When's the best time to travel to Madagascar?
Dominated by the southern trade winds from the Indian Ocean Madagascar has two seasons, a warm, wet season (November – April); and a dry, cool season (May – October). However, due to its geographic setting this island country has a variety of climatic patterns – tropical in the north, temperate in the central, and arid in the south. Although the western and southwestern parts are hot in the summer, the weather is warm, with blue skies and a lot of sunshine during the winter months. Also note that in the central highlands the weather can get fairly chilly in the day and cold at night, so warm clothing is highly recommended.
Is fresh water supplied?
Keeping you completely hydrated is taken very seriously. Cold water, some energy-restoring local fruit and soft drinks are included in the tour price.
Is money easily accessible in Madagascar?
Madagascar’s currency is the Malagasy ariary (AR) and is used throughout the country. Euros are also widely accepted, with US dollars occasionally accepted in the capital, major cities and tourist attractions. However, while ATMs are available in Antananarivo and other major towns, you are allowed to draw only around €150 per transaction.
In addition, as credit cards are not widely accepted except at a few luxury hotels, upscale restaurants, Air Madagascar offices and travel agencies, it is recommended you have enough cash on hand. The most useful card is Visa, with MasterCard welcomed only in some stores. Visa and MasterCard can also be used to get cash advances (in ariary) at the banks which also change travellers cheques and cash in major currencies. Ivato Airport also has a foreign-exchange counter offering exchange rates as good as those at the banks, and is quite convenient for tourists upon their arrival to the country, but be sure to count your money immediately so that you haven’t been short changed as there have been a number of reports of fraud committed by its staff.
It is recommeded that you tuck away a few extra dollars, perhaps US$20, for incidentals.
Can I travel as a solo traveller?
It is customary to tip local tour guides and drivers, however, the amount you give should be dependent on the level of service you receive.
Absolutely. There is no compulsory surcharge for travelling alone. Accommodation is arranged on a twin share basis with another group traveller of the same gender. If you cannot be matched, a single room will be provided at no extra charge. If you prefer not to share a single supplement is payable to guarantee your own room. The cost of the single supplement is listed above.
Are spare bike parts available?
Basic spares and tools are carried by the guide and on the support vehicle, though it cannot be guaranteed there’ll be spares for every conceivable problem. Carrying a basic tool kit, a spare tube and a pump while riding is recommended.
Do I need to bring a helmet?
Wearing a helmet is required and is non negotiable. If you do not wear a helmet you will not be allowed to cycle. Your tour leader is trained in first aid and emergency rescue, but to a large degree you must be responsible for your own safety while riding. It is therefore compulsory that you take out travel insurance that will cover you for a mountain biking tour.
What are the local hire bikes like?
Because some people can’t imagine going on a trip without their own beloved bicycle, they are not automatically provide as part of this tour. However, you are able to hire bikes locally for the price listed above. The bikes are Carraro mountain bikes with lightweight alloy frames, 24- to 27-speed gearing, v-brakes and Shimano components and front suspension. If you bring your own bike, please make sure it is a road bike and that it is in good mechanical order.