Madagascar June 2015

Welcome to Madagascar!

Our first bike tour in Madagascar was an amazing experience — full of animals, amazing scenery, exciting cycling, smiling Malagasy and good food. In 15 days we went from the capital down to the coast, stopping for hikes at three national parks along the way making it possible to see lots of lemurs and chameleons! Hardly any traffic made it perfect for riding. What an amazing country!

Here are some of our favorite photos from the tour:
We met in the capital of Antananarivo and then transferred four hours to the second city of Antsirabe. We broke up the drive with stops along the way to see a waterfall, some crafts as well as an aluminum pot making factory. Seeing the process from scrap metal to fully formed pot was insightful.

We met in the capital of Antananarivo and then transferred four hours to the second city of Antsirabe. We broke up the drive with stops along the way to see a waterfall, some crafts as well as an aluminum pot making factory. Once we arrived at our garden oasis of a hotel, with an interesting lemon tree, we changed for a short bike ride around town. During our first ride we stopped to visit a maker of miniature bicycles from recycled materials.

Our first day of riding took us around Antisrabe on a combination of dirt and paved roads.

Our first day of riding took us around Antisrabe on a combination of dirt and paved roads. We rode to the stunning Lake Tritriva, which looks like the shape of Africa from a certain angle. We enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch in the woods by the lake before we rode back to the hotel.

 


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On day 4 we rode 95 kms, but luckily most of it was flat through fields of rice so we could easily do the kilometres and we arrived at the lively town of Ambositra with plenty of time to walk around and see the wood carvers at work.


On our fifth day we had some hills and also a long off road section, but we also had an amazing 10 km descent down to Ranomafana National Park.

On our fifth day we had some hills and also a long off road section, but we also had an amazing 10 km descent down to Ranomafana National Park.


 

A day off the bikes and looking for lemurs and chameleons in Ranomafana National Park. We were quite lucky and ended up seeing 5 different species of lemurs!

A day off the bikes and looking for lemurs and chameleons in Ranomafana National Park. We were quite lucky and ended up seeing 5 different species of lemurs!


 

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Another stunning day of riding. We cheated and took a lift up that 10 km hill and then had a very quiet ride on tarmac before riding off road for 22 kms through a beautiful landscape. A picnic lunch by a tea plantation was a nice way to spend the afternoon.


Today we were in zebu and wine country. A tough climb that was definitely rewarded with an amazing downhill.

Today we were in zebu and wine country. A tough climb was definitely rewarded with an amazing downhill.


 

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An amazing day of riding through splendid scenery and our first sighting of ring-tailed lemurs! The last 20 kms off road were undulating to say the least but they brought us to the edge of Andringitra National Park and our wonderful camp for two nights, though we were hardly roughing it!


 

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Our morning was spent with a group of ring-tailed lemurs who came for a visit while we were eating breakfast. Our second day of hiking and we headed up to the top of Chameleon peak and learned about the plants on the way. Passing a natural pool on the way, however it was too cold for a morning dip, but the hotel’s pool was waiting when we returned!


 

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A huge change to the terrain today. As we left the mountains behind we had a flat ride on the Horombe Plateau with wide open spaces and big sky.


 

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The landscape changes again today as we hike I’Isalo National Park and are amidst sandstone canyons. Hidden deep in the canyons are two oases of natural pools, making for a welcome respite. The best surprise was a visit by a beautiful white sifaka as we were having lunch.


 

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Our last day of riding was equally as stunning as all the others. We stopped for a visit to a sapphire mining town before ending the day at the beach, we made just in time for sunset!


 

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It’s beach time! The water of the Mozambique Channel was super clear and we had a morning swim before a beach walk to meet some of those that live off the sea. It was sad to leave Madagascar, but what a discovery of an amazing island!

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More information on our 15-day tour to Madagascar can be found here.

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