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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 13 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 families travelling with children, for 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, In Toliara, finishing in the capital. We can tailor this itinerary to suit your plans by changing the length of the trip or the order of activities.

13 Days – From £1,990 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 Citizen Hotel.

Ambohimanga Palace, Madagascar

Day 2 - Antananarivo to Antsirabe

Early after breakfast drive to Antsirabe (170km/5h). Stop in Ambatolampy to visit the aluminum workshops. Beautiful terraced rice-fields and Merina villages will accompany your journey. In the afternoon, you will arrive in Antsirabe, an elegant spa-town with a mix of local and European feel. After lunch, visit local ateliers by rickshaw. The city reflects the warmth of its people and traditions. Famed for its “pousse pousse”, gemstones and handicrafts, the wide tree-lined avenues invite you to discover the workshops with zebu horns, wheat straw transformed into cutlery and hats, miniature bikes and old cars made from recycled cans. Overnight at Couleur Cafe.

Antsirabe

Day 3 - Antsirabe to Ambositra

After breakfast, 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. Explore the wild silk. It has been a traditional activity in Madagascar since the royal times. You will be given a complete introduction about wild silk, from the worm to the final weaved items. Learn about the importance of the wild silk for famadihana traditions. When someone dies, he is buried into the family vault. 3 years later, the body is taken out, washed and wrapped in a new white silk scarf. Overnight at Artisan Hotel.

Madagascar Village and Rice terraces

Day 4 - Ambositra to Ranomafana

Today continue to Ranomafana rainforest (135 km / 4 hours), one of the most stunning and diverse endemic forests in Madagascar. As you approach the park, the humidity will start rising. Ranomafana National Park is divided into two sections: the primary forest, characterized by towering trees and a variety of flora, and the secondary forest, where the trees are smaller and more densely packed. The park is home to twelve different species of lemurs and over 100 types of endemic birds, making it a must-see for wildlife enthusiasts. In addition, you’ll also find a variety of chameleons, cute frogs, and reptiles in the forest. Overnight at Hotel Thermal.

Ranomafana Banana Garden, Madagascar

Day 5 - Ranomafana National Park

Today prepare for a full slow-paced exploration day in the park. After breakfast take a walk to spot lemurs and chameleons. Ranomafana forest is quite thick, the soil is often humid and slippery. Watching lemurs takes time. Botany, ornithology, herpetology will captivate you in this tropical rainforest. Flora and fauna are among the most varied while being unique. In the afternoon, visit the village with its hot spring and night walk inside the park to spot nocturnal lemurs and frogs and if lucky, fossas, the only endemic carnivorous species of Madagascar. Overnight at Hotel Thermal.

Madagascar

Day 6 - Continue to Ambalavao

In the morning, visit Namorona waterfall, then take a 20 min 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. Continue to Sahambavy (56 km / 1,5 hours) and visit the tea plantation near the beautiful Lac Hotel. 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

Lac Hotel Sahambavy, charming boutique hotel located on a tea plantation in Sahambavy, Madagascar

Day 7 - Hike the Captain

After breakfast, hike the Captain (5 – 6 hours walk), which ends with the visit of Anja reserve. The flat 20 min walk to the foot of the Captain is a perfect warm-up lap. The ascent starts from the village, turning to the right. You’ll see traditional graves carved in the rocks, protected by zebu skulls. Then the climb toughens. It’s steep and rocky. Stop for a picnic lunch at the top with a 360° stunning view. Descend down to Anja Park for lemur sightings. 400 ring-tailed Maki lemurs, Maki live in the park. This type of lemurs lives in groups and currently there are 20 families. Early in the morning and late afternoon you will have a better chance to see them up closer, as this is the time when they come down from the trees. Overnight at Betsileo Country Lodge

Betsileo Country Lodge, rustic small hotel in Ambalavao, Madagascar

Day 8 - Ambalavao to Isalo

Early after breakfast continue to Ihosy (128 km / 2 hours), a Bara tribe area. Further south, huge mountains start growing from the emptiness. 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 tranquility. Many of these areas are sacred, therefore some have restrictive access. In the late afternoon, arrive in Ranohira in Isalo (224km/5h). Here, you will see dramatic scenery, canyons, gorges, natural pools and the sweeping savannah. At sunset, visit the Isalo Window. Overnight at Satrana Lodge

Isalo National park in Madagascar

Day 9 - Isalo National Park

After breakfast, depart on the Namaza Trail, Blue & Black Pools, and Cascade des Nymphes. The trail is short (2.5 hours return). After passing through an arid landscape, suddenly sink into the green gorges of Namaza with palm trees and lush vegetation. After 15 km of walking along the gorge, you will arrive to 2 mesmerizing natural pools. They are very well hidden among rocks. The water is ice cold, but it is amazing after a long hike. To continue, climb a very steep hill to discover a completely hidden beautiful pool of Cascade des Nymphes. In the dry season the waterfall can be without water, but it is totally worth the hike nevertheless. Overnight at Satrana Lodge.

Satrana Lodge, boutique camp in Isalo National Park, Madagascar

Day 10 - Isalo to Ifaty

Early after breakfast continue to Tulear (265 km / 5h). Stop in Ilalaka, 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 Ilalaka. Visit Zombitse Park to spot local wildlife and beautiful baobab trees (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.

tropical beach in Ifaty, Madagascar

Day 11 - Reniala Baobab Reserve

Located along the Mozambique Channel, immediately north of the Tropic of Capricorn, Ifaty is easily accessible from Tulear. This part of Madagascar is usually always sunny.  After breakfast, visit Reniala Baobab Reserve, a beautiful botanical sanctuary located near the sea, at the exit of Mangily village. The reserve covers a huge area hosting an exceptional richness of flora and fauna with more than 1000 endemic plant species, including the marvelous alien-looking octopus tree and baobabs. You will also see many cute animals, camouflaged reptiles and birds. After the visit, balance the day at leisure on the beach. Overnight at Le Paradisier.

Reniala Reserve in Ifaty, Madagascar

Day 12 - Massif des Roses

Today explore the spectacular waters of the Mozambique Channel. The south-western coast of Madagascar is really splendid. Fishermen in traditional boats dot the turquoise lagoon early in the mornings and in the afternoon. There’s a 450 km long Great Reef starting a bit south from Tulear and going all the way to Morombe. The Ifaty lagoon is very beautiful, perfect for snorkeling. 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. Balance the afternoon at leisure and try some of the freshest seafood ever. Overnight at La Bella Donna.

colorful fish in the Indian Ocean, Ile aux Nattes, Madagascar

Day 13 - Departure

After breakfast, transfer back to Toliara for your onward flight. Alternatively, continue north, along the Land of Baobas route. By choosing this way, you will discover the breath-taking lagoon of Ambatomilo, with beautiful crystalline water and amazing beaches. You will stay at very charming beachfront lodges along the entire route. The food is exceptionally fresh and delicious and you will have a good level of comfort and privacy. You will get to see some of the most unique baobab trees of different shapes and sizes. Not many venture in this part of Madagascar, so you will be able to see absolutely authentic places with pristine scenery.

Malagasy Food

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