Bike and Hike Madagascar

Starting From

$3,892/person

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An active journey through beautiful Madagascar by bike and on foot

Details

Duration: 15 Days
Starts in: Madagascar
Group Size: 2-16

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Join Antananarivo

We meet at the hotel in Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital on Day 1 - known locally as Tana. We can assist with private transfers (additional cost applies). 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 Antanarivo. 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. Overnight: Combava Hotel or similar

Arrive Antsirabe, commence cycling (20km)

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. Cycling distance - 20km. Overnight: Chambres du Voyageur or similar

Cycle to the crater lakes of Andraikiba and Tritriva (54km)

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 singletrack 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. Cycling distance/elevation - 54km; ascent 569m. Overnight: Chambres du Voyageur or similar

Cycle to Ambositra (95km)

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 are 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. Cycling distance/elevation - 95km; ascent 819m. Overnight: Artisan Hotel or similar

Cycle to Ranomafana National Park (65km)

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. Cycling distance/elevation - 65km; ascent 980m. Overnight: Le Grenat or similar

Ranomafana forest hike (4-6 hrs; 10-12 kms walking)

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 kms. 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. Overnight: Le Grenat or similar

Cycle to Sahambavy (53km)

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. Cycling distance/elevation - 53km; ascent 825m. Overnight: Lac Hotel or similar

Cycle to Ambalavao (56km)

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. Cycling distance/elevation - 56km; ascent 720m. Overnight: Espace Zongo or similar

Cycle to Andringitra National Park (59km)

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. Cycling distance/elevation - 59km; ascent 882m. Overnight: Camp Catta or similar

Andringitra Massif hike (4-6 hrs; 14 kms walking)

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. Overnight: Camp Catta or similar

Cycle Ankaramena to Ranohira (75km)

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. Cycling distance/elevation - 75km; ascent 332m. Overnight: Hotel H1 or similar

Cycle to Isalo National Park, day hike in Isalo (4-6 hrs; 15 kms walking)

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 Offline 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 or similar

Cycle to Ilakaka (32km), transfer to 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. Cycling distance/elevation - 32km; ascent 392m. Overnight: La Mira or similar

At leisure in Toliara

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. Overnight: La Mira or similar

In Toliara, trip concludes

Our tour ends after breakfast, but we can assist you in extending your holiday in Madagascar.

Additional Information

Madagascar is an island of unparalleled landscapes vastly different from mainland Africa, and this multi-activity tour consisting of 519 km of riding and up to 50 km of hiking offers an exciting combination of terrain for the adventurous cyclist and hiker to tackle. Starting from the capital of Antananarivo, we ride the wilds of Madagascar across wide-open savannah, punctuated by otherworldly rock formations. With a variety of road conditions from tarmac and hard-packed dirt roads to off-road trails, we will experience steep uphill climbs past terraced rice paddies and vast downhill descents across the highlands. Mingle with the friendly Malagasy people to experience their culture and how they live off the land, and search for lemurs in the lush tropical rainforest of Ranomafana. Reward your efforts and refresh your hard-working muscles in the natural pools and waterfalls we pause at to rest. This trip is recommended for confident and physically fit riders looking for a challenging experience with a variety of off-road activities.

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Starting From

$3,892/person

Add your business today to reach The Outbound's audience of adventurous travelers.