The RN5 north out of Tamatave starts off surfaced and in reasonable condition, fringed by magnificent beaches, passing the Parc Ivoloina and then the old settlements of Foulepointe and Fénérive Est. The 240km coastal section between Soanierana-Ivongo and Maroantsetra, however, is one of the toughest roads in the country – a barely drivable earth and rock track that deteriorates in condition as you crawl north, as does the viability of the twelve ad hoc river crossings that have to be negotiated along the way. The worst stretches and the dodgiest makeshift ferries (some of them simple bamboo rafts) tend to vary from year to year depending on the damage inflicted by the most recent cyclones. The 50km stretch between Antanambe and Mananara is usually considered the hardest, and often takes a full day, most of that at walking speed.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Madagascar features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

8 reasons why Madagascar should be on your radar

8 reasons why Madagascar should be on your radar

Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island, is a giant wonderland of natural sights and experiences. It's a place of diverse landscapes, climates and tribal …

20 Mar 2018 • Kirsten Henton insert_drive_file Article
Passport to write: the runners-up!

Passport to write: the runners-up!

After weeks of deliberation, we're thrilled to announce the results of the Rough Guides and Journeys are made @gapyear.com writing competition. The winning p…

03 Jul 2015 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Incredible forests of the world

Incredible forests of the world

Spiny Forest, Madagascar On an island filled with weird and wonderful living things, the spiny forest has to be Madagascar's most unusual ecosystem. Endemic…

03 Oct 2014 • Alison Roberts camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right