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Active Madagascar Hike and Bike Adventure
Hike, cycle and row in the unique island paradise that is Madagascar.
Off the coast of East Africa lies a magical island of spectacular mountains, lush rainforests and unique wildlife – a trekker’s dream. From Antananarivo to Ifaty, encounter beautiful national parks, mythical volcanic lakes, hidden waterfalls, lizards, lemurs, unique Malagasy palms and bizarre boabs. Friendly Bara and Betsileo folk greet you as you hike via small villages, and many modes of transport, from pousse-pousse to bicycle to dugout canoe, allow you to experience this French-flavoured slice of paradise from several different angles.
- Lush eucalypt forest, volcanic lakes, mountainous ‘moon’ trails and bizarre boabs trees
- Explore Antsirabe by pousse-pousse (rickshaw)
- Take to the countryside by bicycle
- Cruise the Matsiatra River on a full-day canoe adventure
- Chances to interact with ethnic minorities such as the Betsileo and the Bara
- See many species of lemur in Isalo and Andringitra national parks
This is an active trip with quite a bit of walking. The hike to the Peak Boby (Day 9) is incredibly scenic and rewarding, but remember it takes around nine hours. Strong and sturdy hiking shoes, and a good level of fitness, are essential. Road conditions in Madagascar are notoriously poor, this means some of the driving days will be long as well as bumpy.
Enquire today to find out more.
Day 1 Antananarivo
Tonga soa Bienvenue! Welcome to Madagascar. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can’t arrange a flight that will arrive in time for this, consider arriving a day early so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We’ll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting. If you arrive early, take some time to explore hilly Antananarivo. Head to Analakey to visit the permanent street markets or seek out the restaurants and nightclubs.
Day 2 Antsirabe
Drive to Antsirabe in the early morning and enjoy an afternoon exploration of the area. Enjoy a two-hour cultural city tour which combines walking and local rickshaw (called a pousse-pousse). There will be an option to visit a local artisan workshop where every guest will be able to participate in making a traditional Malagasy handicraft.
Day 3 Ambositra
In the morning, explore the lovely Antsirabe countryside by bicycle. This round trip (approximately 27 kilometres) takes you to both Andraikiba Lake and Andrononobe Lake. Lake Andraikiba is not only gorgeous but very unique, with a strange legend attached to it – about a pretty pregnant lady whose spirit has haunted the area since she drowned here long ago. Even to this day it is said that you might see her at the break of dawn resting on a rock by the lakeside. Swimming is possible during summer months (May–December). In the afternoon, drive to Ambositra.
Day 4 Zafimaniry Country
Transfer to Antoetra to start Zafimaniry country trekking. The trek (approximately 4 hours; 10.2 kilometres) starts in Antoetra, the main Zafimaniry village, and also the last one reachable by car. Start your walk through eucalyptus forest, grass land and mimosa trees, until you reach Vohibe, a rocky platform where catholics built a large cross back in the last century. After enjoying the views, reach the village of Sakaivo, where you will camp under canvas, dozing off to the ambience of the wild.
Day 5 Zafimaniry Country
Enjoy a full day of trekking in Zafimaniry Country. After a hearty breakfast, start your day among the rice fields and take in the scenery, replete with typical houses of the Zafimaniry living in Sakaivo. The rest of the day will be a tour of different typical villages, where you’ll see woodcarvers (well-known in the area) at work. Sit down to a picnic lunch en route.
Day 6 Sahambavy
Today you’ll head back to Antoetra, where your vehicle will be waiting for you. This last day, you’ll still cross some typical villages and be able to share special time with local people. Transfer to Sahambavy for some well-earned rest.
Day 7 Sahambavy
Rise early this morning and visit the Tea Estate Factory (if it’s open). Then, if you are up for it, transfer to the village of Manaotsara for an optional full-day dugout canoe trip on the Matsiatra River. There will be two people, plus a local boatman, per canoe. Everyone will row and participate actively. The dugout canoes require calm and balance, and it’s important to follow the indication strictly, so as to avoid a bath in the river! Before starting the trip, you’ll be asked to do a ‘soatra’, a traditional rhum offering to ancestors asking them to take care of the boats on the river. Lunch will be a picnic on the river bank near a waterfall. Throughout the day, enjoy scenes of the countryside and the daily agricultural life of the local Betsileo people.
Day 8 Andringitra National Park
Drive down to Ambalavao and then to Namoly, the northern entrance of the Andringitra National Park. At this point your Andringitra / Peak Boby trek begins. Today’s walk (approximately 4 hours; 11.3 kilometres) takes you to your first campsite, at Andranolava.
Day 9 Andringitra National Park
Today is the big day of walking (approximately 9 hours; 21.5 km). Wake up early (before dawn) and firstly walk to the Peak Boby (approximately 2.5 hours). Due to its eastern position, the Peak Boby is surrounded by fog during the day, but normally not in the early morning. So an early start makes for a better chance of being exposed to nice weather conditions. After enjoying an amazing view over the area, descend via the ‘moon trail’ and explore a very special mountainous landscape. You will then reach a forest of endemic palm trees called ‘Ravenea glauca’. Continue to the Lantaranomby campsite.
Day 10 Andringitra National Park
Today’s walk takes you to Tsara Camp (approximately 5 hours; 12 km). After breakfast, set off down to the southern entrance of the Park, looking over the Tsaranoro Valley from the impressive Tsaranoro cliff. Along the way, spot aloes, lizards and chameleons, maybe even a few lemur catta (ring-tailed lemurs). Then you’ll pass through several villages inhabitated by the ‘Barabory’, a mixed population of Bara and Betsileo. Arrive at the Tsara Camp in the eary afternoon and enjoy some free time in this peaceful place.
Day 11 Isalo National Park
Enjoy a morning of free time. In the afternoon, drive to Isalo National Park. Covering an area of 81,540 hectares, this beautiful reserve is filled with golden plains punctuated by craggy pinnacles of terracotta rock, valleys, canyons, waterfalls and even tombs. Spot lemurs and Verreaux’s sifakas in the lush forested entrance to the canyon.
Day 12 Isalo National Park
Enjoy a full-day exploration of Isalo National Park. The park is home to approximately 55 species of birds, including the endemic Benson’s rock thrush, as well as a variety of lemurs, lizards and snakes. An optional hike amidst stunning rock formations (approximately 6 hours) will take you to Piscine Naturelle, a beautiful natural swimming pool in an oasis-like setting.
Day 13 Ifaty
Drive down to Ifaty. On the way there you will visit the Zombitse National Park and see its bizarre baobab trees. The park comprises some 363 square kilometres of dry forest, marsh and savanna. On arrival in Ifaty, the rest of the day is at your leisure. As optional, you can visit the highly recommended Antsokay Arboretum on the way to reach your hotel, a superb display of hundreds of different plant species.
Day 13 Ifaty
Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning.
We recommend that you don’t plan to connect any regional or international flights within the same day. It’s important to note that these flights can fill up quickly in high season and we also recommend that you purchase a re-routable ticket.
Start: Antananarivo, Madagascar
Finish: Ifaty, Madagascar
13 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 7 dinners
Hotel (8 nights), Lodge (1 night), Camping (4 nights)
- Antsirabe – Pousse-pousse rickshaw tour
- Antsirabe – Half day cycling trip
- Zafimaniry Country – Trekking
- Andringitra – Peak Boby Trek
- Isalo National Park – Guided Walk
Price from £2,120 per person (land only). Contact us for availability and prices for specific dates.
Trip length: 14 days
- Sun 29 Apr 2018 – Sat 12 May 2018
- Sun 27 May 2018 – Sat 9 Jun 2018
- Sun 24 Jun 2018 – Sat 7 Jul 2018
- Sun 29 Jul 2018 – Sat 11 Aug 2018
- Sun 19 Aug 2018 – Sat 1 Sep 2018
- Sun 9 Sep 2018 – Sat 22 Sep 2018
- Sun 7 Oct 2018 – Sat 20 Oct 2018
- Sun 14 Oct 2018 – Sat 27 Oct 2018
We love this operator for the freedom and flexibility they give travellers to get off the tourist trails and really experience local cultures. Their grassroots style of travel ensures the impact on the communities they visit is minimised. They use local leaders, local accommodation & transport and support local community projects, ensuring sustainability is at the centre of everything they do.
This operator is committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way they provide travellers with real life experiences. However, these values are more than just words on a page; they are ingrained in the culture and daily operations of every office and tour. In addition, they expect their staff and travellers to demonstrate the principles of responsible travel – respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.
Active Madagascar Hike and Bike Adventure
- Dates: various dates in 2018
- Price: from 2,120 GBP
- Start: Antananarivo, Madagascar
- Finish: Ifaty, Madagascar
- Length: 14 days
- Adventure: An active hike and bike adventure through Madagascar’s stunning natural landscapes