Itinerary: the route from Morondava to Tulear, a road trip you will never forget!

Do you really want to go “off the beaten path” in Madagascar? Or are you looking for the most beautiful beaches and least touristy places? Then you have to drive the route from Morondava to Tulear (or vice versa). In this blog, I will tell you everything about this route, so that you will experience this adventure successfully even without a driver!Roadtrip Tulear to Morondava


The route from Morondava to Tulear (or Toliara):

If you are coming from Tulear (or Toliara) and going to Morondava, turn the route below:

Morondava – Belo Sur Mer – Andavadoaka – Ambatamilo / Salary – TulearMorondava to Tulear

Total travel time: 7 days!

We spent more than a week driving this route, a duration I can absolutely recommend. You can do this trip in three days, but that means you are the whole time in the car and you don’t have the time to enjoy the beautiful beaches you pass!

Before you leave:

↞ Only drive this route with a four-wheel drive. You are guaranteed to get stuck with a normal car.
↠ Make sure your tire pressure is lowered to 1.8. That way you will get stuck less easily.
↞ Fill an extra jerry can with gasoline, you will not find another gas station until day four.
↠ Make sure you have enough supplies and water, along the way you will come across a small village where you can buy some bananas or bread, but that is it.
↞ Download the maps of this area on Maps Me and Google Maps. Both of them have some parts of the route missing, but if you use them together, you will get there!
↠ Take a shovel and some (dirty) water with you if you get stuck.

Morondava to Tulear: with or without a chauffeur?

Dirt roads, loose sand and rivers you have to drive through, just a short summary of the route from Morondava to Tulear. If people are already driving this route, they almost always do so with a chauffeur. But after having gathered enough information, we decide to drive the route ourselves and looking back we are happy we did! Not sure about driving yourselves? As a middle way, you could also see if you can drive along with one or more other cars (with chauffeurs). If something happens then you are always with several cars and with drivers who know the way.

Click here to read more about a self-drive road trip through Madagascar!

Peage: paying a toll for sandy roads

Just like in France you will encounter peage points along the route: toll. However, do not expect large organized stations such as on the national route from Paris to Lyon. No, these are self-created toll points, consisting of trees that block the road. After brief negotiations in which the Malagasy start with 20,000 Ar (€ 5.00), you always end up between 1000 (€ 0.25) and 3000 Ar (€ 0.75). And then you drive on again, until two kilometres later another tree blocks the road.


The route description: Morondava to Tulear

Day 1: Morondava – Belo Sur Mer

Travel time: 4 hours
Kilometres: 100 km
Phone coverage: hardly, only in Belo Sur Mer and in Morondava.
Number of toll booths: +/- 3

After a visit to Avenue des Baobabs, the real adventure begins today: your road trip from Morondava to Tulear. After you have taken the exit of the RN35, you will drive on a sandy road for four hours. The drive is fairly easy. After half an hour you will come across the first peage (toll gate). There are dozens of Baobabs along the road, almost as beautiful as the Avenues des Boabab. Don’t be surprised if the route leads you through a river, often there are sticks in the water indicating where you have to drive. The water will reach sometimes up to your windshield, but the rivers are generally not too deep.

After three hours on the narrow sandy road surrounded by dense forests, you will come across a large open plain: a salt flat. It is not advisable to drive over the salt flat, under the salt, there is a thick layer of clay in which you can easily get stuck. If you look closely you will see tire tracks that lead around the salt flat, follow them. You will pass three large salt plains in total, the last one you will cross the plain through a kind of elevation between poles.

After the salt plains, the landscape changes. The forest gives way to white sand and you will see white houses looming. Welcome to Belo Sur Mer!Belo Sur mer

Day 2 Belo Sur Mer

Belo Sur Mer is a small village by the sea. A quiet place where you can swim and enjoy a perfect sunset. You are near the Kirindy Mite National Park, known for its Baobabs. Furthermore, it is nice to take a long beach walk or visit the public shipyards on the beach. Here ships are being built in the traditional way, after a design of Dutch ships from the 19th century.
We recommend that you stay at least two nights in Belo Sur Mer.

Accommodation in Belo Sur Mer: There are three good hotels in Belo Sur Mer. The first night we stayed in Ecolodge du Menabe (from 90,000 Ar per night). More beautiful, however, is the hotel Entremer, which is on the beach (from 120,000 AR per night) the food is good as well here! If these two hotels are full, you can always stay at Le Dauphin Vezo (from 110,000 AR per night).

Day 3: Belo Sur Mer – Manja

Travel time: 5 hours
Kilometres: 108 km
Phone coverage: I don’t know during the route, but it’s good around Manja!
Number of toll booths: +/- 3 (before 9, but we just received word that the government stepped in and there are only three left!)

Today is a travel day, in 5 hours you will drive to the village of Manja. Don’t leave too early, there isn’t much to do in Manja, but take enough time for this part of the route, because you never know what can happen along the way. We drove along with other travellers (and their drivers) and drove a different route than normal to avoid the toll booths. There seem to be around nine on the normal route. The normal route goes through a road that seems to be strewn with stones, a bumpy ride.

The last hour of the route to Manja you will drive into the village on a reasonably good dirt road. Here you will stay in the only hotel that is present, Kanto Manja, very basic but with good food (51,000 Ar).

Day 4: Manja – Andavadoaka

Travel time: 8 hours
Kilometres: 220 km
Phone coverage: Good around Manja, reasonable around the ferry crossing, good around Morombe and also reasonable in Andavadoaka.
Number of toll booths: +/- 9

As soon as you leave Manja, you will immediately pass four toll booths. The road you will take is pretty good, sometimes you will go over rivers, between high grass and past small villages where the children ask for bonbon (candy) and the adults for money.

After three and a half hours you will reach a wide river. Here lies a raft, “the ferry” that fits exactly one car. There is a motor on the raft, but there is a good chance that the motor is broken and that the ferry guys will pull the ferry while swimming in the river. Officially the ferry is free, but be prepared to pay around 50,000 Ar because you “have” to be pulled. When you enter shore, there is a good chance of getting stuck in the sand, just like we did. Then pay another 15,000 Ar to be pulled out of the sand with the help of the entire village.Ferry Morondava

After the ferry crossing, it is just under two hours to arrive in Morombe. A good road is being constructed here and parts of the road are already well paved. You will come across your first gas station here. Half an hour later you will arrive in Morombe, here is also a gas station and a bank. From Morombe it is another two hours to Andavadoaka and believe me, it is so beautiful there, those two hours of driving are really worth it! You will drive mainly through mangrove forests. Make sure you (if you go from Morondava to Tulear) always follow the leftmost path along the mangrove so that you don’t get stuck. If you are coming from the other side, keep to the right.

The last kilometres before Andavadoaka you will drive through very loose sand, keep on driving and don’t stop to avoid getting stuck. You will pass a Baobab forest with very special baobabs, definitely worth a short visit. Andavadoaka is a tiny village with few facilities. Hotel Olo Be Lodge is an absolute must (from € 100). Click here for more information about Olo Be Lodge.

Day 5: Andavadoaka

Today you have plenty of time to relax in Andavadoaka. Andavadoaka is by the sea, but the beaches look very different here than in other parts of Madagascar. With the white rocks, small bays and the clear blue water, it reminded us a lot of Greece.

Hotel Olo Be Lodge*

We stayed here in the brand new hotel Olo Be Lodge, built on the rocks of a small peninsula. This gives you a sea view from all sides! The hotel was designed by the Belgian architect Bruno Decorte and blends in perfectly with the landscape with its grey-white stones and wavy shapes.

Our room is beautiful, with a huge four-poster bed, comfortable sofas and a bathroom that strongly reminds me of a fairy tale! But the best part: a huge outdoor bathroom with a large bath from which we look out on the small sailing boats that pass by. I cannot suppress a cry of joy when I see the bath, this is so cool!Olo Be Lodge

Activities Andavadoaka

Jules, the owner and his partner spent more than four years building this hotel. A lot of time and energy, and you will notice that they both love this place. They are currently working on the latest things such as an infinity pool and a beautiful spa. The fact that the swimming pool is not yet finished doesn’t matter to us, the hotel has its own bay from where you can jump into the cold but clear water. Also nice, there are kayaks and supping boards!

In addition to relaxing and swimming in the sea, a boat trip is also highly recommended. Ries goes on the water with Jules and other guests. They sail along beautiful islands, see the rugged coast from the sea and spot dolphins! You haven’t really seen Andavadoaka if you haven’t viewed it from the sea. It is also possible to dive in Andavadoaka.

Finally, from here you can make a nice trip to the Baobab forest. Soon this will even be possible by electric mountain bikes, which you can rent from Olo Be lodge!Olo Be Lodge

Food in Andavadoaka

There are no restaurants in Andavadoaka, so there is a good chance that you will eat at your hotel! The food we had at Olo Be Lodge was delicious! Fresh fish, sashimi, tapas and then I am not even talking about breakfast … poached eggs, fruit salad, cakes, sandwiches, really great! If you are not staying at Olo Be Lodge, go here for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Day 6: Andavadoaka – Ambatamilo

Travel time: 3 hours
Kilometres: 60 km
Phone coverage You have covered almost all the time.
Number of toll booths: 1

Enjoy a quiet morning with a nice breakfast and lunch at Olo Be Lodge. You will only leave afternoon, so use the morning to go kayaking or supping in the crystal clear water around the lodge! Even though only three hours of driving are on your schedule, this will be one of the most difficult parts of the route. You will constantly drive through deep loose sand, with some thick stones on the road now and then. Make sure you don’t drive too slow or even stop, because there is a good chance that you will get stuck.

After about three hours, you will arrive at Ambatamilo, a place so small that you can hardly call it a village. The coastline is completely different here than in Andavadoaka, long and vast beaches with soft sand. You can also continue for an hour to the village of Salary, but we liked Ambatamilo better.

Accommodation in Ambatamilo: There are several hotels scattered here along the coastline, we stayed in the small Le Pirate Amoureux (from 80,000 Ar). Looking for more luxury, than stay at Shangri-La (from € 79 Ar) or Mikéa Lodge (from € 150). Will you continue to Salary? Then you can stay in Salary Bay (from € 100) or in the Five Senses Lodge (from € 160).Ambatamilo

Day 7 Ambatamilo – Tulear

Travel time: 6 hours
Kilometres: 130 km
Phone coverage: Hardly for the first two hours, after that it was good.
Number of toll booths: 0

Today is your last day (or your first, if you reverse the route). Depart a little on time so that you can still enjoy your afternoon in the surroundings of Tulear. The first two hours you will still drive through loose sand. After an hour you will arrive in the village of Salary where you can buy some bananas. Slowly you will drive further along the coast, the road gets better and the villages get bigger.

After approximately four hours you will arrive at a junction with the RN9. And then it’s over with the offroad driving: asphalt roads, good telephone coverage and civilization. From here it is an hour’s drive to Tulear. And once there, unfortunately, this part of your road trip is over! From Tulear, it is nice to go to Anakoa, visit Fort Dauphin or drive up the RN7 towards Tana.

Where do you stay in Tulear: Bakuba Lodge*

Tulear itself is not a nice city to stay in, so we drove straight to Bakuba Lodge, just 20 minutes from the city. Will you stay in Tulear too? Then you MUST really spend a night in this lodge. It is designed by the same architect as Olo Be Lodge and has a beautiful swimming pool and wonderfully spacious rooms.

Bruno and Patricia, the owners, are pleasant and warm people who are more than happy to tell you more about the area! They grew up in Congo, something that is reflected in the beautiful interior. Bruno does not only design hotels, but he has also designed most of the furniture. Everywhere you see small nice details, chairs with legs, lamps that are reminiscent of torches and even a bath that is a piroque boat. Or as he says himself: ” I just cannot stop designing and making new things”!

Bruno explains he has traveled a lot. With this hotel, he has created exactly the place that he himself was always looking for while traveling: a home for travelers, where you really feel comfortable. And with the wonderful rooms, the fantastic food and a cocktail it really feels like coming home and we end this amazing road trip! You stay in Bakuba Lodge from € 90, click here for more information or to make a reservation. And make sure to say hello from Bruno and Patricia from us!


Travel Blogs Madagascar Click here for all my blogs about Madagascar.


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* We stayed here on invitation of Olo Be Lodge and Bakuba Lodge, however, everything above is true to me, as always I reflect my own opinion and experience.

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