Our Tours

Panorama of the RN7

Highlights

A perfectly balanced trip: meeting with the villagers, mountain bike rides, navigation on the Canal des Pangalanes, hiking in natural sites, water activities or farniente by the sea
A great diversity of landscapes: hills, rice fields, terraced crops, villages with their red earth houses and thatched roofs, granite mountains, sandstone massif of Isalo, thorny vegetation of the South, majestic baobabs, mangrove, lagoon of the south-west…
Immersion in the sweet life of the Pangalanes Canal, by boat: discovery of landscapes, meeting with fishermen, visit of isolated villages, view on the Indian Ocean

Overview

A mosaic of scenery characterizes the National Road 7. From villages to villages, we will go through magnificent landscapes composed of mountainous massifs, terraced cultures, tea plantations, dense forests, valleys, savannas and majestic lagoons. Small incursion towards the East for a day of stroll on the Canal des Pangalanes, to discover isolated villages, traditions and daily life of the Canal. Continuation for days of hiking to discover the protected areas of the South, the Ranomafana National Park, the Tsaranoro Valley and the Isalo National Park. The trip gives a beautiful overview of the spiny and arid country of the south and its lagoons. A real immersion experience!

Panorama of the RN7
Antananarivo
169 km - 4h to 5h
Antsirabe
DAY 1: ANTANANARIVO – ANTSIRABE

After breakfast, we will take the road to the South. Discover the rural world of the Highlands of Madagascar, the architecture of its traditional houses, its rice fields and its own cultivating techniques … Stop at Ambatolampy. This village located at the foot of the Ankaratra massif is famous for its workshops manufacturing utensils exclusively made of aluminum. Then drive to Antsirabe.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel

Panorama of the RN7
DAY 2: HIKING IN THE VAKINANKARATRA COUNTRY

Whether on foot or by mountain bike, you will have the opportunity to discover the fascinating landscapes that characterize the Highlands: the hills, the villages set on their sides, the fields, the rice fields that extend as far as the eye can see … This tour will lead to beautiful encounters with peasants and artisans.

  • Mountain bike option: depending on your physical condition, 15km to 30 km. 4km of maximum climb on both routes. 11 km of descent on a 30km trail. Rolling laterite trail. 2h to 4h, medium level, on a paved road and a laterite trail.
  • Walking option: 3h to 4h walking. Approximately 400m of uneven terrain, medium level, hiking trail

Necessary equipment: walking shoes or good sneakers, sun protection items, bottle of water.

Picnic lunch prepared by us.

In the afternoon, tour of the city of Antsirabe. Antsirabe is an industrial city famous for its thermal baths and rickshaws, with its large colonial buildings and wide avenues, inherited from the missionaries and settlers. Tour of the city. Meeting and sharing with ingenious artists and craftsmen, working zebu horn or wood, manufacturer of miniatures, embroiderers…

Dinner and overnight at your hotel

Panorama of the RN7
Antsirabe
273 km – 6h to 7h
Sahambavy
DAY 3: ANTSIRABE – SAHAMBAVY

After breakfast, drive to Ambositra. A multiethnic commercial crossroads where the geniuses of precious woodworking meet. We will stop for a while to discover sculptors and markers in their neighborhoods; skilled and friendly craftsmen who will be happy to welcome us in their home.

Continue to Sahambavy. Settle into a hotel, by the lake, in a beautiful tea plantation landscape. The only one of that kind in Madagascar.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel

Panorama of the RN7
Sahambavy
Manakara
DAY 4 : TRAIN JOURNEY TO MANAKARA

Get to the train station at 8am. It is directly opposite the hotel. Great day with a train journey to the East Coast. With 67 bridges and 47 tunnels, the trail is one of the steepest in the world. It will allow you to meet, to discover, to exchange with the population and to admire one of the most beautiful landscapes of Madagascar: the descent of the Highlands to the sea.

Picnic lunch prepared by us

Notes on the train journey:

It is an old train (more than 40 years old), during the journey, we are not safe from a breakdown.

Stops in stations are not specified, they are done according to the loadings to be carried out in each station. Attention, traveling first class does not mean “comfort”, it simply means that there will be fewer people with you.

If for technical reasons (breakdown, landslide, etc.) this train trip is not possible, we will join Manakara by road.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel

Panorama of the RN7
DAY 5 : MANAKARA

Day dedicated to the discovery of the Canal des Pangalanes. Along the canal, we discover the farming life of this wild and luxuriant region where an never-ending ballet of traditional pirogues carry goods or travelers. Visit of villages, a traditional forge and discovery of the village activities: weaving, fishing, construction of dugouts.... Picnic on a sandy lagoon where the canal meets the Indian Ocean.

The Pangalanes : Operational since the first half of the 20th century, the Pangalanes canal has allowed the whole eastern coast of Madagascar to transport products to the port of Tamatave. It stretches over nearly 700 km from Tamatave to Farafangana, parallel to the Indian Ocean. Today, due to lack of maintenance, it is impassable north of Mahanoro because of water hyacinths, and south of Mananjary at Namorona. This prevents the Tamatave / Farafangana link from being completed.

Boat equipped with life jackets and fire extinguishers
Departure at 8:30 am and return at about 4:30 pm, depending on the weather.
Necessary equipment: anti-mosquito product, effects to protect oneself from the sun, beach effects

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Panorama of the RN7
Manakara
206 km - 4h to 5h
Ranomafana
DAY 6: MANAKARA - RANOMAFANA

Breakfast, then road towards Ranomafana. The landscape is characteristic of a  transition between the coastal fringe and the Highlands. Ranomafana is located between the Betsileo country and the Tanala country, the country of those of the forest. The region owes its name to its source of ferruginous thermal water. This water has various virtues. It cures in particular rheumatism. The city is the starting point of all excursions in the National Park.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Panorama of the RN7
Ranomafana
172 km - 5h to 6h
Tsaranoro
DAY 7: RANOMAFANA NATIONAL PARK - TSARANORO

Early in the morning, visit of the Ranomafana forest. This park is located on a rain forested uphill that lies at an altitude of 800 to 1,200 meters. Ranomafana national park was created in 1990 after the discovery of the “golden bamboo lemur” in 1986 (its scientific name is Hapalemur Aureus). This particular and amazing species of lemur has strange eating habits and can’t be seen anywhere else. We can also find birds there, thirty of which are strictly forest species; species of butterflies; species of amphibians; some species of fish; and species of reptiles, chameleons, lizards.

3-hour walk depending, 200m of ascending elevation, easy walk, hiking trail. Necessary equipment: good walking shoes or good sneakers, insect repellent, rain clothes and water bottle

Continuation to Ambalavao. Enjoy the magnificent scenery of terrace-rice fields and vineyard. At the end of the day, connection through the lateritic track of Vohitsaoka to join the magnificent valley of Tsaranoro, situated at the foot of the Andringitra massif.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Panorama of the RN7
DAY 8: TSARANORO VALLEY

Great day of discovery of the Tsaranoro valley. Nestled at the foot of the Andringitra Mountain, it is considered as one of the most beautiful places in the south. A mountainous landscape characterized by splendid granite domes, small traditional villages scattered throughout the valley, rice fields here and there. We will then get to Tsaranoro valley, and after settling, we will leave for a hike towards “the peak of the Chameleon”.

The climb to the top of the Caméléon, in the heart of Tsaranoro valley, offers a breathtaking view of the landscape of the Andringitra massif. We will visit the sacred forest of Tsaranoro, where inhabitants of the valley are buried. Early in the morning, it is possible to see lemurs taking advantage of the heat of the first sunrays. The climb will lead us through torrents, slopes and plateaus.

Approximately 6h of walk round trip, height difference: 600m, moderately difficult trail, climbing route. Necessary equipment: walking shoes or good sneakers, items to protect from the sun, insect repellent and water bottle

Tsaranoro offers several other possibilities for more accessible or adventurous walks, (from 3h to 8h, between 250 m to 700 m of uneven heights, easy to difficult walking, hiking trail or climbing path) according to your physical condition. The excursions will lead you to meet the local population, but also to discover the landscape of the massif of Andringitra.

Picnic lunch prepared by us or at the hotel reserved according to the type of walk chosen.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel

Panorama of the RN7
Tsaranoro
317 km – 4h to 6h
Isalo
DAY 9: TSARANORO VALLEY – ISALO

We leave the valley of Tsaranoro and continue our road towards the South. Change of climate and landscape at the entrance of the Great South. The rocky massifs, some of which are sacred, will henceforth constitute the panorama. Passage by the legendary doors of the South and crossing of the plateau of Ihorombe. We are in full territory Bara, a people of breeders of zebu. Continuation towards Isalo and arrival on the spot at the end of the day.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel

Panorama of the RN7
DAY 10: RANOHIRA – ISALO NATIONAL PARK

Visit of Isalo National Park. Transfer to the entrance of the park for a hike that will take you through the most beautiful sites of the massif. We will first go to the natural pool … through a path that passes through magnificent rocky walls that shelter some Bara tombs. We will stop at some points that offer breathtaking views on the massif. After swimming, we will continue the hike along a ridge line on the eastern part of the massif to end up at Namaza creek and forest. With a little luck, we will see some groups of lemurs. For the bravest ones, the walk will go on to the black and blue swimming pool, then to the Nymphs’ Waterfalls.

5h walk, 350m to 500m slopes and drops, medium difficulty level, hiking trail. Necessary equipment: walking shoes or good sneakers, items to protect from the sun, mosquito repellent, bottle of water

Picnic lunch prepared by us.

About the Isalo National Park: The oldest geological formation of Madagascar will open its doors to you. This massif of continental and ruiniform sandstone dates back to the Jurassic era. Its very typical geomorphology, sculpted by erosions, offers a stunning show of colors and shapes … Second largest national park in Madagascar, it contains unmatched richnesses in biodiversity (endemic rock plants, such as Aloes, Euphorbes, Pachypodes, Kalanchoe …) and a specific fauna.

Panorama of the RN7
Ranohira
339 km - 8h
Salary
DAY 11 : RANOHIRA - SALARY

We head south to Toliara, a city located on a broad coastal plain, surrounded by dunes and mangroves near the Tropic of Capricorn in the Mozambique Channel. Enjoy the first glimpses of baobabs rising majestically in the middle of the savannah and the magnificent Antandroy and Mahafaly tombs. Quick tour of the city then continue to Ifaty for a free lunch by the sea. In the afternoon, continuation by the coastal track to reach Tsiandamba, located not far from Salary. Stay by the sea, along one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel

Panorama of the RN7
DAY 12 - DAY 13 : SALARY

Free day at leisure on the beach.

Salary and the lagoons of the South-West: this is the most beautiful beaches and lagoons of Madagascar. Spread over hundreds of kilometers, along the southwest coast of the island, these beaches of white sand, fine and wild form, with the turquoise sea, a perfect combination for an unforgettable seaside stay.

Possibility to organize several activities from the hotel:

  • Water sports: traditional dugout canoeing, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, water sports…
  • Land activities: quad biking, visit of the Vezo villages, …
  • Observation of humpback whales in July-August

Dinner and overnight at your hotel

Salary
96 km - 4h
Antananarivo
DAY 14: SALARY - ANTANANARIVO

Depending on flight schedules, transfer to the airport of Tuléar and flight to Antananarivo. Assistance at the airport and check-in on the flight to Paris.

Note :

Approximately 6 hours of driving per day (Days 4-5-8), 8 hours of driving to reach Salary (Day 12).
The itinerary or schedule may be modified according to the weather (Canal des Pangalanes excursion).
Sometimes wet and slippery trails in Ranomafana National Park.
During the southern summer (November – End of March), it is preferable to start the trekking days early enough to avoid walking under the sun. Beginning of the hike: before 7am.
During the southern winter (June – End of August), the temperature is around 7°C in the early morning and evening in the Highlands (Antananarivo – Fianarantsoa), especially in the region of Antsirabe. Also during this period, it is wet and cold in Ranomafana. It is not really the right season to see the animals. The schedules for the visit of the park will have to be arranged for better chances.
A night in Tulear is imperative if the flight from Tulear to Antananarivo is scheduled in the morning.

Panorama of the RN7

A mosaic of scenery characterizes the National Road 7. From villages to villages, we will go through magnificent landscapes …
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