Cycle in a small international group or take an individual arrangement. We propose small cycle groups starting in Antananarivo on Saturday, 4 April, Thursday, 18 June
and 8 October 2020 and Saturday, 27 March 2021
Duration of this bike ride is 15 days / 14 nights. Designed for regular cyclists who are looking for longer distances of 65 – 110 km per day. Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, lies in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique. The international conservation community has singled it out as one of the most ecologically rich countries on the planet – the last Eden. This bike ride takes us on an 8 days’ cycle, about 650 kilometres in total, in the east of this amazing island. We cycle through highland villages and paddy fields, the lush tropical fruit plantations and coastal trails up as far as the tropical island of Ile Sainte Marie. The terrain is an exciting combination of tarmac and dusty red-earth dirt road trails. Far away from the modern comforts of daily life, this will be an unforgettable experience.
Single room surcharge 480 Euro
Bike Rental 200 Euro
Flight Nosy Boraha (Ste. Marie) – Antananarivo not included
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
From / to Antananarivo
Duration: 15 days / 14 nights
Cycling: 8 days and short distances
Distance: about 650 km, from which 120 km are dirt road
National park: Andasibe-Mantadia National park
Beach: Two days
Best season: from April to November. From July to October is a chance to see whales.
Domestic flight not included
Requirements: good cyclist, team spirit.
The tour can be changed according to circumstances
Typically, you will be sharing your experiences with between six to 12 likeminded bikers and you will have a cycling tour manager with you. Whether you are travelling alone or with friends its good value, and a great way to meet new people. While the itinerary is scheduled, there is some flexibility and you will 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 would prefer an individual tour, please ask for an offer.
Madagascar formed by continental drift rather than volcanic eruption (it tore off the African mainland around 165 million years ago). A narrow coastal strip in the east where most of the rainforest grows; the central plateau in the high altitudes is cool; and there are plains and low-lying plateaux to the west. Madagascar is a continent with wide changes of microclimates, vastly different habitats and a huge number of endemic species.
Don’t forget: You’re on holidays. We are flexible in distances and timings. If you think a bit less is fine, the support car is mostly near.
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 at close hand is what this challenge is all about.
Cycling 650 km from the capital of Antananarivo to the unspoilt tropical island of Nosy Boraha (Ste. Marie)
– Cycling the suburbs of Antananarivo
– Indri reserve
– Andasibe-Mantadia NP
– Walks and Exploration at Mahavelona (Foulpointe) Beach
– Tropical Island of Nosy Boraha ( Ste. Marie)
Towns: Antananarivo – Moramanga – Toamasina – Mahavelona (Foulpointe) – Fenoarivo Atsinanana
Madagascar is a third world country that is not fully geared up to tourism. You should therefore be prepared for changes to the route and accommodation right up to the last minute and remember that facilities will not be same as Europe.
Arrive in Madagascar
Arrive in Ivato, Antananarivo airport. You are free to arrive at any time. Meet, greet, and transfer to the hotel where we stay. Tana is a charming collection of colourful houses, often crooked and stuck awkwardly to the slopes. These unique buildings made up of crooked roofs, weathered brick walls and ramshackle wooden stalls.
Antananarivo, approximately 65 km
On our first day in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, we will have a bike fitting in the morning. Afterwards we will make a small excursion by bike to the surroundings of Antananarivo. After driving on a bypass road, we will head west, for a good 20 kilometres until we reach a private park. Here we will see for the first time on our tour lemurs and other animals.
Antananarivo – Lac Mantasoa approximately 70 km
We will start by cycling out of Tana on a busy section of road with a slight bit of uphill. Once out of the city, the roads become much quieter and for most of the day, we will be cycling on good tarmac roads, undulating through villages and lush green rice paddies. We will then come to a dirt road section, starting with a few km of cobblestone. It will mostly be uphill for a few km until we reach the top, where we have great views on the surroundings of Tana before retracing our route back to the main road and continuing on towards Lac Mantasoa. As we cycle past highland villages, the scenery changes and roads lined with grey eucalyptus trees contrasting against the bright red earth. After 48 km we will turn south in the direction of Lake Mantasoa. From here, we will cycle 13 km on dusty dirt road trails to the small village of Mantasoa. From here, we will follow a bumpy road that is for the most part broken up tarmac with potholes and sharp ascents and descents. Hillsides are covered with eucalyptus and pine trees and as we cycle up to a height of 1300 m, the views across the lake are worth the effort. We reach the lake and skirt round the shores to our overnight hotel overlooking the lake.
Mantasoa – Moramanga approximately 62 km
We retrace the last 13 km of yesterday’s off-road trail to re-join our route. After a few steep undulations, we turn away from the lake and back to a landscape dotted with rice paddies and huts. After Ambatoloana, we re-join a good tarmac road. The road is mainly downhill and winds between lush forest and bamboo. There are flat and undulating sections for the rest of the morning. We visit the Exotic Reptile Farm. There we have the chance to see a lot of frogs, chameleons and butterflies. After a picnic lunch, we cycle to the town of Moramanga
Moramanga – Andasibe, about 35 km
In the morning, we visit the Museum of the National Gendarmerie. The back to the saddle. We cycle up a long hill followed by a zigzagging downhill stretch of road. The next stretch is gently undulating. We will cycle through the village of Andasibe then the final few kilometres are a beautiful dirt road trail through the forest to our overnight stay.
Andasibe-Mantadia NP, approximately 34 km
We begin with a very early morning breakfast and cycle a few km to the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park. We change into our walking shoes for a guided walking tour around the forest to visit the Indri Lemurs and enjoy the flora and fauna. We follow the strange cries of the Indri and hope to see the whole family. We also have the opportunity to see many plants and other lemurs as well as birds. After lunch, we cycle by bike in a different part of the park called Mantadia. Here we take a walk in the primary rainforest before we cycle back to our hotel.
Andasibe – Ranomafana-Est, approximately 70 km
We re-join our bikes and head for the main road. We cycle on the road with some long gradual uphills and downhills with some stunning panoramic views over the surrounding hills. The scenery changes again and our route is lined with lush banana and mango plantations, lychee trees and the endemic Ravinala palm, whose enormous fan-like leaves are used for roofing in the area. The air becomes noticeably hotter as we descend. After lunch, we cycle a short distance to the small town of Ranomafana Est where we stay the night in simple bungalows.
Ranomafana-Est – Manambato, approximately 60 km including 7 km dirt road with some difficulties
Today we will cycle to the little hamlet of Manambato. First, we will cycle on tarmac until we pass through the larger town Brickaville. The last 7 km we make a final push to come over the bumpy dirt road through the village Manambato to the shores of Lake Rasoabe. We will stay here for the night.
Manambato – Toamasina (Tamatave), approximately 104 km (7 km tough dirt road)
We will cycle back to the main road, this time uphill and on a poor-quality dirt road. For the next 30 km, the road is mostly flat, straight and lined with lychee trees and bamboo forests. As the day progresses, the road begins to gently undulate. We are now deep in the lush eastern plains of Madagascar as we cycle through palm tree plantations and an array of tropical fruits – banana, mango and papaya. For the last 20 km, the road levels out and we approach Madagascar’s second largest town, Toamasina (often still called Tamatave) – a lively port, buzzing with life. In the suburbs, we regroup and cycle together on a badly maintained tarmac road packed with markets, cyclists, cars and pedestrians. Then we turn off onto a quiet road that leads to our next overnight stop.
Toamasina (Tamatave) – Mahavelona (Foulpointe), approximately 57 km
The road is flat, quiet and rural with little traffic. It will be another hot day so there will be plenty of water stops throughout the ride. Eventually we will reach sand dunes and follow the beautiful coastline northwards, passing modest resorts and the occasional village. As we cycle up the coast, we continue crossing the river; a Laguna separates the road from the coast. The final kilometre cuts across a dirt road trail to the beach and to our resting place for the night.
Mahavelona (Foulpointe) – Mahambo, about 25 km – Ferry to Ile Sainte Marie – 1 or 2 hours, depending on sea conditions, on arrival cycling Ambodifotatra – Maromandia (18 km) in total approximately 43 km cycling
We will be driving very early today. We will experience the country waking up. Seeing the farmers go to work and the students go to school. Homemakers are already busy and the market traders build up their stands. We are aiming to reach the ferry to Nosy Boraha. It is located at the pier of Mahambo. The bikes are loaded on the ferry. Before we leave, however, the registration has to be done, at the local gendarmerie office. The crossing takes about one or two hours depending on the weather. Arriving on the harbour side of Nosy Boraha, we swing back on the saddle for the last section of the day trip of today. We will have to conquer the 18 km up to our accommodation on a paved road, usually along the coast. At first, the road is level but after a while, it winds uphill, curving towards the north. From the road, we turn into the access leading to the hotel.
Nosy Boraha (Ile Ste. Marie), approximately 42 km dirt road
Our final day will be one of mixed emotions! A real treat as we cycle across and around much of this beautiful, virtually untouched island for the whole day, but on the flipside the dirt road terrain will be gruelling and we will have to negotiate lots of sharp ups and downs, deep potholes, rocks and sand. We set off early, heading north and uphill towards Ankirihiry. The first few km of the day are on tarmac but we soon come to the challenging dirt road that stays with us for the rest of the day. On reaching Ankirihiry, we turn inland for 5 km to cross the island from one side to the other. With the Indian Ocean now on our left we cycle south towards Anfiafy and Marofilao eventually reaching the port of Ambodifotatra. We continue south to our finish line at our hotel that will be our base for the next two nights. After celebrating the finish line, we enjoy a well refreshing drink next to the glittering Indian Ocean. What better way to complete this spectacular challenge in Madagascar. This evening we celebrate the end of the challenge and toast our achievement.
Nosy Boraha (Ile Sainte Marie)
Free days to relax at the tropical island of Ste. Marie. Swimming pool, tennis, mountain biking, beach volleyball, badminton, ping pong … visit to the pirate cemetery on the island or islet Iles aux Nattes. Even a small nature park is located not far from the hotel. From June to October you may observe whales.
Ste. Marie – Tana
Flight from Ste. Marie to Tana
Leisurely walk to the airport to catch a flight to Antananarivo. – End of service. –
The proposed hotels lodges and guesthouses :
(The information comes usually from the hotel or a third party).
We will mostly be staying in upper middle-class hotels, boutique hotels, fine 3-star hotels or comfortable lodges with a special charm, but sometimes, we will have to give up the comforts of these more comfortable hotels and live in smaller, simpler hotels, guesthouses and lodges. In remote areas, electricity is often only available on an hourly basis. The standard of accommodation is not the same as in Europe.
Town, city or place, short description
Antananarivo, Orchid, ideally situated five minutes from Ivato airport making it a perfect hotel for one-night stays or early morning departures. Built on two floors with elevator access, the rooms are spacious with has a/c, modern bathrooms, mini bar, TV, telephone, Wi-Fi, safe. Most of the rooms have impressive views over the rice paddies. Restaurant and a large terrace with great views and a huge moon shaped swimming pool. Adjacent to the pool is a gym.
Antananarivo, Motel Anosy – Solimotel is a quiet place in the centre of the city. The hotel has two restaurants, bar, pool, tennis court. Room Service. Wi-Fi. From here, there are only a few steps to Anosy lake and the city centre.
Mantasoa, Ermitage. The hotel is set in its own grounds covering 32 hectares amidst a magnificent pine forest overlook in Mantasoa. Lake 60 km from the capital Antananarivo. Double, twin and triple rooms. Restaurant and Bar, Lounge with a beautiful store fireplace. Sports facilities, Massage salon, Horse Riding, Tennis Court, Volley Ball, Bowling, Basketball, Table tennis, Nature trails, Water sport, and Boat excursions. If you are not enticed with our sports activities, treat yourself to relaxing massage.
Moramanga, Bezanozano is a simple local style hotel in the centre of the town. A great way to connect to the local people and discover the town. Private facilities.
Andasibe, Lemur Lodge, spacious, bright bungalows overlooking a large garden. The rooms and bungalows have a small terrace where you can relax after your tours in the park. The hotel is located a few kilometres outside the village of Andasibe.
Ranomafana Est, Mirindra. Some simple bungalows on the main road.
Manambato, Les Acasias Pleasant, bright and comfortable double and familiar bungalows located on a very beautiful setting. Pleasant, bright and comfortable double and familiar bungalows located on a very beautiful setting on the lake Rasoa Be.
Toamasina (Tamatave), Splendide has a large selection of rooms in a luxurious location near the airport. Rooms of high standard with a refined decoration, all equipped with air conditioning, modern bathroom, satellite TV, Wi-Fi connection.
Mahavelona (Foulpointe), Manda Beach with its warmth and its style typically offer a stay warm and distinguished. Situated north of Toamasina his hotel complex with its rooms and bungalows, traditional construction comfortably surrounded by lush greenery with a swimming pool, tennis and other games, along the beach of Mahavelona (Foulpointe).
Nosy Boraha (Ste. Marie), Masonadro Lodge. The complex consists of nice bungalows in lodge style, a pool and a beach in a beautiful bay. There is also a restaurant in the open building overlooking the sea.
Nosy Boraha (Ste. Marie), Soanambo. The hotel takes its name from the Malagasy appellation of breadfruit, which grows in abundance on the island, characterized by its large, deeply cut leaves and round, edible fruits. Each prestige room also has a dressing room, a code safe and isophonic doors. The technology is present with a flat screen TV sensing satellite channels.