From the Highlands to the South Coast
from the Malagasy highlands to the south coast of Madagascar and
discover the fourth biggest island in the world. Meet local
people, learn about their culture and customs, explore fauna and
flora and, of course, enjoy your passion, cycling! There is no
better way to experience Madagascar's diverse landscapes than
cycling its bike-friendly roads as well as off-road trails.
Hike in stunning landscapes of the major national parks and
marvel at their endemic flora and fauna. Above all enjoy the
hospitality of the Malagasy people and gain insight into their
history and culture.
Highlights of the route:
Antananarivo, Ambohimanga, Antsirabe, Lake Andraikiba, Lake Tritriva, Ambositra,
Ranomafana National Park, Fianarantsoa, Ambalavao,
Andringitra National Park, Ankaramena, Ihosy, Ranohira,
Isalo National Park, Toliara, Ifaty
15 nights / 16 days
Per Person based on 2 pax
Day 1: Antananarivo
Arrive in Antananarivo, be met and greeted by your tour
manager, then transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at
By the way,
Antananarivo or Tana takes its name from an episode in Malagasy
history, but more on all that later.
Day 2: Antananarivo city tour and a ride to Ambohimanga, the
Tour around the city on foot and in comfort of your tour vehicle.
Among other sites, visit he Rova of Antananarivo, the royal
palace complex. Afterwards continue to the commune of Ilafy.
In the afternoon cycle to Ambohimanga, the Royal Hill, located
approximately 24 km northeast of Antananarivo. The hill is
holy, due to the medieval-times pre-colonial existence of
the spiritual capital of the Merina Kingdom at this location, named UNESCO
world heritage site in 2001.
Cycling distance: 19 km
Day 3: Antananarivo -Antsirabe
Transfer by car along the National Highway to the village of Antanifotsy . On the way visit an
aluminium pot making factory in Ambatolampy. From Antanifotsy
cycle to Antsirabe. First bike along an unpaved country road in the
highlands, past rice fields and fruit orchards; rest of the
distance to Antsirabe we follow the
Located at 4500 ft ASL, Antsirabe was during French rule a favourite
cooler air destination to escape the heat of lower elevations.
Cycling distance: 53 km
Day 4: Antsirabe –Lake Andraikiba-Lake Tritriva-
Cycle to the scenic Lake Andraikiba, only
7 km from Antsirabe. From here we continue cycling to another lake,
a more spectacular one, the Lake Tritriva, a volcanic lake in an
After the ride to the two lakes, we will return to Antsirabe by
car and commence the city tour during which you'll also have a
chance to admire the craft of the local artisans.
Cycling distance: 18 km
Day 5: Antsirabe-Ambositra
After breakfast we ride further south on a hilly road to Ambositra, the
handicraft capital of Madagascar. The area is best-known for its wood work,
sculpture, inlays and engravings. The region is populated by the Zafimaniry, the tribe living in the
remote craggy valleys of once dense, eastern forests whose fine and delicate woodwork has
achieved worldwide acclaim.
Overnight in Ambositra.
Cycling distance: 93 km
Day 6: Drive Ambositra to Camp Robin and bike to Ranomafana
A transfer by our vehicle takes us to a small market village of Camp Robin,
located between the small towns of Ambatofinandrahana and
Ambohimahasoa. From Camp Robin we bike in a
very beautiful valley below towering granite boulders to
Ambohimahasoa. We ride through small hamlets and eucalyptus
forest until we reach the rain forest
of Ranomafana National Park. The last 12 km kilometers are downhill to
our lodge for the
you'll notice a change from the highland dry air to a tropical
Overnight in Ranomafana.
Cycling distance: 84 km
Day 7: A day hiking in the Ranomafana National Park
Part of the Ranomafana National Park, east of Fianarantsoa, is
the Rainforest of the Atsinanana, a World Natural Heritage site.
It contains some rare and
endangered species of Lemurs, namely the Varibolomena, a
diurnal lemur, and the Grand Hapalemur aka Greater Bamboo Lemur.
The park is hilly and the dense forest contains several small
waterfalls that fall in stages down a steep rocky slope.
Ranomafana offers a dip in sulphuric thermal pool, a hot spring
believed to have a therapeutic effect.
Cycling distance: none, a day of rest from cycling; today we
hike in the NP instead
Day 8: Ranomafana: Bike tour to Sahambavy
First cycle mostly uphill to Andovaka, where we'll get off the tarmac and continue off
road through a scenic landscape dotted with small hamlets; en
route see women weaving baskets and locals selling piles of sand
dredged out (often by hand) from the nearby river. The ride
brings us to our hotel located in a picturesque tea growing
Cycling distance: 70 km
Day 9: Drive Sahambavy to Fianarantsoa, then bike to Ambalavao
After breakfast we leave our hotel. Possibly we visit the
Sahambavy Tea Estate, the only tea
Plantation in Madagascar. After we cycle through the city of
Fianarantsoa, located at 1,200 m ASL, and approximately 410 km south of
Antananarivo. From Fianarantsoa we continue cycling southward to Ambalavao.
landscape is striking, with great views of vineyards,
terraced rice paddies and rocky outcrops. Ambalavao is the de
facto Gateway to South of Madagascar. The area is populated by
the Betsileo and Bara ethnic groups and know for the production
“Antaimoro paper,” a handmade paper made from the Havoha bush.
Decorated with fresh flowers and leaves and sun-dried, the
sheets of paper are crafted into notebooks as well as
lampshades, in style similar to the rice paper designs by the
Overnight stay in Ambalavao, the wine region
Cycling distance: 77 km
Days 10: Cycle
Ambalavao to Andringitra
National Park is 47 km south of Ambalavao along the
main NH 7, in the Region of Haute Matsiatra. The park
shelters Pic Boby, at 2658 m one of the highest accessible
summits of Madagascar (the highest mountain in Madagascar is
Maromokotro Peak, in the Tsaratanana mountain range in the north
of the island. , at 2,876 metres (9,436 ft).
Andringitra National Park is well known for its
biodiversity of purely Madagascar-endemic species of plants,
lemurs, reptiles and birds, including the rare bird, the
Lophotibus Cristata, and we are coming here to hike.
Day 11: Hike in Andringitra National Park
Hiking in the enchanting landscape of the Andringitra National
Park will become one of the highlights of your tour of
Madagascar. Taking a day of from cycling, we will hike a circuit
called Asaramanitra, a loop hike of 6 km which is typically
completed in 4 hours. The Asaramanitra circuit takes you to the
foot of the sacred 300 meter-high waterfall of Riandahy. Beneath
the plunging waters of the fall, under mist and brilliant water
pearls, you will discover its other half, the Riambavy.
Nearby you will find the grotto Ijajofo, the former shelter of
dahalo, the thief of zebu, Madagascar’s humped cattle.
Day 12: Bake Andringitra via Ankaramena, Ihosy to Ranohira
As we continue to descent the landscape becomes more arid, gray
and red in color. The color is characteristic of the Laterite
soil, a soil types rich in iron and aluminium, typically formed
in hot and wet tropical areas. The vibrant rusty-red color of
the iron oxides dominates the landscape which becomes a vast
steppes conducive to the breeding of Zebu, the staple cattle
breed of the south and who has a her is well off and does
not is poor. There are many tombs
and stele, upright standing stones, dotting the landscape. Houses
get increasingly smaller compared to the highlands, dry yellow grass
covers the ground, there are frequent bush fires, and
the thorny baobabs appear. The asphalt ribbon of the road stops
meandering and becomes outright straight.
The air becomes very dry and hot. We ride on good tarmac to Ankaramena
and beyond to Ihosy, an apparent transition point between the green highlands of
central Madagascar and the dry
south. In the afternoon we cross the huge and barren Horombe Plateau
towards Ranohira where we turn off the main road for an
overnight halt at a charming lodge
situated right at the foothills of the Isalo National
it is well over 300 km from Andringitra to Ranohira, too far to
cycle it all, not to mention that after Ankaramena and in
particular after Ihosy the climate becomes increasingly hotter
and more difficult to cycle in. On account of the chellenging
temperatures, you can cycle as much or as little as you wish;
when you feel you had enough, dismount and ride in the support
vehicle. For those in great shape the cycling distance of the
day can be as much as 187 km.
Day 13: Ranohira - Isalo National Park
Located in the region of Ihorombe, the massif of Isalo is a
plateau of continental sandstone dated to the Jurassic
geological period. We'll discover some of Isalo National Park's bizarre rock
formations and interesting flora on our bicycles. Strongly
eroded and cut by deep canyons, the park is an
extraordinary ecosystem. It is rich in endemic birds and plants
that grow on the exposed sandstone. Bringing your swimwear is a
must as you will have a chance to swim in a natural
Cycling distance: 21 km
Days 14-15: Ranohira - Toliara - Ifaty
Today, on account of the brutal heat, we cycle only until lunch time,
then for the rest of the day by car. In
the afternoon we reach Toliara, the capital southwestern region
of Madagascar. The South offers striking images of light and
shadows, of people and their villages, of landscape, of plants,
of spiny forest , of pale colors and dry smell. The coast of
sand dunes, bays and coral reefs, is inhabited by the Vezo fishermen,
who sail the open sea on colorful pirogues.
Stay 2 nights in Ifaty, relax, swim,
and enjoy the beach.
Cycling distance: up to 108 km, you decide how much you wish to
Day 16: Ifaty – Toliara Airport- Antananarivo
Transfer to Toliara Airport and board a return flight to Antananarivo.
Our agent will await you at the airport to
take you to a hotel for the day use or until your time to
transfer back to the airport for your flight to your next
destination. Depending on the arrival time of the flight from
Tulear and your departure time, it may be possible you visit the
crafts village, the big traditional market of Antananarivo. Time
permitting we'll host you to a farewell dinner, then assist you
to the airport.
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