The “Route Nationale 5a” is Madagascar’s most dangerous road and is driven by no travel agency worldwide – except us! The challenges you have to face on this 300 km route include very difficult off road terrain, very simple accomodations, blazing sun and torrential rain. Team work is an extremely important part of this travel, and you surely should be thirsty of adventure. This tour is not for people who love to do sightseeing by car and travel comfortably from one luxury hotel to another. But who dares to follow us will be rewarded with unforgettable experiences, far away locations and paradisaic islands of dreams. Are you ready for the real big adventure?
Our route starts at the capital Antananarivo and goes by bus to the rainforests of Andasibe. This is where you get a first impression of the central highlands’ rainforests and meet the largest lemur of the country, the Indri. There are lots of other animals to discover, too, and during your first – quite comfortable yet – hikes, you learn to know each other.
From Andasibe, we head on to the eastcoast. In the afternoon, we enter our boats and drive the amazing Canal des Pangalanes until we reach our lovely hotel. The low land rainforests at lake Ampitabe are home to many lemurs, which you can often experience at closest ranges. Here we relax some days before starting into our big adventure.
Toamasina – Mahavelona – Soanierana Ivongo
By boat, we drive back from Akanin’ny Nofy to the lake of kings, and head on to Toamasina (Tamatave). This ist the largest harbor city of the eastcoast, and the famous spice market offers many opportunities to get vanilla, pepper or sakai (a kind of Malagasy chili pepper). Afterwards, we go to Mahavelona, the city “where you are newborn”. In the next morning, we drive to the small harbor city Soanirana Ivongo, where we shop groceries and drinks for the next days.
Manompana – Antanambe
It’s gonna get wild! RN5a starts, or better: what is left from RN5a. You really cannot call it a street, not even a road. On the way, we have to cross several rivers on rickety wooden bridges and improvised ferries. For some of those “ferries”, we have to bring our own gasoline… Time and time again, we will have to push our cars manually out the mud together. Of cause you’re on the road with well equipped 4×4.
Antanambe – Nosy Atafana
After a night in another very simple accomidation in Antanambe, it’s time to enjoy nature. Today you visit Nosy Atafana, an island of dreams in the Indian Ocean. Relax, snorkel or watch animals, you will soon forget all the efforts that brought you here. The next day, we hike through almost unknown rainforests, and maybe luckily meet the black indri, the dark and rarely seen relative of Andasibe’s lemurs. .
Mananara – Maroantsetra
Time to drive RN5a again! After 30 km through mud and sand, we arrive in Mananara, Madagascar’s second largest biosphere reserve. Despite its prominence, it lacks touristic infrastructure. At sunset we cross over to the island of the Aye-Ayes, where we hope to experience these bizarre creatures of the night. The next morning leads you along the “Malagasy Riviera”. Then we’re in the coastal city Maroantsetra, in the bay of Antongil. Relax!
After a first night in your bungalow, we enter our comfortable motor boats to Nosy Mangabe. The island is part of Masoala national park and an untouched paradise. We will camp here for few days, the golden beach at our feet and the rainforest at the back. Back in Maroantsetra, it’s time to say goodbye to our team. Via domestic flight, you get back to Antananarivo.
Basic price per person in double rooms 2950,- €
Single-room supplement 400,- €
International and domestic flights are not included in travel price.
For this travel, you need a domestic flight from Maroantsetra to Antananarivo. We would be glad to help you booking this domestic flight.
We offer The hard way as a group travel on the following dates:
This tour is only available as group travel. We thus offer it implictily not as individual travel.