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The southern road – 16 days

From 4 to 12 people.


Carte route du sud à MadagascarFor the fans of explorations: a new road opens for the travelers in the South of Madagascar with the restoration of local ferries on the network of rivers of the East Coast. This road allows making a large loop through the Highlands, the East Coast with its 10 rivers to be crossed and the track of the Big South via Fort Dauphin (Tôlanaro) and Beraketa. This journey offers a pallet of contrasts where follow one another hikes, beautiful 4×4 steps but also a trip by train to Manakara or pirogue to slide on the Canal of Pangalanes. Here, we chain the discoveries of magnificent sites and, by the sea, some secret bivouacs on deserted beaches. A scent of adventure for this real voyage of discovery!


  • Train peregrination from Fianarantsoa to Manakara;
  • Navigation on the Canal of Pangalanes;
  • Atmosphere of the Coast of cloves;
  • Discovery of Fort Dauphin’s region (Tôlanaro).

Travel identity card

  • Duration: 16 days (from Tana to Tana)
  • Participant: minimum 4 persons in a group
  • Accompanying: English-speaking Malagasy guide
  • Accommodation: Hotel or gite (6 nights) and camping (10 nights)
  • Transportation: 4×4 vehicle
  • Service: Full board
  • Period: April to November
  • Effort = 3

    4 to 6 hours of activity and / or hiking per day. The gradients can be 600m certain days.
    In Madagascar, the altitude can be a factor but it is not decisive. We evolve from 0 to 2400m of altitude.
    You only carry your little bag of the day.
    Madagascar is large, the steps in a vehicle can sometimes be a little long.

  • Confort = 2

    Majority of of nights under tent (camping) with hotels and / or hostels where possible.
    In camping, meals are prepared by the Malagasy Tours team with fresh products, even in trek.
    Attentive service in bivouac. Frequent showers, but not daily.
    Travel by all-terrain vehicle on tarmac roads and / or tracks.

D 1: Antananarivo > Antsirabe

Meeting with your guide.
We have breakfast in the hotel and start heading south passing through Antananarivo.
Rice fields and typical villages of the Highlands represent the landscape right after Antananarivo.
We stop in Ambatolampy to discover the rather amazing work of aluminum to make cooking pot for the whole country.
We take lunch in town. Continuation towards Antsirabe in the afternoon.
We take our time for a city tour and experience “pousse-pousse” (rick shaw) riding for those who want, it is the main transport for locals.

  • Duration: +/- 3 h
  • Distance: 170 km
  • Meals: Lunch include at the restaurant / Dinner included
  • Your hotel: Antsirabe. Le Voyageur.

    Le VoyageurLe VoyageurBuilt in a special setting in the middle of a large garden, “Le Voyageur” guestrooms and bungalows are based on a typical architecture style, which express Malagasy soul, highlanders’ mind and the local known-how resources. Bungalows and guestrooms have bathroom with hot water each. The restaurant offers Malagasy and European specialties .

    View site on:

D 2: Walking in the Highlands

Why Highlands? Simply because it has the emblematic scenery of Madagascar, a unique landscape composed of different hills with crest lines, villages on the slope, houses made of bricks and thatch roof, colorful valley with rice fields: green, ochre, red, beige…
These magnificent hikes take us to the countryside world with authentic colors, meeting local people who enjoy discussing with visitors.
We can see women carrying bucket water on the head as in Africa, farmers working in their rice fields and sometimes we meet blacksmiths working on the same process for ages.
The walk is organised by a local association, a partnership with young guides from the area so then we contribute partly to the development of the region.

  • Duration: from 6 to 7h of walking
  • Meals: Picnic lunch included / Dinner included
  • Your hotel: The same as the day before

D 3: Antsirabe > Fianarantsoa

We keep going on the National Road 7 and progress towards the south.

We shop in Zafimaniry artisans boutiques in Ambositra village looking for a piece of carved wood, or fine work of marquetry box.
Take time to wander around in the village and get lunch in a loca restaurant where you have the opportunity to taste local specialties.

We continue to Fianarantsoa in Betsileo region, the main tribe on the south part of the Highlands of Madagascar. we have a winding road; we are close to the highest summit of the Great Island.

  • Duration: +/- 4h 
  • Distance: 230 km
  • Meals: Lunch include at the restaurant / Dinner included
  • Your hotel: Fianarantsoa. Le Lac Hôtel.

    Le Lac HôtelLe Lac HôtelLake Hotel is located in the village of Sahambavy, at about twenty kilometers from the city of Fianarantsoa,  in the area of the unique tea plantation in Madagascar. It is also close to Sahambavy train station, a train going to the east coast, the Canal des Pangalanes and Manakara town. The hotel has 33 bungalows as family, double and triple rooms, there is also a restaurant with a bar.
    The hotel is facing  Sahambavy lake where you can hire a pedalo.
    The garden is an ideal place to rest.

    View site on:

D 4: The train Fianarantsoa > East coast (F.C.E)

The railway Manakara-Fianarantsoa was built between 1926 to 1936, it passes through one of the most beautiful landscape in Madagascar between the Indian Ocean and the highlands. We start the ride from Sahambavy station for a picturesque and colorful trip. You have seats in the first class car of outmoded charm. The diesel locomotive makes its way with whistles through the rice fields and tea plantations. A major part of the journey happens in the heart of the primary forest in a splendid setting with deep cliffs, villages, waterfalls, including the Faraony  waterfall, which is one of the most attractive in Madagascar. The cultures are omnipresent and we evolve between banana, coffee, jack fruit, orange, litchi plantations.  In every station stop, itinerant sellers try to sell you their cooking specialties as samosa, banana fritters, crayfish, fruits.  Although you brought your picnic lunch, you can taste some of these savors. The itinerary in numbers: 163 km long, 1200 m difference in height with 48 tunnels, of which that of Andrambovato who extends over 1 kilometer, 68 bridges and 12 stations all ones more picturesque than the others. The average speed is between 20 to 30 km per hour. You will arrive at best, 10 hours later to the seaside town of Manakara. Manakara was just a fisherman village at the begining of 20th century but it has developed after the railway work achieved in 1936.

  • Duration: Minimum 10 h
  • Distance: 163 km
  • Meals: Picnic lunch included / Dinner included
  • Your hotel: Manakara. Le Parthenay.

    Le ParthenayLe ParthenayLocated between Canal des Pangalanes and the Indian Ocean, a little further from the centre, Parthenay hotel is one of those hotels set up in old colonial spots.bungalows are planted on a large garden with green grass. It is possible to enjoy a nice walk along the beach towards the lagoon boarded with filao, coming and going of dugouts is just incessant there.

D 5: Day trip on the Canal des Pangalanes

Transfer to the landing stage where we take a dugout. The “canal des Pangalanes” is running along the east coast of Madagascar from Foulpointein the north and Farafangana in the south. This riverway is 665 km long, it is much safer than the tumbling Indian Ocean. General Gallieniundertook that giant works to link a chain of lakes when he was a governor of Madagascar at the beginning of twentieth century. The canal was build at the begining to make the trading easy between coastal small towns and to get strategic control of isolated areas as well. This riverway is unfortunately sank into oblivion nowadays because of lack of maintenance mainly between Mananjary and Manakara, the flow is much more difficult. In the middle of a real exceptional vegetation, the Canal des Pangalanes gives us the opportunity to discover locals living in harmony with the nature. We meet some barges, taxi boats, dugouts and rafts taking local products as banana, other fruits, manioc, fish and ravinala leaves to the closest towns.

  • Duration: All the day
  • Meals: Picnic lunch included / Dinner included
  • Your hotel: . Nuit sous tente.

    Nuit sous tenteNuit sous tenteA night under the stars around campfire, in the nature,… we like it !We provide SVALBARD brand FERRINO tents. These tents are for 3 persons but we only put 2 persons inside. Both sides have access door with mosquito net and the entrances are a kind of apse where we put a mat for your bags.We also provide a 5 cm thick foam mattress.You should take your sleeping bag.

D 6 to 8: Girofle coast, from Manakara to the Lokaro Bay

We were the first tour operator to take the road that goes up the east coast to Fort Dauphin.
The unusual feature of this route is the local ferries, 10 in number, that we need to take to cross rivers and inlet of the sea.
Beyond this originality, we cross numerous villages whose specialty is the culture of the clove; this spice embalms the first part of our path.
It is on this track that we shall meet magnificent specimens of Nepenthes, an endemic carnivorous plant in this region of the Malagasy South.
We are in country Antanosy, this ethnic group raises steles, certain very old, in their cemeteries roadside. We shall learn more from our guides on the traditions of the people we cross the region. We descend to the south which is much wilder and less populated.
Our bivouacs are situated on some deserted beaches, in front of the Indian Ocean. We take time to stop to enjoy these isolated and magnificent sites. Our last stage leads us to Lokaro Bay.

  • Duration: 3 days
  • Distance: 184 km asphalt road and 230 km of track
  • Meals: Picnic lunch included / Dinner included
  • Your hotel: The same as the day before

D 9: Lokaro Bay

It is a day of relaxation in this beautiful place: the white sandy beach under our feet, the forest behind us,  the turquoise sea in front with small islands with eroded granites.
This is a beautiful postcard. We leave in the morning hiking in the surrounding hills, which offer us a vast panorama of the area. Maybe we’ll go to the village of Evatra …

  • Duration: +/- 5h of walk
  • Meals: Picnic lunch included / Dinner included
  • Your hotel: The same as the day before

D 10: Lokaro Bay > Fort-Dauphin

We leave the bay of Lokaro to reach Fort Dauphin.
We are here in one of these ends of the world as it exists in certain corners of the planet !
Fort Dauphin is metamorphosing with a gigantic mining project of extraction of ilmenite.
The layout of the premises will be during will be strongly disturbed for some time.
We arrive there at the beginning of the morning and attack the ascent of the Peak Saint-Louis. The vertical drop is not important, but the slope is stiff. From the summit, the view is magnificent on the region with its lagoons and its beaches.
We go back down  to have lunch in town and take time to visit the market.
Stroll towards the lake of Vinanibe in the afternoon.

  • Duration: from 2 to 3h of walking
  • Distance: 40 km of track
  • Meals: Picnic lunch included / Dinner included
  • Your hotel: Fort-Dauphin. Lavasoa.

    LavasoaLavasoaSet between coconut and pine trees of the peninsula of Libanona bay, Lavasoa bungalows are distinguished by their vivid colours. Its perfect white wall, dark wooded floor and furnitured guestrooms of which each has pallissander balcony facing the virgin beach and Saint Louis peak.

    View site on:

D 11 to 13: Fort Dauphin > Ambalavao – Réserve de Anja

It is a long way to Beraketa, then it degrades up to Betroka. We join the main road N7 shortly before Ihosy. We arrive in Anja reserve on day 14 in the morning.

  • Duration: +/- 20h during 3 days
  • Distance: 635 km including 380 km of track in 3 days
  • Meals: Picnic lunch included / Dinner included
  • Your hotel: . Nuit sous tente.

    Nuit sous tenteNuit sous tenteA night under the stars around campfire, in the nature,… we like it !We provide SVALBARD brand FERRINO tents. These tents are for 3 persons but we only put 2 persons inside. Both sides have access door with mosquito net and the entrances are a kind of apse where we put a mat for your bags.We also provide a 5 cm thick foam mattress.You should take your sleeping bag.

D 14: Trekking Anja reserve > Ambalavao

We are this morning at Anja Reserve.

Groups of lemurs live in a nice forest at the bottom of a huge granite rock blocks. We learn about local customs of Betsileo and also Bara tribes. The latter bury the deceaseds inside natural caves in the rock cliff after fairly complex rituals. The local guide will give us more details.
We climb rocks without difficulty until the pass. We hike up to the vollage of Ambalavao.

  • Duration: from 5 to 6h of walking
  • Meals: Picnic lunch included / Dinner included
  • Your hotel: Ambalavao . Tsienimparihy Lodge.

    Tsienimparihy LodgeTsienimparihy LodgeThe hotel is situated in a peaceful and quiet place. All the bungalow are equipped with toilets with hot water and its restaurant offers a wide choice of cooking with varied products.A beautiful garden is availabie for clients, ideal for relaxing.

D 15: Ambalavao > Ambositra

At Ambalavao, we visit the craft factory of the paper Antemoro. This secular process to make this paper with bark of the mulberry tree Avoha (Bosqueia danguyana) was introduced in Madagascar in the XVth century by the first Arabic migrants to retranscribe the Koran. He(it) is always made to Ambalavao according to the same processes.
We take back the road in the direction of Fianarantsoa. We lunch on the way and continue until Ambositra. Walk in the village and an evening in the hotel.

  • Duration: +/- 4h
  • Distance: 200 km
  • Meals: Lunch include at the restaurant / Dinner included
  • Your hotel: Ambositra . Artisan.

    ArtisanArtisanLocated in the west of the centre, close to handicrafts shops for which Ambositra is famous for. 12 guestrooms spread out on 2 traditional houses and 10 bungalows, all with private bathrooms. This recently built hotel has restaurant, bar and a nice garden.

D 16: Ambositra > Antananarivo

Ambositra is the town of the woodcarvers. Visit of the workshops of craftsmen Zafimaniry.
We hunt around in search of the sculptured piece of wood or of the finely decorated square of marquetry.
Arrival at the end of morning at Antsirabe for the lunch.
Continuation in the afternoon to Antananarivo.

  • Meals: Lunch include at the restaurant / Dinner not included

Price includes:

  • A English-speaking driver / guide and his vehicle 4X4 throughout the journey;
  • Accommodation in simple and comfortable hotel (in double or twin room);
  • Accommodation under tent according to the program;
  • The full board;
  • Entrance fees to the National park and the indicated sites;
  • The train journey;
  • The local guide in the park;
  • All the transfers.

Price does not include:

  • International flights;
  • Tips and beverages;
  • Cancellation / repatriation insurance (please see below);
  • Visa +/-35€


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  You with us !  For each person, for each trip, we take 2€ from our margin for the sponsorship of one hectare of primary forest for one year near the Andasibe / Périnet park. More info here

Price for this trip: from 1 597 €

Price per person | For a group of 4 people

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