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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed December 2018
    David Dowson

    Madagascar on two wheels

    Cycling on this trip is still the best way to explore Madagascar in just two weeks. The ever changing scenery from day to day and the terrain just made this trip one of the best, add in an excellent tour guide and support team, nothing was to much for any of them.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day had its special moments, for me cycling through the small villages were among my highlights and of course seeing the Lemurs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armel couldn’t be faulted he tried his best at every stage to make sure we got the most out of our trip, his leg massage certainly helped with the bout of cramp I got on the first day of the bike ride, didn’t have a problem after that. Otherwise Armel was as good as any tour guide I have experienced, I noticed he was better at spotting the wildlife in the parks than the local guides were, thanks Mel.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just take every day as it comes, the scenery is ever changing, but except that this is a country trying to pull itself out of abject poverty, so not everything runs perfectly smooth, in saying that Armel and his team did everything they could to deal with any issues that cropped up. The whole experience of cycling in Madagascar is better than individual moments.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A few on the tour did get upset stomachs at different times so couldn’t pinpoint the cause, however, it is worth taking three to five day course of Ciprofloxicin just in case.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Kathleen LOvell

    Cycle Madagascar

    Absolutely loved it. My only criticism being that I felt like we should have set the bikes up on the evening of our first get-together. We spent a lot of time fussing with bikes on the first morning. That way we could have got away earlier on Day 1. We could have got out of the city earlier and quicker, had more time watching the Dancing Limas at the Reserve and not been biking so long in the hot sun. Also, the trip to Ramofama was unpleasant - too many tourists all there at the same time and scrabbling through and breaking the native forest. We saw very little in the way of Limas - saw many more further on in the trip.The evening event was great so you would really only need to stay there one day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having lots of time and room to see the ring tailed Limas at one of the smaller parks. Going there in the afternoon was great value - much better than using up valuable cool cycling time the following morning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely outstanding. Patient, funny, supremely organised, caring, considerate, always aware of what was happening. A delightful man whom we were privileged to have and get to know. We learnt so much about the local people and areas because of him

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Carry diarrhoea and vomiting tablets - be super careful about water, salads, hand washing

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would loved the cycling to have been several more days
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Kathleen LOvell

    Cycle Madagascar

    Absolutely loved it. My only criticism being that I felt like we should have set the bikes up on the evening of our first get-together. We spent a lot of time fussing with bikes on the first morning. That way we could have got away earlier on Day 1. We could have got out of the city earlier and quicker, had more time watching the Dancing Limas at the Reserve and not been biking so long in the hot sun. Also, the trip to Ramofama was unpleasant - too many tourists all there at the same time and scrabbling through and breaking the native forest. We saw very little in the way of Limas - saw many more further on in the trip.The evening event was great so you would really only need to stay there one day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having lots of time and room to see the ring tailed Limas at one of the smaller parks. Going there in the afternoon was great value - much better than using up valuable cool cycling time the following morning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely outstanding. Patient, funny, supremely organised, caring, considerate, always aware of what was happening. A delightful man whom we were privileged to have and get to know. We learnt so much about the local people and areas because of him

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Carry diarrhoea and vomiting tablets - be super careful about water, salads, hand washing

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would loved the cycling to have been several more days
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Karla Capers

    Amazing country, fun cycling

    This was a great trip packed with very fun cycling days, a couple days off-saddle to explore the country on foot, and a relaxing day at the end to rest and recuperate while staring at the beautiful Mozambique channel. It was really the perfect mix of activities -- all perfectly planned and executed by the amazing trip leader Armel. The cycling was really fun with some challenging hill climbs and amazingly long, winding, fun descents through some of the most beautiful and interesting landscapes I've ever seen. There was lots of time to explore nature (tons of lemurs!) and the tiny villages we were cycling through. The food was fresh and delicious. Mel was always willing to share information about this interesting country -- it's people, cultures, music, politics, animals, and history -- and went above and beyond to ensure the trip was perfect for everyone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved waking up early two mornings to ride while watching the sunrise. Not only did that mean we avoided cycling during the hottest part of the day (in the afternoon), but the sunrise over the mountains was really dramatic and the morning light was just breathtaking.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Lindsay MacRae

    This trip has it all!

    This trip is in a class of its own. The cycling is varied, with plenty of hills and descents through a wide range of landscapes. The country and cultures are fascinating. There is a perfect balance of cycling and other outdoor activities. Mel, the guide, goes the extra mile at every opportunity and is passionate about every aspect of his job and country. If you want long, action packed days with early starts, plenty of exercise, honest, clean accommodation and the freshest food imaginable and you have a spirit of adventure, sign up! I could not fault any aspect of this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to the Malagasy house. It was a very humbling experience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He’s a legend! He works 24/7 to ensure the smooth running of the trip, includes his own initiatives which add so much, never stops smiling and joking. He is the difference between this and other Exodus trips.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with an open mind and a sense of humour. Be prepared for some physical challenges. Don’t expect wifi to always work. Take a gel saddle.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Keith Batchelor

    A fantastic holiday!

    Eager to catch a glimpse of life in Madagascar from a cyclists perspective I was not disappointed. The terrain and scenery changed as we progressed from Antananarivo to the south and the roadside picnic lunches were great. The roads were fine for cycling despite a large number of pot holes in some places and all the hotels were comfortable and welcoming. The people were also very friendly, I certainly never felt under threat. With the help of Armel, our guide, I gained some valuable insight into life within Madagascar. It was certainly a very worthwhile experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me there were 4 particularly inspirational moments/events: 1) seeing lemurs in both the lemur park and in the wild; 2) the walk across the rocks up into the hills/mountains; 3) the visit to a "typical" dwelling together with a brief description of how the family lived; 4) the unspoiled beach and shoreline at Ifaty.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armel was excellent, always cheery, humorous and well informed. He was also keen to give me/us a glimpse of Madagascan culture in so far as that was possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In early morning and evening it is quite cold so a fleece or two and other layers are important. The walk in the rain forest certainly requires a descent pair if walking shoes/boots.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The small herds of zebu are quite memorable and the zebu steaks are very tasty.
  • Reviewed June 2018

    Excellent trip

    I had originally booked for the Cycling Nicaragua-Costa Rica-Panama, but it got cancelled 2-3 weeks before the trip due to the situation in Nicaragua. I decided to do Cycling Madagascar instead and I was not disappointed at all. I had an excellent time and I enjoyed every single day of the trip, both cycling and non-cycling days. The landscape is simple breathtaking. I have to say that the tour guide (Armel) made a huge difference and made this trip memorable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I can think of more than one! - Cycling at sunrise riding towards the full moon while the sun was slowly rising behind us. It was simply surreal. - Night walk in the rainforest looking for chameleons with millions of starts shining above us and the sound of the nature. - Riding through the small villages in the remote areas and the entire family greeting us and the cute little kids jumping up and down as if we were doing 'Tour de France'! :) - The exilerating long downhills surrounded with mountains.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armel was simply amazing. He was very passionate about his country and the tour. He was full of energy and always had a big smile. He cared about every single member of the group and did not leave anybody out. Without him, the tour would not have been the same!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are quite a few hills to climb so make sure you have a decent fitness level.
  • Reviewed June 2018
    M I

    Loved it! Excellent and Challenging!

    I loved every moment of this trip, even the part where I fell off the bike!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to cycle the longest distances I've ever cycled in my entire life. Seeing so much beautiful scenery that my eyes hurt, and feeling on certain roads that there was noone else in the world.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mel was a fantastic tour leader. He had a tough job on his hands as I was a very amateur cyclist with a very strong group. He managed to accommodate across alllevels.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure that you are fully prepped on cycling on hills. The Malagasy flats are undulating and challenging. I thought I had a reasonable base level of fitness, but would have enjoyed it more if I had done more cycling related prep.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Would highly recommend this trip. I had an amazing time and would do more as a result of this!
  • Reviewed November 2017
    LIz Bissett

    A fabulous trip!

    We enjoyed the variety of the trip - completely different, magnificent scenery every day, comfortable hotels, good food (we're veggies and it can be a bit of a struggle in some countries), a really lovely group of fellow cyclists, a great leader, some challenging hills and lots of amazing descents. The bikes were excellent, safety was always stressed and the back-up team were great. There are always interesting situations in a developing country and these were solved efficiently - the most serious one on our trip was crossing a bridge that had collapsed five days before..... it all came well in the end. We've already booked our next Exodus trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling 100 kms in one day - the furthest we'd ever cycled. Seeing lemurs on several occasions. Some of the long descents were absolutely wonderful. The warm welcome we received in every small village, with children keen to wave and greet us. A surprise visit to a village house for coffee.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mel was extremely good natured and efficient. Getting checked into each hotel was smooth and organised very quickly. He was at ease with everyone in the group (we ranged in age from early twenties to late sixties). He was encouraging and friendly and was happyfor us to cycle at our own pace. Everything on the trip ran very efficiently - a lot of thought and previous experience went into things such as ordering our meals a couple of hours early so that the small kitchens could cope. Suggesting and organising a group kitty for snacks en route and to pay tips in the hotels was really helpful. He emphasised safety regularly, particularly in damp weather and when the roads were steep with sharp bends.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you're cycling, a gel saddle cover or your own saddle is useful. Don't expect to see lemurs in the wild - we saw plenty, but only in National Parks. Don't expect great wi-fi! Do expect to see a lot of cloud/rain in the rainforest.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A suggestion regarding Ifaty beach. A few of us walked to the nearby village with one of the hotel staff as our guide. We paid the hotel a small amount for this service. We agreed that travellers would be happy to pay twice as much and for some of the money to go to the village (whose water pump had failed).
  • Reviewed October 2017

    Cycling Madagascar

    This was our 5th Exodus cycling trip, and if like me you like a good balance between cycling and sightseeing, this is the trip for you! There was some non-cycling activity almost everyday, whether it be a short visit to some local handicraft workshop, swimming in natural pools or a half day hiking in the rain-forest. This trip combines all the best aspects of a cycling holiday: varied terrains, waving children, wildlife, interesting local culture, a large variety of non cycling activities, great guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to pick one thing, so I have chosen 3 things. -Seeing so many different types of Lemur, we saw Lemurs on 4 separate occasions. -The 10k downhill cycle through Ranomafana national park -Swimming in the natural pool at Liliha waterfall. There's nothing like a refreshing swim when you are hot from cycling.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armel (Mel) was great. He really loves his country and is personally involved in supporting the rural communities.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Credit cards are only accepted in Antananarivo, and ATM/Cash machines are few and far between, so planning money is a bit tricky. Taking extra Euros or dollars as a back up is an option. There were lots of picnics, some smart people in our group bought a foam garden kneeler to sit on. A sarong makes a good improvised changing room for the 2 natural swimming days.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Make this your next Exodus cycling trip!
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