largely a mining interest, poor infrastructure means the coastline just a short distance away sees life revert to far more traditional ways with fisherman hauling enormous fish into dugout canoes to be traded for sweet potatoes and rice with villagers walking down from the hills.

Forests here are home to numerous lemurs and countless reptiles, brackish mangroves buzz with birds, while the Indian Ocean’s waters attract whales seasonally and provide some excellent snorkelling in sheltered bays.

When to go

The wildlife-rich rainforests and mangroves on Anosy’s coast are teeming with lemurs, birds, chameleons, geckos and other species year-round. June and July are the coolest months with day time temperatures still pleasant of around temperatures of 20-24⁰C (68-75⁰F). Humpback whales begin to arrive off the coast for their six-month stay from June, and things heat up from October before the rains of the summer.