This tour explores the natural beauty of the eighth continent. Madagascar has extraordinary endemic wildlife and incredibly diverse landscapes. Join TravePact for a 21-day tour traversing the island to experience varied national and local parks. Understand the local conservation programs and support their efforts by choosing to travel with us and supporting our sustainability efforts.
Looking for something different? Check out our 18-day tour of the Eighth Continent. We’re always happy to offer additional insights into our tour itineraries to help you choose the right tour for you. Feel free to contact us any time for an informational chat.
Landing at Ivato airport in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. Welcome or ‘tonga soa’! We recommend you exchange money at the airport. Our driver will bring you to your guesthouse hotel near the airport, so you can relax and have dinner after your long flight. On the road to the hotel, you will start with overlooking the characteristic rice paddies of the high plateau right away. Your journey begins!
Transfer: Shuttle from airport to hotel
Accommodations: Chez Jeanne or similar
Today is a full day for exploring the Vohimana reserve. Enjoy spotting the Indri! Take a sightseeing tour in the heart of the forest corridor of eastern Madagascar, where the charms of the biodiversity of fauna and flora of the Vohimana reserve are numerous.
Accommodations: Le relais du naturaliste ecolodge
After breakfast, you will walk back to the RN2, where your driver will wait for you. You will take the road back west to Andasibe for about 30 minutes. Today we suggest you visit the Andasibe national park, a rainforest famous for being the habitat of many kinds of lemurs.
Here, you will find 11 species of half monkeys, many species of birds, large chameleons, an orchid park, rosewood trees, lianas, etc. In this forest, the largest of the lemurs is found – the Indri. Afterwards, you will reach the locally-owned and -managed Ricolodge hotel. Located in a small part of the forest, you can also enjoy a short walk through their territory and even ask them for a night walk.
Transfer: Vohimana– Andasibe (30 minutes by foot and 30 minutes by car)
Today, you begin your southern adventure with a 7- hour drive towards Antsirabe. The driver will take you back to the capital first to reach the famous National Road 7. After about 2 hours’ drive, you will see Ambatolampy, a small town at 1500m altitude, considered to be the coldest town of Madagascar due to the mountain range of Ankaratra. There is the possibility of visiting a small family factory that produces aluminium cooking pots and other kitchen utensils, which are sold everywhere on the red island. You will arrive in Antsirabe by the end of the afternoon and spend the night at a simple but charming hotel.
Transfer: Andasibe – Antsirabe (7 hours)
Accommodations: Chambre du Voyageur hotel
After breakfast, you will leave for a 3.5-hour drive to the West. The destination for today will be Miandrivazo, a village that lies along the Tsiribihina river, with its many branches. Upon arrival, you will start an excursion in a local pirogue boat on the Mahajilo branch of this river to get to know the backland and the fishing villages on the river. A picnic lunch will be included. This will be a very nice local experience.
Transfer: Antsirabe – Miandrivazo (3.5 hours)
Today you will be transferred to Kirindy village, a journey of about five to six hours. After 4.5 hours, you’ll pass by the well-known coastal town of Morondava where you can have lunch. You will also have a glance at the famous Baobab Alley afterwards.
In Kirindy, you will visit the Kirindy forest, home to fascinating fauna and flora in a dry forest. The latter is composed of drought-adapted plants and animal species such as baobabs, endemic lemur species (like the Sifaka or “Propithecus verreauxi”), birds, bats, and so on. We suggest you plan a two hours’ night visit of this reserve as it hides incredible nocturnal wildlife that you can’t see anywhere else, including the endemic Mouse Lemur. With a bit of luck, you can see “Fosa”, the biggest predator of the island which makes its home in this dry reserve.
Transfer: Miandrivazo – Kirindy (6 hours)
Accommodations: Kirindy Lodge
We suggest you visit the Kirindy Forest by daylight early in the morning. This day will be the beginning of your adventure within the deep western part of Madagascar to reach the site that makes us proud: the UNESCO-classified Tsingy of Bemaraha National Park.
This journey will take you about eight hours as you will have to cross two rivers and continue the trip on dirt roads. First, you’ll pass by a Spiny Forest and will reach the Tsiribihina River where you will have to cross with a wooden bac. Depending on the time, you may have lunch at Belo Sur Tsiribihina or somewhere along the road and arrive by late afternoon (early evening) in Bekopaka. This is a little village that is located close to the Bemaraha National Park. Once there, you will be transferred to the nice Soleil des Tsingy, a hotel that is very much engaged in sustainable tourism.
Transfer: Kirindy – Bekopaka (8 hours)
Accommodations: Soleil des Tsingy
This day is dedicated to visiting the so-called ‘little Tsingy’. You will visit this part by foot and will also be able to navigate to the Gorge of Manambolo. This is a river known for its canyons, caves, and wonderful landscapes, and which flows along the park as well. Discover this part of the national park and you’ll surely be captivated by this wilderness.
Afterwards, you will be taken back to your Hotel. Please note the park entrance fee is included today but you will have to pay the obligatory park guide fee on the spot.
Accommodations: Soleil des Tsingy
After having visited the little Tsingy the previous day, you will spend the entire day today visiting the other part of the Park: The Big Tsingy. To arrive at the park entrance of this part of the park, the driver will take you 45 minutes by car. This part of the park is mainly made of unique rocky structures, which are the famous “Tsingy”. Incredibly, plenty of plants and endemic animals have their natural habitat in this harsh environment. Please note: to go through this part of the park, you will walk with “climbing material”.
Transfer: Bekopaka – Entrance Big Tsingy part (45 minutes and back after the walk)
Accommodations: Soleil des Tsingy
Today, you will leave this rocky paradise and journey back by 4×4 car in the direction to Morondava. It’s the same road you took on day 8. Just before arriving in Morondava, you’ll pass by the famous Baobab Alley at sunset. In Morondava, we will book the simple Trecigogne hotel. Simple, but they have a wonderful sustainable way of managing the accommodation.
Transfer: Bekopaka – Morondava (8 hours)
Accommodations: Trecigogne hotel
On day 12, you will have a free day in this coastal town to rest and prepare yourself for the next long driving days. You can enjoy the beach (ask a taxi to drive you to one of the nice beaches a bit outside the town) or, if you’re not too tired, book a Mangrove excursion with the hotel.
Accommodations: Trecigogne hotel
Plan for an early morning departure because the drive back east in the direction of the famous RN7 to Antsirabe over the RN34 will take much of the day. If you leave early, you can enjoy a stop again in Miandrivazo to have lunch before continuing further east immediately after lunch.
Just about 30 minutes before arriving in Antsirabe, you will pass by the small town of Betafo and this marks the end of our trip in the “wild west” of Madagascar. Rice cultures and other food crops take the place of sterile landscapes and mountain ranges covered by savannas. The village of Betafo (which means “where there are many roofs”) is in a fertile valley because of its volcanic soil: the volcanic Lake of Tatamarina is the proof. You’ll arrive in Antsirabe after a little drive from Betafo, where we book the eco-hotel le Voyageur for you.
Transfer: Morondava – Antsirabe (8 hours)
Accommodations: Chambre du Voyageur
After breakfast, you can first take time to visit Antsirabe by foot or pousse-pousse. From here, you continue your journey on the winding road (National road N° 7) for around 2 hours until you reach Ambositra, the city of Malagasy craftsmen. Here, you can visit the sculptors during their working hours. They are the “Zafimaniry”, an ethnic group of Asiatic origin, particularly known for their beautiful wood sculptures and marquetry. You can also have lunch here.
Afterwards, you will drive a further 150km to the South-East to reach Ranomafana with its rainforest rich in endemic fauna and flora. Ranomafana has a national park with impressive waterfalls, hot springs, lemurs, and birds.
Ranomafana is one of the most important parks in Madagascar for scientists. That’s also why you can find an international science centre from the world-renowned primatologist Patricia Wright here.
This unique research and conservation centre has worked in close collaboration with Madagascar National Park for over 26 years. Centre ValBio (CVB) facilitates research and manages numerous projects including development, reforestation, and biodiversity monitoring. Their main aim is to improve the health and well-being of Malagasy people while safeguarding the surrounding ecosystem and its biodiversity.
We will organize your overnight here in this very special place.
Transfer: Fiadanana – Ranomafana (5 hours)
Accommodations: Valbio Center
Today, you will visit the national park of Ranomafana, a rainforest, where you will have several options from a 2 – 6 hour walk.
Ranomafana was known for its hot springs in the old days, but in the last 2 decades, it has become more renowned for its 40,000-hectare national park of mid-altitude rainforest with an incredible and unrivalled diversity of endemic fauna and flora. This area is home to species of 12 lemurs, 115 birds, 58 reptiles, 98 amphibians, 90 butterflies, and over 200 spiders! You can try to spot them all, along with plenty of lush plant diversity to admire.
No wonder that in 2007, Ranomafana was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While here, you will be hosted by Centre ValBio (CVB), a unique research and conservation centre that has worked in close collaboration with Madagascar National Park for over 26 years.
CVB facilitates research and manages numerous projects including development, reforestation, and biodiversity monitoring. Their main aim is to improve the health and well-being of Malagasy people while safeguarding the surrounding ecosystem and its biodiversity.
During your stay, you can also visit a silk workshop run by women surrounding the village if you wish.
Accommodations: ValBio Centre or similar
Early in the morning, you will be driven to your next destination of Fianarantsoa, a drive of about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Fianarantsoa is a remarkable old town with its 1001 churches; it is considered as the Betsileo capital and listed among the world heritage sites. You can visit the town upon your arrival. This city is surrounded by vineyards and also the only tea plantation of Madagascar.
Afterwards, you will be taken to the ”Ecole Hoteliere La Rizière”, a hotel school which enables deprived young people to acquire professional skills suited to the expectations of the hospitality industry. Three specialities are proposed here: kitchen, room service and bar service, or general lodging. A high-quality hotel-restaurant, backed by the hotel school, allows students to practice in real conditions and thus increases their chances of finding a job at the end of the training.
In the afternoon, we suggest a visit to the social enterprise of Karenjy, where you can see a project of the collection and treatment of waste, the collection and treatment of secondhand clothes, and the place where the Malagasy car Mazana II is produced. This social enterprise can really stimulate part of the Malagasy economy. What do you think about this local car? Let us know!
Transfer: Ranomafana – Fianarantsoa (1 hour 45 minutes)
Accommodations: Berenice hotel or similar
Today, you will be driven to Ranohira, which is around a 250km-drive and will take 4.5 hours. But, first, you will be driven to Ambalavao (within 1 hour). just a few minutes away from Ambalavao, you will stop for a visit to the private lemurs’ park called Anjà Park.
This is a reserve run by the local community which protects plenty of cultural and historical remains. The fauna is mainly represented by a large colony of maki lemurs (about 300, whereas they were almost extinct 20 years ago), as well as many birds and chameleons. The royal carp abounds in the water. The view from a rocky promontory is amazing…a good breath of fresh air!
After the visit, you will drive in the direction of Ranohira, which is a village near the Isalo National Park. The landscape you drive through today is getting drier and you will pass through a steppe-like area until you arrive at the beautiful mountains of the Isalo Massif.
Transfer: Fianarantsoa – Ranohira (4.5 hours)
Accommodations: ITC hotel
This day is dedicated to visiting the Isalo National Park, a park covering 80,000 hectares and consisting of sandstone rocks cut by deep canyons and eroded into weird shapes. In these canyons, local wildlife inhabits the gallery forests that form corridors along small streams. The ring-tailed lemur, Verreaux, sifaka, and the brown lemur are commonly sighted, along with birds and chameleons in the Canyon des Makis and Canyon des Rats. You can also take the short Namaza trail that takes you along a scenic route to a magnificent natural swimming pool where you can just relax and swim.
The ITC Lodge is engaged in a reforestation project that we will visit via an Association called Soa Zara; we will contribute by planting a few trees ourselves.
Not even 50 years ago, there were small patches of primary forest surrounding the base of Isalo National Park. Unfortunately, all of those trees have been cut and we are left with a barren landscape leading into the deep gorges and rocky cliffs. Soa Zara is working to change this reality by creating a natural forest outside of the park. With a small patch of community-run land, the association is actively planting trees and offering visitors the chance to partake in doing good for the future of their local environment.
Soa Zara is building this natural forest in order to provide energy resources for the local population, to offer sanctuary to lemur species, and to redevelop the badly-damaged top-soil.
Accommodations: ITC hotel
You will have an early start today and will leave Ranohira to drive to the coastal town of Tulear, which is at the end of the RN7 National Road (4 hours’ drive). The first baobabs along the road indicate we are entering a much drier area.
After Tulear, we will continue heading north for about 30 minutes to the coastal village of Ifaty/Mangily, well known for the beach. Today you can visit the botanical garden of the city and have lunch there if you wish. Another option is to stop on the road to Ifaty at the Honko Mangrove, but please check the tide of the day and ask your driver if the visit is possible early in the morning.
Honko Community-Based Mangrove Reserve is an important wetland and mangrove area. The site was created by an NGO, who decided to restore the mangroves by working closely with local communities. You can go on a 2-hour guided kayak tour to observe the 7 mangrove species and several rare bird species.
Upon your arrival in Ifaty, you will spend the night at Solidaire Mangily Hotel. This hotel is a sustainable tourism initiative, responsible and supportive, with direct benefits for the local population through various educational and environmental preservation projects led by the Malagasy NGO Bel Avenir. Note that this hotel is not located on the beach but a short, 10-minute walk from the beach.
Transfer: Ranohira – Tulear – Ifaty (4.5 hours)
Accommodations: Solidaire Mangily hotel
In/around Ifaty, you will be able to organize activities on your own. You are free to do anything you want! The hotel is situated close to the village and you can reach the well-known Spiney Forest with its very nice baobab trees; you can also reach the turtle village on foot.
There are many outdoor activities that can be done in the area, including going around the village to spot turtles, mouse makis, and Baobab trees. You can enjoy snorkel excursions; just ask the hotel to help find the perfect boat and equipment to make your snorkel excursion a success. Scuba diving is also possible, which the hotel can help you with arranging. Additionally, visiting the hotel’s own agricultural school projects with lots of different disciplines is also a truly beautiful experience.
Accommodations: Solidaire Mangily hotel
Today, depending on your inland flight schedule, you will be transferred back to the airport of Tulear. There, you will take your return flight to Antananarivo. Upon arrival in the capital, you will be transferred to a hotel near the airport for a day-use. Afterwards, you will be taken to the international Ivato airport and will leave Madagascar with, hopefully, unforgettable memories.
Transfer: Shuttle from hotel to Tulear Airport
Flight: National flight Tulear – Tana
Mora Travel dedicates itself to organizing ‘sustainable’ trips to Madagascar every day. Sustainability is very important to us! By organizing these trips, we believe our travelers can experience Madagascar and enjoy everything that the country has to offer. And because you are traveling with us, we can contribute to preserving biodiversity and endemicity and giving local people in Madagascar a real chance.
Madagascar is not an easy destination to promote sustainable tourism as the logistics in remote areas are often very basic, the options are limited, and many resources are hard to get by. There aren’t always sustainable options, but wherever possible we opt for the most sustainable choice. Nevertheless, we do promote responsible travel to lessen our negative impact on our destination as much as possible.
This means we work together with partners that are environmentally conscious (renewable energy, sustainable waste management) while also looking after the social and economic wellbeing of the local people. We give preference to local Malagasy accommodations, businesses or for example parks that employ local staff under good conditions, that use mainly local products and/or are engaged in community initiatives. This means that the hotels during the trip are a real mix of very simple and luxury hotels depending on the criteria mentioned above.
We also contribute to reforestation. To compensate for the carbon dioxide emissions of all tourists who travel with us, we plant trees. The purpose of planting trees is to house animals, because they have less and less place to live because of deforestation. We still have a long way to go, but we feel that making this a choice and communicating this to our partners will help create a larger sustainable tourism community in the long run.