Explore western Madagascar - 7 day roadtrip

In western Madagascar, you'll find the country's most striking landscape - the Tsingy limestone pinnacles. During this 1-week roadtrip you'll get to:

  • Clamber the well-constructed steps, ladders, cables and bridges in the UNESCO-protected Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
  • Marvel at giant baobab trees at Avenue de Baobabs
  • Finish off with some beach days along the beautiful west coast.

Recommended as a one-way car rental trip and accessible from May until mid-November.

Scroll down below to see the day-to-day itinerary with realistic driving times, route directions, and travel tips for Madagascar. Need advice on accommodation? Then check out our Madagascar Hotel Guide, which includes our favourite lodges and hotels in Madagascar from budget to luxury. 

Day-to-day itinerary | The Western Route

Day 1

Day 1 of 7

Start: Ivato
Destination:
Antsirabe
Drive: 190 km | 5 hours

On the road to Antsirabe, a nice colonial town. Expect windy roads passing rice paddies and small, highland villages. You can have a terrific lunch stop at Coin de Foie Grass in Behenjy, or try a  good paella (we're not kidding), at El Torro in Ambatolampy.

In Antsirabe, take a pousse pousse (the Malagasy version of the Asian rickshaw) tour to the craft workshops which are otherwise hard to find on your own. 

Restaurant tips: Chez Jenny (pizza, lively), Trianon (classic French), Vatolahy (classic French) 

Day 2

Day 2 of 7

Start: Antsirabe
Destination:
Miandrivazo
Drive: 220 km | 4 hours 

The only road to take to Morondava is to branch off the RN7 at Antsirabe and continue on the RN34 and RN35, via Miandrivazo and Malambandy. Google Maps will suggest following the RN35 up to Malambandy. However, the RN35 takes much longer, and at the time of writing (January 2024), the bridge on the RN35 is broken, making the road inaccessible. There are no plans to repair the bridge anytime soon. Don’t follow Google Maps

Miandrivazo is a small, sleepy inland town where it can get very hot.

Day 3

Day 3 of 7

Start: Miandrivazo
Destination:
Kirindy Reserve
Drive: 6 hours 

The RN34/RN35 is an asphalt road and in a reasonable state. En route, you will pass the Avenue de Baobabs and the Baobabs Amoureux.

Kirindy Reserve is a nice stopover before heading to the Tsingy. The sky fossa can be spotted and you'll be surrounded by many, many baobabs. 

Day 4

Day 4 of 7

Start: Kirindy Reserve
Destination:
 Tsingy de Bemaraha
Drive: 6-8 hours 

It's a full day travel on a dirt road from Kirindy to the Tsingy de Bemaraha. 

Make sure to have lunch at Mad Zebu. The Malagasy chef used to work at a 3-star Michelin restaurant in France and now runs a restaurant in the middle of nowhere - pretty surreal!

Day 5

Day 5 of 7

Enjoy: Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

There is nothing else on earth like the limestone pinnacles of the Tsingy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Given the time and effort needed to get to Bemaraha, we recommend that you spend at least two full days in the Tsingy to enjoy the various circuits that have been put in place with phenomenal expertise, consisting of Via Ferratas (fixed cable routes), rope bridges and ladders.  

Day 6

Day 6 of 7

Enjoy: Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

There are over a dozen circuits, ranging from an hour to a full day hike. For the most dramatic views, you need to do the difficult Ankeligoa circuit in the Petit Tsingy and the Andamozavaky in the Grand Tsingy. For both, you need to be fairly fit and not fear heights. A pirogue trip up the Manambolo River provides a nice relief from the heat in the Tsingy. 

Day 7

Day 7 of 7

Start: Tsingy de Bemaraha
Destination:
Morondava
Drive: 8-10 hours 

Return to Morondava. You can hand over your car in the evening. Before you fly back to Antananarivo, you can enjoy a few resting days by the sea at Morondava, visit Kirindy Reserve, or visit Belo sur Mer by boat from Morondava. It’s a short boat ride, which can be arranged from the hotel you are staying at or through Entremer, the best place to stay in Belo sur Mer. 

Visiting Belo sur Mer by car is only allowed when travelling with our driver-guide or pisteur. To reach Below sur Mer you have to cross a salt plain. The surface is dried out, but beneath it's like quicksand, so you quickly get stuck if you don't know which track to follow. 

Western Madagascar in 1 week | This is what you need to know

Follow our Western Madagascar itinerary and get to see the Avenue de Baobabs and the Tsingy de Bemahara

Travel time and road conditions

We recommend a minimum of 7 car rental days for this Madagascar itinerary.

Be aware that this one-way route involves lots of driving hours a day. Although the road from Antananarivo to Miandrivazo is asphalted and in reasonable condition, the route from Morondava to Bekopaka is a dirt track. Therefore, renting our Nissan Navara is required.

Don't feel comfortable driving western Madagascar yourself? Then consider renting a local driver-guide to do the driving for you.

When renting a car via Roadtrip Africa, you can return your vehicle at the endpoint in Morondava or Belo sur Mer, before catching a flight back to your starting point. This option can be selected in the booking form. The extra costs for collecting and returning the car to Ivato will be charged to the main driver. 

Are you interested in driving the Western Route as a circuit? Please note that no alternative routes or shortcuts are available when driving back. You must follow the same road back and stay via Miandrivazo and Antsirabe. More information on driving in Madagascar can be found in our Practical Info Guide.

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The best time to visit western Madagascar

The West Coast of Madagascar and the Tsingy de Bemaraha are usually accessible from May up to mid-November, depending on the start/end of the rainy season. When visiting Madagascar in May or November, there is no guarantee that the area is accessible. When collecting your car, we therefore advise you to ask our team at Road Trip Madagascar about the road conditions and accessibility.

Need help with timing your visit to Madagascar? Check our blog on weather conditions, accessibility, and tourist seasons, here. 

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Create & book your self-drive adventure in western Madagascar

Explore the best of the west in a 4x4 and drive your own adventure.

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