I have sent you a very good review of the questionnaire. And this is honest, because I think the Madagascar trip I was allowed to make (even if shortened) was a very wonderful bike trip. I have already made some long-distance bike trips and Madagascar does not need to hide there. The country is really ideal for cycling, outside of the cities (and on the slopes anyway) there is little traffic and there are actually not even two kilometers where the landscape is not really beautiful. A permanent pleasure for the eye and the senses. Maybe I haven’t even experienced this on my other trips. And a little bit of authentic Third World city traffic also has its charm for me. These are cycling experiences that you keep for a long time. Also the encounters with people (which you inevitably have on a bike) are wonderful, often very warm, even if sometimes it is not easy to bear the poverty of the people. When we took a break in the remote villages, we were immediately surrounded by dozens of mainly children who watched us, but certainly hoped to get some of our break food. To be honest, in such cases I could only eat fruit, I wouldn’t have had more over my heart, so you are not allowed to offer the sweets and bars. But of course, once you would start to distribute food here, you could never stop and there is also an unhealthy professional begging on site. But our tour guide on the spot managed all this really well and also explained that the young Francko did a good job. With Cycle Madagascar / Momotas Sarl you have a very good partner on site, which was shown not least by the effort they put into getting us safely on the plane shortly before the Corona flight stop and to provide us with intensive support. As far as cycling is concerned, the sections of the runway were certainly my personal highlights. No traffic, lots of time and opportunity to enjoy the landscape and the most remote villages. But I also think it’s great that 3 trekking days are part of the program (unfortunately we didn’t make the last one). I find the accommodations really appealing for a country like Madagascar. The hotel in Antananarivo is remote but close to the airport. At first I thought, it’s not that great, why aren’t we in the center? But then we visited Antananarivo shortly before departure and the city doesn’t give much to see, so you get to see much more beautiful things on your journey. So the hotel is also ok. Wonderful, very luxurious is the Lac Hotel in Sahambavy, really a great complex. I found it absolutely ok that there were also some simple accommodations in between, I expected much less here. The food is also completely ok. Maybe Madagascar’s cuisine does not have the refinement like in Vietnam or Peru, but the restaurants were all good. And we don’t even have to discuss the team’s self-prepared lunch buffets, just great. What also surprised me was that the Momotas send a masseuse with every group, which was something I had never had before. So the question arises, if you or the Momotas don’t want to use it for advertising or, as I did, present it as a surprise on site. In any case, it’s a real added value. I can only hope that both African Bikers and Cycle Madagascar will somehow get through the Corona crisis well, so that this trip can be offered again in the future. Economically, this is the super-GAU for the travel industry at the moment. And Africa, where Corona arrived with a delay, might need much longer to get rid of it. Not good omens, but I wish you all the best.
Personally, I have never read a travel description that prepares you for a bike trip as precisely as the one that describes the trip. So whoever reads the travel description exactly knows what he is getting into. Thick praise: The accommodations were for the expected conditions in a very poor country top maintained and clean! The tour guide was for his age very, very careful and well very well trained. No wishes remained open!
Yeah, what can I say about this trip. For me personally, this way of travelling did not quite fit in this country. I am a biker who loves to ride off-road and I am not afraid to be a bit rough on the road. So high climbs and cool single trails down again. Unfortunately, this has never happened on this trip. This trip is not for bikers who like to be off-road and who want to get their technical requirements met. One is much too much on tarred roads. For me personally, biking in the conventional sense has never happened at all, except on the way to Camp Catta in Tsaranoro. There you could let off steam a little and add a sporty touch to your bike technique. My expectations as a biker in the conventional sense were probably too high. Well, now you can say that you travelled to this country to see something. Yes, that’s true, but all those beautiful colorful animals laughing at you from the internet, you could only see them in protected parks and reserves anyway. You never got there by bike. But, and now I come to the positive side of this trip. The support by the team, which accompanied us 2 bike guides, mechanic, masseur, rider etc. was absolutely outstanding. You have done your job more than just well. The lunch we got (prepared by the guys) was better by classes than what we were offered in the hotels. There was everything what the heart desires: good, tasty starters, a warm main course (super delicious), good bread, cheese, jam, honey, tea, coffee, fruit juices simply everything. And we ate and drank from porcelain tableware (no plastic washing-up liquid, like with us)! Besides, practically every wish was read from our eyes, so high was the attention and the will to make it as beautiful as possible for us. Francko, the German speaking bike guide was the attention in person. Example: TV too loud in a hotel during dinner, a critical look from me in the direction of the source of interference, I hadn’t said anything yet, Francko already got up from his well-deserved dinner and told the waitress to turn off the sound on the TV. Forgotten drinking bottles during the hikes – no problem Francko has 3 liters of water in his backpack which he carries along for the forgetful or “lazy” tourists. All “problems” were simply eliminated or settled immediately and without any trouble, no matter what and how late it was. 2nd example: change of room, because the shower water ran from the bathroom in the bungalow into the bedroom (drain was broken) Hans and I had to change the accommodation, which otherwise our luggage would have been in the water. It was already late and Francko was already in bed. I called him and explained what happened. He took care of everything at the hotel directorate and half an hour later we had another room. These guys did an absolutely great job – a big compliment to these guys. My conclusion: Madagascar yes – but certainly not with a mountain bike.
We are already back from Madagascar since October 30th, and with a little delay I am finally back with my impressions. On the return journey I told my 3 companions: “what will remain in the future are the good memories, and the negative disappears”. Concerning Madagascar I was mistaken with this statement. But more about that later. I can only praise the organization of the bike trip positively. The team accompanying us has looked after us perfectly. The bikes were in perfect condition and the lunch was better than any hotel kitchen. Our travel group was only 6 guests – we were looked after by 8 employees of Cycle Madagascar. Such an effort can only be offered in Africa! The daily stages were ok for me, even if not exhilarating. I would rather have had more trails and off road. But the route was mostly on asphalt. The accommodations: well, I am probably a little spoiled after all. In my younger years I would have simply accepted it and put it away. The only lasting memory is the realization how sheltered and privileged we are allowed to live here. I have taken this home with me in a formative way! I am sorry that I report so openly and do not only emphasize the beautiful sides. But it will surely bring you more than just talk.
We would also like to thank Cycle Madagascar for everything they did on the spot. It was a top team with super sweet and committed people who really did everything possible to make us feel at home. I’ve done quite a few group tours but what they did was really great and unsurpassed!
> The weather conditions were exceptional (even for them) but they looked every day at what was feasible and adjusted the program where possible. They were very patient, helpful and nothing was too much for them. Even the term “African time” was never used, which means a lot 😉 I do have 1 remark (which they can’t really do anything about, but I want to give it to them): in our group of 8 people, there were 3 Italians of which 1 man spoke a bit of English and another man almost exclusively Italian. In such a small group it is disturbing because at the table there are always 3 people working in Italian and that doesn’t really stimulate the enthusiasm of the group. Anyway, we didn’t let it get to our heart 🙂
“We are often by bike, organized, on the road. But we have seldom experienced such great care during the bike tours. There was nothing missing. It was hard for me to get on the bike with a full stomach after the midday picnic and continue to absorb the great impressions the country offers with all my senses. We have seen many lemur species and every chameleon…more is not possible. The bike tours had many track sections between 20-30 km. The ones without riding technique were hard to manage. So riding technique was needed there. Insecure travelers got into the accompanying bus on these sections. Hints would not have been bad. No problem for experts…! For me it was no problem. That’s why I checked off the route very well. Support during the tours was simply super “. Thanks to you and many greetings
After our beautiful tour I would like to give a short feedback. First of all thank you very much! The whole organisation, the whole tour, the team, the guides and everything we got was excellent! We have been well looked after and have often thought about the great tour in the following 2 weeks on Madagascar. Your company and especially the guiding and execution are really great. We felt comfortable at all times and never had a bad or insecure feeling. The tour is super selected, all hotels / accommodations were perfect and all sightseeings, hikes, bike tours and the catering etc. absolutely fitting. There are no wishes left open. The bikes are excellently maintained and smaller things could always be arranged immediately to our satisfaction. The guides were very courteous and read every wish from our eyes and fulfilled it. Even if it would not have been their task at all. We enjoyed it very much to be bilingual on the tour. English / German, we learned a lot and Nali and Franko certainly did too. A very nice community has formed and I can only confirm that Nali calls it familiar. You have a great team! I also liked how calmly we acted in problem situations. A defect on the car can happen at any time, that could be repaired within shortest time, was great. (we experienced a lot of other situations in the following weeks, which were not solved) Therefore also to the driver / and cook again a big thank you! The fact that you had a pair of hiking poles to lend in your fund was brilliant for me. It was absolutely helpful on the hikes and it was very easy on my knees. I am very happy to have asked for them. Once again many thanks for the beautiful journey
It may be necessary to point out the specific, country-specific conditions in more detail beforehand (e.g. t.-w. poor roads, slope conditions, altitude profiles, traffic conditions). We had no major problems with this, but for inexperienced participants there can be “surprises” relatively quickly. The local tour guide explained these special conditions well in the 1st briefing, which proved to be very helpful during the trip. Also the change of climate and food, malaria prophylaxis + sun in combination with unusual physical exertion over several days can cause problems very quickly. It is essential to point out that you should bring a torch or headlamp with you. Bicycle lighting can also become necessary very quickly in the evening (road conditions and traffic in Antsirabe!) It was a great experience overall, especially the last 2 days at the beach – pure Africa! Unfortunately there are still many contradictions and poverty to see. It is t.-w. nothing for weak nerves. The tour in Antanarivo was sobering in a negative sense, we were constantly approached to buy something etc., a lot of noise, garbage and exhaust fumes. The flair of an old colonial capital was almost not to be felt, not even on the Avenue Independence. Except at the monument in the lake we did not see a single tourist.
A short feedback to the journey: a partly overwhelming landscape, a great team: competent, helpful, obliging and generous; organisation and procedure perfect, neat accommodations, also the two fellow travellers were very nice, so travelling is also possible in a small group and finally, all flights worked out. It was a wonderful trip and after some initial doubts I was glad that it took place after all. See you next time!
We landed back in HH safe and sound. It was again a very interesting, partly also exhausting tour, but in retrospect it was worth it. With Hary and Klaus we spent the last two days in Tana and talked about the tour. E.g. certain tour sections which should be changed and “hotels in need of remarks” we mentioned and discussed. There was agreement to a large extent and we are sure that there will be small “adjustments”. The organization and the tour support were very good. With four accompanying persons we were of course also very comfortable. We will recommend the tour and Momotas to others. Best regards from the cold north of Germany.
My only criticism refers to the classification of the trip, because in my opinion it requires not only a medium but also a GOOD physical condition, and one should be more or less experienced in mountain biking, as the slopes are very demanding (too demanding for me and also for others), this should be clearer from the travel profile. In our specific case the wishes of the participants (some participants wanted to “tear down” as many kilometres as possible in the shortest possible time, so that I could hardly keep up with “only” medium condition and got quite stressed; I would have been able to enjoy the trip and Madagascar more, if most of the participants would have had a comparable physical condition and similar destinations (adventure/experience and not peak performance/training camp) and their physical condition/skills were so far apart that the trip was less enjoyable than I had hoped for, despite the otherwise (very) good organisation and well chosen tour. This could only be countered if the travel classification is so realistic that only people with good physical condition actually register and vice versa, but it also becomes clear that it is not a race and that people who want to “let off steam” will register for a trip for “very good physical condition”.
first of all, yes! I enjoyed the trip very much and Madagascar will always remain in my memory as something very special. Originally, Namibia was planned from my side, but my desired date was already fully booked. What means: this time be faster 🙂 In retrospect I can only say (and I passed this on to Klaus of Madagascar Cycle) that this was the best thing that could happen to me, because under normal circumstances I would never have gone there. A pity actually. It is a great country with great impressions. The colours, the smells, the people. At first surely a culture shock, when we travel from rich Europe to a developing country, we know such pictures at best from television or books. The team was lovely, we were well looked after and I can’t remember any wishes from my side. Also in the accommodations the people were very keen to please us. Almost too much effort to satisfy every one of our possible wishes, that this inevitably resulted in longer waiting times. About the food… It’s not your fault that it is difficult to get something WITHOUT garlic in a country with a French influence on food (which brings us back to the topic of special requests). But if you leave out the topic ‘garlic’, very tasty. The rooms were all clean, partly even charming and the two nights in the tent camp were a worthwhile adventure. The warning that we would travel to a developing country and not necessarily expect European standards was not necessary in my opinion. All around a trip I can recommend. However, I think that the category is set too low. (m.E. 4 out of 5 due to difficulty, not condition). 40 km are not equal to 40 km and also slope is not always equal to slope. Furthermore, I miss the repeated reference to the need to be able to walk on foot instead of saying ‘anyone can do it’.
Anyhow the tour was great and especially the tour leader! Now I`m already home but I will still remember the tour for weeks and months afterwards. Thank you and Best Regards
The local guide Klaus was really bad. He almost didn’t ride a bike himself. He told almost nothing about the country and its culture. He publicly reprimanded and bullied the local guides. He reacted to many questions simply with stupid remarks but did not answer.
Remark: In the general evaluation of the tour, hotels, tents, itinerary, procedure, difficulty rating, vehicles, accompanying team, catering, 7 – 9 points out of a scale of 10 were given.
Fantastic trip – the team in Madagascar were exceptional – professional, flexible, friendly, fun and reliable. Had a great time & would strongly recommend anyone to join the trip!
You work diligently to make this a trip we will enjoy and have no problems.
Cycle Madagascar is owned and managed by Germans. German attention to detail was obvious. The local manager came up to each of us, shook our hands, and thanked us for using Cycle Madagascar. We had up to seven individuals including the guides supporting the trip at various times. The main guide was a 23 year old English kid who had only been guiding for three months, yet he was top quality, paying very good attention to the details that made this a guality trip, and was an experienced rider. He spoke English and French. The second guide was a woman who spoke German and the local language. The individual who led up the rear was a strong cyclist and an expert mechanic who could fix most mechanical issues on the road. The food was great! The support staff even cooked meals on the spot for lunch some days. The lunches were good! The support staff were friendly.
fascinating terrain. Two minor points though: 1) It was advertised as being suitable for a “regular weekend cyclist”. I would question that. Some days were very tough and the day-after-day nature of the trip added to this. 2) The temperature suggested in the trip dossier was “18-22C”. Certainly, in October this was far from accurate – I estimate is was more like 30-35C on several days. This obviously added to the point made in (1) above.
I’ve been back in Germany since Tuesday and unfortunately I got right back into the job very deeply. Nevertheless, I am still mentally very intense during the trip and with Madagascar. It was really a great experience and a perfectly organized tour. A big thank you to you and the whole team (especially of course to Rova and Hery). They were great and gave us 2 perfect bike weeks. We really enjoyed being in such a small group. This is not so often the case on tours like this and it’s great that you make this possible. The fact that it was so great with Alice and Keith was of course especially great. We had a lot of fun together and I think we were all happy that we could be on the road together. The route, the hotels, the food and the whole organisation were perfect and it was a great holiday. We experienced the country from a very special side and very intensively and took many impressions with us. With the MTB you are ‘in the middle of it’ – and we had a lot of fun. Especially the last days at the sea (which Alice and Keith unfortunately couldn’t enjoy as much as I did) rounded off the trip very nicely. The hotel was quite empty and therefore everything was very personal and individual. And the location directly at the Indian Ocean of course a dream. :-). In this respect I went home with a satisfied smile and of course I recommend the tour but also Madagascar very much.
Great trip! Mix of cycling and hiking was very good, and accommodation was excellent! Best accommodation that we’ve had on a cycling tour anywhere! And great food too – that French influence was very welcome when it came to dessert time! One thing is that I think you need an absolute minimum of 100 Euros spending money initially. We spent around 200 Euros each, buying very few souvenirs. A bit of laundry here, a beer at lunch (and maybe one at the end of the day :-), small tips for guys carrying bags to the rooms, tips for guides on the hiking days, a Snickers one day as a special treat – it all quickly adds up! We felt like we were often searching for an ATM or somewhere to change $/Euros… And for someone like our fun-loving, friendly partner on this trip, Supa Susi – who loved a bit shopping at every opportunity (and why not??) – 300 or 400 Euros may be the right amount of cash to bring, ready to exchange as necessary. All in all, a very memorable, very enjoyable trip!
Overall a brilliant trip. however prepare for technical off-road cycling, Prepare for technical off road dirt roads and hills. Country is beautiful, bikes are really decent, staff good but needs more training. Only hope you do not have the owner Klaus as your guide. A nice man but not well suited to be a leader. Very chilly in first section, then warms up as you go into low country. Very basic accommodations, spotty electricity and wifi, basic food
We’ve been at the seaside since yesterday. Thanks again for organizing this really fantastic trip. At the beginning I was a little sceptical whether it is so exciting here. But you hadn’t promised too much. Madagascar is overwhelming. To be honest: I can’t imagine a better support.
To explore Madagascar by bike is, in my opinion, the very best way. The individual and cordial all-round support of the team on site was unique!
The whole trip was well organized from beginning to end. Both from you (African bikers) and from cycle Madagascar. The bike trip was sensational! Bikes in a very good condition, the food was great and the accommodations good, 2 of them very nice (Lac Hotel and Tsara Camp). The route was scenically varied and beautiful, both the asphalt and the tracks were very good to ride. Also the hikes on the bike-free days were fun. A big praise to the team of Cycle-Madagascar for the elaboration of this route. Hary and her boys have certainly contributed a lot to make the whole thing an unforgettable experience.
Landscape, people, smooth road cycling, challenging off-road cycling, ease off removing or adding kilometres to the itinerary, excellent quality of hotels.
Off-beat, off-road, off-the-scale. Once out of the rackety colonial city of Antsirabe, unfrequented roads and rough dirt tracks take you through a succession of spectacular filmsets: Middle Earth with rice paddies, a rainforest teeming with lemurs and chameleons, the American West (with sapphire prospectors and mountains like a mini-Yosemite) and an Indian Ocean beach featuring sail-powered fishing canoes by day and myriad stars by night. You will be welcomed by people who know the uses of standing stones, who steal and sacrifice oxen, who have never seen a movie screen (for there are none in Madagascar) and who take direction from ancestors in their dreams. Local manufactures are demonstrated. Poverty is everywhere, but so too is human dignity and the enjoyment of life. This professionally-run trip, developed over several years by a German settled in Madagascar, offers competent mountain-bikers the opportunity to experience a unique biosphere and culture before large-scale tourism begins. The mountain bikes are of good quality, and excellently maintained. The schedule is flexible, allowing for extra kilometres on the bike or extra time in the support bus. Food and accommodation are at least serviceable, often better. The beach hotel at the end is quite special, and more than makes up for any hardship along the way. I went in March/April and didn’t regret it my early-season choice: there were occasional thundershowers, but the flowers were out and we had most of the sites (and some of the hotels) to ourselves. Madagascar, like its people, is in some respects a blend of Africa and Asia. If you are contemplating a bike tour in either continent, you’d be hard pressed to beat this one.
The trip was perfectly organized and I can recommend it to every bike freak with good physical condition.
The members of the tour group had booked through different tour operators, and each operator had a slightly different travel description. None of the descriptions were completely consistent with the one we received from Momotas on site. But the way the trip was finally carried out, it was very nice, perfectly organized by a highly sympathetic team and highly recommendable.
It was the best organized trip I have done so far, thanks to the local tour guide, who accompanied the tour by bike in some parts. My experiences from various journeys since about 30 years.
We had a fantastic trip. Not on every level as expected, but… better! I don’t know if you have received any feedback from other participants, but we are excited 🙂 The group was pleasant, positive and dynamic (except for one person) … the guidance, both guides, drivers, technicians and kitchen help … super friendly. In the meantime a lot of pictures have been changed 🙂 It is true that the trip was sold to the German participants as a German guided tour, to us as an English guided tour, but no problem, we always got out of it. Another remark is that the older bikes that were offered were not good enough for the program, and the organization in Madagascar wasn’t really open to complaints about this. No problem for us, we’d opted for the new bikes beforehand, but for those with the older mountaibikes it was sometimes really difficult. At times it was really mountain bike, and so very intensive, different from the trip in South Africa. What can also be improved is the communication from the guides to the cyclists. It was all really fine, only we didn’t know that often … that caused quite some confusion in the group during the first days. But after day 2 we knew that everything would be okay and arranged and we only had to worry about the cycling.
Sitting in the car on the way from Munich to Berlin. What can we say – a dreamlike journey, if you can handle dust, rubble and adventure. For mountain biking we have everything we need, we have added many kilometres of slopes for the 3 of us as an alternative with a local guide. Great descents on red earth. But the highlight was at the beginning – surprise for Uwe – he was sitting well-behaved at the gate in the corner, perfect to sneak up on. We arrived at the very end – cellphone video arrived and there – how?what? Bird shown? And then great joy! Thank you very much for the silence – just right. Wulf was also surprised. The escort team and Mrs. Hari as guide were perfect. Rarely so many special requests of the group perfectly organized – group asphalt / group action. Our bikes were washed and prepared every day by the young mechanic without saying anything (good reward). On the domestic flight we did not have the bikes with us. We had them packed the last evening and then they waited in the hotel in Tana. Also all guests were shuttled individually several times without surcharge – punctual and super. We also had our flying drone again for aerial photos at certain points, as in Vietnam and Africa tour. Could you bring good as youtube video on your homepage. Then we would have to talk once. You see, it was a success and we are still not satisfied…
You are my highlight of 2015.