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Ke Classic
Ke Classic
Holidays

Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast

Madagascar
2 reviews
Available Departures: May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

17 days from

US$3,670

without flights
Cycle
Guided Group
MODERATE MODERATE

This cycling holiday in Madagascar includes the island's best-known national parks, time off the bike for hiking, riding through incredible landscapes and R&R beside the Indian Ocean.

Trip Code: HCMB
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast

Highlights
  • Cycle from Antananarivo in the centre of the island, southwards to Ifaty
  • See several famous national parks; Ranomafana, Andringitra, Isalo
  • History, culture, landscape and wildlife, including lemurs
  • Two days of R&R at a beach-front hotel beside the Indian Ocean

At a Glance
  • Group Size 2 to 16
  • 9 days biking
  • 550 kilometres
  • 25% off-road - 90% vehicle supported
  • Join In Antananarivo

Accommodation & Meals
  • 16 Breakfasts
  • 12 Lunches
  • 12 Dinners
  • 5 nights Hotel with swimming pool
  • 11 nights Hotel
Overview

Madagascar is the fourth biggest island in the world; it’s as big as France! It’s also incredibly diverse and unspoiled, with an incredible cultural mix, fantastically varied landscape and some of the most unusual plant and animal species. The island is famous for its lemurs (found nowhere else on Earth) and for stately baobab trees, but there are also hundreds of types of colourful birds, chameleons and even turtles.


All of this rich variety will be presented to us as we cycle southwards from the capital, Antananarivo (locally known as ‘Tana’) to the south-east corner of the island, where we spend 2 days at leisure at a laid-back beach resort beside the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Our journey takes us to some of Madagascar’s best-known national parks; Ranomafana, Andringitra and Isalo and we make the most of each of these by getting off our bikes and doing some hiking. At Ranomafana, we will be on the look-out for lemurs, whilst at Andringitra it is the towering granite cliffs which will perhaps make the biggest impression. At Isalo, we will explore amongst forest and bizarre rock formations and take a dip in a beautiful river pool known as the ‘Piscine (swimming pool) Naturelle’. We have split this classic journey into a mix of vehicle transfers and manageable cycling stages, mostly riding on tarmac roads, but with some long sections of dirt road, too. As a fitting conclusion to this unforgettable cycling holiday, we have 2 full days at Ifaty on the Indian Ocean where you can choose to do as little as you wish from your beach-front accommodation. This just might be… biking in paradise!

explore international

Explore International. This holiday is part of our Explore International range. Participants on these trips can book through KE or through one of our international partners. This helps us to gather together sufficient numbers of like-minded adventurers to get your holiday up and running quickly. Led by an English-speaking guide, the cosmopolitan nature of these groups can be an important part of the experience!

ADVENTURE CYCLING. This cycling holiday will suit regular weekend cyclists with a reasonable level of fitness and a sense of adventure. The ride covers approximately 550 kilometres in 9 days of cycling, with around 425 kilometres on tarmac roads which are generally in quite good condition. There is often a narrow 'shoulder' of gravel or broken tarmac alongside the road and some of your riding will be on this. The approximately 125 kilometres of dirt road riding can vary from quite smooth to narrow and rutted. There is very little cycling that could be described as technical. This is not a very hilly ride and the longest aggregate ascent on any of the days is 680 metres, with the balance of the riding being downhill. After all, we start out from Ansirabe at 1500 metres and end up at the coast. You will be accompanied by one or more cycling guides, one or more support vehicles (which can follow the group for almost all of the route) and a mechanic/assistant. Our accommodation is in a mix of simple hotels, offering twin sharing accommodation with en-suite facilities. Some of this accommodation is bungalow-style. GOOD QUALITY BIKE HIRE AVAILABLE LOCALLY

Why KE?

The Best of Madagascar
We have devised a holiday that shows off the best of Madagascar. As well as a short introductory ride and 8 cycling stages, we include hiking in the most unmissable of the national parks - Ranomafana, Andringitra, Isola - a visit to a lemur reserve and 2 days of relaxation at Ifaty beside the Indian Ocean.
We invited journalist Matt Westby to join a recent KE group. You can read about his adventures in Active Traveller Magazine.

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Itinerary

Your holiday starts at the hotel in the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo. You will meet your guide at the airport (transfers from Antananarivo Airport are provided for all flights) and the rest of the day is at leisure. The name Antananarivo means 'one thousand warriors' and the Malagasy people tend to call it 'Tana'. Sitting at an elevation of around 1280 metres in the centre of the island, Tana is a picturesque city, built around a small lake, Lake Anosy. Some parts of the city are hilly and present a colourful array of colourful and tightly-packed houses made of wood and brick.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

After breakfast at our hotel, we board our support vehicle for the start of our long journey to Madagascar's south coast. The inital transfer takes us through Ambatolampy, a small town famous for the fabrication of aluminium handicrafts, and onwards on a gravel road through a fertile highland landscape, with rice terraces and fruit and vegetable crops of all kinds. Arriving in Antsirabe (1500m) at around lunch-time, we will pick up our hire bikes at our local agent's office and store and set off on the first short ride of the holiday on a mix of tarmac and gravel roads. This will take us through a pleasant agricultural area with lots of opportunities to meet the local people and to visit a roadside handicraft centre (cow horn products). Antsirabe has a pleasant climate and was popular as a hill resort during the period of French rule from around 1900 to 1960. We will drop off our hire bikes at the store, before driving to the nearby hotel.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Time

1 - 2 hrs cycling

Distance

16 KM

We ride a great loop today, taking us through the home of the Merina ethnic group who, in this area, are known for cultivating rice and other grain crops in well-constructed and very beautiful, terraced field systems. Much of the produce is apparently used by the brewery in Antsirabe. The first lake we see is Andraikiba, once something of a watersports centre, but now the water supply for Antsirabe. The 5 kilometre circuit of the lake on a footpath is a great ride. We then carry on beyond the village of Belazao towards Mount Titriva, a forested mound which conceals a second, hidden pool, Lake Tritriva which occupies an extinct volcanic crater. Here, we are at an elevation of around 1880 metres and we will stop for a picnic lunch, with the option for a guided hike around the crater lake. We then complete our ride back to the hotel in Antsirabe, starting out with a steep and quite challenging descent (dismount if you need to on short sections of this descent). There are great views across a broad valley, highlighted by flowers and rice fields. There are many hot springs in this area and we can visit one today. We can also visit the market in the village of Betafo. We spend a second night at our hotel in Antsirabe. About 30 kilometres of today's ride is on dirt roads and footpaths.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

450 M

Descent

450 M

Time

4 - 5 hrs cycling

Distance

59 KM

After breakfast at our hotel, we set off southwards on the road (National 7). This is a relatively quiet, single carriageway road, mostly good tarmac and generally with a narrow tarmac or dirt strip running alongside. This dirt strip is used by local people and their animals and provides useful extra space whenever we encounter traffic. This is an undulating road, passing through some pine forest, but also through fertile farmland, including terraced fields of rice. We will see lots of friendly local people and their zebu cattle and can watch the hustle and bustle of the farmers in the fields and womenfolk washing and drying their laundry on the banks of the river. After a stop for lunch, we will reach Ambositra in the afternoon and check in at our hotel, which is a little out of town and surrounded by a garden. Ambositra is the centre for arts and crafts and one of the most prominent examples of this is the Zafimaniry wood carvers. This traditional form of woodcarving has been included in UNESCO's list of 47 masterpieces of traditional world culture. We will visit one of the workshops either this evening or during tomorrow morning's initial transfer. Dinner and overnight at our hotel, which is decorated with Zafimaniry artwork and sculpture.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B L D

Ascent

580 M

Descent

740 M

Time

7 - 8 hrs cycling

Distance

95 KM

We start the day with a 90 kilometre transfer (2-hours) southwards along the N7 to the Lemur Forest Camp of Ialatsara. From here, we set out on our bikes on a tarmac road which takes us through a very beautiful valley beneath huge granite peaks. The road here is a mix of tarmac and dirt and beyond Ambohimahasoa there are two short and steep ascents on tarmac. We will ride a total of 21 kilometres of dirt road today. The road then undulates through villages and open eucalyptus forest until we reach the more dense jungle (or rain forest) of the Ranomafana National Park. The last few miles are downhill and we pass through the village of Ranomafana before reaching the simple hotel where we spend the night.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

670 M

Descent

1350 M

Time

4 - 5 hrs cycling

Distance

64 KM

Today, we will try to get an early start to make the most of this special place with a day of guided hiking in the Ranomafana National Park. We will transfer back up the hill to the park entrance to start this walk. Designated as a reserve in 1991 this area became Madagascar's fourth national park. Located on the edge of Madagascar's High Plateau, Ranomafana varies in height from 600 to 1400 metres and this range of elevations has produced several different forest types, from the lowland rainforest to cloud forest and high plateau forest. The lush green of the area is in stark contrast to some of the drier landscape we have seen up to now. There are 12 species of lemurs in the park, as well as geckos, chameleons, frogs and almost 100 species of birds, two thirds of which are endemic to this area. We will see orchids and many types of tree, including giant bamboo. Redbellied lemurs, redfronted lemurs and the diademed sifaka (another type of lemur) are also on our ticklist. Golden bamboo lemurs are more shy and retiring and we will be lucky to spot one. Returning to our accommodation, there is the chance to take a dip in the public swimming pool which is naturally heated by nearby hot springs. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Time

5 - 6 hrs walking

After breakfast, we will drive steeply back up and out of the park, then on to Vohiparara, where we unload our bikes from the support vehicle and set off on a relatively short day of cycling. During this transfer we may encounter local families collecting sand from the river bed. Quite often, there are also basket makers selling their wares along this stretch of road. The first 20 kilometres or so of the day's ride are on tarmac and we soon start to leave the rainforest area behind. The second part of the day's ride is on a dirt road leading amongst fields and forest and takes us to the outskirts of Sahambavy and our bungalow-style hotel accommodation on the shores of Lake Sahambavy. On this section we might encounter some bridges which are only suitable for pedestrians and cyclists - the support vehicle will have to go around. Close by is the only tea estate in Madagascar and after checking in at our hotel and having lunch, we may be able to visit the estate and, hopefully, see the tea-pickers at work. The estate was set up in 1970 and most of the produce is sent to Kenya. Dinner and overnight at our lakeside hotel.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

610 M

Descent

630 M

Time

3 - 4 hrs cycling

Distance

44 KM

There are 2 possible routes today, one on the N7 and a shorter, dirt-road route. Group members can discuss with the guide and make a choice of which works best for them. There will be sufficient local staff and usually 2 support vehicles to allow us to split the group if necessary. The N7 route starts with a cycle ride to the hill-top town of Fianarantsoa. With a name that means 'good education' this is a cultural and intellectual centre for the whole island and also a centre for wine production. From here, the N7 route runs mostly downhill, to our overnight stop at Ambalavao. There is a short climb at the end of the day and the ride is very scenic, with views across the valley. Approximately 15 kilometres of this route is straightforward dirt road riding. The alternative and more direct dirt road route (63 kilometres) is rarely travelled and takes us through small valleys with rice and cassava plantations and some eucalyptus forest. Tourists are rarely seen here and the people we meet will be especially curious about seeing a cycling group. Quite rough in places, this alternative route climbs gradually and ends with a descent to our lunch stop. There is the option after lunch to transfer to Ambalavao or to do a bit more cycling. Arriving in Ambalavao, we check in at our hotel which shares the same grounds as a traditional Antaimoro paper manufacturing set-up. This beautiful paper is usually copper coloured and decorated with dried flowers and leaves.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

650 M

Descent

870 M

Time

5 - 7 hrs cycling

Distance

80 KM

We cycle for an hour from Ambalavao to reach the locally-administered Anja Community Reserve, a small and accessible park where we can get up close to one of Madagascar's iconic animals, the ring-tailed lemur - more than 300 inhabit this area. This compact rainforest area runs up to the base of a huge granite mountain and has a freshwater lake, woodland and a jumble of giant boulders - a landscape out of Lord of the Rings. We will have a 1-hour tour of the site, before continuing our journey by bike. We are now starting to leave the highland area and enter a striking landscape of grassland savannah, dotted with enormous granite peaks.Turning into the Tsaranoro Valley, we head towards the Andringitra Massif (and national park). Approximately 20 kilometres of today's ride is on dirt roads. Our accommodation for the next 2 nights is a pleasant camp with bungalow-style accommodation and a central restaurant. The camp has great views across to the granite cliffs of Andringitra (popular with rock climbers) and is a great place from which to explore the region's flora and fauna.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

680 M

Descent

730 M

Time

4 hrs cycling

Distance

54 KM

The area of the Andringitra is one of the most biologically diverse in Madagascar, with 100 species of birds and 50 species of mammals, many of which are endemic. Today, we will leave our bikes at camp and take a hike up through the Tsaranoro Valley onto the rock formation known as Chameleon Peak. Our hike takes us through rural villages and farmland and through forested areas where we can look out for lemurs and other wildlife. As we climb higher, we have fantastic views of some of the most impressive granite cliffs on the island, some of which are 700 metres high. The high point of the massif is Peak Boby (2658m), Madagascar's second highest summit. After our walk, we return to spend a second night at our bungalow-style accommodation.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Time

5 - 6 hrs walking

After breakfast at camp, we cycle the 20 kilometre dirt road back to the N7 and then transfer on a great road with great views to Ankaramena, a small town that is known for its production of mango and papaya. We continue in the bus to Ihosy and the Horombe Plateau, where we stop for lunch. Here, we are starting to leave behind the greener highland region, with the drier grassland of the south ahead of us. To give us a feel for this amazing 'steppe-like' landscape, we cycle the last 65 kilometres to our hotel, which is in the small town of Ranohira, the gateway to the Isalo National Park.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Ascent

240 M

Descent

530 M

Time

5 - 6 hrs cycling

Distance

85 KM

In the morning, after breakfast, we will drive out to the visitor centre for the Isalo National Park. Here, we can get an overview of the origins and history of the region, before setting off on a walk into the park. Mountainous, with caves, deep ravines, streams and bizarre rock formations, Isalo is just one more of the unmissable highlights of Madagascar. We should see some of the area's wildlife, including brown and ring-tailed lemurs and also have the chance to swim in a beautiful river pool. After the hike, we return to our hotel in Ranohira.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B L D

Time

3 - 4 hrs walking

On this last day of our journey from the highlands to the coast, we set out in the support vehicle on the last stretch of the N7. Our drive takes us through an area with some of the most impressive baobab trees in Madagascar and we will be obliged to stop several times to take photographs. Amongst the other highlights of this 4-hour drive out to the coast are the bizarre tombs of the Mahalafy and Antandroy people. We will need to stop to see these, too. Lavishly decorated, with vivid painting, sculpted wooden figures and heaps of zebu horns, these are completely unique. Arriving at a viewpoint above Tulear, we get on our bikes for the 16 kilometre ride down to the coast. We then have lunch at Tulear, before continuing our ride northwards on a beautiful coast road which has only recently been surfaced. With the warm waters of the Mozambique Channel on our left hand side, we pass through the fishing villages of Ifaty, Madiorano and Ambohimailaka which are home to people of the Vezo ethnic group. Arriving at our beach-front, bungalow-style accommodation, it's time to chill-out, take a dip in the sea and enjoy a final evening meal with the guide. Our local crew will be leaving us today and the usual procedure is that they will take clients' own bikes back to the group hotel in Antananarivo. If this is not possible for some reason, or you wish to use your bike during your time in Ifaty, you will need to take your bike with you on the internal flight on Day 16. There is an additional baggage fee of €50 for this which is payable directly at the airport.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B L D

Ascent

200 M

Descent

400 M

Time

3 - 4 hrs cycling

Distance

54 KM

For the next 2 days no services are included other than your accommodation on a half-board basis. You are free to take it easy, walk along the shore and swim in the ocean, which stays at a very pleasant 25 degree centigrade throughout the year. Diving, snorkelling, kite-surfing and kayaking can be arranged locally.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

A final day in this paradise location. If you want to see a little more of Madagascar's distinctive plant life, there is a nature reserve (Reniala) within walking distance that has old and giant baobab trees, spiny forest and a bird sanctuary. We spend a third and final night at our accommodation beside the sea.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

A transfer is provided from the hotel to Tulear Airport where you will check in for the flight north to Antananarivo. Arriving in 'Tana' you will transfer to your hotel (transfer provided by the hotel). The rest of the day is at leisure.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Your holiday ends after breakfast. A group transfer to Antananarivo Airport is provided by the hotel.

Meals

B
Download Trip Notes
The Route
Airport Airport
Point Point
Direction Direction
Bike
Internal Flight

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • A locally based English-speaking bike guide
  • Antananarivo Airport transfers as described
  • Single transfer to Tulear Airport on Day 16
  • The internal flight from Tulear to Antananarivo
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • One or more support vehicles and drivers
  • A mechanic/assistant with groups of 6 or more cyclists
  • Specialist national park guides
  • National park entrance fees
  • Mineral water during the ride
  • All accommodation as described
  • All meals as per the meal plan

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas (if required)
  • Tips for local guide and crew
  • Airport departure taxes (if applicable)
  • Optional activities
  • Some meals as per the Meal Plan
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc
  • Bike carriage on international flights - check with your airline
  • Bike carriage on internal flight - see note in the itinerary - Day 13
  • Bike hire

Travelling back from Tulear to Antananarivo by road

If your internal flight from Tulear to Antananarivo on Day 16 is cancelled (which has affected KE clients once since we first offered this holiday in 2017) the only way to be sure of getting to Antananarivo Airport in time for your homeward flight on the following day is to travel by road. We will provide this transfer in place of the internal flight. Scenic and interesting at times, this is also an arduous 24-hour journey.

The group will meet at the hotel in Antananarivo.

Airport transfers are provided for all clients.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

It is not recommended to drink untreated water from the taps. If you are on a trekking or cycling holiday, water is supplied to fill up your individual bottles. This will be boiled, filtered or provided in large jerry cans or 5 litre bottles. Additionally you should take purification tablets or a filter bottle (such as a Water-To-Go bottle) to treat your water when in towns or where water is not supplied. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

Traditional Malagasy cooking is based on a large serving of rice with a dressing of sauces, meat, vegetables and seasoning. The Malagasy palette leans towards hot and spicy and dishes often include chillies. In Antananarivo you will find a wide variety of restaurants including Chinese and Vietnamese, and hotels and restaurants in the majority of towns in Madagascar will usually offer a variety of dishes, including more international cuisine. Dinner is a 3-course meal and there is usually a choice. Breakfast are continental in style and usually include bread, pancakes, eggs and fruit salad. Lunches combine pasta with dried meats and cheeses and a variety of vegetables and fruit. 

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

The accommodation on this trip is in a mix of simple hotels, with twin-share accommodation and en-suite facilities. In some places, the accommodation is provided in individual bungalows in the hotel grounds. The hotels in Antananarivo and Ambositra and Ifaty have swimming pools. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. Single room occupancy can be pre-booked - please refer to the Dates and Prices page for this holiday on our website.

The trip will be led by an experienced local cycling guide who may ride an e-bike to facilitate better management of the trip. For groups of 6 or more cyclists there will also be a second local team member who will assist with the leading and mechanic duties. In addition, there will be one or more support vehicles and drivers. The local team will leave the group after dinner on Day 13.

This holiday does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.

Approximately 250 euros should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including the meals you purchase directly and approximately 50 euros for local staff tips. It is not necessary to obtain local currency (Malagasy Ariary) prior to departure. The easiest way to access your spending money is to use ATMs which can be found in Antananarivo and most of the larger towns visited on the trip. If you prefer to bring your spending money with you, euros are most widely accepted for exchange in Madagascar. If you intend to bring your travel money with you, we recommend that bring this in the form of cash.

If you are travelling with your own bike, it is usual for the local crew to take your bike overland back to Antanarivo at the end of the tour. If this is not possible for some reason, or you wish to use your bike during your time in Ifaty, you will need to take your bike with you on the internal flight back to Antanarivo on Day 16. There is an additional baggage fee of 140 euros for this (subject to change) which is payable directly at the airport.

Tips are the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ to your local guides and other staff. They do not form part of their wages and we advise local teams that tips are a bonus and entirely dependent on the service that is given. We recommend that you tip your guide and driver, if they have done a good job. As a rough guide, we suggest you allow a total of 50 euros for tipping your crew.

If you are taking your own bike, we suggest that a ‘hardtail’ mountain bike with front suspension is appropriate for this holiday. It should have a good range of gears and we recommend you fit fast-rolling all-rounder or semi-slick tyres which work well on the surfaced roads and non-technical trails typically found on our Adventure Cycling holidays.

Since you are depending on your bike to transport you throughout your holiday, it’s important to ensure it is in good working order. If you are not mechanically minded, get your local bicycle dealer to service it for you.

Please contact us if you are unsure about the suitability of your bike.

With the cost of taking your bike on long-haul flights becoming increasingly expensive, we suggest that hiring a bike makes a lot of sense. Our agent in Madagascar has a good fleet of aluminium-framed hardtail mountain bikes. These are all recent (2015 and 2016 model) bikes with Shimano components, triple chainsets and disk brakes. The bikes are fitted with ‘all-rounder’ tyres such as Schwalbe Smart Sam - and have flat pedals a single bottle cage. The available bikes are (1) Stevens Applebee  (2) Stevens Mira  (3) Rock Machine Torrent 70 (4) Cube Attention.  These bikes have either 27.5 or 29 inch wheels and 100 millimetres of front suspension. Please let us know if you wish to hire a bike. You can either choose a particular model and we will try to reserve one in your size ahead of your holiday. Or, you can try out several bikes when you arrive in Madagascar and pick the one that suits you best. Bike rental is subject to availability and costs €200. You will pay for your bike hire on arrival in Antananarivo on Day 1. Please note that this must be paid in cash, either in GBP, US$ or in €Euros. You are not required to pay a security deposit for these bikes. We must stress that your hire contract is with the local rental company and KE cannot be held responsible for any issues arising from bike rental. If you normally ride clipped in to your pedals, you will need to take your pedals and you might also choose to take your own saddle, which will be fitted for you. You must also take your helmet, which must be worn at all times when riding.

Airlines require that you pack your bike properly for travel and for this holiday we recommend that you use a purpose-made soft bike bag. These can be relatively inexpensive. They are also light in weight, easy to handle and, most importantly, can be packed into a small space to allow easy transportation in the support vehicle. You will need to partially dismantle your bike to pack it in your bag.

PLEASE DO NOT USE a purpose-made rigid bike box for this holiday. We do not have the space in the support vehicle to transport these bulky items.

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding travelling with your bike.

Throughout this trip we have the back up of one or more support vehicles which will follow the group for most of each day’s ride. The group’s baggage will be transported in the support vehicle and the whole group and bikes can also be transported, as there are a number of transfers within our itinerary. The local biking leader and the support vehicle driver will watch over the group and there will be regular water stops, every 10 kilometres or so, to allow the group to reassemble. We want everyone to enjoy their cycling experience on this trip and we recognise the importance of group members being allowed to cycle at their own pace. The support vehicle will pick up any group members who wish to take a break from cycling at any time. Water, fruit, nuts and other snacks are provided from the support vehicle. If there are particular energy bars or gels that you rely on at home, consider taking a small supply.

Apart from your bike in its bag (if you are taking your own bike), you should travel with one main item of luggage, such as a KE Trek Bag or similar holdall, as well as a small day pack or mountain bike-specific hydration pack. The day pack can be used to carry valuable items such as cameras and GPS devices whilst travelling and will also carry your day-ride essentials during the rides.

The normal baggage allowance on the internal flight from Tulear to Antananarivo is 20kg plus 5kg hand luggage. Excess baggage will be charged. If you take your bike on this flight there is an additional charge of 50 euros payable at check-in. Your baggage allowance on your international flights will depend on your airline. When choosing your flights, whether booking them directly or through KE, you will need to consider the cost of carrying your bike. These costs are your responsibility.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

Visa Madagascar

A visa is required to visit Madagascar. The visa fee is €35 for 30 days there is also a €10 tourist tax fee which is payable on arrival.

You can apply for your visa online prior to travel via the Madagascar Government e-visa portal, or you can obtain a visa on arrival.

You should carry your passport with you at all times and ensure that you have a photocopy of your passport somewhere safe.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

VACCINATIONS

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. Malarial prophylaxis are required. On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

The unit of currency in Madagascar is the Ariary.

The better conditioned you are the more you will enjoy your trip. We suggest that you adopt a sensible weekly exercise regime and fit in a number of long cycle rides in hilly country to ensure you are physically capable of taking part in this trip - this will also provide you with an opportunity to make sure all your riding kit is tried and tested before you travel. Cycling is obviously the best activity to prepare for this trip, however, running and swimming are also good for developing aerobic fitness and stamina.

Madagascar has a tropical climate modified by altitude and by its Indian Ocean location. There are two seasons, a relatively hot ‘green’ season from November to March when the island’s eastern coastal areas can receive significant rainfall. Our route, inland, takes us through the cooler and drier central highlands and avoids the worst of the rain although some rain can be expected. Outside of this period it is cooler and drier and Antananarivo and the west coast generally have a pleasant, temperate climate with a temperature range of 18°C to 22°C. At night in the highlands in August, it can be quite cold with temperatures dropping down to 10 or even 5°C overnight.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • Madagascar: Hilary Bradt (Bradt Guides) Madagascar & Comoros.
  • Lonely Planet Birds of Madagascar: Peter Morris
  • Madagascar Wildlife : Nick Garbutt & Hilary Bradt (Bradt Wildlife Guides)
  • The BBC Earth Wildlife DVD Madagascar (David Attenborough) is essential viewing (available though Amazon)

Reise Know-How Verlag. 1: 1,200,000

Double-sided map with topographic and tourist information. Topography is indicated by relief shading and spot heights. The map shows mountain passes, names of mountain ranges and plateaux, seasonal rivers and lakes, mangroves and coral reefs. Road information includes seasonal tracks and indicates intermediate driving distances on main and secondary roads. National parks and protected areas are marked and symbols highlight various places of interest: The map legend includes English.

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

For this holiday you will need your usual cycling clothing, including shoes, cycling gloves and helmet (which must be worn at all times when cycling).

Whether you are hiring a bike or taking your own, we recommend that you take the usual day-ride essentials of: mobile phone, multi-tool, mini-pump, tyre levers, spare tubes and puncture repair kit.

Bike Wear

  • Cycling helmet
  • Cycling shoes
  • Daypack or mountain bike-specific hydration pack (e.g. Camelbak)
  • Water bladder - min. 2 litres water capacity (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Padded (baggy) cycling shorts
  • Long leg cycling trousers or leg warmers
  • Base-layer – short sleeve cycling tops
  • Mid-layer - long sleeved cycling tops
  • Fleece jacket or jumper
  • Lightweight windproof top
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Regular biking gloves
  • Long-fingered biking gloved
  • Warm hat that fits under your helmet
  • Buff
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream (inc. total bloc for lips/nose)
  • Camera

Other Stuff

  • Travel and off-the-bike clothing
  • Approach shoes or lightweight boots for the several days of walking
  • Wash bag, towel, toiletries, including anti-bacterial handwash
  • Headtorch and spare batteries
  • Swimwear
  • Basic First Aid kit and personal medication
  • Chamois cream (e.g. Assos/Ozone)
  • Insect repellant
  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)

Spares

If you are hiring a bike you do not need to bring any spares. The hire bikes are provided in good condition and a supply of spares is carried. You may be asked to pay directly for any spares used, especially in the case of crash damage or damage by mis-use. If you are taking your own bike, you should consider taking a minimum of spares, including a couple of spare spokes (for each wheel if they are different), spare brake blocks (or brake disc pads), chain links/chain connector, rear derailleur hanger and any non-standard parts specific to your bike.

Repairs

Whilst not essential, it is a good idea that you familiarise yourself with how to carry out at least some basic repairs to your bike e.g. changing an inner tube and fixing a puncture. Your bike guide will be happy to help with repairs and general maintenance, but being able to carry out a simple repair yourself could save the inconvenience of having to wait for assistance.

Hydration and Energy Snacks

You should take suitable water bottle(s) or a hydration pack and you should also consider taking a small supply of the gels, power bars or sports drink mix that you would normally use on a ride at home.

Please contact us if you have any questions about your equipment.

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

Reviews

5 out of 5 from 2 reviews

Great way to experience Madagascar ★★★★★

We thourghly enjoyed the trip and were very well looked after by our Guide, Trip Manager/Assistant Guide, Driver and Mechanic who were all lovely and caring people. There's a good mix of cycling and exploring National Parks. The team made us amazing lunches everyday. Everything went so smoothly and I know the team worked quietly in the background to ensure this. Even small things were taken care of eg making sure our bags were in our rooms when we arrived and offering good advise about what to e at in the evenings. We stayed in some wonderful places and ate some great local and international food. Cycling through rural Madagascar, especially off-road is a wonderful way to get to know the country.
By Joanna Edinburgh | 29 October 2022

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.
By David Ipswich | 04 April 2017

Traveller Reviews
5 out of 5 from 2 reviews

Great way to experience Madagascar
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
We thourghly enjoyed the trip and were very well looked after by our Guide, Trip Manager/Assistant Guide, Driver and Mechanic who were all lovely and caring people. There's a good mix of cycling and exploring National Parks. The team made us amazing lunches everyday. Everything went so smoothly and I know the team worked quietly in the background to ensure this. Even small things were taken care of eg making sure our bags were in our rooms when we arrived and offering good advise about what to e at in the evenings. We stayed in some wonderful places and ate some great local and international food. Cycling through rural Madagascar, especially off-road is a wonderful way to get to know the country.
By Joanna Edinburgh | 29 October 2022

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.
By David Ipswich | 04 April 2017

DATES & PRICES

Private Departure?

Gather a few friends, family or club and take over your own departure.

2024

Dates

Adults from

Deposit

Status

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/08/24/
  • This trip begins on Thu 16 May and ends on Sat 1 Jun
  • This departure is available and departs within 31 days. Secure your place today with full payment
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/10/24/
  • This trip begins on Thu 13 Jun and ends on Sat 29 Jun
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/11/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 6 Jul and ends on Mon 22 Jul
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/12/24/
  • This trip begins on Thu 11 Jul and ends on Sat 27 Jul
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/13/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 27 Jul and ends on Mon 12 Aug
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/14/24/
  • This trip begins on Thu 8 Aug and ends on Sat 24 Aug
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/15/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 24 Aug and ends on Mon 9 Sep
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/16/24/
  • This trip begins on Thu 5 Sep and ends on Sat 21 Sep
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/17/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 21 Sep and ends on Mon 7 Oct
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/18/24/
  • This trip begins on Thu 26 Sep and ends on Sat 12 Oct
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/19/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 5 Oct and ends on Mon 21 Oct
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/20/24/
  • This trip begins on Thu 10 Oct and ends on Sat 26 Oct
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/21/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 19 Oct and ends on Mon 4 Nov
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/22/24/
  • This trip begins on Thu 24 Oct and ends on Sat 9 Nov
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/23/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 2 Nov and ends on Mon 18 Nov
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

More Information

  • Cycle Madagascar - Highlands to the Coast
    Without Flights
  • Departure Reference: HCMB/24/24/
  • This trip begins on Sat 16 Nov and ends on Mon 2 Dec
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of US$550
  • Single Supplement Price: US$690 - All nights
  • Download Trip Notes

Land Only Information

The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining at the hotel in Antananarivo. Transfers from/to Antananarivo Airport are provided both on Day 1 and on the final day of the Land Only itinerary.

ZEN_HOLIDAY_DATES_PRICES_LAND_ONLY_USD_NOTICE


Changes to flights

Please be aware that the flight industry is experiencing a high level of service fluctuation and changes to your flights may occur. This may also require amends to the transfers and joining arrangements. Thank you all for continuing your patience and understanding.

 

Extra non-refundable deposit

For this holiday in Madagascar which includes an internal flight from Tulear to Antananarivo we require a deposit of £400 in place of the standard KE deposit of £200. This additional amount, which is used to secure your internal flight, is non-refundable in the event of you cancelling your holiday or transferring to another holiday.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure is a fully bonded tour operator. We hold an ATOL license (No: 2808) and are bonded with ABTA (Membership No: W4341)


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