The Malagasy highlands

Explore Madagascar’s highlands with our haute terre tour, a spellbinding experience of culture, breathtaking panoramas and unique traditions.

The Grande-Île is not just sumptuous beaches and nature reserves rich in endemic flora and fauna… it’s also made up of the central highlands, with breathtaking landscapes, diverse cultures and customs to discover along the various tourist circuits we offer. Once you’ve landed in the capital, Antananarivo, or “The City of a Thousand Miles”, start exploring Madagascar’s central highlands from your hotel, visiting famous tourist sites and villages along the RN1, RN43 and RN7.

Itinerary: Antananarivo – Ampefy – Faratsiho – Betafo – Ambatonikolahy – Antsirabe – Ibity – Manandonandona – Ambositra – Antoetra – Faliarivo – Sakaivo – Fianarantsoa – Ambalavao – PN du Massif de l’Andringitra – Vallée du Tsaranoro – Ranohira – Isalo – Tuléar – Antananarivo.

Travel to Madagascar from 17 days à la carte, from May to December

Located just 25 km west of the capital, SECCOMAD Tour takes you to the private zoo Lemur’s Parc. You’ll have the opportunity to observe nine species of primates in the wild, as well as turtles and chameleons. Afterwards, explore the Imerintsiatosika poultry market and discover the artisans who work zebu horns into unique decorative objects. A day rich in discoveries awaits you.

Continuing westwards, your guide reveals the history of Antongona and the two rocks at 1406 and 1512 m altitude. Remains of fortifications testify to an ancient defense system on the village’s upper platform, built by King Ralambo in the 16th century, where the Rova (King’s Palace) is also located.

In the craft workshops that follow, your guide shows you the ingenious manufacture of miniature kapoaka cars, bicycles and motorcycles, made from recycled materials such as tin cans and condensed milk tins. This activity contributes to household income, reflecting Madagascar’s philosophy of reuse.

Continuing along the RN 1, your guide will show you how zebu carts are made, a popular means of transport in the rural communes of Madagascar’s highlands. From wheel design to intricate assembly, observe the work of talented blacksmiths, carpenters and joiners.

Later, your guide will take you to Ampasamanantongotra, north of Lake Ampefy, where you’ll explore a village renowned for its footed tomb. After this enriching day, your driver will take you back to your hotel.

The following day, Day 2 of this adventure to discover the Malagasy highlands, you’re back on the road with your guide, who will take you back to Ampefy.

Exploring the Andriambahoaka Afovoantany Lake and Rova

The following day, explore Lake Itasy with your guide by pirogue, on foot or by bike, and discover the magnificent Lily waterfall and the Rova Amboniazy of Andriambahoaka, king of Itasy in the days of the kingdom of Madagascar.

Excursion to Crater Lake Andranotoraha

As you explore around Lake Itasy and Lily Falls, take the opportunity to make a detour to the magnificent crater lake of Andranotoraha and admire its natural splendor.

Bike trip to Gasige Crater

Accompanied by your guide, discover the Gasige crater located 8 km along the Soavinandriana road, in the village of Ampary-Fihaonana, just 4 km after the turnoff to Amontana. For optimum exploration, we recommend a bike trip along the 15 km between the starting point and the crater, perched at an altitude of 1,671 m above sea level. The area is also ideal for a 20-minute paragliding flight, with a convenient landing. Your guide will be able to direct you to the best provider for this aerial adventure.

Explore the diversity of Ampefy and the surrounding area with your guide. Discover Îlot de la Vierge, Plage d’Ampefy, Chute de la Lily, Geyser d’Amparaky, and enjoy adventures in paragliding or horseback riding. Then explore the Faratsiho waterfalls and the picturesque village of Faratsiho, for a complete experience of the region.

Cheese factory

In addition to its culture and crafts, Faratsiho is renowned for its dairy cow breeders and artisanal cheese products. Accompanied by your SECCOMAD Tour driver-guide, explore local cheese-making workshops and sample these local delicacies during your visit to Faratsiho.

Sambaina village

Before reaching Antsirabe and Betafo, ask your driver-guide to make a brief stopover in Sambaina, a village located 48 km from Faratsiho along the RN7. Here you can explore the vast rice-growing plains of Ambohibary-Sambaina. Your guide will also prepare you for the next exciting stop on this tour: the Antalavena waterfall.

Antalavena waterfall

After Sambaina, hike to Antalavena to discover the landscapes of the Malagasy highlands and cool off in the waterfall. Overnight at the hotel before the fourth day of the tour to Betafo and Ambatonikolahy.

Tatamarina Waterfall & Lake

After visiting Betafo, known for its famous vegetables, your guide will take you to Antafofo Falls, a magnificent waterfall after a short walk. Nearby, discover Lake Tatamarina, where rainwater from the nearby mountains pours down. Enjoy a pirogue ride on the lake, then head for the market with your guide.

Explore Betafo’s bustling market with your guide and enjoy the colors and flavors of the local produce. Then discover the town by bike, visiting sites such as the tomb of Andrianonitomponintany and the Andranomafana thermal center. End the day exploring the village of Ambatonikolahy, an example of rural Malagasy life. The next day, continue your adventure to Ibity after visiting Antsirabe.

On arrival in Antsirabe, your SECCOMAD Tour driver-guide will lead you along the Avenue de la Gare, one of the city’s most emblematic streets. Antsirabe, Madagascar’s third-largest city, is nestled in the heart of the Malagasy highlands and is brimming with tourist treasures. You’ll discover historic sites such as the Avenue de l’Indépendance, the train station, the Hôtel des Thermes, the Stèle de Rossas, the Cathedral and the market. After this stroll, your guide will take you on an authentic rickshaw experience, a typical Antsirabe means of transport that supports local incomes.

A visit to the city’s prestigious Hôtel des Thermes is a must. Close to the train station and thermal springs, this historic hotel welcomed King Mohammed V in exile in the 50s, adding to its charm. Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to relax at the Centre Thermal d’Antsirabe, where you can enjoy a relaxing bath or a revitalizing spa treatment.

Your exploration will then take you to Lake Tritriva, an ancient volcano crater transformed into a sacred lake, steeped in local legends. You’ll continue on to Lake Andraikiba, ideal for a peaceful stroll along its shores. Next, an excursion to Mount Ibity, a majestic mountain of varied landscapes, offers a unique hiking experience. This adventure continues in Manandona, a charming rural commune where you’ll discover the daily life of the local population and visit silk spinning and weaving workshops.

Afterwards, a hike through the mid-mountain region will allow you to contemplate the picturesque panoramas of the highlands. You’ll pass through farming villages, rice paddies and vegetable fields, with the opportunity to cool off in a natural pool. A peaceful night in a hotel marks the end of a day rich in discovery.


After Manandona, your driver-guide will take you to Ambositra in the Amoron’i Mania region. Take part in the Savika ceremony, a traditional sport of mastering the unleashed zebu. Your guide will then take you to Antoetra.


40 km from Ambositra, your driver-guide takes you to Antoetra, capital of the Zafimaniry people. Explore the villages with their unique architecture and discover their remarkable handicrafts. Then head for the village of Ifasina for the night.

Ifasina village

Just 4 km from Antoetra lies Ifasina, a Zafimaniry village. Join it on a guided trail that offers exceptional views of the surrounding mountains. Enjoy a peaceful night in this village before the next stage.

Zafimaniry country

On the eighth day of this tour, accompanied by your guide, immerse yourself in the cultural richness of Zafimaniry country, renowned for its woodworking expertise. Explore the villages of Faliarivo and Sakaivo, discover their unique wood and bamboo architecture, and learn more about their heritage, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

Faliarivo village

During this period, your guide will lead you through the villages of Faliarivo and Sakaivo, immersed in the heart of Zafimaniry territory. Nestled north of Antetezandroto and northeast of Sakaivo, Faliarivo stands at an altitude of 1,499m. You’ll explore landscapes marked by rice terraces, a demonstration of this community’s remarkable expertise in water management.

Village of Sakaivo

Nestled at an altitude of around 1,350 meters, the remote village of Sakaivo in Madagascar’s highlands offers misty, forested landscapes. Perfect for hiking enthusiasts, a guided tour of Sakaivo reveals an immersive experience, with a 4-hour walk to reach the neighboring village. After these two days of adventure, head for Fianarantsoa and Ambalavao.


After Sakaivo, head for Fianarantsoa, a culturally rich town with a long history of Christian influence. Explore its historic buildings, wine estates and tea plantations. Don’t miss Anatirova and the Rova Betsileo for panoramic views. Your local guide will accompany you for an enriching experience.

Old town

Your guide will take you to discover the Old Town, also known as “Antanàna ambony” or the “high village”. This area, now known as Old Fianar, is home to the largest number of religious buildings in Madagascar. It was here that Queen Ranavalona Ière chose to establish a relay town between Antananarivo and the Grand-Sud.

With around 500 roofs, Antanàna ambony boasts a remarkable structure that reflects the social status of its inhabitants. After exploring the Old Town, your guide will take you to another historic site: the Statue of the Virgin.

Statue of the Virgin

The Marian Statue, erected in 1960 in memory of Msg Xavier Troyet, is a sacred site for the people of Fianarantsoa, and has become a Catholic pilgrimage site. After exploring the town, relax in a hotel before heading off to the Andringitra massif.

Andringitra National Park

Andringitra National Park is an adventure-lover’s paradise, home to Pic Boby, Madagascar’s second-highest peak. With mountain hikes and breathtaking panoramic views at an altitude of 2658 meters, your guide will lead you through this experience.

Pic Boby ascent (Imarivolanitra)

Pic Boby, despite its rainforest setting, is accessible with a varied landscape, from meadows to forests, with the help of your guide. After a climb, cool off in the Riambavy & Riandahy waterfalls.

Riambavy & Riandahy Waterfalls

The twin waterfalls of Riambavy & Riandahy add a touch of paradise to the park. Legend has it that their waters have magical powers. After a refreshing break, your guide takes you on a loop to Morarano.

Loop to Morarano

With the assistance of a SECCOMAD Tour driver-guide, there are many tour options in Andringitra National Park. Depart from the Namoly entrance to the Morarano valley, following the Tsaranoro trail. Descend from Andringitra along a panoramic trail to the bottom of the Morarano valley, then climb the Langela slopes. In the evening, relax in a nearby hotel.

The Tsaranoro valley boasts remarkable mountain scenery, including an 800-metre-high cliff. With your guide, explore the picturesque villages of the surrounding area before climbing the Pic Caméléon.

Pic Caméléon

Rising to an altitude of 1,540 meters with a vertical drop of 600 meters, Pic Caméléon or Langela takes its name from its distinctive shape, strongly reminiscent of a chameleon. The area is home to a variety of lemur species, amid lush vegetation. A guided tour offers you the opportunity to explore points of interest such as the forest and a natural swimming pool.

Forest & Natural pool

After climbing Pic Caméléon and trekking through the forest with your SECCOMAD Tour driver-guide, relax in the natural pools of Vatomay before reaching the village of Tsaranoro.

Tsaranoro village

Morarano, 850 m above sea level in the Tsaranoro valley, is a charming village that you’ll explore with your guide. The earth-red adobe houses create an authentic and original setting. Tsaranoro, enveloped by majestic panoramas, including an imposing 800-metre cliff, offers ideal terrain for sport climbing and paragliding.

Overnight in tents

For a unique experience, you’ll have the opportunity to spend the night in a tent in the village of Tsaranoro before heading to Ranohira the following day.

Village of Vohitsaoka

On day 15 of this exploration of the Malagasy highlands, your guide will accompany you to the charming village of Vohitsaoka, located in the southern highlands of the Haute-Matsiatra region. You’ll be captivated by the ancient balconies that adorn the landscape and make this picturesque village famous.


Continuing south, you’ll make a stop at Ankaramena, a rural commune at 905 m altitude in the Haute-Matsiatra region, renowned for its zebu market, supplying various large towns.


After Ankaramena, the SECCOMAD Tour driver guides you to the town of Ihosy, located along the river of the same name. This capital of the Bara tribe is renowned for its tourist sites, including the Andranomilitsy cave and Isalo National Park.

The Ihorombe plateau offers an expanse of moon-like scenery.

With your guide, climb to the Andriampotsy plateau at over 2000 m altitude to contemplate a lunar landscape. Admire the Tsaranoro Wall on the western horizon. The following day, explore the fascinating sites of Isalo Park with your guide.

Namaza Canyon

Namaza is an unmissable Isalo itinerary, requiring the accompaniment of an experienced local guide. Located 690 km south of Madagascar, Isalo Park is one of the Grande-Île’s natural gems, attracting visitors from all over the world.

Natural pool

For a safe exploration of the canyons, a guide will accompany you. Follow the stream to the natural pool and relax with your guide in the cool waters after your gorge adventure.

Blue pool

Guided by your guide, reach the crystal-clear waters of the Blue Pool, perfect for a refreshing dip after a sunny hike. This oasis nestles in the heart of Isalo Park, among a collection of natural pools of varying hues.

Black Pool

From here, your guide takes you to the black pool, just a few steps from the blue pool. This deep, cool expanse of water offers a unique ambience as light struggles to penetrate to the canyon floor.

Namaza Circus

Led by your guide, you then head towards the forest and the Namaza cirque, following the massif’s eastern ridge. This vast area of eroded sandstone dating from the Jurassic era offers a striking landscape of canyons, sandstone peaks, caves and granite formations sculpted by erosion.

Waterfall of the Nymphs

Your guide will take you to the Cascade des Nymphes, where you can bathe in its clear, warm waters, making this one of Isalo’s must-see spots.

Rats Canyon

Your guide will lead you to the Canyon des Rats, a 2-hour, 17 km hike offering panoramic views of the ancient village, palm forests and cliffs. Then explore the Canyon des Makis for another captivating experience.

Makis Canyon

Guided by your enthusiastic guide, explore the popular itineraries of Isalo National Park, renowned for its lemurs, especially the big-eyed lemurs, and its natural pools. After this adventure, your driver-guide takes you to Ranohira and Tuléar to round off your tour of southern Madagascar. On day 17, in the company of your guide, you reach Tuléar, the “city of the sun”, marking the end of your exploration of the Malagasy highlands.

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