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Hike and Bike Madagascar, 15 Days, Wild Madagascar Tour

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From: £2,662

 

 

 

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An adventure tour for cyclists and hikers to push themselves. Discover the beauty of Madagascar up close by riding and hiking some of its most spectacular areas. You’ll meet locals and learn about their culture. You’ll spot animals that are only found on this amazing island and you’ll come away with unforgettable memories.

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All about the Hike and Bike Madagascar, 15 Days, Wild Madagascar Tour.

Hike and Bike Madagascar

Separated from the Southeastern coast of Africa, Madagascar’s isolation only adds to its appeal as a tour destination. It’s seclusion is the reason for the rare plants and animals who live here, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Keep an eye peeled for the famed ring-tailed lemur as we explore the lush tropical rainforest on the Eastern side of the isle. And look out for other curious creatures along your trip: tomato frogs, dwarf chameleons, and hedgehog-like tenrecs – all unique to the country and so prolific that sightings are sure to happen.

Ascend the ancient stone steps of Antananarivo, the country’s capital. Mingle with the friendly Malagasy people to experience their culture and how they live off the land. Refresh your hard-working muscles in the natural pools and waterfalls we pause at to rest. And ride the wide-open savannah, punctuated by otherworldly rock formations.

The wilds of Madagascar offer an exciting combination of terrain for the adventurous cyclist and hiker to tackle. From the mix of tarmac and hard-packed dirt roads, the uphill climbs (notably, to the glassy Lake Tritriva atop the mountain of the same name), to the vast downhill trail across the Horombe Plateau. Madagascar is an island of unparalleled landscapes, and this adventure treks it all.

This journey is a multi-activity tour consisting of 519 km of riding and up to 50 km of hiking. This trip is recommended for confident and physically fit riders looking for a challenging experience with a variety of off-road activities.

Although for some riders the journey may at first seem overwhelming, the rewards for your effort are priceless. It will also have lasting memories once you have made up your mind to get in the saddle, and those adventurous minds are sure to make the most of their time on this one-of-a-lifetime expedition.

Is This Hike and Bike Tour Suitable for Me?

The majority of Hike and Bike Madagascar takes place off road, so we recommend that participants be physically fit and confident riding on rough terrain. In addition, as this cycling adventure is complimented by two days of hiking through rugged terrain, a moderate level of physical fitness will be an asset.

Biking Conditions

The off-road portions of Hike and Bike Madagascar are offset by flat tarmac and hard-packed roads. While the trails are generally smooth, some sections have loose gravel and sandy patches that could prove hazardous to riders. Additionally, as some of the descents can be rocky, extra caution is recommended.

Bikes

Because some people can’t imagine going on a trip without their own beloved bicycle, we do not provide them as part of this tour. However, you can hire bikes locally for the price listed in the tour pricing section. The bikes are Carraro mountain bikes with lightweight alloy frames, 24- to 27-speed gearing, v-brakes, and Shimano components and front suspension. If you bring your own bike, please make sure it is a mountain bike, preferably with front suspension, in good mechanical order.

Bike Repairs

During Hike and Bike Madagascar basic spares and tools are carried by the guide and on the support vehicle, though we cannot guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem. Carrying a basic tool kit, a spare tube and a pump while riding is recommended.

Safety

Wearing a helmet is required on all our biking adventures and is non negotiable. If you do not wear a helmet you will not be allowed to cycle. Your tour leader is trained in first aid and emergency rescue, but to a large degree you must be responsible for your own safety while riding. It is therefore compulsory that you take out travel insurance that will cover you for a mountain biking tour.

Guides

You will be led by a local English-speaking guide and if the group is 9 people or more we will add another guide to the tour. All our guides are well informed in the history, culture and religions of the area where you are biking and are skilled at passing that knowledge on to you. Your guide is also medically trained and an experienced cyclist, able to handle most minor repairs en route.

Health

No vaccinations are required. However, it is encouraged to consult your physician if you need any preventive medication before you travel.

Weather

Dominated by the southern trade winds from the Indian Ocean Madagascar has two seasons, a warm, wet season (November – April); and a dry, cool season (May – October). However, due to its geographic setting this island country has a variety of climatic patterns – tropical in the north, temperate in the central, and arid in the south. Although the western and southwestern parts are hot in the summer, the weather is warm, with blue skies and a lot of sunshine during the winter months. Also note that in the central highlands the weather can get fairly chilly in the day and cold at night, so warm clothing is highly recommended.

Food

Meals are included as per the itinerary where B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner. Malagasy cuisine incorporates many ingredients and culinary techniques in its dishes that reflect Southeast Asian, African and European influences. With rice as the main staple most meals consist of local dishes that include curries, soups, and salads, and we will make sure you sample as much variety as possible. Be sure to try Akoho Sy Voanio, a chicken dish made juicy and aromatic with coconut, tomato, onion, garlic and ginger. Any special dietary requirements can also be catered for as well. Please let us know at the time of booking.

Drink

Keeping you completely hydrated is a job we take very seriously. Cold water, some energy-restoring local fruit and soft drinks are included in the tour price while riding. Soft drinks and other beverages during meals are not included. Beer is freely available everywhere in Madagascar, but is NOT included in the price of Hike and Bike Madagascar.

Solo Travelers

We don’t require you to pay a surcharge for travelling alone on Hike and Bike Madagascar. We will arrange for you to share accommodation with another traveller of the same gender and if we can not match you up we will provide a single room at no extra charge. If you prefer not to share a single supplement is payable to guarantee your own room. The cost of the single supplement is listed above.

Extra Expenses

We recommend that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps £20, for incidentals. It is customary to tip local tour guides and drivers, however, the amount you give should be dependent on the level of service you receive.

Money

Madagascar’s currency is the Malagasy ariary (AR) and is used throughout the country. Euros are also widely accepted, with US dollars occasionally accepted in the capital, major cities and tourist attractions.

However, while ATMs are available in Antananarivo and other major towns, you are allowed to draw only around €150 per transaction. In addition, as credit cards are not widely accepted except at a few luxury hotels, upscale restaurants, Air Madagascar offices and travel agencies, it is recommended you have enough cash on hand. The most useful card is Visa, with MasterCard welcomed only in some stores. Visa and MasterCard can also be used to get cash advances (in ariary) at the banks which also change travellers cheques and cash in major currencies.

Ivato Airport also has a foreign-exchange counter offering exchange rates as good as those at the banks, and is quite convenient for tourists upon their arrival to the country, but be sure to count your money immediately so that you haven’t been short changed as there have been a number of reports of fraud committed by its staff.

Destination
Madagascar
Tour Meets
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Tour Ends
Toliara, Madagascar
Fly in to
Ivato International Airport (TNR)
Fly out of
Toliara Airport (TLE)
Group Size
2-16 riders
Minimum Age
18 (on scheduled departures)
Total cycling distance
519km
Avg distance / day
58km
Avg climbing / day
613m
Number of Cycling Days
9
Number of Hiking Days
3

More Great Biking Tours

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • Tour rider’s jersey
  • Water bottle
  • Support vehicle
  • Guide(s)
  • Meals (as indicated)
  • Accommodation
  • Snacks and drinks
What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
  • International flights
  • Domestic flights
  • Airport pick up
  • Airport drop off
  • Visa fees
  • Alcohol
  • Tips
  1. Overview Overview

    Madagascar TourDay 1
    Arrive in Antananarivo
    Day 2
    Antananarivo – Antsirabe
    Day 3
    Antsirabe Loop
    Day 4
    Antsirabe – Ambositra
    Day 5
    Ambositra – Ranomafana National Park
    Day 6
    Ranomafana National Park Hike
    Day 7
    Ranomafana – Sahambavy
    Day 8
    Sahambavy – Ambalavao
    Day 9
    Ambalavao – Anja Park – Andringitra
    Day 10
    Andringitra Massif Hike
    Day 11
    Andringitra – Horombe Plateau – Ranohira
    Day 12
    L’lsalo Massif
    Day 13
    Ranohira – Ilkaka – Toliara
    Day 14
    Toliara Rest Day
    Day 15
    Departure

  2. Day 1 Arrive in Antananarivo

    We meet at the hotel in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, known locally as Tana. Madagascar’s capital takes its name from an episode in Malagasy history in which King Andrianjaka, who had his royal palace and stronghold constructed called One Thousand Warriors, named this city Antananarivo. If you arrive early, explore the rich cultural, historical, and architectural sites, but be warned there are hundreds of ancient stone steps to climb in this hillside city. We gather in the early evening for a trip briefing and welcome dinner.

    Combava Hotel
    Dinner
  3. Day 2 Antananarivo – Antsirabe

    We transfer four hours to Antsirabe, 170 km south of Antananarivo, and on the way, stop to visit an aluminium pot making factory in Ambatolampy. The drive takes us along a gravel road in the highlands past rice paddies and fruit plantations, with smiling and friendly locals on bikes waving to us. Due to its geographical setting, Antsirabe and nearby thermal springs, at 1,370 m (4,500 ft) above sea level, has been a popular retreat since the late 1800s. Upon arrival in Antsirabe, we meet our bikes and go for a short ride at a leisurely pace with a variety of road conditions ranging from tarmac to back roads, along with some climbs and descents before we truly start exploring wild Madagascar.

    Chambres du Voyageur
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 20km
  4. Day 3 Antsirabe Loop

    We spend the day exploring the region around Antsirabe with the highlight being the crater lakes of Andraikiba and Tritriva. Riding on paved and dirt roads with gentle undulations, we explore the first caldera located just 7 km west of the city. This former centre of water sports activities is believed to be haunted by a pregnant woman after she drowned herself many years back, and legend has it that she rests on a rock by the lakeside! We then continue by climbing through terraced rice paddies and on a single-track trail to Lake Tritriva, a glassy, 160-m deep body of water bordered by lush greenery. Nestled at 1880 m at the top of the towering Mount Tritriva, which gives the lake its name, the lake has an interesting and even strange character as the water drops during the monsoon season yet overflows during the dry months. This caldera is also teeming with myths and legends with the most prominent one being a love story about a couple named Rabbinically and Ravolahanta, who jumped off the cliff into the lake and drowned themselves, so they could be together forever. We have a picnic lunch by this spectacular yet mysterious place before hopping onto the bikes and enjoying a long downhill back to our accommodation.

    Chambres du Voyageur
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 54km
    +569m
  5. Day 4 Antsirabe – Ambositra

    After breakfast, we cycle south on a hilly road to Ambositra in central Madagascar. Although today’s ride is one of the longest of the journey, 95 km, the all-paved road makes the trip extremely pleasant as we pass many terraced rice paddies that harvested up to three times a year. Ambositra is home to the Zafimaniry, an ethnic people who live in the forested mountains southeast of the city and are famous for their wood carvings, listed as part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. We visit a Zafimaniry carpenter who will impress us first-hand with his carving skills that have been handed down for generations.

    Artisan Hotel
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 95km
    +819m
  6. Day 5 Ambositra - Ranomafana National Park

    A two-hour van transfer takes us to the small village of Camp Robin where we start our ride through fields and end at a lush rainforest. On a rural road, we pedal through a spectacular valley with towering granite boulders all the way to Ambohimahasoa, a small district with a quiltwork of fields and terraced rice paddies. After two climbs on a short tar section, we ride 20 km off road through more villages and eucalyptus forests until we reach the dense rainforest of Ranomafana National Park, with the last 10 km being a downhill to our lodge on the river.

    Le Grenat
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 65km
    +980m
  7. Day 6 Ranomafana National Park Hike

    We switch modes from biking to hiking and explore Madagascar’s most spectacular natural treasure, Ranomafana National Park, which is home to the golden bamboo lemur and more than 100 bird species, 30 of which alone are endemic to the country. Trekking through the dense rainforest, we will come across interesting, bizarre animals and plants found nowhere else in the world. We will also be drawn by rare birds and many species of lemur, and if lucky, we might spot one or two golden bamboo lemurs, now threatened with extinction. Depending on where the lemurs are, our hike will vary from 4 to 6 hours and between 10-12 km. We stop for lunch at a local restaurant, and then the afternoon is free for you to visit the peaceful village of Ranomafana or relax your muscles in the nearby thermal springs. In the evening, we take an easy night walk in the park to spot nocturnal animals, such as the mouse lemur and the striped civet.

    Le Grenat
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 12km
  8. Day 7 Ranomafana – Sahambavy

    Rise early and after breakfast, we have short drive back up the hill to have an easier start to our day. During today’s ride, we’ll be off road for 22 km and due to bridges being out, our support vehicle cannot follow. Once we meet up again, we have a picnic lunch amongst the tea plants the Sahambavy Tea Estate, the only tea plantation in Madagascar. Set in a stunning valley beside Lake Sahambavy, the estate was created in 1970 and produces large quantities of tea both for export to Mombasa in Kenya and for local consumption. We overnight in charming bungalows set amidst a lovely garden and overlooking a glassy lake.

    Lac Hotel
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 53km
    +825m
  9. Day 8 Sahambavy – Ambalavao

    Following a delightful breakfast, we take a short transfer to the city of Fianarantsoa, where you have time for a bit of shopping before we continue southward to Ambalavao by bike. Fianarantsoa is the capital of the Betsileo ethnic group who inhabits the highlands of Madagascar. The landscape is again captivating with undulations and breath-taking views of vineyards, terraced rice paddies, and rocky outcrops. We then pedal further with a 10-km downhill to compensate for the climb up to Ambalavao, the wine region of Madagascar and a beautiful town with brightly painted buildings. Upon arrival, if time allows, we may visit a craft shop which produces the well-known Antaimoro paper, hand-crafted papyrus.

    Espace Zongo
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 56km
    +720m
  10. Day 9 Ambalavao - Anja Park – Andringitra

    We leave the market town of Ambalavao and get in the saddle for another day of riding further south. While cruising, you will notice the landscape gradually changing into open grassland savannah dotted with enormous granite mountains. Bizarre formations of towering cliffs await us in the small natural reserve of Anja, along with superb scenery, exotic plants, caves, tombs, and ring-tailed lemurs. We take an hour walk into the park before we leave the road cutting through the Tsaranoro Valley of the Andringitra Range. Our 20 km off-road effort is rewarded with our delightful accommodation complete with a natural swimming pool.

    Camp Catta
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 59km
    +882m
  11. Day 10 Andringitra Massif Hike

    We start our hiking day at the edge of the granite Andringitra Massif, a rugged range that has over the years become a hiking paradise. It was formed by an abrupt volcanic event that took place millions of years ago. The range is well-known not only for the world-famous ring-tailed lemur, but also for its bizarre yet stunning rugged landscape, charming pastoral culture, and variety of native animals and plants. Due to its rich biodiversity, Andringitra was declared a nature reserve in 1927 and, 60 years later, a national park. Once we reach Chameleon Peak, we can appreciate panoramic views over this rocky highland with a stunning landscape of prairies and alpine patches. Our hike will take 4-6 hours, and we have the afternoon free for a swim and to try and catch sight of ring-tail lemurs as they pass through camp.

    Camp Catta
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 14km
  12. Day 11 Andringitra – Horombe Plateau – Ranohira

    We transfer (4 hours) back to the paved road to Ankaramena. This place is well-known for its sweet and juicy mangoes and papayas, and after a short fruit break, we continue the drive to lunch shortly after we pass Ihosy. Here we start our ride downhill across the vast Horombe Plateau towards Ranohira. You will notice the landscape slowly transforming into a wide-open savannah. Dry grass glows in the beaming sun, and the distances between villages become longer. In this region, there is mostly the ethnic group of Barra people who live and breed Zebu cattle. The first 50 km of today’s ride are flat and then the hills begin 25 km before we reach the town of Ranohira. Our lodge is located at the base of Isalo National Park and have a perfect view for sunset.

    Hotel H1
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 75km
    +332m
  13. Day 12 L'lsalo Massif

    I’Isalo is a vast region of wind-polished and water-scoured rock towers, deep canyons, gorges, and oases. This huge mountain range is spectacular with its ventifacts, eroded sandstone boulders caused by wind. Our adventure begins with a short bike ride to the starting point of our hike in I’Isalo National Park. In this exotic park, we trek through its captivating Jurassic-era landscapes formed by millions of years of erosion. On the way, we visit canyons, looking for the ring-tailed lemur, as well as other lemurs that epitomise Madagascar. We can refresh ourselves on the way at a waterfall or take a dip in a natural pool. A catered picnic lunch will give us enough energy to carry on up the canyon to see the blue and black natural pools. After the walk of 4-6 hours, we transfer back to the hotel.

    Hotel H1
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 15km
  14. Day 13 Ranohira – Ilkaka – Toliara

    After breakfast, we continue cycling through the national park with a view on sandstone formations, rugged canyons, and grasslands to the town of Ilakaka, famous globally for its world-class alluvial sapphire deposits. After our morning cycle, we load the bikes for a transfer of approximately 5 hours by van, with a stop for a picnic lunch, to reach the coastal town of Toliara in the afternoon. Home to the Vezo, a well-known maritime people, Toliara is also a most important trade centre in southern Madagascar. We overnight at a charming hotel elegantly located on the Bay of Ifaty and just steps away from the deep blue sea.

    La Mira
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Ride 32km
    +392m
  15. Day 14 Toliara Rest Day

    After the long journey, it’s time for us to rest our legs and enjoy our well-deserved reward for our determination, the beach! Soaking up the warm sun and balmy sky, you can lie on the beach while sipping your favourite drink or get in the turquoise water of the Indian Ocean for a swim to refresh yourself and drive off the heat. At the coral reef right before your eyes, discover colourful marine life while snorkelling. If you would like to learn more about unique plant life, don’t forget to take a walk through the nearby natural reserve known for its variety of didierraceae, adasonia, euphorbia, and baobab trees. We have a farewell dinner tonight to celebrate all that we have discovered together.

    La Mira
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  16. Day 15 Departure

    Our tour ends after breakfast, but we can assist you in extending your holiday on the beach or help to arrange a transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

    Breakfast

Activity Level: Moderate

The majority of this trip takes place off road, so we recommend that participants be physically fit and confident riding on rough terrain. In addition, as this cycling adventure is complimented by two days of hiking through rugged terrain, a moderate level of physical fitness will be an asset.

Mountain Bike Hire: £192

* FREE if booked before 31 Dec 2018

Single Supplement (single room): £365

Overall Rating
5/5
LIUBOV NIKULINA
Reviewed On 04/10/2017
5/5

Beautiful country, wonderful people, fantastic experience! Strongly recommended to anyone who likes adventure travel.

DANIEL HEBBERD
Reviewed On 01/10/2017
5/5

Fantastic dedicated, friendly, honest and skilled guides!

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