A loop to visit all of southern Madagascar

Allée des baobabs, Madagascar

A perfect two-week loop to discover the West and visit Madagascar’s deep South!

The South of Madagascar is a thousand-faceted destination that’s a must for travelers passing through the red island. Unique tourist sites and breathtaking landscapes are sure to fill you with wonder in this vast region of Madagascar. To guide you, here’s an idea for a perfect loop through the west, south-west and far south of the island in 15 days.

When we talk about the south of Madagascar, we’re talking about the Isalo massif and then Toliary, which boasts one of the world’s longest coral reefs. This town in southern Madagascar is home to Ifaty, one of the island’s most beautiful seaside resorts.

To make the perfect loop in the South without returning via the roads you’ve already taken, the first stop is Antsirabe. Take advantage of your stay in the water city to recharge your batteries. The road ahead is likely to be long and tiring. After a spa treatment, head west.

Pousse-pousse Antsirabe

Antsirabe – Photo credit: Wikimedia – Bernard Gagnon

Along the way, don’t miss the chance to take photos of Betafo’s vast rice fields. Then head for Miandrivazo to board the barge that will take you along the Tsiribihina River to Belo sur Tsiribihina. From here, the unusual landscapes of western Madagascar begin. Wide sandbanks line the banks of the river. Herons, teal and humpback ducks make their homes here. In the savannahs, the first baobabs and maki playgrounds gradually appear.

From Morondava, a poorly maintained road leads to Bekopaka. Take a detour here to discover the small Tsingy and the large Tsingy de Bemaraha, the diaclase massifs with their breathtaking panoramas for which Madagascar is famous. Hiking trails of varying levels take you through vast savannahs, mysterious caves and secondary forests decorated with beautiful orchids. You’ll also have the chance to see sifaka (lemur catta) and fosa (fox) in the wild. On the way back, take souvenir photos of the famous Baobab Alley.

Allée des baobabs, Madagascar

Photo credit: Wikimedia – Heinonlein

Then head south along the original route to Toliara. Along the way, you’ll pass through Belo-sur-Mer, a small village that is home to the largest dhow-building yard on the Grande-Ile. From Andavadoaka, a beautiful track leads along the magnificent beaches of the Mozambique Channel. Some of these beaches have never been touched by man. Admirable coves, centuries-old baobabs and filao forests line the roadside. They cheerfully decorate the landscape and seem to greet visitors.

A variety of land and water-based activities await you in Salary. Portuguese and English shipwrecks await your visit on the seabed. En route, visit the Mikeas forest, a tribe living in complete isolation, with no contact with modern civilization. A hundred kilometers from this village, the beautiful beaches of Ifaty indicate that the town of Toliara and the asphalt road are just around the corner.

To complete the loop, take the RN7 and cross the Isalo massif, with its Western-style landscapes, atypical tombs and unmissable national park. This is the main attraction for travelers passing through Madagascar. During your stopovers in Fianarantsoa, Antoetra, Ambositra and Antsirabe, don’t forget to buy some of the atypical handicrafts made by the local population. Enjoy your trip!

Main photo credit: Wikimedia – Heinonlein