The 18 ethnic groups of Madagascar

The 18 ethnic groups of Madagascar with their characteristics and their locations.


The Merina are of Asian origin more precisely Indonesian, they reside in the region of Antananarivo in the center of Madagascar and also called those of the heights.

The Betsileo or the invincible, they take refuge in the region of Fianarantsoa in the midle-east and their talents are wood carving and rice growing.

The Betsimisaraka is the most important ethnic group on the east coast of Madagascar, people are coffee growers, cloves and sugar cane. They are also called those who never separate.

The Sakalava or those of long valleys, the Sakalava ethnic group has an extensive territory along the west coast of Madagascar, from north to south to Toliara.

The Antaisaka are Sakalava migratory from which those who come from the Sakalava

The Antandroy or those of the thorns, they occupy Madagascar south extreme. They hunt and they are eaters of cactus fruits and cassava.

The Mahafaly are sculptors and get on well with their neighbor Antandroy. They are also called those who make taboos.

The Vezo or the nomads of the sea are fishermen came from East Africa, they reside in the south-west of Madagascar.

Bara is an ethnic group from Bantu. In general, people are zebu’s breeders.

The Antakarana or those of the rocks or those of the cliff. They take refuge in the north of the big island of Madagascar. They are both fishermen and breeders.

The Antemoro are excellent farmers, nicknamed those of the coast.

Antaifasy settles on the east coast, they are called those who live in the sands.

The Masikoro are farmers settled in the southern part of the Big Island.

The Antambahoaka is an ethnic Southeast, they are of Arab origin.

The Tsimihety live in the northwestern part, they are both breeders and rice farmers. They are called those who don’t cut hair.

The Tanala are those of forests, they take refuge in the cliffs between the east coast and the highland towards Fianarantsoa. They inherited the knowledge of medicinal plants.

The Bezanozano is an ethnic group of the east coast. People are foresters and called those of beautiful braids.

The Sihanaka live in the northeastern part of Madagascar, they are farmers and named those of the Marais.

The highland and the Fianarantsoa Côte Est old train FCE

The highland and the Fianarantsoa Côte Est old train FCE



This excursion less than one week or Antananarivo to Manakara tour offers you retro feeling.It allows you to explore the highlands of Madagascar from Antananarivo to Fianarantsoa and the east coast to Manakara.After discovering the highlands where most of people are farmerand trader, you will get in the old train FCE or (Fianarantsoa Côte Est). The old train of fianarantsoa awaits you through the steps of cliffs in a rainforest down to the pangalanes channel and the Indian Ocean. Then we ascend to the Ranomafana National Park.One of the most visited parks and home to an astonishing biodiversity.

Pass by Antananarivo-Antsirabe-Ambositra-Fianarantsoa-The railway of Fianarantsoa Côte Est-Manakara-Ranomafana-Antananarivo


Departure city












All year


Day 1: Antananarivo / Antsirabe

Along the road on 168km length, you will meet local artisans before arriving in Antsirabe, a lovely city of colonial architecture and you will visit craftsmen’s workshops, precious stonecutting.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel

Day 2: Antsirabe / Fianarantsoa

After breakfast, we leave Antsirabe on road to join Fianarantsoa via Ambositra that is a Zafimaniry’s arts capital, an unavoidable visit. Arriving to Fianarantsoa, check in our hotel.

Diner and overnight at the hotel

Day 3: Fianarantsoa / Manakara (Departure FCE Train: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays)    

Early, after breakfast, departure for the unforgettable retro trip by train dated in 1936. Only 170km on rail way but it will be a long journey (17 stops with loading goods). Adventurers will be filled as they wind through green carpets, cascades, torrents, to be between hills with lush vegetation.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel

Day 4: Manakara / Ranomafana

After breakfast, we leave Manakara on good road to visit National Park of Ranomafana that is one of the most visited Madagascar’s parks and classified World Natural Heritage. Forest is dense and cutting by beautiful cascades, one can find many species of lemurs and you could enjoy the water of thermal station.

Swimming allowed

Dinner and overnight at the hotel

Day 5:  Ranomafana / Antananarivo

After breakfast, we go back to Antananarivo on road, have launch in Antsirabe

People and culture

Dinner and overnight at the hotel

Day 6: Antananarivo/ Ivato airport

Visit guided of Manjakamiadana king’s palace; one of the 12 sacred hills of merina, then finalize on shopping souvenirs before to be transfered to the Ivato airport.

Stories, souvenirs

End of tour

End of tour




Meet and greet service by our representatives at airports

All transfers by private air-conditioned vehicles

Assistance of our representative during your stay

Accommodation for 5 nights on Bed and Breakfast according to the program

Sightseeing tours in Antsirabe

English or french speaking tour guide throughout the tours

Entrance fees to all sites as indicated in the itinerary

Transfers APT/HTL and HTL/APT

Local guide

One way ticket FCE train

All service charges and taxes included in the package price

Transfers APT / HTL and HTL / APT


Entry visa to Madagascar

Any optional tours


Personal spending


Any other item not mentioned above




East tour Andasibe, Pangalanes Canal and escapade Ste Marie

East tour Andasibe, Pangalanes Canal and escapade Ste Marie


East tour Andasibe, Pangalanes channel and escapade Sainte Marie

This Madagascar east tour is one of the most popular classic tours of Madagascar. This discovery trip to Madagascar allows you to discover the capital of Antananarivo and all the green cliffs up to the east coast and with an escape to Ste Marie Island. Go through the reptile reserve in Peyrieras, then, visit Andasibe which is home to the famous Indri-Indri lemurs and not to forget Vakona Forest reserve. Join Akanin’ny Nofy or the nest of dream via the Pangalanes Channel (Canal des Pangalanes)  to visit to the Palmarium reserve. And then, win Tamatave, the largest city of the eastern part of Madagascar and continue to Mahambo where you take the boat to Ste Marie. The islandof Ste Marie or Nosy Boraha is an authentic island of Madagascar with its heaven beaches deserving a rest and relaxation.

Pass by Antananarivo-Andasibe-Manambato-Akanin’ny Nofy or Palmarium-Toamasina or Tamatave-Mahavelona or Foulpointe-Mahambo-Sainte Marie island-Ile aux Nattes-Antananarivo

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Departure city











All the year


Day 1: Antananarivo / Andasibe

In the eastern part of Madagascar, in the heart of the rainforest lies Andasibe. Go through Peyrieras private reserve whose reptiles from the smallest to the largest are collected.

Landscapes, visit guided of the Peyrieras Reserve, Night walk in Andasibe

Overnight accommodation

Day 2: visit of Andasibe

Departure for a visit of Andasibe Analamazaotra Reserve where one can see the largest lemurs in Madagascar or the famous Babakoto or Indri-indri. In the afternoon, have visit of Vakona forest including Lemurs Island and Crocodiles Park. Here lemurs are hospitable.

Fauna and flora, the largest lemur indri, rare birds, several kinds of orchid species…

Overnight accommodation

Day 3: Andasibe / Manambato / Akanin’ny Nofy

Go on road to Manambato and reach Akanin’ny Nofy by boat transfer or the nest of dream which is a magical place, a park with both botanical and lemurs.

Pangalanes Canal authentic villages, landscapes, night walk to see aye-aye lemurs of Palmarium

Overnight accommodation

Day 4: Akanin’ny Nofy / Manambato / Tamatave

Visit guided of the palmarium reserve before joining Tamatave or Toamasina the second city and the first port of Madagascar.

Other varieties of lemurs, people and culture

Overnight accommodation

Day 5: Toamasina / Mahavelona / Mahambo

On the road to join Foulpointe or Mahavelona which is famous for its beautiful beach.  Mahavelona is an historical place where King Radama built the Fort Mahavelona. Then go to fishermen village of Mahambo and also the pier for the boat to Ste Marie.

Visit guided of Mahavelona Fort, ​​people and culture

Overnight accommodation

Day 6: Mahambo / Ste Marie

On the waves, transfer by boat to Ste Marie, installation at the hotel

Overnight accommodation

Day 7: Ste Marie

Some Ste Marie attractions feasible in 2 days are allowed

The old Eiffel lighthouse, the pirates’ cemetery, Antanandava waterfalls, Ambodiforaha zoological and botanical park, mangrove swamp, swimming in natural pools on the north of the island, visit of Ile au sable and whales safari allowed in June to September

Overnight accommodation

Day 8: Ste Marie / Ile aux Nattes / Ste Marie

A picnic day to enjoy the heaven beaches of Ile aux Nattes or Nosy Nato.

Excursion and Ile aux Nattes tour by pirogue, beaches and swimming

Overnight accommodation

Day 9: Ste Marie / Antananarivo

Shopping souvenirs

Domestic flight to return back Antananarivo

Overnight accommodation

Day 10: Antananarivo / Ambohimanga / Antananarivo

Go to visit the sacred hill of Ambohimanga Rova, one of the sacred hills of Antananarivo which is a place both panoramic and historical.

History, panoramic view, people and culture

Day use at the hotel

Transfer to the airport

End of the circuit