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Cycle Madagascar tour
Nature & Wildlife Cycling Cycle Madagascar package
Education / Learning Educational/ learning Cycle Madagascar package

Cycle Madagascar

Explore! Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
93%
Travel Style: N/A
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
14 days
From: Check price
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Overview

Highlights

  • Highland Scenery - Rice paddies, villages and colourful markets
  • Ranomafana - Walk in the rainforest and observe various species of lemurs, chameleons, amphibians and countless species of birds
  • Isalo National Park - Explore the 'Grand Canyon' of Madagascar and meet troops of Ring-tailed lemurs
  • Villages and people - Meet friendly and hospitable local people
  • Ifaty beach -time at the end to relax and swim in the Indian Ocean

Short Description

Highland plains, verdant rainforests and tea plantations are the setting for this cycling adventure in Madagascar. We travel from the Malagasy capital to the inviting waters of the Indian Ocean, cycling the most rewarding sections on largely quiet roads to bring you closer to the sights, sounds and smells. Along the way we explore Ranomafana and Isalo National Parks on foot, hoping to see some species of lemur as well as endemic reptiles, birds and plants. Finally, we reward ourselves with time on the golden beaches of Ifaty before returning to the capital by plane.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Array
Itinerary Focus N/A
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City N/A
End City Antananarivo

Trip Includes

Included Bike

27 or 30 gear Cube or Rock Machine mountain bikes with front suspension

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Join tour Antananarivo

Description

Our tour starts at the hotel in Antananarivo. Madagascar's capital, known locally as 'Tana', enjoys a mild climate (1350m) and is a blend of the old and new with French colonial buildings, old wooden houses and modern offices and apartments. Our hotel is situated in the northern outskirts of town.

Included Meals : None

Day 2 - Drive to colonial Antsirabe. Afternoon warm up ride

Description

We start the day with a drive (4hrs) to the spa town of Antsirabe, located in the central highlands. Founded by Norwegian missionaries in the late 19th century, Madagascar's second-largest city has an elegant feel with wide boulevards and some interesting French colonial architecture. This afternoon we are introduced to our bikes, spending some time ensuring everybody is happy with the fit and making any necessary adjustments before taking off for our first ride, exploring different neighbourhoods of Antsirabe. A gentle introduction to local life and people, the ride covers some 16 kilometres before we head back to the hotel.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 16 kilometres (total 80 metres accumulated ascent and descent).

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 3 - Cycle to Ambositra. Artesan wood carving demonstration

Description

We leave Antsirabe this morning and avoid the city traffic with a transfer to the start of today's ride about an hour away. From here we start our first proper ride on the undulating road southwards, past many rice terraces and small family farms to Ambositra where we spend the night. Ambositra is the centre of Madagascar's wood carving industry, listed as one of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage and this afternoon we plan a visit to a local workshop to learn more about the Zafimaniry carpenters and their art.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 60 kilometres (total 740 metres accumulated ascent and 800 metres descent).

Included Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4 - Cycle to Ranomafana National Park

Description

After breakfast we drive around one and a half hours to the start of today's ride. Our route takes us past rice paddies and villages and passes through pine and eucalyptus forests. The winding road passes varied landscapes with rugged ridges and giant boulders before we finally descend through primary tropical rain forest to our accommodation for the next two nights, situated amid lush nature near Ranomafana. Entrance to the park lies around 12km from the hotel and it was here in 1987 that a new species of lemur - the Golden Bamboo lemur - was discovered. Around 21km of today's ride is on dirt roads.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 59 kilometres (total 770 metres accumulated ascent and 1460 metres descent).

Included Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5 - Rainforest trek in Ranomafana National Park, searching for lemurs and birdlife

Description

Taking a break from the bikes today we explore one of Madagascar's natural highlights on foot. After an early start and short drive to the park entrance the morning will be spent in the park learning about the abundant flora and fauna (approx. 4hrs, 4km). Most lemur species are endangered, the last survivors of a once abundant family of primates, now confined to pockets of forest and bush throughout Madagascar. Deforestation has taken a heavy toll on Madagascar and these arboreal creatures - only about 80 species remain. With luck we may see some of the species found in the park including Red-Bellied lemur, Grey Bamboo lemur, Milne-Edwards' sifaka and perhaps the Black and White Ruffed lemur and the extremely rare Golden Bamboo lemur. We may also spot the Malagasy boa constrictor, chameleons, the black parrot, cuckoo roller and many other birds. We return to Ranomafana village in time for lunch and there is the option to visit some hot springs. In the afternoon you can relax in the hotel garden or there will be an additional optional walk within the park with a chance to spot the species not already seen during the morning. In the evening an optional night walk can be organised to learn about nocturnal wildlife in the area.

No cycling today.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 6 - Picturesque cycling amid tea plantations to Sahambavy; visit tea factory

Description

Leaving Ranomafana behind us, we have a short transfer this morning to the start of today's ride. Back on the bikes our route takes us to Sahambavy passing through more hamlets and fields and eventually the beautiful scenery of Madagascar´s only tea plantations. Part of today's ride is on a gravel road as we reach the Sahambavy Tea Plantation. We allow time to visit the tea factory and along the way we will have the chance to observe local life and hopefully meet some pickers.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 44 kilometres (total 780 metres accumulated ascent and 830 metres descent).

Included Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7 - Cycle to Ambalavao via Fianarantsoa; visit photo studio and artisan paper manufacturer

Description

This morning we cycle straight from the hotel to Fianarantsoa; regarded as the cultural and intellectual capital of Madagascar. The road north of town is flanked by vines as the early religious settlers of Fianarantsoa started Madagscar's only wine industry. We will stop to explore the impressive architecture of the historic centre and plan to visit the photo studio of one of the most famous photographers in the country. Known locally as Fianar this point in our journey marks the end of the central highlands and the beginning of the dry country to the south. We drive a short distance out of town before starting the second leg of today's ride following a windy road to the lively market town of Ambalavao where we spend the night. We plan to visit a local artisan 'Anteimoro' paper manufacturer.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 67 kilometres (total 940 metres accumulated ascent and 1290 metres descent).

Included Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8 - Cycle to Anja Reserve conservation project, home to ring-tailed lemurs

Description

Cycling from our hotel this morning we ride through grasslands dotted with granite mountains to Anja Reserve - a local community project - where we have a chance to watch troupes of ring-tailed lemur among the boulders. A walk of around 1.5hrs takes us into the forest to spot lemurs and other animals. Continuing south by bus (2.5hrs) the pine trees thin out and the fertile soil of the highlands gives way to drier savannah, cactus and termite mounds. We finally reach Ranohira late in the afternoon, situated on the edge of Isalo National Park and our home for the next two nights.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 70 kilometres (total 800 metres accumulated ascent and 1020 metres descent).

Included Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9 - Isalo National Park on foot, admire Madagascar's 'Grand Canyon'

Description

Best explored on foot we explore the stunning landscapes of Isalo National Park today. Dervla Murphy, in her book 'Muddling through Madagascar' describes Isalo NP thus - 'Landscapes that are literally incredible. You don't believe it. You think you're hallucinating. How can wind and water have done all this?' Natural erosion has produced fantastic canyons and bizarre outcrops of wind-blasted sandstone. There are patches of deciduous forest throughout the reserve which are home to lemur groups although they are shy and rarely seen. The temperatures are much hotter and plant life reflects this with moisture retaining species such as succulents, aloes and the extraordinary dwarf baobabs. Rivers and rock pools feed the rich jungle found in the valley bottoms. Our walk (approx. 8km) will take us to natural rock pools where you can cool off. We return to the hotel this afternoon.

No cycling today.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 10 - Cycle to sapphire mining Ilakaka. Drive to coastal resort Ifaty. Baobabs

Description

Today is our final day on the bikes and we ride directly from the hotel along the edge of Isalo NP; taking in some more of this incredible scenery in the early morning. The ride ends in Ilakaka where we learn about the local sapphire mining operation - the largest in the world! This afternoon we drive for about 5 hours to Ifaty Beach, a small resort on the west coast, our base for the next two nights. We plan to make a stop en route, at lunchtime, at Toliara. The final one hour drive has some good Baobab photo opportunities. The afternoon is free to relax. Optional excursions for your time here include snorkelling, whale watching, diving and a jeep trip to see more Baobabs and some villages.

Our total cycling distance today is approximately 27 kilometres (total 260 metres accumulated ascent and 350 metres descent).

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 11 - Free time by the inviting turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean

Description

Today has been left free to relax or explore the area. Ifaty Beach is a huge bay protected by a barrier reef up to seven kilometres from the shore. Traditional fishing villages are scattered along the bay and the Vezo people still use sail-powered outrigger canoes. There is an option to visit the reef for snorkelling. There is also is an excellent optional forest walk in the Reniala Reserve just inland from the beach area, where strange spiny forest can be found and some of the most attractive of the endemic bird species, such as the long-tailed ground roller, sub-desert mesite and sickle-billed vanga.

No cycling today.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 12 - Fly back to 'Tana

Description

This morning we depart Ifaty and drive (1.5hrs) to Toliara for our flight back to Tana, where we will spend our final two nights. In case the flight is delayed and time permits there will be the option to visit the arboretum in Toliara.

No cycling today.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 13 - Highlands and villages walk

Description

This morning we drive into the outskirts of Antananarivo and take a walk through local highland villages and rice paddies, learning about local silk weaving along the way before returning to Antananarivo in the afternoon.

No cycling today.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 14 - Tour ends Antananarivo

Description

Our tour ends in Antananarivo, after breakfast.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Availability

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Stride Featured in

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30 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

93%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 24
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 1
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.5

Cycle Madagascar

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Company Reviews

Wonderful

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I was grateful to Explore with my booking as I was forced to cancel at a late date and then was enabled to rebook which meant the difference between having no summer holiday and a wonderful one. All of the administration seemed to be very efficient, friendly and professional.
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Wonderful holiday memories

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We have travelled all over the world with explore on their family adventure holidays. We have an only child and she benefited so much with instant friendships, and has some wonderful holiday memories. Explore has always been very helpful with the booking process, and we have found most of the tour leaders they use to be professional, committed, really good at their jobs.
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Extremely enjoyable

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I have travelled with Explore on several occasions. Each experience has been positive and every trip extremely enjoyable. The itinerary’s are excellent ensuring a full and varied experience and the use of local guides is hugely beneficial.
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It's fantastic trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
It's fantastic trip for me..just not very happy for accommodation. And the trip leader .If he can make more time with us.and make more interesting and funny when he was talking. It is should be good..other way he is good..
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wonderful

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Danijela, our tour guide, was wonderful. She shared plenty of facts about Croatia with us and managed all the arrangements really well. One of our group had a birthday while we were away and Danijela gave her a present and we celebrated. Transfers to and from the airport went well. Prior to going, the staff on the phones were really helpful with any questions.
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Great experiences

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This was our third family adventure with Explore, all have been great experiences. Kids bond immediately and adults can melt into the background and relax. The size of the groups makes mixing manageable and the guides and crews have been first rate throughout.
Read more

Details

Optional Activities

Optional Excursions

Ifaty - Snorkelling 38 Ariary per person, Whale watching 152 Ariary per person, Diving 152 Ariary per person, Jeep excursion villages and Baobabs 38 Ariary per person (min number required) Ranomafana National Park - Additional guided walk 38 Ariary per person (min number required) Toliara - Arboreteum 46 Ariary per person, Spiney Forest Walk 69 Ariary per person (depending on numbers)

Accomodations

Accommodation Notes

Standard - Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities.

Guides

A Tour Leader is an integral part of any Explore tour and your tour will be led by one of our experienced tour leaders who have been handpicked and expertly trained. We believe that our Tour Leaders are the key to the success of our tours; they are passionate travellers who are bursting with first-hand local knowledge which they love to share. Your tour Leader will also take care of all the planning and organisation throughout your journey. Their passionate approach will make this tour fun and inspiring, bringing the destination to life whether you're travelling alone or with others.

Tour Staff

Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader / Cycle guide

Additional Information:

Cycling Information

On this tour we cycle 343 km over seven days (an average of 49 km per day). The terrain is mainly undulating and on tarmac in decent condition with little car traffic, except some small sections in Antsirabe and Fianarantsoa. About 20% of the entire route is on poor quality pot-holed roads or dirt roads. A support vehicle accompanies the rides throughout the tour. We have graded the route as moderate.

Additional JIs for FI - End Tour

Please be advised that all international flights incur the following departure taxes: From Ivato (Antananarivo) Airport: International airport departure tax is approximately 38Euros Domestic airport departure tax is approximately 20Euros From all Madagascan airports: International country departure tax of US$15.00 per person. Flight tickets issued after 04 November 2016 will include the departure taxes as part of the ticket. If you have booked your flight ticket independently please check with your travel agent/airline if these taxes are included in your ticket. If any are not you will need to pay for the above taxes locally at the airport in cash.

Additional JIs for LO - End Tour

Please be advised that all international flights incur the following departure taxes: From Ivato (Antananarivo) Airport: International airport departure tax is approximately 38Euros Domestic airport departure tax is approximately 20Euros From all Madagascan airports: International country departure tax of US$15.00 per person. Flight tickets issued after 04 November 2016 will include the departure taxes as part of the ticket. If you have booked your flight ticket independently please check with your travel agent/airline if these taxes are included in your ticket. If any are not you will need to pay for the above taxes locally at the airport in cash.

Trip ID#:

explore-CMG

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