Avenue of the Baobabs Latitude Longitude | Here comes another really awesome viral picture that captures people’s imagination: A street lined with huge Baobab trees. This instafamous snapshot was taken somewhere in Madagascar. So far so good. But where exactly? The Avenue of the Baobabs is one of a few tourist attractions in an otherwise not-so-tourist-friendly country.
Avenue of the Baobabs Latitude Longitude
You can walk the Avenue of the Baobabs by heading from Morondava towards Belo Tsiribihina. And you will feel small and unimportant when facing these 30m high giants, average age: 2000 years. Oldest tree approx. 2800 years. Thanks to social media the dirt road became so famous among international tourists that Madagascar’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests granted it ‘Protected Status’ in 2007. Maybe this was a first small step towards eventually making it a natural monument? It would be the first of its kind in the south east African country. But chances are low that it will protect the trees. Too little too late. Our planet loses 18.7 million acres of forests per year (27 football fields per minute). Madagascar is part of this problem.
Grandidieri trees are endemic to Madagascar. These majestic plants did not originally tower in today’s isolation but stood in dense forest. Over recent decades, as Madagascar’s population grew, that forest was cleared for agriculture, leaving only the baobab trees. The area around the Avenue of the Baobabs is neither a national monument nor a national park. The trees are threatened by further deforestation, encroaching rice paddies, sugarcane plantations and bush fires. Despite its growing popularity as a tourist destination, the location has no visitor center and no gate fees are charged. Locals receive very little income from tourism.
Why is it not recommended to fly to Madagascar?
As a tourist you have to be prepared to suffer. The island country belongs to the 10 least developed regions on earth. Archaic slash-and-burn destruction of native forests is common, causing massive erosion and silting of rivers. There is no sufficient health care available, neither for tourists nor for locals. Roads are quite horrible. Public transport looks like this: 22 people in a Land Cruiser, plus another five hanging off the sides. Criminal activities are predominantly crimes of opportunity such as pickpocketing and petty theft. But child prostitution, human trafficking and the production and sale of marijuana and other illegal drugs are increasing. Malaria is very serious down there. Stop by your local doctor at home, get a good antimalarial, cover your skin when traveling and you should be ok. Despite all the hardship, most tourists agree: Madagascar can be a very positive once in a life time experience. Many travelers do advocate Madagascar after they returned home. It’s an amazing country, with kind people and stunning nature, still not for the faint hearted.
Some advice for those of you planning to visit Madagascar
The currency is called Ariary. Pay careful attention to the exchange rate. At Ivato International Airport there is a Bureau du Change where you will receive the most fair exchange rate. Never make an exchange with a random dude who approaches you. They give you the old currency, the Malagasy Franc back from the days of French colonisation. This money is worth nothing today.
Mosquitoes are plenty and annoying in Madagasar. They carry Malaria, Dengue and Chikungunya. It’s important to wear insect repellent all day and night. Use bed nets while sleeping.
French speakers have an advantage when traveling to Madagascar. La République de Madagascar is quite used to speaking French, although locals preferably stick to their native language Malagasy.
Where to stay in Madagascar
This one is tricky. Booking.com lists meagre 468 properties for the entire island. 24 of them are luxury with prices above $250+ per night per person. That’s out of reach. Tick “9+” in ‘Popular Filters’ and combine with ‘US$110 – US$170 per night’. Eight properties will be listed: Havana Resort in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, San Cristobal Hotel in Antananarivo as well, Hotel Arc En Ciel, Riake Resort, Les Dauphins De Nosy Be, Le Jardin du Roy, Les Flo Bleus and Bakuba Hotel. Don’t spend too much time searching for alternatives outside this comfort zone. You might regret it. There is no suitable accommodation available near the Avenue of the Baobabs.