Trip Itineraries for Madagascar

Madagascar is a beautiful country with many places to visit. It is also a massive country with horrible infrastructure, leaving precious time on holiday often on a bus or plane. With these in mind, it is important to consider logistics within Madagascar for each destination. Depending on the length of stay, it is best to choose a small area of Madagascar unless you intend to backpack for 2+ months, in which case most of the country is doable. The main transport within Madagascar is local buses or the taxi brousse. Often we would expect the journey to be only a few hours, but it was normal to take an entire day. With limited time, it is better to hire a personal car and driver to get between destinations as quickly as possible. The roads are very poor and can take hours to move even one hundred kilometers.

 

Madagascar is truly a country different then anywhere else. Want to explore the amazing baobabs, crazy rock formation at Tsingy, lush rainforests, and see adorable lemurs? Madagascar is the place! We spent 2 months exploring the whole country and we have the best itineraries! Madagascar needs to be on your bucket list! #madagascar #itinerary #africa By: Beard and Curly (@beardandcurly)

Interested? Pin Now… Read Later

Deciding how much time to spend in Madagascar? Unless you plan to fly to Nosy Be and just spend a week at one of the resorts then head home, the least I would come to Madagascar is two weeks. This is still going to be rushed and limited sites will have to be picked to have a smooth holiday. One month is a great amount of time backpacking in Madagascar, which you can see a good amount of the country. To see most of the country, hitting all the major highlights in both the south and north of the country, six to eight weeks is more realistic. Domestic flights with Air Madagascar can set you back $300 USD one-way. If short on time, consider flying between some of the destinations where possible. In two weeks, it is enough time to hit our three favorite spots in Madagascar plus an incredible rainforest: Tsingy de Bemaraha, Avenue of Baobabs, and Ile Aux Nattes, our favorite beach, and the rainforest of Andasibe.

 

 

Private Beach at Chez Sica

Private Beach at Chez Sica

 

 

Best 2-Week Itinerary Option

East/West Option: Fly to Antanarivo and go West to Morondava. Visit the Avenue of Baobabs and Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Head back East to the other coast passing through Tana on your way to Saint Marie and Ile Nattes. Finish your trip with a day in Andasibe visiting the rainforest before heading home. This is a good travel itinerary that hits the two best sites, our favorite beach, and a very accessible rainforest with lots of wildlife and lemurs.

 

 

Wild West Tour of Madagascar, Tsiribihina River, Pirogue Tour, Stone Forest, Tsingy de Bemeraha, Avenue of Boababs, Morandava, Madagascar

Avenue of Baobabs Night Activity

 

Woman Hiking in the Tsarnoru Valley with huge mountains in the view

Hiking in the Tsarnoru Valley

 

Alternate Options

North Option: Fly to Diego Suarez from Tana. Spend 5 days in Diego Suarez and Ramena, then head to Nosy Be for a week stay. Visit Tsingy Rouge, Amber Mountain, Emerald Bay, and some of the islands surrounding Nosy Be.

South Option: Fly to Tana and head south in your private 4×4 hire. Have stops at Antsirabe, Anja Park in Ambalavao, and Isalo National Park. Continue down to Toliara and spend a couple of days at the beach of Anakao or Ifante, then fly back to Tana. The other option is from Isalo, go back to Tana and then to Andasibe for a couple of days at the Rainforest before heading home. A private driver from Tana to Toliara (or vice-versa) costs around 150K Ariary (~$50 USD).

 

 

Ultimate Guide to Madagascar, Hiking the Andringitra Mountains, Peak Bobby, Pic Bobi, Tsaronoro Valley, Tsaranoru Valley, Tsarasoa, Hiking, Trekking, Madagascar

Anja Park outside Ambalavao

 

 

Three or four weeks is a good amount of time to stay in Madagascar. You can mix a combination of private car (4×4) and taxi brousse to lower costs for the trip and can see a lot of the country. Rather than pushing to add a whole new region to your itinerary, it is better to slow your pace and add some extra days to relax at the beach (hello Ile Nattes!).

 

 

incredible rock formations at Grand Tsingy de Bemeraha

Grand Tsingy de Bemeraha

 

 

Best 3-4 Week Itinerary Option

East/West Option: Fly into Antanarivo and go West to Morondava. Visit the Avenue of Baobabs and Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Go back to Antsirabe and head south to Ambalavao. Visit Anja Park before going on a 3-day hike in the Andringitra Mountains. After your hike, head back up to Tana on your way to Saint Marie and Ile Nattes. Finish your trip with a day in Andasibe visiting the rainforest before heading home. This is very similar to the two-week itinerary, plus an awesome hike.

 

 

fog rolling in at Andringitra Mountains

Andringitra Mountains

 

 

Alternate Options

West/North Option: From Antananarivo go west to Morondava. Visit the Avenue of Baobabs and Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Go back to Antsirabe and head north. Make a quick stop in Andasibe to visit the Rainforest, then head to Diego Suarez and Ramena for a week.

West/South Option: Probably the most common route for tourists, starting from Tana and go west to Morondava. Visit the Avenue of Baobabs and Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Go back to Antsirabe and head south to Ambalavao. Visit Anja Park before going on a 3-day hike in the Andringitra Mountains. Continue south to Ranohiro to visit Isalo National Park for 1 or 2 days. Continue on to Toliara, to stay at the beach town of Anakao or Ifante. Hire a private car back to Tana.

 

 

bright blue Natural Swimming Hole along the Tsiribihina River

Natural Swimming Hole along the Tsiribihina River

 

 

Eight weeks is a long time in one country, but to see most places in Madagascar, this is actually the perfect amount of time. With plenty of time, you can check out all the popular sites while cutting down costs by traveling almost entirely by taxi brousse. Because travel takes forever and is frustrating at times, it is good to take a few small breaks during this itinerary. Our favorite spots to just relax for a few days to unwind were in the valley of Tsaronuru (Andringitra Mountains), Anakao, Ile Nattes, and Diego Suarez.

 

 

The Three Bays Hike in Ramena

The Three Bays Hike in Ramena

 

 

Best 8-Week Itinerary Option

  • Wild West Tsiribihina River Tour by Pirogue which includes two days at Tsingy de Bemaraha and a stop at the Avenue of the Baobabs. (9 days)

  • Take a train ride from Fianarantsoa to Manakara – If it lasts 24 hours instead of 8 hours like it did for us, this might be miserable, but it will always be remembered! (3 days)

  • Visit Anja Park near Ambalavao (1 day)

  • Hike for 3 days in the Andringitra National Park to summit Pic Boby (5 days)

  • Go to Isalo National Park for 1 or 2 days (2 days)

  • Head to the town of Toliare for a day then move on and relax at a beach town, either Anakao or Ifante (7 days)

  • Head to the east coast for an excellent stop at Ile Saint Marie and Ile Nattes. Make a 2-day stop to visit Parc Mitsinjo in the Andasibe Rainforest (7 days)

  • Head north to Diego Suarez and Ramena to visit Tsingy Rouge, Amber Mountain, and Emerald Bay (7 Days)

  • The remaining days not accounted for is travel time by taxi brousse…yes it actually will account for that much time! (10-14 Days)

 

 

Best of Madagascar: 

Avenue of the Baobabs, Andasibe Rainforest, Ile Aux Nattes, Andringitra Mountains, and Tsingy Rouge.

 

 

bright red geological of Tsingy Rouge

Tsingy Rouge

 

 

BEST LOCATIONS

Rainforest: Parc Mitsinjo in the Andasibe Rainforest

Beach: Ile Aux Nattes

Cultural Experience: Tsiribihina River Tour

Landscape: Andringitra Mountains

Food: Diego Suarez

 

 

Like this Post? Pin It!

Madagascar is truly a country different then anywhere else. Want to explore the amazing baobabs, crazy rock formation at Tsingy, lush rainforests, and see adorable lemurs? Madagascar is the place! We spent 2 months exploring the whole country and we have the best itineraries! Madagascar needs to be on your bucket list! #madagascar #itinerary #africa By: Beard and Curly (@beardandcurly)

 

 

Check out the Full Guide on Madagascar

 

 

Return to Africa

Return to Destinations

 

 

 

4 comments on “Trip Itineraries for Madagascar”

  1. edu Reply

    Thank you very much guys. Your post is just what I needed to buy plane tickets to Tana. I felt quite lucky to find your blog given the lack on info about madagascar online.
    I’m gonna follow your four weeks route and maybe skip some part to be able to climb the highest moutain there (Maromokotro). Do you know anything about that place? BTW, how much did you pay for your flights? I’m looking Helsinki-Tana and Barcelona-Tana and find about 1000eur/person.

    • Beard and Curly Reply

      Hi Edu, sorry for the late response. Busy traveling!

      We booked flights through miles, so not sure on what costs should be, but typically they are pricey to Madagascar, so 1000eur seems right. We did not go to Maromokotro, we climbed Pic Boby at Andringitra NP, which was a really nice hike and very different than anything else we saw in Madagascar. That was a 3-day hike, which you can go directly to the NP entrance office, and hire a guide/porters as needed. A guide is required for that hike.

  2. Chris Reichard Reply

    Thanks for a great blog post on Madagascar, it is a great read showing the possibilities of what to visit in Madagascar. I had the idea to do a similar trip as your two week east/west trip. Would you mind sharing your itinerary for this trip? I find it quite difficult to plan how much time is required to travel between places in Madagascar. Any tips would be appreciated.

    • Beard and Curly Reply

      Chris,

      We visited Madagascar back in 2016 so I don’t remember all the exact specifics, but travel time is much longer than you would expect in Madagascar. The roads are horrible. Private car is way faster, but still slow due to so many potholes. Public transport is really cheap, but can take forever. We spent 2 months in Madagascar, so we did the 8-week itinerary that we provide. I think for the east/west, you can fit in a trip out to Morondava, the baobabs, tsingy, as well as go east to Andasibe for a couple days and spent a few days relaxing on Ile Aux Nattes, our favorite spot in the country. That should be plenty for 2 weeks due to a lot of travel time.

Let Us Know What You Think? Comment Here...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest