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Andringitra National Park, Madagascar

From Tana to Tulear: A Journey Down the RN7



12 Days

Prices Start from

£3,150pp (ex. flights)

Take a journey along Madagascar‘s spine, travelling through some of the country’s most beautiful and prolific national parks, following the winding Route Nationale 7 (RN7). Visit mist-shrouded Andasibe, colourful Ranomafana and the dramatic canyons of Isalo.

But for a true taste of wilderness, leave the crowds behind and spend three days hiking the lunar landscapes of Andringitra, summiting the sacred Pic Boby.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Sunset, Andringitra National Park, Madagascar 1

Hike Pic Boby

Trek through prehistoric valleys and dramatic mountains in Andringitra National Park.

Reed frog, Andasibe Mantadia, Madagascar 2

RN7 Road Trip

Follow the classic RN7, passing through some of the country’s most famous parks.

Sifaka on Lemur Island, Andasibe, Madagascar 3

Natural Diversity

Moving through a number of habitats, spot various lemur species, as well as chameleons, frogs and snakes.

Family tomb and rice paddies, Madagascar 4

Malagasy Culture

Explore villages and ancient tombs that reveal a complex and colourful culture.

Why we like it

The simplicity of this journey is hard to beat. Following the RN7 comes with all the benefits that an overland journey brings – diversity, a sense of exploration and flexibility. On top of this, it avoids the complexity and hassle of Madagascar’s challenging internal flights. And by adding in several days of hiking in Andringitra, a taste of real wilderness is introduced, perfectly complementing the prolific but more popular parks that line the RN7.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1
    Antananarivo - Andasibe-Mantadia
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
    Andasibe-Mantadia - Antsirabe
  • Day 4
    Antsirabe - Ranomafana
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
    Ranomafana - Andringitra National Park
  • Day 7 - 8
    Andringitra National Park
  • Day 9
    Andringitra National Park - Isalo
  • Day 10
  • Day 11
    Isalo - Tulear
  • Day 12
    Tulear - Antananarivo

Now for the details

Zebu market, Madagascar

Route Nationale 7 (RN7)

Running through the heart of Madagascar, the RN7 offers some of the most varied and surprising experiences in the country. From the central highland plateau and Merina tribal stronghold around Antananarivo (“Tana” for short), the journey becomes wilder and more Malagasy the further south you travel.

Although now relatively popular, this winding highway still offers a fantastic mix of experiences, combining beautiful landscapes, colourful wildlife and vibrant culture. Exploring with a private guide and vehicle gives you the freedom and flexibility to get away from the crowds, allowing for a more personal and insightful experience.

Parson's Chameleon, Ranomafana, Madagascar

Endemic Wildlife

Travelling along the RN7 is undoubtedly a scenic and cultural journey, but it also shows off the best of Madagascar’s natural diversity. Each of the national parks is home to its own colourful array of endemic species.

Listen to the eerie call of the indri in the primary forest of Mantadia, watch sifakas leap through the air in Andasibe and spot dazzling Parson’s chameleons in Ranomafana. Continuing further south, photograph ring-tailed lemurs in Isalo and glimpse Coquerel’s dwarf lemurs in Tulear’s spiny forests.

Young boy in hat, Madagascar

Village Life

Whilst the parks themselves provide ample opportunities to get close to lemurs, dazzling chameleons and forests of baobabs, the villages through which you pass offer a unique glimpse into the heart of rural life and culture in Madagascar.

Malagasy culture is diverse and vibrant, rich with superstitions and traditions. Travelling across almost half the country, watch as it changes subtly from region to region. Outside of the larger towns, life remains remarkably traditional, revolving around subsistence agriculture and raising cattle.

Pic Boby summit view, Andringitra National Park, Madagascar
Andringitra National Park, Madagascar

Andringitra National Park

Midway through the trip, leave the road behind and explore one of the great undiscovered parks in Madagascar, Andringitra. Home to Madagascar’s highest climbable peak, Pic Boby (or Pic d’Imarivolanitra), this park centres on a stunning central mountain range, with valleys running on either side.

Spend three days camping and hiking across this diverse terrain, from dense forests and tumbling waterfalls to orchid-strewn meadows and the lunar landscapes of the highest peaks. Hike through an enormous forested amphitheatre, where the twin waterfalls of Riambavy and Riandahy drop from the mists above. And ascend the summit of Pic Boby itself, to watch the sunrise on the surreal landscapes below.

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
From £3,150 Per person

When to travel

Madagascar in January

January, February and March are cyclone season. Many places are closed and roads can become impassable. Travel is not advised at this time

Madagascar in February

January, February and March are cyclone season. Many places are closed and roads can become impassable. Travel is not advised at this time

Madagascar in March

January, February and March are cyclone season. Many places are closed and roads can become impassable. Travel is not advised at this time

Madagascar in April

The rains start to abate, but there is still a chance of heavy downpours. The countryside is lush and green, and it is a quiet time of year to visit.

Madagascar in May

Rainfall drops significantly, as the winter brings mainly dry weather to many areas. A great time to visit as you will have the choice of your preferred accommodation and the landscapes are beautiful with flora and fauna flourishing.

Madagascar in June

A fantastic time to get out into the highlands and go trekking, with less rainfall and still relatively warm temperatures. It is still outside of the peak season so you can still have your pick of the accommodation, and it is an excellent time to spot lemurs.

Madagascar in July

Humpback whales start arriving in Ile St Marie, having migrated from the Antarctic. The weather is at its coolest and driest, making it an ideal time to explore the naturally humid rainforests. This is peak season so expect to book well in advance.

Madagascar in August

The best time to see a humpback whale, and it is highly likely you will if you visit Ile St Marie. The busiest time of year, with European school holidays, so you will need to reserve well in advance to secure your preferred accommodation.

Madagascar in September

Temperatures increase, without much more rainfall. It is a fantastic time to visit, with the chance to still see humpback whales before they return to the Antarctic, lower visitor number, and ideal conditions for relaxing on the beach. The birds and lemurs are also breeding, so there is lots to see.

Madagascar in October

The country continues to warm as summer approaches. The jacarandas bloom, making it a colourful time of year to visit. As little birds and baby lemurs appear, it is also ideal conditions for snorkelling or just enjoying the beautiful beaches.

Madagascar in November

A quieter time of year, with plenty of lemurs, birds and other wildlife able to be seen. Still a great time to travel, with no species hibernating and warmer weather.

Madagascar in December

The start of the wet season, and the hottest time of year. If you are travelling at this time, it is best to head to go at the start of the month, to the south and west of the country where it is cooler and drier.

Holiday Inspiration

Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

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