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Bike Tours - The last Eden - 14 Nights

Cycle in a small group or take an individual arrangement.

Duration of this bike ride is 15 days / 14 nights. This tour is designed for regular cyclists who are looking for longer distances of 65 – 110 km per day. Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, lies in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique. Madagascar was formed by continental drift rather than volcanic eruption (it tore off the African mainland around 165 million years ago). A narrow coastal strip in the east is where most of the rainforest grows; the central plateau in the high altitudes is cool; and there are plains and low-lying plateaux to the west. Madagascar is a continent in miniature with its micro climates, vastly different habitats and a huge number of endemic species.

The international conservation community has singled it out as one of the ecologically richest countries on the planet – the last Eden. This bike ride takes us on an 8 days cycle, about 590 kilometres in total, in the east of this amazing island. We cycle through highland villages and paddy fields, the lush tropical fruit plantations and coastal trails up as far as the tropical island of Ile Sainte Marie. The terrain is an exciting combination of tarmac and dusty red-earth dirt road trails. Far away from the modern comforts of daily life, this will be an unforgettable experience.

Included services:
  • JHB to TNR Flights return on either Airlink or Ethiopian Airlines or Air Austral
  • Airport Taxes
  • Internal flight from Toamasina to TNR on Air Madagascar with taxes
  • English-speaking tour manager on the bike
  • The mentioned or similar hotels in double room
  • Full board Day 2 – 12,
  • Half board Day 13, 14 Breakfast Day 15
  • Mineral water during cycling,
  • All cars and buses, all transfers
  • Local guides
  • Mechanic (with a minimum of six cyclists) Entrance fees in the parks
Not included:
  • Bike Hire or bring your own
  • All other drinks, mineral water in hotels, restaurant and no cycling days
  • Private expenses, Additional beach activities,
  • Travel Insurance
Typically you will be sharing your experiences with between six to 12 like minded bikers and you'll have a cycling tour manager with you. Whether you are travelling alone or with friends its good value, and a great way to meet new people. While itinerary is scheduled there is some flexibility and you'll have plenty of privacy. This trip will appeal to travellers of all ages who enjoy meeting new people as well as experiencing new cultures.

If you prefer an individual tour please ask us for an offer.
 
Complementary information: From / to Antananarivo Duration: 16 days / 15 nights
Cycling: 8 days and short distances
Distance: about 590 km, from which 120 km are dirt road
National park: Andasibe-Mantadia National park
 
Beach: Two days
Best season: from April to November. From July to October is a chance to see whales.
Requirements: good cyclist, teamgeist. The tour can be changed according to circumstances.

Highlights:

Cycling 590 km from the capital of Antananarivo to the unspoilt tropical island of Ste. Marie

–   Cycling the suburbs of Antananarivo
–   Indri reserve
–   Andasibe-Mantadia  NP
–   Walks and Exploration at Foulpointe Beach
–   Tropical island of Ste. Marie

Towns: Antananarivo – Moramanga – Toamasina – Mahavelona  (Foulpointe)

Madagascar is a third world country which is not fully geared up to tourism. You should therefore be prepared for changes to the route and accommodation right up to the last minute and remember that facilities will not be same as Europe or South Africa.

Detailed itinerary:

Day 1,
Arrive in Madagascar
Arrive in Ivato, Antananarivo airport. You are free to arrive at any time. Meet and greet and transfer to the hotel where we stay. Tana is a charming collection of colourful houses, often breathtakingly crooked stick to the slopes. Crooked roofs, weathered brick walls and ramshackle wooden stalls push their reckless domestic and one above the other, as to each other to prevent slipping at.

Day 2,
Antananarivo, approximately 26 km
Wake up in Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar.  Bike  fitting  after  breakfast  in the morning. Before lunch a first bike ride to the surrounding of Antananarivo. We visit a small artisanal factory. Out of used metal parts they produce birds, baobabs, lighthouses… We take lunch near this place. Later we return same way to the hotel.

Antananarivo – Lac Mantasoa  approximately 87 km
We cycle out of Tana on a busy section of road with some uphill. Once out of the city, the roads become much quieter and for most of the day we cycle on good tarmac roads, undulating through villages and lush green rice paddies. Then we come to a dirt road section, starting with a few km of cobblestone. Mostly uphill for a few km we have great vies on the surroundings of Tana before retracing our route back to the main road and continuing on towards Lac Mantasoa. As we cycle past highland villages, the scenery changes and roads are lined with grey eucalyptus trees contrasting against the bright red earth. After 48km we turn south in the direction of Lake Mantasoa. From here we cycle 13 km on dusty off- road trails to the small village of Mantasoa. From here we follow a bumpy road which is for the most part broken up tarmac with potholes and sharp ascents and descents. The hillsides are covered with eucalyptus and pine trees and as we cycle up to a height of 1,300m the views across the lake are worth the effort. We reach the lake and skirt round the shores to our overnight hotel overlooking the lake.

Day 4,
Mantasoa – Andasibe approximately 104 km (20 km dirt road)
We retrace the last 13km of yesterday’s off-road trail to rejoin our route. After a few steep undulations we turn away from the lake and back to a landscape dotted with rice paddies and huts. After Ambatoloana we rejoin a good tarmac road. The road is mainly downhill and winds between lush forest and bamboo. There are flat and undulating sections for the rest of the morning. After a picnic lunch we cycle through the village of Moramanga and up a long hill followed by a zigzagging downhill stretch of road. The next 20km are gently undulating. Cycle through the village of Andasibe then the final 6km is a beautiful off-road trail through the forest to our overnight stay.

Day 5,
Andasibe-Mantadia NP, approximately 34 km
We begin with a very early morning breakfast and cycle a few km to the Andasibe-Mantadia NP. We change into our walking shoes for a guided walking tour on forest paths to visit the Indri Lemurs and enjoy the flora and fauna. We follow the strange cry of the Indri and hope to see the whole family. We also have the opportunity to see many plants and other lemurs as well as birds. After lunch we cycle by bike in a different part of the park called Mantadia. Here we take a walk in the primary rainforest before we cycle back to our hotel.

Day 6,
Andasibe – Ranomafana  Est, approximately 70 km
We rejoin our bikes and head for the main road. We cycle on road with some long gradual uphills and
downhills with some stunning panoramic views over the surrounding hills. The scenery changes again and our route is lined with lush banana and mango plantations, lychee trees and the endemic Ravinala palm, whose enormous fan-like leaves are used for roofing in the area. The air becomes noticeably hotter as we descend. After lunch we cycle a short distance to the small town of Ranomafana Est where we stay the night in simple bungalows.

Ranomafana  Est – Manambato, approximately 60 km including 7 km dirt road with some difficulties
Today we cycle to the little hamlet of Manambato. First, we cycle on tarmac till we pass through the larger town Brickaville. The last 7 km we just make an effort to come over the bumpy dirt road through the village Manambato to the shores of Lake Rasoabe. We will stay here for the night.

Day 8,
Manambato  – Toamasina  (Tamatave), approximately 104 km (7 km tough dirt road)
Cycle back to the main road, this time uphill and bad quality dirt-road. For the next 30km the road is mostly flat, straight and lined with lychee trees and bamboo forests. As the day progresses, the road begins to gently undulate. We are now deep in the lush eastern plains of Madagascar as we cycle through palm tree plantations and an array of tropical fruits – banana, mango and papaya. For the last 20km, the road levels out and we approach Madagascar’s second largest town, Toamasina (often still called Tamatave) – a lively port, buzzing with life. On the suburbs we regroup and cycle together on a badly maintained tarmac road packed with markets, cyclists, cars and pedestrians. Then we turn off onto a quiet road which leads to our next overnight stop.

Day 9,
Toamasina  (Tamatave) – Mahavelona (Foulpointe), approximately 57 km
The road is flat, quiet and rural with little traffic. It will be another hot day so there will be plenty of water stops throughout the ride. Eventually we reach sand dunes and follow the beautiful coastline northwards, passing modest resorts and the occasional village. As we cycle up the coast, we continue crossing the river; a laguna separates the road from the coast. The final kilometre cuts across a dirt road trail to the beach and to our resting place for the night.

Day 10,
Free morning
Mahavelona  (Foulpointe) – Fénérive Est, approximately 42 km (3 km dirt road)
Morning free to relax on the beach, take a pirogue out to the reef, play a game of tennis or a round of
golf. After an early light lunch we have a day off from challenging terrain as we cycle half a day on mostly wide, flat paths and a few more undulations than yesterday. The road winds round this lush landscape towards the town of Fénérive. 3 km before the village we turn off and cycle towards the ocean to our accommodation situated right on the beach. No hot water available. The setting is idyllic, overlooking the sea and a nearby island

Day 11,
Fénérive Est – Soanierana  Ivongo approximately 60 km including 3 km dirt road. Ferry to Ile Sainte Marie – 1 or 2 hours, depending  on sea conditions, on arrival cycling Ambodifotatra – Maromandia  (18 km) in total approximately 78 km cycling
A very early start today as our destination is an island just off the coast called Ile Sainte Marie. We cycle to the port of Soanierana Ivongo where our bikes are loaded onto a barge to transfer to the island. After lunch we take the afternoon fast boat. The crossing will be approximately 1 hour (sea conditions permitting). Our first taste of island is a ride over undulating tarmac north, just outside the village of Maromandia.

Day 12,
Nosy Boraha (Ile Ste. Marie), approximately 42 km dirt road
Our final day will be one of mixed emotions! A real treat insofar as we cycle across and around much of this beautiful, virtually untouched island for the whole day but the dirt road terrain will be gruelling having to negotiate lots of sharp ups and downs, deep potholes, rocks and sand. We set off early heading north and uphill towards Ankirihiry. The first few km of the day are on tarmac but we soon come to the challenging dirt road which stays with us for the rest of the day. On reaching Ankirihiry we turn inland for 5 km to cross the island from one side to the other. With the Indian Ocean now on our left we cycle south towards Anfiafy and Marofilao eventually reaching the port of Ambodifotatra. We continue south to our finish line at our hotel which will be our base for the next two nights. After celebrating the finish line we enjoy a well refreshing drink next to the glittering Indian Ocean. What better way to complete this spectacular challenge in Madagascar. This evening we celebrate the end of the challenge and toast our achievement.

Day 13, Day 14,
Nosy Boraha (Ile Sainte Marie)
Free days to relax at the tropical island of Ste. Marie. Swimming pool, tennis, mountain biking, beach
volleyball, badminton, ping pong ... visit to the pirate cemetery on the island or islet Iles aux Nattes. Even a small nature park is located not far from the hotel. From June to October you may observe whales.

Day 15,
Ste. Marie – Tana
Flight from Ste. Marie to Tana
Leisurely walk to the airport to catch a flight to Antananarivo. – End of service at the airport. –

The proposed hotels lodges and guest houses:
(The information comes usually from the hotel or a third party).
The hotels are listed according to place and incident upper middle class hotels, boutique hotels, fine 3- star hotels or comfortable lodges with a special flair. Or we give up the comforts of the great and noble
hotels and live in smaller, simpler hotels, guest houses and lodges. In remote areas electricity is often only
available on an hourly basis. The standard of accommodation is not the same as in Europe or South Africa.

Town, city or place, short description

Antananarivo, La Résidence Ankerana.  Located in a residential area at 20 minutes from the centre, La Résidence is a charming and relaxing place with a warm atmosphere. Comfortable accommodations, restaurant and private dining rooms with traditional cuisine and selected local specialities, beauty salon and massage and entertainments (live jazz and local music concerts on Friday, ballroom dancing every month…) this hotel is a real 'Village in the city' for those who want to discover Antananarivo in best conditions.

Mantasoa,  Ermitage.  The hotel is set in its own grounds covering 32 hectares amidst a magnificent pine forest overlook in Mantasoa. Lake 60 km from the capital Antananarivo. Double, twin and triple rooms. Restaurant and Bar, Lounge with a beautiful store fire place. Sports facilities, Massage salon, Horse Riding, Tennis Court, Volley Ball, Bowling, Basketball, Table tennis, Nature trails, Water sport, and Boat excursions. If you are not enticed with our sports activities treat yourself to relaxing massage.

Andasibe,  Orchidée. Located in the centre of Andasibe. Very simple, nice and quiet hotel. A good way to take part of the daily life of the Malagasy population. Just walk down the main street or to see the market or the foot terrain.

Ranomafana Est, Mirindra. Some simple bungalows on the main road.

Manambato, Espace Vacances Andrianina in Manambato invites you to enjoy this little piece of paradise. Discover its sandy beaches that stretch to the horizon at Lake Rasoabe. Enjoy a generous climate and many activities in this simple, authentic and friendly place. You have the opportunity to taste local delights in the restaurant or cook on site. To complete the stay, the hotel offers various sporting activities that will make you forget the stress of urban life.

Toamasina  (Tamatave), Miramar.  A slightly upmarket establishment, on the beach about 4km north of town. The multi-coloured bungalows, some split into separate rooms, are scattered around the quiet garden.

Mahavelona (Foulpointe), Manda Beach with its warmth and its style typically offer a stay warm and distinguished. Situated north of Toamasina his hotel complex with its rooms and bungalows, traditional construction comfortably surrounded by lush greenery with a swimming pool, tennis and other games, along the beach of Mahavelona (Foulpointe).

Fénérive  Est, La Ruschia Village. Nice bungalows by the sea, some km from city centre. The village has kilometrical beaches lined with coconut trees, where you just may have a walk and enjoy the wonderful view on the ocean.

Nosy Boraha (Ste. Marie),  Natiora Recidence. Built in harmony between sea and forest, the Residence is a true paradise for nature lovers. The well-maintained villas with all the amenities, including a large private terrace overlooking the sea. From the villas you can watch the beautiful sunset on the horizon and enjoy a drink. The kitchen is the 'healthy eating' in the foreground. It is a natural cuisine, ideal for gourmets looking good and wholesome food. Experience the luxury to feel at home.

Nosy Boraha (Ste. Marie),  Vanivola.  The Hotel de Charme is a small island paradise for holiday makers looking to get away from it all. Imagine endless stretches of white sandy beaches, and turquoise oceans as far as the eye can see. Because island living is so relaxed, guests are encouraged to put their feet up and enjoy a tranquil holiday experience. For nature lovers, there are many fantastic sights not to be missed. Of course those wanting to get out and about are welcome to explore the vast array of activities and sights on the island and on the surrounding islands. Because the ocean is so warm, water sports are a popular way to pass the holiday time. Go diving, snorkelling and fishing or simply ride in a boat and enjoy the vast and beautiful ocean.

Please enquire with us for rates as it all depends on how many people are in your group and the time of year you want to travel.
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