Boutique Travel Experts

RN7 - Madagascar Road Trip

The Route Nationale 7 Tour is a private guided itinerary along the most popular route in Madagascar. RN7 Route presents a combination of sightseeing, nature walks and cultural discovery – see Madagascar in a nutshell in 12 days. The tour starts in the chillier Asian part of the island, in Antananarivo, ending in the African part of it, in Toliara. Along 960 km of tar road, the landscape will be changing every day. RN7 will take you along terraced highlands, dramatic mountains, dry savannah, impressive baobab trees and exotic thorny forests, ending nicely on a beautiful beach with turquoise waters. The scenery along the way is truly spectacular. The RN7 is an excellent choice for a family travelling with children, a group of friends or couples who like active holidays. The program includes accommodation at small rustic hotels with comfort and charm. This road trip can also start the other way around and you can choose to do it on a bike.

12 Days – From £1,300 per person

*equivalent in USD, EUR accepted

Itinerary: Antananarivo, Antsirabe,  Ambositra, Ranomafana,  Ambalavao, Isalo, Tulear

  • Price is per person, based on two people sharing in a double/twin room
  • Accommodation with breakfast and picnic lunch on day 2, 3, 5 and 6
  • All the other excursions mentioned in the itinerary on a private basis
  • All transfers on a private basis
  • English speaking driver/guide
  • Entrance & guiding fees to all the mentioned National Parks and Reserves
  • All mandatory local taxes
  • Visa, where applicable
  • International Flights (See Flights to Madagascar)
  • Domestic Flights (Tulear to Antananarivo about £260-280 per person)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Insurance
  • Tips & Gratuities
  • Meals not mentioned in the description

International flights are not included in the package price. We give you the freedom to book the flights yourself, use miles and choose your preferred airline, and if you are stuck we can help you find the right connections. Return flights to Madagascar start from £700 per person, depending on the connections and time of the year.

For families and groups (starting with 5 pax), we can book domestic flights in Madagascar, during the high season, and if the trip is part of a more complex itinerary. This is to ensure a seamless travel and no complications.

Send us a message on WhatsApp or Email us to check availability, discuss your preferences and get a quote.

This is a sample itinerary and prices are correct at the time of writing. We can tailor it to suit your plans by changing the length of the trip or the order of activities. More days can be added. Other hotels can be chosen, according to your liking. For more travel inspiration check these itineraries.

To avoid unpleasant weather surprises, we recommend to check our Madagascar Weather Guide to plan your trip in the right season. Click on the month you want to travel in and see the tours which are best for each month of the year. 

Day 1 - Antananarivo

Today you will arrive in Antananarivo Ivato International airport (TNR) where you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Antananarivo means “City of thousands”, the place which unified the tribes of Madagascar about 500 years ago. The city is built on 3 levels: the high city where the queen’s palace is situated, the mid-city with nice boutique shops and all the administrative buildings, and the bustling low city with the markets. Spend the rest of the day at leisure or take a stroll through the markets. A visit to Ambohimanga, the cradle of the Merina monarchy, is highly recommended (45 min drive outside the city). Overnight at Le Belvedere Hotel.

Ambohimanga Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Sight, on the island of Madagascar

Day 2 - Antananarivo to Ambositra

Early after breakfast drive to Antsirabe (170km/4h). Stop in Ambatolampy to visit the aluminum workshops. Beautiful terraced rice-fields and Merina villages will accompany your journey. Stop for lunch in Antsirabe, an elegant spa-town. After lunch, visit local ateliers by rickshaw. The mini bikes and old cars made from recycled cans are a must.  Later on continue to Ambositra (95km/2h). This is the area of green rice fields, pine trees and eucalyptus. One thing which marks the highlands is its architecture. Houses have carved wooden balconies and elegant shutters. Upon arrival, check in and take a tour of local sculptures and marquetry. Overnight at Artisan Hotel.

colorful miniature bicycles from recycled materials at the workshop in Antsirabe, on the island of Madagascar

Day 3 - Wild silk in Sandrandahy

Today explore the wild silk. It has been a traditional activity in Madagascar since the royal times. We work with a local NGO that supports the local people to continue this traditional activity. You will be given a complete introduction about wild silk, from the worm to the final weaved items. The story and importance of the wild silk for Malagasy people will also be explained, especially for the tradition of famadihana. When someone dies, he or she is buried into the family vault. 3 years later, the vault is re-opened, the body is taken out, washed and wrapped in a new large while silk scarf. After a local picnic or Malagasy lunch, continue to Ranomafana rainforest. Overnight at Centrest Sejour.

the skilled hands working the wild silk in Sandrandahy, on the island of Madagascar

Day 4 - Ranomafana National Park

Today prepare for a full slow-paced exploration day in the park. Early after breakfast take a walk in the forest to spot lemurs and chameleons. Ranomafana forest is quite thick, the soil is often humid and slippery, and watching lemurs just take time. Overnight at Centrest Sejour.

a cute whote and brown lemur looking curiously with his round yellow eyes, on the island of Madagascar

Day 5 - Continue to Ambalavao

In the morning, visit Namorona waterfall, then take a 20min walk through the rice fields to a local Tanàla village on the hill, Ambodipaiso. Discover the local lifestyle: looting of rice, basketwork, hair weaving. Attend a show of traditional songs and dances and taste the Malagasy pudding. After lunch, continue to Ambalavao (2,5h). In Fianarantsoa visit the photo-studio of Pierrot Men (closed on Sundays). Don’t miss out the beautiful Antemoro paper workshop, just before Ambalavao. The factory is a vestige of the Arabian civilization in the island. The scenery begins to change as you travel south where massive rocks dominate the skyline. Evening at leisure. Overnight at Betsileo Country Lodge. 

the handmade traditional Antemoro paper on the island of Madagascar

Day 6 - Hike the Captain

After breakfast, hike the Captain ( 5 – 6h walk), which ends with the visit of Anja reserve. The flat 20mn walk to the foot of the Captain is a perfect warm-up lap. The ascent start when we turn right at a village. You’ll see traditional graves carved in the rocks, still in use today and protected by the skulls of sacrificed zebu. Then the climb toughens. It’s steep, it’s rocky, it’s tough. The summit ( 1.450m altitude ), has a 360° stunning view, lunchtime! Descend down to Anja park for lemur sightings. Overnight at Betsileo Country Lodge. 

the granite massif of Andringitra on the interior of the island of Madagascar

Day 7 - Ambalavao to Isalo

Early after breakfast continue to Ihosy, a Bara tribe area. Further south, huge mountains start growing from the emptyness. Bishop’s Hat and Gate of the South are marking the end of highlands and the beginning of the south. The massive Ihorombe plateau with its spacious red soil is a true ‘no man’s land’. The landscape becomes more and more imposing, filled with tranquillity. Many of these areas are sacred, therefore some have restrictive access. In the late afternoon, arrive in Ranohira in Isalo (224km/5h). Balance the evening at leisure. Overnight at Isalo Ranch. 

the boutique hotel with the rocks of Isalo national Park in the background on the island of Madagascar

Day 8 - Isalo

After breakfast, hike in the National Park of Isalo with a local guide. Isalo is a huge massif, eroded during the Jurassic time, one of the most spectacular in the country. Bara tribes used to bury their dead here, until they earned enough money to buy a silver coffin. Along the way you will see a botanical garden, canyons, beautiful viewpoints, a natural swimming pool and waterfalls. Nature lovers will have the opportunity to learn about the endemic plants of Isalo, among which the aloe and the bottle plant. Catta lemurs will often cross your path. At the end of the day drive to the Isalo Window to watch a beautiful sunset. Overnight at Isalo Ranch.

a cute gray lemur with a long tail hanging from a dry wooden log on the island of Madagascar

Day 9 - Isalo to Ifaty

Early after breakfast continue to Tulear (265km/5h). Stop in Ilakaka, a small market town of sapphire diggers. Because of the precious stones, the village population exploded. Thai, Sri Lankan, and Malagasy have come to this Malagasy Far West. The first baobabs will emerge after Ilakaka. Visit Zombitse Park to spot local wildlife (2h). Colourful Antanosy and Mahafaly tombs are often to be seen along the road. The flora is changing into deciduous thorny forests and baobabs. Balance the evening at leisure in Ifaty. Le Paradisier is a great quiet place to stay on the beach, located a bit outside of the main village. There are many self-guided trails to explore nearby. Overnight at Le Paradisier.

A wooden single-outrigger canoe with a white sail on the flat turquoise waters of Toliara in Madagascar

Day 10 - Reniala Baobab Reserve

Located along the Mozambique Channel, immediately north of the Tropic of Capricorn, Ifaty easily accessible from Tulear. This part of Madagascar has always known strong sunshine.  After breakfast visit the Reniala Baobab Reserve, a beautiful botanical sanctuary located near the sea, at the exit of the Mangily village. This is a really beautiful garden to see. The reserve covers a huge area. Local plants, threatened by constant deforestation and bushfires are protected here. Overnight at Le Paradisier.

a fat baobab tree and a tiny baby baobab tree on the island of Madagascar

Day 11 - Massif des Roses

Today explore the spectacular waters of the Indian Ocean. The south-western coast of Madagascar is really splendid. Fishermen in traditional boats dot the blue waves in the early mornings and afternoon. The Great Reef starts a bit south from here and goes north all the way to Morombe. Take a half-day canoe trip to the Massif des Roses, a superb protected coral reef. Colourful, wonderful landmark fish and marine animals of all kinds shelter in the corals. This is one of the best places in the word for snorkeling and diving. Overnight at Le Paradisier.

a young man snorkeling in the clear waters of Toliara in the south-west of Madagascar

Day 12 - Farewell!

After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Tulear for your onward flight. Extend your trip to the other parts of the island either by flying to the north (Diego Suarez or Nosy Be) or to the west (Morondava), or take the RN7 drive all the way to Tulear, passing by various landscapes. Alternatively, come back for another trip, there are still many places to discover on the big island.

view of the houses on one of the hills in the historic centre of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar

More Holiday Inspiration

In MadagascarOther Destinations