Southern route on the National Road 7

Helinirina Raharomanana – Madagascar Tours Guide

Southern route on the National Road 7


Southern route on the National Road 7: Antananarivo – Ambalavao – Ifaty – Tsaranoro valley…

Details of the itinerary

If you know Madagascar Tours Guide through its many discovery and adventure tours throughout Madagascar, this time you are invited to try the Madagascar tour accompanied by a small group on the Southern route on the National Road 7. All formulas are good to better know the Big Island: Madagascar tour in one week, Madagascar travel tour or through a car rental in Madagascar… Of course, the landscape, the culture, the picturesque sites, the beautiful beaches… will be there during one week of adventure in the dream island. The Southern route on the National Road 7 includes a passage in the following tourist axes:


  • Day 1 – Antananarivo – Ambalavao
  • Day 2 – Ambalavao – Ifaty
  • Day 3 to Day 4 – Ifaty
  • Day 5 – Ifaty – Ambalavao
  • Day 6 – Tsaranoro Valley
  • Day 7 – Ambalavao – Antananarivo

Day 1 – Antananarivo – Ambalavao

After visiting the historical places of the capital on the day of your arrival in Madagascar such as the Queen’s Palace in the highlands, the famous Analakely district, the Anosy lake and the surrounding areas, you will spend the night in your hotel and get ready for a long journey to Ambalavao in the south of the island.


Early in the morning, you will already be on the National road 7, criss-crossing the typical landscape of the central highlands. On both sides of the national road, the succession of valleys, rice plains as well as granite mountains dominate the whole landscape. Discover the architecture of most of the villages of the Malagasy countryside with mud walls, painted with laterite and whose roofs are made of thatch. In a general way, the southern route on National Road 7 retraces the route taken by travelers during the southern circuit of Madagascar. It is one of the preferred axes of those who like the unusual adventure in the south and who are besides faithful customers to our offer of car rental in Madagascar.


After about 3 hours of driving, you will arrive in Antsirabe, the capital of the Vakinankaratra region, the city of water or also the city of rickshaws, a traditional means of hand-pulled transportation. Antsirabe is the unavoidable crossroads for many circuits like the south-east circuit of Madagascar or the discovery of the Malagasy highlands tour.


After a short stop in this city, the journey resumes towards Fianarantsoa, the capital of the Betsileo ethnic group 242 km southern on the National Road 7. The similarity with the landscape of the highlands becomes apparent after a few kilometers from Antsirabe to Ambositra. Green rice fields, hills, rivers, and shrubbery make up most of the landscape along National Road 7. The number of carts pulled by oxen multiplies as you approach Fianarantsoa. This chief town of the Haute-Matsiatra region is known for its fidelity to its cultures and their mode of dress. It is also a stage city for the the wonders of the Big Island tour.


When you arrive in Fianarantsoa, your guide will make you visit the old city and some places not to be missed like the cathedral of Ambozontany. You will have lunch in one of the hotels of the city before continuing towards Ambalavao at 56 km from Fianarantsoa. After about 1 hour drive, you will arrive in the charming town of Ambalavao and its beautiful varangue houses in the middle of the afternoon. Don’t miss the visit of the Antemoro paper and wild silk workshops as well as the Anja reserve with its catta lemurs, an endemic fauna of Madagascar. In the evening, you will be installed in your hotel to rest before the next stage of your trip.

rice-growing plains on National Road 7
City of Fianarantsoa during the trip South Nationale Road 7

Day 2 – Ambalavao – Ifaty

After Ambalavao, heading to Ifaty passing by Ihosy, Ranohira, Ilakaka, Sakaraha and Toliara. You take again the southern route on the National Road 7 through a different landscape from that of the highlands. After approximately 2 hours of roads, you will arrive in the city of Ihosy in the region of Ihorombe, the capital of the Bara ethnic group. Ihosy is the crossroads between the National Road 7 to Toliara, the National Road 13 to Fort-Dauphin and the National Road 25 to Farafangana.


From Ihosy, two tourist sites deserve a detour: the cave of Andranomilitsy and the National Park of Isalo. Your journey continues towards Ranohira and Ilakaka, the sapphire village. Your journey continues then towards Sakaraha at approximately 1 hour of road since Ilakaka after having crossed the plain of the baobabs halfway between Isalo and Toliara. After a short stop in Sakaraha, you will reach the town of Toliara where you will have lunch in the early afternoon.


After lunch in Toliara, you will arrive in Ifaty by mid-afternoon, time to enjoy the lagoon and rest in this idyllic place before reaching the hotel in the evening. This axis is also in the list of the usual itineraries of the Baobab Coast tour.

Magnificent landscape during the South route on the National Road 7

Day 3 to Day 4 – Ifaty

Being one of the most beautiful destinations on the southern route on the National Road 7, it will take at least two days to appreciate the beauty of Ifaty. Its lagoon protected by a hundred kilometers of coral reef from Morombe to Itampolo, its turquoise waters and its particularly rich sea bed make Ifaty an irresistible site of the Malagasy south. Besides the beaches, Ifaty will not fail to amaze you with many activities such as whale watching, the visit of the natural reserve of Reniala or the cruise in a Vezo canoe


Just like in other places, Ifaty reserves you a great spectacle of whales during their passages near the coast between June and September. You will need at least 3 hours for this type of activity which generally starts at 8 am.


In the afternoon, after lunch, your guide will take you to visit the Domergue Reserve or Reniala Park which covers about 60 hectares. This protected ecosystem is covered with baobab trees and thorny shrubs characteristic of arid zones. Live the unique experience of the tourist circuit of Madagascar by observing the flora of the reserve by zebu cart as well as endemic fauna like the Capuchin (the smallest bird) which appears only in the morning.


If you like to go to sea, your guide will take you for a ride in a traditional Vezo outrigger canoe. Admire the exceptional beauty of the lagoon and the multicolored corals which constitute at the same time a safety barrier against the waves and a breathtaking scenery. You will love the discovery of a translucent seabed favorable to scuba diving. In short, Ifaty is unavoidable for the discovery of wonders at the end of the southern route on the National Road 7. Towards the end of the afternoon, your guide will install you in your hotel in Ifaty before taking the way back to Ambalavao.

the beauty of Ifaty Toliara
turquoise waters and particularly rich sea bed of Ifaty

Day 5 – Ifaty – Ambalavao

On the 5th day of your southern route on the National Road 7, you will take the same road to reach Ambalavao again. The 490 km journey will take about 8 hours and will cross again the city of Toliara, Sakaraha, Ilakaka, Ranohira. The lunch will be planned in Ranohira before the visit in the national park of Isalo, a site full of contrast thanks to the presence of the desert landscape next to the green canyon and the luxuriant vegetations. Lovers of swimming will find their accounts with the presence of natural pools inside the park. Despite the appearance, the national park of Isalo is home to an exceptional fauna such as Makis (lemurs emblematic of the island), chameleons … Your visit will follow on the famous sites of the park as the canyon of makis, the window of Isalo, the queen of Isalo …

After a few hours of journey within the Isalo, heading to Ambalavao to 224 km on the RN 7. The journey will last about 4 hours to arrive at Ambalavao in the evening. After this long journey, you will be installed in a hotel in Ambalavao while waiting for the next stage of your journey south RN 7.

a site full of contrast thanks to the presence of the desert landscape
The gateway to southern Madagascar

Day 6 – Tsaranoro Valley

Back to Ambalavao, apart from the visit of the city, one of the unavoidable activities is the discovery of the valley of Tsaranoro. This name comes from the name of the two daughters of the king, Tsara and Noro, murdered during the wars against the Betsileo kingdom led by the troops of Ranavalona Ist, queen of Madagascar. If you like extreme sports, the gigantic cliff of Tsaranoro reserves you an opportunity to climb it, to climb it or to practice paragliding. From the top of the cliff, admire the breathtaking panoramic view of the forest landscape surrounding the site. A visit to the “Chameleon Peak” is part of the day’s program. Its name is derived from the shape of the top of the rock which closely resembles the silhouette of the reptile. It will take at least 4 hours to complete the visit of the whole site which will end with a swim in a natural pool of the site.


To finish the visit of the valley of Tsaranoro, you will be taken to make a whole of the plain in bottom of the cliff by crossing the sacred forest which shelters lemurs catta, shrubs, bushes…


In the afternoon, after lunch, you will go to the national park of Andringitra, classified world heritage of UNESCO. At an altitude of up to 2658 m, Andringitra is the second highest peak of the Big Island. The reserve of Andringitra shelters an exceptional biodiversity surrounded by beautiful landscapes and magnificent traditional villages.


In the evening, back in Ambalavao, you will spend the night in a hotel while waiting for your return to the capital early the next day.

Apart from the existing tours, you should know that it is possible to organize a customized tour in Madagascar according to the traveler’s wish. The latter only has to choose the axis in which he wants to realize his adventure.

Mount Chameleon in Tsaranoro

Day 7 – Ambalavao – Antananarivo

At the end of the journey on Nationale Road 7, you will leave Ambalavao to reach the capital at 381 km. The journey will take about 8h30 through the typical landscape of the central highlands. Along the National Road 7, you will cross valleys, mountains, rice plains and red earth villages characteristic of the Malagasy countryside. You will again pass through the major towns of National Road 7 such as Ambositra and Antsirabe before arriving in Antananarivo by mid afternoon. Your guide will install you in your hotel where you will rest and spend the night before your departure the next day to your country of origin.


Your transfer to the airport will be taken care of by your tour guide. On the way to the airport, you can visit the nearby craft market to buy some souvenir items from your long drive on National Road 7.

Antsirabe one of the major cities on the National Road 7

Southern route on the National Road 7 - Map

Southern route on the National Road 7 - Videos