Helinirina Raharomanana – Madagascar Tours Guide
Makay Massifs tour
Makay Massifs tour - Itinerary
Circuit : Antananarivo – Antsirabe – Ranomafana – Ambalavao – Tsaranoro – Ranohira – Isalo National Park – The Makay massifs – Ambositra
- Day 1 – Antananarivo – Antsirabe
- Day 2 – Antsirabe – Ranomafana
- Day 3 – Ranomafana – Ambalavao
- Day 4 – Ambalavao – Tsaranoro
- Day 5 – Tsaranoro – Ranohira
- Day 6 – Isalo National Park
- Day 7 to Day 12 – The Makay massifs
- Day 13 – Ranohira – Ambositra
- Day 14 – Ambositra – Antananarivo
Makay Massifs tour - Details of the itinerary
By choosing this Makay Massifs tour, you follow the national 7 to cross the beautiful landscapes of the Malagasy highlands as well as many big cities like Antsirabe, Ranomafana, Ambalavao Traranoro, Ranohira and Isalo.
Day 1 – Antananarivo – Antsirabe
After a tour of the capital, the city of thousands surrounded by 12 sacred hills, we head for Antsirabe, the city of water. After Behenjy, famous for its traditional foie gras, you will pass to Ambatolampy where you will meet the talented craftsmen specialized in aluminum casting. This town in the Vakinankaratra region is the main supplier of aluminum pots and other accessories on the island. After about 3 hours of driving, you will arrive in Antsirabe.
After settling in your hotel, take advantage of the time you have left in the day to discover the essential of the city of Antsirabe. Starting with the city center, the market of Asabotsy, the Hotel des Thermes, the lake Andraikiba and the lake of Tritriva at about ten kilometers from the city. Towards the end of the afternoon, you will return to Antsirabe where you will spend the night before the next stage of your tour.
Day 2 – Antsirabe – Ranomafana
For the second day of your Makay Massifs tour, you will reach Ranomafana located at 230 kilometers from Antsirabe. During a journey of about 2h30mn, you will cross a picturesque landscape characteristic of the southern part of the central highlands where colors and sceneries are at the rendezvous from those of the rice terraces, forests, hills marked by lavaka landscapes (red colored gullies of the earth cut on the hills and valleys of the Malagasy highlands). Before arriving at Ranomafana, you will contemplate the waterfalls of Manandona and Andriamamovoka.
Before arriving at Ranomafana, you will stop at Ambositra, the capital of wood carvings but also the door to the mountainous country of the Zafimaniry. The structure of the legendary village of the Zafimaniry people in Antoetra with houses built in wood without tenons testifies to the talent of the inhabitants in the mastery of wood architecture. These wooden buildings are listed as a UNESCO world cultural heritage site.
After the historic town of Ambositra, you continue south to Ranomafana, a thermal village near Fianarantsoa, known for its national park and its thermal pool. The park covers more than 40,000 hectares and is home to rare and endangered fauna and flora.
Day 3 – Ranomafana – Ambalavao
For this third day of your Makay Massifs tour, you will visit the National Park of Ranomafana. You will meet there numerous species of birds, butterflies, bats or lemurs… On the other hand, this vast area of humid forest is the home of rare floristic species like orchids and carnivorous plants. The name of the park “Ranomafana” is derived from the presence of the center and the thermal pool which means “hot water” with a water temperature of about 38 ° and a therapeutic property. Before joining Ambalavao the following day, you will spend the night in the thermal village of Ranomafana.
Visit of the Old City of Fianarantsoa
From your passage to Fianarantsoa (where we learn the good), the visit on foot of the old city is unavoidable to discover the nooks and crannies of this vestige of the 19th century.
Status of the Virgin
Built in 1960, this statue of the Virgin is considered sacred because it protects Christians from bad luck. Today, this square has become a place of pilgrimage for the Catholic faithful of the region.
Arriving in Ambalavao, you are in one of the wine-producing regions of Madagascar where some great wines of the Big Island are produced. You will have the opportunity to make a tour of the vineyards and taste the local wine.
Antemoro paper factory
During your stay in Ambalavao, you will have the opportunity to visit a workshop where Antemoro paper is made from the bark of Avoha wood. It is a decorative paper emblematic of the Malagasy craft industry in the world.
Day 4 – Ambalavao – Tsaranoro
Zebu market of Ambalavao
For this 4th stage of your tour Massifs of Makay, you will visit the big market of zebu of Ambalavao of Wednesdays and Thursdays morning. Covering an area of 2 Hectares, this place is a great crossroads of sale of zebus coming from the south of the island before shipping them to the capital and the other regions of Madagascar.
Before joining Tsaranoro, you pass by the ecotouristic site of Anja located at about ten kilometers from Ambalavao. This park is home to several hundred lemurs and other wild animals. Your guide will make you discover the caves which were used as shelter for the ancestors.
J5 – Parc Nationale d'Ankarana
During a hike of about 5 hours through a savannah landscape alternating between plateau and descent, all under a high thermal amplitude, your guide plans a few lunch stops before arriving in the Tsaranoro Valley in the late morning. The landscape is dominated by a granite mountain range more than 70 meters high. On the way to Ranohira, a few stops will be planned to contemplate the magic of the landscape.
Culminating at more than 1500 meters, the peak of Chameleon is an ideal place to better observe the beauty of the valley of Tsaranoro. Take advantage of this moment to immortalize in photos your passage in this place which resembles very much the emblematic reptile of the island, the chameleon.
Forest & Waterfall
A foray into the so-called sacred forest follows the climb to the Chameleon Peak. Before going to the village of Tsaranoro, your guide will lead you to a waterfall and a natural pool where you can relax.
Village of Tsaranoro
Located at more than 800 meters above sea level in the Tsaranoro valley, the village of Morarano represents the most characteristic features of the habitats of this region. The houses are built from raw earth and painted in red thanks to laterites. Dominated by the cliff, Tsaranoro forms a magnificent landscape very appreciated by the amateurs of climbing and paragliding. Your journey resumes then for Ranohira, which marks the beginning of the adventure in the National Park of Isalo.
Day 6 – Isalo National Park
Because the tour of the park requires more time, the visit should begin earlier in the morning. Your tour guide will accompany you throughout your visit, beginning with the park’s most popular sites:
The Canyon des Makis is one of the most popular sites for visitors to Isalo National Park. The lemurs are the stars. Many species are present in the gorges including the lemurs with big eyes. After the visit of the lemurs, the visitors can indulge in the natural swimming pools.
Canyon of Namaza
Being a short circuit and very frequented by visitors, the Canyon of Namaza offers the possibility to admire the beauty of the park, its rich biodiversity as well as its geological resources which will not fail to amaze you along your way. The park of Isalo is only accessible in presence of the guide.
Canyon des Rats
The Canyon des Rats is one of the inescapable points of the park of Isalo that your guide will make you visit. To have access to a magnificent view on the forests of palm tree, the cliffs and the old village, foresee 2 hours of walk on about fifteen kilometers of track. However, this is the easiest circuit in the park.
Always accompanied by your tour guide, you can also follow the ridge line of the eastern part of the massif to infiltrate the forest. The landscape of the cirque is characterized by a sandstone massif shaped by erosion to give a panorama of the Jurassic era marked by the succession of granite blocks, sandstone peaks, caves and canyons.
Natural swimming pool
The access to the park requires the presence of a guide who knows very well the Makay Massifs tour . Following the canyon stream, you will arrive in the natural swimming pool and will be able to enjoy the fresh water after a few hours of walking.
Located deep in the park, the blue pool is one of a series of natural pools of different colors in the park. What distinguishes the blue pool is its turquoise water, which is very popular with swimmers, especially after a long hike around the park. The park has a series of natural pools of different colors.
Located a few meters away from the blue pool, the black pool owes its name to the color of its particularly deep and cold water. The dark color comes from the fact that the place at the bottom of the canyon does not benefit from any sunlight.
Waterfall of the Nymphs
The Cascade des Nymphes owes its name to the fact that this place was once used as a shelter for this species of frog. Today, the site has become a favorite place for birds, butterflies and lizards. At the end of your visit, you can bathe in the particularly clear and warm water of the waterfall before returning to your hotel.
Day 7 to Day 12 – The Makay massifs
A little more north of Isalo, the visit of the Makay massifs reserves you so much surprise. It is a labyrinth of very deep canyons which shelters humid forests and endemic fauna species. Here are some places whose visit is inescapable for your passage in this place:
It is one of the lakes that crisscross the canyon and are surrounded by gallery forests in which live different species of fauna.
Nosilahy is particularly known for its canyon gorges from which crystal clear water gushes. The watercourse at the bottom of the canyon extends for a few hundred meters with a humid vegetation cover.
The Makay massif is made up of canyons shaped by nature over time. Its singular shape characterized by a ruiniform shape attracts the curiosity of visitors from all over the world. You will live a unique experience by going through the kilometers of natural labyrinth of the Makay massif.
Besides the lakes and canyons, discover the vestiges of the ancient era of the Makay caves. Among others, the first cave paintings of Madagascar. The massif also shelters a few hundred rock shelters dating from the 8th century as well as ancient sepulchres.
The Makay massif has small paths leading to a part of the ridge where you can have a panoramic view of the whole massif.
At the end of your hike on the 12th day of your Makay Massif tour, you will have the choice between a night in a hotel or a bivouac.
Day 13 – Ranohira – Ambositra
Arrived at the end of your Makay Massifs tour, you will return to Ranohira before joining Ambositra at 431 kilometers while passing by Ambalavao and Fianarantsoa. It is in the city of roses in Ambositra that you will spend the night before your departure for the capital in Antananarivo.
Day 14 – Ambositra – Antananarivo
For this last day of your Makay Massifs tour, you will join the capital where you will take the flight to your destination country. On your way back to Ivato International Airport, if you have more time before your take-off, your guide from Madagascar Tours Guide will drive you to the handicraft market on the side of the road so that you can buy some souvenir items that represent the most beautiful images and sensations during your stay in Madagascar.
Makay Massifs tour - Extension
Mangily - Ifaty
Visit of the Reniala Reserve
This visit will make you discover the Reniala Park (the mother forest), a protected area covered with thorny vegetation with unique species of the Malagasy bush.
It is a kind of turtle park extending over an area of 48 hectares located 30 kilometers northeast of Tulear. This site shelters baobabs, octopus trees, thorny vegetation, euphorbias as well as a reception center and clinic to ensure the survival of the turtle species.
The Saltworks of Ifaty
You will discover the place of production of salt in the salt pans of Ifaty. It is the Vezo, a tribe of fishermen from the southwest of Madagascar who harvest the salt flowers.
Boat trip in a dugout
This is a very popular activity for visitors in the southwestern region of Madagascar. It is a traditional pirogue ride with the Vezo fishermen.
The beach of Ifaty remains one of the most beautiful of the island. The sea water is azure blue, transparent and clean. It is the ideal place for underwater fishing, diving and snorkeling.
The Malagasy south is particularly a very animated city as well the day as the night, from where the term “Toliara tsy miroro” which means Toliara does not sleep. It is a very festive city where are present infrastructures of reception, bar, discotheque, night stroll…
Dunes of Andaboy
Arrived at Toliara, you will appreciate the splendid desert landscape of Andaboy where the dunes extend on an important surface before arriving at the beach.
Cave of Sarodrano
Located at about ten kilometers from Toliara, the sacred cave of Sarodrano is recognized thanks to its fresh water lagoons. Separated from the sea by rocks, the underground river is considered as a sacred place.
Passage on the status of the Tropic of Capricorn
You will visit a statue marking the passage of the Tropic of Capricorn a few kilometers from the city of Toliara. The visitors do not fail to immortalize in image their passage in this place.
Visit of the city
The visit of the city of Toliarawill make you discover the identity of the city of the sun, the contrast between tradition and modernity, the daily life of Tuléarois, the historical monuments of the city…
Arboretum of Antsokay
The Arboretum of Antsokay is a private initiative whose goal is to conserve the most threatened plant species of southern Madagascar through actions of seed multiplication, cuttings or transplantation. The site extends over about forty hectares and also shelters the limestones from where the name of Antsokay.
Village of St Augustin
Located 37 kilometers south of Toliara, the village of St Augustin is a former refuge of pirates in the 17th century. This Vezo fishermen’s village is distinguished by its quietness, its calm waters and its natural pool ideal for trekking and diving.
Pink Flamingo of Belalanda Lake
Characterized by its red sands and the presence of a colony of pink flamingo, this magnificent site of the lake Belalanda deserves a detour.
Part of the protected natural heritage, the Mangrove of Sarodrano is a picturesque place which shelters endemic birds as well as species of lemurs of which the Makis Carta.
The beach of Anakao is one of the most sumptuous and calmest of the Big Island with lagoons with turquoise and translucent waters. It offers an unforgettable relaxation to spend in small group after the hikes of several kilometers carried out in the Makay Massifs tour.
The lovers of diving will find their accounts in Anakao, the limpidity of the water favors the bathing for the discovery of the giant aquarium with invaluable treasures.
The visit of the fishermen’s village is a must for a stay in Toliara. It will allow you to know the daily life of the Vezo fishermen, their departure in the early morning for the fishing and their return from the fishing.
Excursion and ride in a Vezo canoe for a day
This sea trip on a traditional pirogue in the lagoon facilitates the discovery of the region and its culture while relaxing.
Excursion and ride in a Vezo canoe for a day
This excursion to Satrana Island takes you to a spectacularly beautiful, uninhabited and wild landscape. You will follow the coast through the lagoon.