Travel dates on Thursday 26 June and 12 September 2019 starting from Antananarivo
Discover the unknown in Africa! Discover the secrets of Madagascar on the saddle, get away from the traffic on remote gravel roads, visit the friendly locals and see all the wonderful animals such as the famous lemurs.
Our stages on this journey:
Bike tour Miarinarivo to Ampefy, about 55 km
Bike tour to Lily waterfall, about 30 km
Bike tour Faratsiho to Antsirabe, about 80 km
Bike tour Antsirabe to Ambositra, about 51 km
Bike tour Ambositra to Fianarantsoa, about 67 km
Bike tour Fianarantsoa to Ambalavao, about 49 km
Bike tour Ambalavao to Tsaranoro, about 54 km
Bike tour Tsaranoro – Ankaramena, about 25 km
Bike tour Talata-Ampano – Sahambavy, about 70 km
Bike tour Sahambavy to Ranomafana, about 45 km
Bike tour from Ranomafana to Irondro, about 60 km
Single room surcharge 390 Euro
Domestic flight Toliara – Antananarivo on request
Bike Rental 200 Euro
Arrival Day 1 latest at 15:00
From / to Antananarivo
Duration of the tour: 17 days / 16 nights in the country
Cycling: 11 days
Distance: approx. 530 km with approximate 300 km dirt road
Support car: available
National parks: Visit in Ranomafana (hiking)
Private Park: Anja, villagers Park, about one hour
Region: Vakinankaratra region around Antsirabe and Andringitra massif and region (trekking)
Beach: One day
You should be a good cyclist and have good team Geist
Typically, you will be sharing your experiences with likeminded cyclists and you’ll have a cycling tour manager with you. Whether you are travelling alone or with friends, it doesn’t matter and it is a great way to meet new people. While the itinerary is scheduled, there is some flexibility and you’ll have plenty of privacy. This trip will appeal to travellers of all ages who enjoy meeting new people as well as experiencing new cultures. If you prefer an individual tour, please ask us for an offer.
Stevens Mira Stevens Applebee,
Rock Machine Torrent 70 and Cube Attention,
29“ or 27,5“ frame, 30 gears, Shimano Deore or higher, fork 100 mm Rock Shox or SR Suntour
Cycling approximately 530 km from the capital of Antananarivo to the east coast of Madagascar
– Lac Itasy and its region
– The 13 villages and Ilot de la vierge
– Lily waterfall
– Antsirabe Region
– Tritriva lake excursion
– Lac Sahambavy
– Ranomafana National park
– Manakara beach
Towns: Antananarivo – Miarinarivo – Ampefy – Antsirabe – Ambositra – Fianarantsoa – Manakara
Don’t forget: You’re on holiday. We are flexible with distances and timings. If you need to do some extra miles, we will be happy to arrange this for you. If you think a bit less is fine, the support car is normally nearby.
Please bring a sense of adventure when travelling to Madagascar. It is a developing destination and we will be cycling through remote areas where hotels, infrastructure and travel services are often basic. Be prepared to go outside your usual comfort zone and you will be richly rewarded. Discovering the real Madagascar close hand is what this challenge is all about.
Arrival in Madagascar by plane latest at 15:00
Meet and greet on the airport, drive to Miarinarivo
Today is the day of arrival. You should arrive latest early afternoon. Upon arrival in Antananarivo, your Tour Manager will greet you. Antananarivo, mostly shortened to Tana, takes its name from an episode in Malagasy history. King Andrianjaka had his royal palace and stronghold here. The name of the city Antananarivo means ‘one thousand warriors’, after the story that the King quartered these warriors in his palace. We transfer by car to Miarinarivo and spend the night there.
Bike Tour Miarinarivo – Ampefy, about 55 km
During today’s bike tour, we will have a fantastic view over the landscapes, on the way to the volcano area around Ampefy. The route taken today is challenging. The car will not be able to follow us. We will cross rice fields, where we can see the farmers working. We will cross a river on a narrow bridge. We will come to some tiny villages and see the way of life in the countryside. Depending on our timeframe, in the afternoon we will visit the Lily waterfall and / or the Geysers of Analavory either by bike or by car. This spectacular 23m high waterfall, full of legends, is located in a splendid site bordered by green grass. A few kilometres further down are the Analavory Geysers. These four geysers spout water 20 to 30cm in the air, but sometimes this can increase to several meters.
Bike Tour around Ampefy, about 30 km
Ampefy is a small typical town on the banks of Itasy Lake. The landscape is volcanic with domes, lakes and rivers, and even some rapids. Because of its altitude, Ampefy offers panoramic views on all the surrounding landscapes. Numerous vegetables and fruits come from this area, such as tomatoes, tobaccos, apples, avocados, manioc and many more. In addition to these, in the lake there are plenty of fish like tilapia or carp. We will discover the region by cycling along the 13 villages trail. This leads us around the Itasy Lake with great views on the landscape. The car cannot follow. On the end, we cycle up to the Ilot de la vierge, where we enjoy a 360° panoramic view of the lake and the region. Later we will complete our visit of the region if we didn’t yesterday.
Bike Tour Ampefy – Faratsiho, to Antsirabe about 80 km
The first section we will drive by car. There is very little traffic there and we will have fantastic views over the landscape. We can easily meet the local people, talk to them and have a close look at their daily life. The highest point we reach is high 2180 meters. Here is one of the coldest regions of the country. The last 37 kilometres is on tarmac and will be downhill until we reach Antsirabe. Lunch we take in Sambaina, in a local restaurant and we learn to appreciate local Malagasy food.
Bike tour Antsirabe – Fandriana – Ambositra, about 50 km, plus car transfer
Today is a challenging cycling day. We start early in the morning by bus to join a good dirt road trail for about 35 km. Here we reach the small village of Soanindrariny, where we will get on our bikes and the adventure can start. The next 50 km we will have to be self-sufficient, as the car cannot follow. During today, we can expect great landscapes, great views, and rural life of the Malagasy population. In addition, there will be lots of uphill and downhills until we arrive in the town of Fandriana. There the support car will wait for us. We load the bikes and drive another hour to Ambositra where we stay the night at a nice hotel.
Bike tour Ambositra – Fianarantsoa, about 65 km cycling plus car transfer
Ambositra is the home of the Zafimaniry woodcarvers and we will visit a carpenter. For generations, Zafimaniry foresters, carpenters and craft workers have developed a body of practical knowledge and skills revolving around wood. Their remarkable constructions, and especially, their sculpted doors and windows are so admirable that they were included in the World Heritage list of UNESCOs. Geometric designs and rosettes depict the different relationships that people have. The landscape surrounding is mountainous. A transfer by our vehicle takes us to the village of Ambohimahasoa, where we start cycling, mainly on tarmacked road.
Fianarantsoa – Ambalavao, 56 km
Fianarantsoa, the former spiritual centre of the country, is the second biggest town of Madagascar and the capital of Haute Matsiatra Region. It was built in the early 19 century as the administrative centre, and is where we will continue cycling, mostly downhill, to Ambalavao. The ride is very scenic, with views over the valleys. Only shortly before arrival does is start to undulate. We will cross several small valleys with rice and cassava plantations and some eucalyptus forests. It is an adventurous route, tourists do not come here; the children have rarely seen light-coloured people and are curious about us. In Ambalavao, we visit the traditional Antaimoro papermaker. The copper-coloured paper feels like fine, silky wallpaper and seems very much outdated.
Bike tour Ambalavao – Anja villagers Park – Tsaranoro, about 54 km, 20 km dirt road
Close to our hotel is a craft shop, which produces the well-known Antaimoro paper. We leave the busy little town heading further south, where 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. 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 in bungalows at a camp for two nights.
Hike into Andringitra massif and region
Today we take a hike climbing to the ‘chameleon’ mountain, with its shape of a chameleon in the rock. After villages, rice fields and hills we will reach some forests with gnarled trees. Maybe we’ll see lemurs. The mountain with its steep cliffs is of volcanic origin, consisting of highly fissured granite. The height is between 650 and 2600 meters. Andringitra extends over a length of 100 km. We appreciate spectacular views over this ancient landscape, and can discover many of its historic places.
Tsaranoro – Ambalavao, about 35 km dirt road
After breakfast, we will cycle back on a dirt road to Ankaramena where we meet the RN7, the National road 7. From here, we return to Ambalavao, where we spend another night.
Bike tour Ambalavao – Sahambavy, about 70 km cycling plus car transfer
After a short car transfer, we are back in the saddle. The first 30 km are mostly undulating, then after it is mostly downhill. We will get on our bikes again and cycle on a dirt road through many small valleys and farms filled with rice and cassava. There are not many tourists here; children have rarely seen white people and are curious. The car cannot follow. We will end up at a lake surrounded by tea plantations.
Bike tour Sahambavy – Ranomafana, about 44 km
It’s possible to 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. After lunch, we will have another some kilometres of dirt road without the support car.
Hike in Ranomafana National Park
Today we are taking a break from our bike tour. We will discover the Ranomafana National Park by foot. On a hike through the tropical park made up of rainforest, we will discover the interesting, endemic animal and plant world more closely. In Ranomafana, there are 12 species of lemurs, Geckos, Chameleons, and toads and more than 96 birds whose 68 endemic. We can find orchids, large bamboos and bracken. We hope to see different lemurs, for example Diadema Sifaka. If we have the chance we will see different species of Lemurs, one of which, the bamboo lemur. We have a possibility to go to the swimming pool with the natural warm water.
Bike tour from Ranomafana to Irondro and transfer to Manakara, about 60 km cycling, car transfer
For the last stretch, this will mostly be a downhill tarmac road toward the coast. Later we will jump into the bus to reach our destination by the beach. Here the warm, tropical Indian Ocean invites us to enjoy the beach. In the evening, we leave behind the physical fatigue, and celebrate the end of our bike tour.
Relax on the beach.
Manakara – Ambositra
Today we say ‘Good bye’ to the beach before taking the bus to Ambositra. There we overnight.
Ambositra – Antananarivo
Return journey home with airline earliest at 15 o’clock
Direct transfer from the hotel to Antananarivo airport. – Here our tour ends. –
The proposed hotels, lodges and guesthouses:
(The information comes usually from the hotel or a third party).
We will mostly not be staying in higher-class hotels and usually stay in smaller, simpler hotels, guesthouses and lodges. These hotels are middle class hotels or rustic lodges with a local charm. All have a private bathroom with shower and toilet. The standard of accommodation is not the same as in Europe.
City or town, short description of the place
Miarinarivo, Des Volcans, a comfortable hotel with restaurant and bar. Beside a choice of local dishes, we also find some international meals. The hotel is located on the entrance of town. The rooms have private bathroom.
Ampefy. The Kavitaha hotel is located on the edge of a crater lake. Overlooking the lake it offers a breath-taking view over a beautiful waterfall, a sweet hotel, comfortable rooms, beautiful garden, swimming pool, tennis table.
Antsirabe, Des Thermes, a haven of peace in the centre of the city … A colonial-style historical monument nestled in the middle of a magnificent park.
Ambositra, La Piscine Escapade. The city is known for the Zafimaniry carving. There is something in the outlying are hotel several bungalows and the main building with restaurant, bar and rooms, to the swimming pool and a gallery.
Fianarantsoa, Victoria. A hotel in the city centre of Fianarantsoa, with several comfortable rooms equipped with a private bathroom, air conditioning, rosewood furniture and TV. The restaurant and bar offer a wide choice of dishes and drinks.
Ambalavao, Aux Bougainvillées, A good choice for those seeking for some comfort. Nice, clean rooms with a good restaurant. The hotel shares the same grounds as the Antaimoro paper factory so you can enjoy watching at the manufacturing of the traditional art.
Tsaranoro, Camp Catta, To accommodate the travellers there are spacious tents. Each tent is equipped with two beds and a bedside table. There is also the possibility to hang his clothes. Behind each tent, there is a small bathroom with an outdoor shower and camping facilities. There are lanterns and candles in the evening for the necessary lighting. Centre of the place is the restaurant with a bar and a corner to relax. Typical of the region flora and fauna can be explored near the camp.
Sahambavy, Lac Hotel. The hotel is beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Sahambavy, approximately in the middle of Madagascar, at the foot of a hill. Comfortable rooms and charming bungalows, some of them scattered on stilts, in a tropical garden. Most of the served food in the restaurant grows in their own garden.
Ranomafana, Cristo. The hotel situated on the hill of Manerinerina directly on Namorona river that flows through the National Park. The bungalows and rooms are well furnished. You will find everything you need for a pleasant stay.
Mananjary, Sorafa. Nestled against the beach, the Manakara River and the Pangalanes Canal in lush greenery within a tropical garden, the hotel enjoys a fabulous location. The bungalows are made from traditional materials. They operate with solar hot water and have mosquito nets. The hotel has a restaurant to prepare local specialties made with fresh products. With a breath-taking view of the ocean, they propose to taste the traditional Malagasy cuisine mainly concentrated around the products of the sea. The tropical garden of is an oasis of freshness and tranquillity.