Price

$4882 AUD per person twin share

$577 AUD single supplement

$357 AUD bike hire

 

Inclusions

  • 14 nights accommodation
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner daily
  • English speaking local guide trained in first aid and basic bike repairs
  • Park entrance fees to all mentioned national parks and game reserves
  • Transportation and support vehicle with driver
  • Box of 10 Blue Dinosaur Paleo Bars

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Bike hire
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

Seen the movie and now want to experience the real thing? Madagascar is truly a world of its own. Separated from mainland Africa over 88 million years ago, it is dubbed the ‘eighth continent.’ It is one of the very few places on our planet where both nature and animals are allowed to evolve in isolation. With a vast variety of flora and fauna which is endemic only to its territory, this island is recognised as a biodiversity hotspot by Conservation International. Apart from its natural treasure, the island nation is also rich in culture of charming ethnic groups.

This tour will take you to appreciate the welcoming Malagasy people along with their proud traditions before it is time to venture far from civilization into the wilderness to marvel at the country’s biodiversity which cannot be matched by any other on our planet. Spot unique plants and animals within the national parks whilst exploring stunning landscapes with sharp cliffs and bizarre rock formations, resulting from volcanic activity and wind. Tackle dirt roads for adventures and hike through the prairies and hills of Madagascar’s massifs to discover a whole new world this country has hidden from the rest of the planet.

This journey is a multi-activity tour consisting of riding 519km and 50km 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 efforts are priceless. The majority of this trip takes place off road and therefore 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 fitness will be an asset.

Biking Conditions: The off-road portions of this trip are complimented by flat, tarmac and hard-packed roads. Whilst 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.

Note: Please keep in mind that Madagascar is a third world developing country. Outside of the National Parks, the scenery is not always spectacular and poverty is often evident and at times can be confronting for some travellers.

Day 1 – Arrival in Antananarivo

Welcome to Madgascar! You will be met at your hotel in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital, known locally as Tana. This name come from an episode in Malgasy 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 to explore the rich cultural, historical and architectural sites, 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 a welcome dinner. (D)

Overnight Lake City Hotel.

Day 2 – Antananarivo to Antsirabe

Today we transfer four hours to Antsirabe, 170km south of Antananarivo and along the way, make a short visit to 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 as we pass. Due to its geographical setting, Antsirabe and its nearby thermal springs have been a popular retreat since the late 1800’s. Upon arrival in Antsirabe, we will meet our bikes and head off for a shortly leisurely ride covering a variety of road conditions ranging from tarmac to backroads along with some climbs and descents before we truly start exploring wild Madagascar. (B,L,D)

Overnight Chambres du Voyageur. Ride 10-20km.

Day 3 – Antsirabe Loop

Today is spent 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 7km 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 ago. Legend has it that she rests on a rock by the lakeside.

We continue climbing through terraced rice paddies and on a single track trail to Lake Tritriva, a glassy 160m deep body of water, bordered by lush greenery. Nestled at an altitude of 1880m, 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 – the most prominent one being a love story about a couple who jumped off the cliff into the lake and drowned themselves so they could be together forever. We have a picnic lunch in the spectacularly mysterious spot, before hopping onto our bikes and enjoying a long downhill ride back to our accommodation.  (B,L,D)

Overnight Chambres du Voyageur. Ride 54km. Ascend 568m.

Day 4 - Antsirabe to Ambositra

Although today’s ride is one the longest on the journey, (95km), the all paved road makes the trip extremely pleasant as we pass many rice terraced paddies that are grown and harvested up to three time a year. Ambositra is home to Zafimaniry, an ethnic people who live in the forested mountains southeast of the city and are famous for their wood carvings, which are listed as one of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage items. We visit a Zafimaniry carpenter who will impress us firsthand with his carving skills that have been handed down for generations. Tonight we stay at a lovely hotel with rooms decorated by works of local artists. (B,L,D)

Overnight Artisan Hotel. Ride 95km. Ascend 819m.

Day 5 – Ambositra to Ranomafana National Park

A two hour van transfer takes us to the small village of Camp Robbin 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 quilt work of fields and terraced rice paddies. After two climbs on a short tar section of road, we ride through more villages and eucalyptus forests until we reach the dense rainforest of Ranomafana National Park. The last few kilometres are downhill to our lodge on the river. (B,L,D)

Overnight Le Grenat. Ride 65km. Ascend 980m.

Day 6 – Ranomafana National Park Hike

Today we switch modes from biking to hiking and explore Madagascar’s most spectacular natural treasure, Ranomafana National Park. Home to Golden Bamboo Lemur (which is now threatened by extinction) and more than 100 bird species, 30 of which are endemic to the country. Trekking through this dense rainforest, we will come across interesting and bizarre animals and plants found nowhere else in the world. We will also be drawn by rare birds and many species of lemur.

We stop for lunch at a local restaurant and the afternoon is free for you to visit the peaceful village of Ranomafana or relax your muscles in the nearby thermal springs. If you still have some energy, you are welcome to hike for another couple of hours. In the evening, we take an easy night walk through the park to spot nocturnal animals such as the Mouse Lemur and the Striped Civet. (B,L,D)

Overnight Le Grenat. Hike 16-24km.

Day 7 – Ranomafana to Sahambavy

Rise early this morning and after breakfast, we have a short drive back to Vohiparara. During todays ride we see locals selling piles of sand taken from the nearby river as well as women weaving baskets. We ride for 22km along a dirt track where our support vehicle cannot follow. Once we meet up again, we continue cycling on a good gravel road to reach our hotel right in the centre of a tea growing region, with the possibility of visiting Sahambavy Tea Estate, the only tea plantation within Madagascar. Set in a stunning valley landscape, the estate was created in 197- and produces large quantities of tea both for export to Mombasa in Kenya and for local consumption. We overnight in the charming bungalows overlooking the glassy Lake Sahambavy. (B,L,D)

Overnight Lac Hotel. Ride 53km. Ascend 825m.

Day 8 – Sahambavy to Ambalavao

Following a delightful breakfast, we take a short transfer to the city of Fianarantsoa where we’ll give you time for a bit of shopping before we continue the journey 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 breathtaking views of vineyards, terraced rice paddies and rocky outcrops. We then pedal further with a 10km downhill ride to compensate for the climb up to Ambalavao, the wine region of Madagascar. This beautiful town has brightly painted buildings and upon arrival, time permitting, we may visit a craft shop near our hotel which produces the well-known Antaimoro paper. (B,L,D)

Overnight Espace Zongo. Ride 56km. Ascend 720m.

Day 9 – Ambalavao to Anja Park to Andringitra

Today, we leave behind the market town of Ambalavao and jump back into the saddle for another day of riding further south. While cruising, you will notice that the landscape gradually changes into open grassy savannahs dotted with enormous granite mountains. Bizarre formations of towering cliffs await us in the small nature reserve of Anja, along with superb scenery, exotic plants, the Betsileo history, caves and tombs of Ring Tailed Lemurs. We take an hour’s walk into the park before we leave the road cutting through the Tsaranoro Valley of the Andringitra Range and stay overnight at a simple tented camp for two nights. (B,L,D)

Overnight Camp Catta. Ride 58km. Ascend 882m.

Day 10 – Andringitra Massif Hike

We begin 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 and 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 a variety of endemic flora and fauna. 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 breathtaking landscape of prairies and alpine patches. (B,L,D)

Overnight Camp Catta. Hike 14km.

Day 11 – Andringitra to Horombe Plateau to Ranohira

This morning following breakfast, we transfers (4 hours) back to the tarred road to Ankaramena. This place is well known for its sweet and juicy mangoes and papayas. After our fruit break, we continue driving the drive to Ihosy. Here we start our downhill ride across the vast Horombe Plateau towards Ranohira. You will notice the transformation as the landscape slowly changes into a wide-open savannah. Dry grass glows in the beaming sun and the distances between villages become longer. In this region, it is mostly ethnic groups of Barra people who live and breed Zebu cattle. Those who want to cycle more can ride the last section to our charming lodge located at the foothills of Isalo National Park. (B,L,D)

Overnight Toil de I’Isalo. Ride 75km. Ascend 332m.

Day 12 – I’Isalo Massif

I’lsalo is a vast region of wind polished and water scorned 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 landscapes of the Jurassic-era formed by millions of years of erosion. On the way, we visit canyons, look for the Ring Tailed Lemurs as well as other lemurs that epitomise Madagascar. We can refresh ourselves on the way at a waterfall or take a dip into a natural pool. After the walk, you will have the option of riding or transferring back to the hotel. (B,L,D)

Overnight Toil de I’Isalo. Ride 10km. Hike 12km.

Day 13 – Ranohira to Ilakaka to Toliara

After breakfast, we continue cycling through the national park with a view of 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 on the way. We reach the coastal town of Toliara in the afternoon. Home to the Vezo, a well-known maritime people, Toliara is also an important trade centre in southern Madagascar. We overnight in a charming hotel elegantly located on the Bay of Ifaty and just steps away from the deep blue sea. (B,L,D)

Overnight La Mira. Ride 32km. Ascend 392m.

Day 14 – Toliara Rest Day

After the long journey, it is 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 lay on the beach whilst sipping your favourite drink or take a dip in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. There is a coral reef right before you here brimming with colourful marine life. Why not go for snorkel?  If you would like to learn more about unique plant life, don’t forget to take a walk through the nearby natural reserve which is known for its variety of didierraceae, adasonia, euphorbia and baobab trees. Tonight we have a farewell dinner to celebrate all we have discovered together. (B,L,D)

Overnight La Mira.

Day 15 – Departure

Your tour ends today after breakfast. We can assist you in extending your stay or organising an airport transfer. (B)