Bike and Hike Wild Madagascar

Day 1 Arrive in Antananarivo

We meet at the hotel in Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital, known locally as Tana. 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 Antananarivo. 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.

Combava Hotel

Day 2 Antananarivo – Antsirabe

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.

Chambres du Voyageur
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 20km

Day 3 Antsirabe Loop

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 single-track 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.

Chambres du Voyageur
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 54km

Day 4 Antsirabe – Ambositra

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 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.

Artisan Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 95km

Day 5 Ambositra - Ranomafana National Park

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.

Le Grenat
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 65km

Day 6 Ranomafana National Park Hike

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 km. 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.

Le Grenat
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 12km

Day 7 Ranomafana – Sahambavy

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.

Lac Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 53km

Day 8 Sahambavy – Ambalavao

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.

Espace Zongo
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 56km

Day 9 Ambalavao - Anja Park – Andringitra

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.

Camp Catta
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 59km

Day 10 Andringitra Massif Hike

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.

Camp Catta
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 14km

Day 11 Andringitra – Horombe Plateau – Ranohira

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.

Hotel H1
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 75km

Day 12 L'lsalo Massif

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 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
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 15km

Day 13 Ranohira – Ilkaka – 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.

La Mira
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 32km

Day 14 Toliara Rest Day

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.

La Mira
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15 Departure

Our tour ends after breakfast, but we can assist you in extending your holiday on the beach or help to arrange a transfer to the airport for your onward flight.