All you need to know about the Andringitra National Park in Madagascar!

In this blog, I will tell you everything about the Andringitra Mountains that lie in the Tsaranoro Reserve. What kind of hikes you can do here, where to sleep and how to get here. I also give some brief information on how to actually visit the Andringitra National Park in Madagascar.

Many people who talk about the Andringitra National Park actually mean the Andringitra Mountains in the Tsaranoro Reserve, a region just outside the Andringitra National Park. And this is nót the same as the National Park! Andringitra Mountains - Tsaranoro Valley

Confusion: are we in the Andringitra National Park or not?

We had already heard from a number of people that the Andringitra National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Madagascar. Due to the altitude and the many mountains here, the park looks like the Swiss Alps. And so we decide, after our visit to Isalo National park, to continue our road trip to this park.

About four hours later, we arrive at the guide office where the guides explain which hikes we could do here. We are confused since this doesn’t seem to be the entrance to the Andringitra National Park.

Where is the official park office where we have to pay an entrance fee and why is there no sign saying we are about to enter the National Park? When we meet a few other backpackers, they tell us they were also confused on the first day, but that we are NOT in the Andringitra National Park!Andringitra Mountains - Tsaranoro Valley

Wondering if a trip through Madagascar is expensive? Read more in our Madagascar budget blog!

Andringitra Mountains in the Tsaranoro Reserve

It turns out: the region that almost everyone calls the Andringitra National Park is just outside the National Park. In reality, we are here in the Tsaranoro Reserve, in a valley called the Tsaranoro Valley where part of the beautiful Andringitra Mountains lies.

From here you cán get to the entrance of the Andringitra National Park, but most people stay in this reserve because you can do just as nice hikes here, without having to pay the park entrance fee.

Well, this is rather confusing: we are not in the Andringitra National Park, but we are surrounded by the Andringitra Mountains and everyone calls this the Andringitra National Park. So, if you see the Andringitra Mountains somewhere, chances are big that it’s actually the Tsaranoro Reserve and not the Andringitra National Park. See our self-made map below for more clarity!

Map of the Andringitra National Park and Tsaranoro Reserve in Madagascar!Andringitra Mountains Map

We end up having three wonderful days in the Tsaranoro Valley.   To prevent confusion in the future, we tell you everything about the hikes you can do in the Andringirtra Mountains in the Tsaranoro Reserve in this blog.

We will also tell you where to sleep and how to reach the Tsaranoro Reserve. At the bottom of this article, you will find more information about Andringitra National Park and the most important hike here: the multiple- day hike to Pic Boby.

Activities in the Andringitra Mountains

The Tsaranoro Valley is surrounded by a huge mountain chain, the Andringitra Mountains. This area is known for the beautiful and challenging hikes.

There are many hiking tracks and trails you can do in this part of Madagascar. We do both the Grand Tour and the Chameleon hikes, both are more than worth it!

Please note: you only pay 10,000 AR per person here to the VOI (Association of Villagers). Furthermore, you do not have to pay an entrance fee to visit the Tsaranoro Reserve.Andringitra Mountains - Tsaranoro Valley

Hiking the famous Grand Tour | 7-8 hours

Level: Very difficult (steep parts where you climb up and down with the help of ropes). With bad weather it’s too dangeroust to hike this track! Price: 100,000 AR per group (max 4 people per group).

I usually underestimate myself and a hike is often much easier than I previously thought. Well, that’s absolutely not the case with the Grand Tour!

The first 2.5 hours we climb up via a steep path. I am out of breath most of the time. Once upstairs I think I covered the hardest part, oh boy I was wrong! After about an hour walking on relatively flat terrain, we arrive at a steep rock surface again.

The guide told us that we have to walk a little bit with a rope. However, what he did not say was that this is a steep part of the mountain is almost a hundred meters long. With shaking knees I am up a little later, having to do my utmost not to cry from the tension and fear. We climb a lot further and have our lunch break at the top. What a view!

Andringitra Mountains - Tsaranoro Valley

Eight hours of hiking

The next rock we have to climb arises after another five minutes of hiking: again 50 meters up with ropes. Once at the top, I see the path that leads down: it runs over the steep, pointed mountain ridge!

I break out in a sweat and this time I can’t control my tears. Our guide sees this and holds the next 500 steep meters my hand and helps me decending with the rope. Even Ries finds this a scary part, especially with strong wind in our back. After this adrenaline shot, it is another one and a half hour climb down.

Eight hours after we have started, we are down again. I am dirty, tired and still a little shaky. Now, a month later, I can put this hike in perspective, it was a beautiful but tough hiking track. If you don’t have climbing experience or don’t like heights, this is not a trail for you. However, are you looking for a physical challenge or if you like adventure, then this hike is definitely worth it!

Free travel guide to Avenue des Baobabs: the scenic trees of Madagascar!

Andringitra Mountains - Tsaranoro Valley

Hiking the Chameleon track | 4-5 hours

Level: Medium
Price: 70,000 AR per group (max 4 people per group)

This hike is a lot easier than the Grand tour. Standing at the foot of the mountain, you already see the 1540 meter high summit, which, as the name suggests, resembles a chameleon. It seems quite high, but because you rise very gradually, it is not too bad in reality.

Starting with a small and relaxed hike through the sacred forest. Afterwards, you gradually ascent.   In total, you rise 600 meters, until you are on the “tail” of the chameleon. From here you have a magnificant view over the valley. The way down is relatively easy and goes through small villages. This hiking track took us 4 hours. Andringitra Mountains - Tsaranoro Valley

Sacred forest and the village hike | 3-4 hours

Level: easy
Price: 50,000
This relaxed walk runs through the sacred forest, where you pass the natural swimming pool and various tombs with bones. Then you walk past several small villages. You pass the school and the small hospital.

Along the way, your guide tells about village life and the various fady (cultural taboos) that people believe in. This hike is easy and perfect for families with childeren.Andringitra Mountains - Tsaranoro Valley

Paragliding and mountain climbing
Besides hiking, you can also go paragliding and climbing the steep rock walls in the Tsararnoro Reserve. For more information, contact Camp Catta.

Another cool destination in Madagascar is the beautiful island of Nosy Be. Read here everything you need to know about Nosy Be and what you can do there!

Hotels in the Tsaranoro Reserve!

There are three different accommodations and hotels in the Tsaranoro Reserve, these are all located around the village of Andonaka.

Camp Catta €€

Andringitra Mountains - Tsaranoro Valley

In this campsite you can camp with your own tent, rent a pre-set tent or stay in a simple or more luxurious cottage. There is a natural swimming pool and restaurant. No WiFi! Prices from 50,000AR per night (luxury tent) or 8,000AR with your own tent. Great for backpackers, families and couples.

Book now!

Tsara Camp€€

tsara camp

This hotel/camp is within close proximity of Camp Catta. There are a total of 15 large tents that are surrounded by high Andringitra mountains. The surroundings here are beautiful. Price from €40 per night (2 people).

Book now!

Tsarasoa Lodge €

Tsarasoa Lodge

This lodge is fairly new and is set in a beautiful setting. You can camp here with your own tent, rent a tent or stay in a bungalow. Prices from 20,000 AR with your own tent and 40,000 AR for a simple pre-set tent (2 persons).

Book now!

Read about all the hotels in Madagascar we can recommend!

Where do you eat in the Tsaranoro Reserve?

Food is a bit of a challenge. You can eat at Camp Catta. A three-course dinner costs 45,000 AR or €10.90. Even if it is not clearly indicated, you can also order the courses separately. For this price, you expect to get delicious food in Madagascar but we found it quite disappointing.

We have therefore tried most evenings to gather our lunches and dinners together in the local cafe/shop in Andonaka opposite the guides’ office. They sell sardines here, sometimes a baguette and canned vegetables. A lot cheaper and even tastier than eating at Camp Catta.

They also sell Misou here, a local dish that looks like fried rice. At Tsara Camp you can only eat if you are also staying here.

Tip: do you stay for several days in the vicinity of the Andrangitra National Park / Tsaranoro Reserve? Then bring your own food.Andringitra Mountains - Tsaranoro Valley

How do you get to the Tsaranoro Reserve?

From Isalo to the Tsaranoro Reserve

From Isalo you drive in three hours by car via the RN7 to the village of Antanambao.

In the village of Antanambao, you see on the right-hand side a small fork from the road with a sign next to it that points to the Andringitra National Park. You take this exit, after which you arrive in less than an hour in the tiny village of Andonaka. Right at the start of the village, you will find the office of the guides and the accommodations.

Note: when you drive from the RN7 to Tsaranoro Reserve, you will pass a “toll” point twice. The first point is a tree trunk over the road, just before you reach a dam. People here ask for 10,000 AR, but the official price is only 2,000 AR per car, so indicate that you know that 10,000 AR is too much. Then, when you drive into the village, they ask for another toll, this time 10,000 Ar per person for the VOI (Association of Villagers).

From Ambalavao / Fianarantsoa to the Tsaranoro Reserve

From Ambalavao you drive south via the RN 7 in half an hour to Antanambao. After this, follow the above route. From Fianarantsoa it is almost two hours to Antanambao. Then you continue your way as described above.Andringitra Mountains - Tsaranoro Valley

The Andringitra National Park

There are several hikes to do in the Andringitra National Park, but the most famous is the climb of Pic Boby, the third highest mountain in Madagascar. Entry to the Andringitra National Park costs 45,000 AR per person.

Pic Boby | 3- 5 days

Level: Medium
Price: depending on travel organization +/- € 250 per person
Pic Boby is the third highest mountain in Madagascar. From the top, you have a nice view of the Andringitra National Park (if there is not too much fog).

On average, it takes three days to climb the mountain and you camp two nights in the National Park. Because this hike is not a circuit and your starting point is therefore different from your final destination, it is easiest to book this with a travel organisation from Fianarantsoa or Ambalavao. Transport, guides, accommodation, gear, food and porters are included in the price.

Other hikes in the Andringitra National Park
In addition to Pic Boby, there are also a number of other hikes that you can do here. For example, you have the 6 km long Asaramanitra hike, the two-day Diavolana hike, the two-day Isahavato hike and the 14-kilometre long Imaitso hike. Andringitra Mountains - Tsaranoro Valley

How do you get to the Andringitra National Park?

There are two routes that you can take to reach the real Andringitra National Park. The first is the Morarano Entry, which you reach from the Tsaranoro Reserve. This entrance is easiest to reach if you are already in the Tsaranoro Reserve or coming from the south. A 4×4 car is a must for both routes.

The second entrance is the Namoly Entry, which is easiest if you are coming from the north and are not planning to visit the Tsaranoro Reserve.

Andringitra National Park – Morarano Entry from the Tsaranoro Reserve

From the village of Andonaka, where most of the accommodations are located in the Tsaranoro Reserve, don’t turn right at the guide office to enter the village, but continue straight on. After about 10 minutes you will arrive at the park entrance in the middle of the village of Morano.

Andringitra National Park – Namoly Entry

After driving south through the village of Ambalavao via the RN7, take the exit to the left just before the bus stop. You then continue for 43 kilometres, about 2 hours, on an unpaved path until you reach the village of Namoly.

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