Cycle from the Malagasy highlands to the coast in an unforgettable experience covering 500 km. Get the chance to meet local people, enjoy the unique fauna and flora through villages and different landscapes.
This is a small group trip, however we can also organise private departures to suit. Typically you will be sharing your experiences with between six to 12 like-minded bikers and you’ll have a cycling tour manager with you. Whether you are travelling alone or with friends it is a great way to explore Madagascar. Whilst the itinerary is scheduled there is some flexibility. This trip will appeal to travellers of all ages who enjoy meeting new people as well as experiencing new cultures.
This itinerary is a well-balanced tour, mixing wildlife, cycling and culture as well as having a mix of tarred road and dirt road.
As part of our commitment to responsible travel and in conjunction with Woodenstock.org we finance a tree nursery and orchard in Italavina – which is a long term reforestation project.
Day 1: ANTANANARIVO
Upon arrival in Antananarivo you will be greeted by your tour manager and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 2: ANTANANARIVO – ANTSIRABE (B,L,D)
*About 16 km cycling * Transfer to Antsirabe by car. On the way we visit an aluminium pot making factory in Ambatolampy. The drive takes us along a gravel road in the highlands, past rice and fruit fields
Day 3: ANTSIRABE – LAKE ANDRAIKIBA – LAKE TRITRIVA – BETAFO – ANTSIRABE (B,L,D)
*About 59 km cycling, mostly dirt road* Today we visit the the two most known crater lakes in this region – Andraikiba and Tritriva. On the way we have the chance to enjoy the typical landscape of the Merina ethnic group, we pass first Andraikiba (7 km from the city). With a circumference of approx. 5 km it is easy to easily cycle around. After, we continue the fun with our mountain bike along a track to reach another lake, even more spectacular, and full of myths – lake Tritriva. Before even reaching it, we can see the Mount Tritriva starting from the village of Belazao. We will enjoy our picnic lunch here before returning to Antsirabe
Day 4: ANTSIRABE – AMBOSITRA (B,L,D)
*About 95 km cycling* After breakfast we cycle further south on the hilly road to Ambositra, passing many rice terraces of farmers who can harvest up to three times a year. Ambositra is the home of the Zafimaniry carving and we will visit a carpenter. Tonight we will stay at a nice hotel, where the rooms have been decorated by local artists.
Day 5: AMBOSITRA – RANOMAFANA (B,L,D)
*About 70 km cycling, including 25 km dirt road* A transfer by our vehicle takes us to the small village of Camp Robin. From this rural village we ride in a very beautiful valley below towering granite boulders to Ambohimahasoa. After two climbs on the short tar section we ride again through villages and eucalyptus forest until we reach the rain forest of Ranomafana National Park. The last few miles are downhill to our lodge where we will stay for the the night.
Day 6: RANOMAFANA NATIONAL PARK (B,L,D)
Today we will enjoy a walk in Ranomafana National Park.
Day 7: RANOMAFANA – SAHAMBAVY (B,L,D)
*About 64 km cycling, including 44 km dirt road* After breakfast we drive back up again to Andovoka, and from here we start to cycle. During the journey we will see locals selling piles of sand, gained from the nearby river as well as women weaving baskets. On a good gravel road we reach our hotel right in the centre of a tea growing area. If time allows we can possibly visit the Sahambavy Tea Estate, the only tea plantation in Madagascar. The tea estate created in 1970, set in a pretty valley beside Lake Sahambavy, produces large quantities of tea for both export to Mombasa in Kenya and for local consumption. Overnight stay in the charming bungalows overlooking a lake.
Day 8: SAHAMBAVY – AMBALAVAO (B,L,D)
*About 75 km cycling, including 15 km easy dirt road* We cycle to Fianarantsoa, the former spiritual centre of the country. We will relax here for a while and you will have an opportunity to get souvenirs if you would like . We will then head on, mostly downhill, to Ambalavao. The ride is very scenic, with views into the valleys. Shortly before arrival there are a few more hills. Our alternative is to cycle to Ambalavao from the hotel Sahambavy 54 km on mostly difficult dirt road. The car cannot follow here. We cross several small valleys with rice and cassava plantations and some eucalyptus forests. It is an adventure, and tourists do not come here; the children have rarely seen light-coloured people and are curious about us. The 9 km long descent to Ambalavao rewards us for the steep climb. In Ambalavao we visit the traditional Antaimoro papermaking. The origin of the copper-coloured paper that feels like fine, silky wallpaper is far back into the past.
Day 9: AMBALAVAO – ANJA VILLAGERS PARK – TSARANORO (B,L,D)
*About 56 km cycling, including 20 km dirt road* Near to our hotel is a craft shop, which produces the well-known Antaimoro paper. We leave the busy little town heading further south. The landscape changes into open grassland savannah dotted with enormous granite mountains. Bizarre landscapes of towering cliffs await us in the small nature reserve of Anja with superb scenery, plants, Betsileo history, caves and tombs and ring-tailed lemurs (also known as Catta lemurs). We take an hour walk into the park before we leave the road entering the Tsaranoro Valley leading into the Andringitra Mountains. We stay over at a rustic camp for two nights.
Day 10: HIKE INTO ANDRINGITRA MASSIF (B,L,D)
*About 56 km cycling, including 20 km dirt road* Several tours are available as the ascent of Mount Tsaranoro. After villages, rice fields and hills we reach a sacred forest around which entwines a story. This area is well known for many lemurs like the lively Catta lemurs. Today we walk through the woods to traditional villages in secluded valleys. The mountains are volcanic in origin. It consists of strongly fissured granite. The Andringitra massif is extending in a length of 100 km. We appreciate spectacular views over this ancient landscape.
Day 11: TSARANORO – RANOHIRA (B,L,D)
*About 60 km cycling, including 20 km dirt road* We ride back to the tarred road to Ankaramena, which is well known for its delicious mango and papaya fruits. In our support vehicle we drive to Ihosy and from there we continue to the plateau of Horombe. To get a better impression of this amazing landscape, we ride the last 20 km to our lodge on the edge of the Isalo National Park.
Day 12: ISALO NATIONAL PARK (B,L,D)
*About 60 km cycling, including 20 km dirt road* After a short ride on tarmac, we will head onto a beautiful sandy path to the national park. We hope to see lemurs and enjoy the spectacular views of the region. Later we will have the opportunity at, Piscine Naturelle ‘ to take a bath. After our hike we cycle to the ‘Maison du Tourisme’ which is a few kilometres along the RN7. From here we have a good view of the Isalo Mountains. Here our bike tour ends.
Day 13: RANOHIRA – TOLIARA – IFATY (B,L,D)
We take the support vehicle to Tulear . On the way we see impressive baobab trees which are scattered in this wild environment. We also have a look to the tombs of the Mahafaly and Antandroy. The area around Tulear is the home field of the Vezo ethnic group. They earn their living by fishing. After a short stop in the town we drive to Ifaty, a small fishing village. This invites the warm Indian Ocean for a swim. In the evening we forget all the hardships of our journey through Madagascar and celebrate the end of our bike ride. . After dinner your tour manager will leave you.
Day 14 & 15: IFATY (B)
Days spent relaxing and swimming. If you like to see more of the unique plant life take a walk to a nearby Nature Reserve – The Spiny Forest, this is known for the variety of Didierraceae, Adansonia, and Euphorbia and Baobab trees.
Day 16: FLIGHT HOME (B)
Transfer to Tulear Airport and return flight to Tana. Trip ends. We can arrange for an additional nights accommodation.
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A well organised holiday, run by caring and dedicated tour guides who managed very well in a country with many challenges.