Cycle Madagascar

15 days
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£3,059
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Traveller ratings
4.3 / 5 from 7 reviews >
Trip code: 
MZG
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Cycling Holidays
Min age:
18
Group size:
4–16

An adventure rich in culture and discovery through unforgettable Madagascar

Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, offers a cycling adventure like no other. We journey on largely quiet roads through a landscape of dramatic highland plains, unique rock formations and natural swimming pools. We pause to visit the lush chain of rainforest in the Ranomafana National Park with deep canyons and huge waterfalls. Apart from its natural treasures the nation is also rich in culture and the many ethnic groups with fascinating traditions contribute to the melting-pot that is Madagascar. Our cycling is rewarded by a day to relax on the idyllic white sand beach of Ifaty on the coast, scattered with palms and protected by an offshore coral reef.

Highlights

  • Lush agricultural land of the north with paddy fields and fruit orchards
  • Ambositra, the arts and crafts capital of Madagascar
  • Isalo National Park, with its amazing rock formations, and natural swimming holes
  • Dense rainforest and cascading falls of Ranomafana National Park
  • White sand beaches of the fisherman’s village of Ifaty

Key information

  • 11 nights standard and 1 night comfortable hotels
  • 8 days cycling with 100% vehicle support
  • Mostly surfaced roads, a few rough sections

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader/support staff throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

8

Pace:

Average 77km/day (48 miles)

Day by day breakdown
Day 372.0km/44.0miles
Day 454.0km/33.0miles
Day 538.0km/23.0miles
Day 684.0km/52.0miles
Day 774.0km/45.0miles
Day 956.0km/34.0miles
Day 1090.0km/55.0miles
Day 1265.0km/40.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Depart London.

    Overnight flight from London to Antananarivo.

  • Day 2

    Arrive Antananarivo.

    Our adventure starts in Antananarivo. The group flights usually arrive mid-afternoon. There will be a group meeting and briefing in the evening followed by an optional group dinner in the hotel for those that would like to join.

    Accommodation: Au Bois Vert Lodge or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 3

    Transfer to Lemur park; continue along wide open roads, cycling the best sections, to Ampefy.

    Leaving the hotel after breakfast we transfer out of the busy city to the Lemurs Park to encounter these primates which are endemic to Madagascar. Lemurs Park is a private park with a few species of lemur living freely in a forested area. After the visit to the park, we start cycling through scenic farmland with plenty of rice paddy fields. After lunch in Arivonimamo, we will transfer through a highland region to the top of a mountain pass before continuing the ride downhill to Miarinarivo, the capital of the Itasy, a region known its volcanic activity. The road levels out and the following 32km to Ampefy offer reaching views and are a real joy to ride. In Ampefy the lakeside hotel is our base for the next two nights.

    Cycle approx. 72km.

    Accommodation: Hotel Kavitaha or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Ride to dramatic geysers of Analavory; to waterfalls of Lily river.

    We start today by cycling to the geysirs of Analavory. These limestone mounds are similar to geysirs found in Utah and Nevada; volcanic activity encourages bursts of warm water to cascade down the bright yellow stone and create a series of pools, often used by the locals for swimming due to the belief of the healing powers of the water. The ride starts on a decent road but the 16km route out and back to the geysirs is along a bumpy dirt track, linking up some fascinating small rural villages. Re-joining the new tar road we head back towards Ampefy, but before reaching the hotel we will take a small detour to the Liliha waterfalls, a dramatic series of cascades that provide a perfect way to refresh near the end of a full day of cycling. This stretch is also on dirt road.

    Cycle approx. 54km (26km on dirt road).

    Accommodation: Hotel Kavitaha or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    A long day cycling through traditional towns and villages; overnight Antisirabe.

    Although relatively short, today’s ride is fairly challenging with varied terrain. We cycle the first 20km to Soavinandriana through scenic landscape with some hilly sections, including a steady 4km climb up to the town itself. The road levels out and we continue our undulating ride through spectacular scenery before a great descent which crosses the river at the small village of Kelivody. Here we will load up the bikes to drive across a high mountain pass to the town of Faratsiho. From here the road deteriorates dramatically and we will need 4X4 vehicles to pass the 47km stretch to Sambaina. This is an adventurous drive passing through a region that is rarely visited by tourists and provides a unique insight into the lives of those who live along the route. From Sambaina we re-join the tarmac for the final drive to Antisarabe. The entire transfer is likely to take up to 5 hours, but we will stop regularly to stretch the legs and have a look around. Antsirabe is an elegant city founded by Norwegian’s in 1856. It has a temperate climate and has a very European look and feel about it, including the local beer industry that makes it famous.

    Cycle approx. 38km.

    Accommodation: Chambres du Voyageur or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Ride to Ambositra, famous for its craft and woodwork.

    Departing Antsirabe we start with a very short transfer to Vinanikarena to avoid the hectic morning traffic within the city. This is a long day’s cycling with a few undulations including a 4km climb to the ‘Col de Tapia’, a type of tree resistant to bush fires that makes for some interesting scenery. The support vehicle is with us all day so a rest is available if needed. Today’s destination is Ambositra, the centre of Madagascar's wood carving industry. The highlands are characterised by its architecture; the houses are made with ornately carved wooden balconies and shutters with bright colours. Upon arrival, depending on timings, we may visit a Zafimaniry woodcarving workshop to learn all about this local art that is listed on the UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage (if there isn’t sufficient time today then the visit will take place the following morning).

    Cycle approx. 84km.

    Accommodation: Hotel le Grenat or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    To Ranomafana; thrilling descent through ravine canyon and rainforest.

    We have a lot of ground to cover today to get to the famed Ranomafana National Park. We’ll start the day with a transfer to Camp Robin before riding towards Ambohimahasoa. The landscape is still dominated by rice fields, pine forests, eucalyptus trees and jagged mountains. The last section, from Vohiparara, cruises downhill through a ravine canyon, with a tremendous view of the Namorona River and the rainforest, to our final destination of Ranomafana, our base for the next 2 nights.

    Cycle approx. 74km.

    Accommodation: Hotel le Grenat or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Full day to explore the national park by foot; natural thermal baths and nocturnal walk.

    We have a day off the saddle today to explore Ranomafana National Park (approximately 40,000ha). With its rain-forested hills and abundant wildlife this has long been considered one of Madagascar’s highlights, and is one of the most heavily visited of the country’s national parks. Its entrance lies about 7km from Ranomafana village. Altitudes in the park range from 800m to 1200m. In addition to its densely forested hills, Ranomafana’s terrain is characterised by numerous small streams, which plummet down to the beautiful Namorona River. Although much of the region has been logged, the easternmost part of the park retains relatively large areas of primary forest. The day will be spent walking through the park, learning about the abundant flora and fauna and in the evening there will be the chance to go on a night-walk in the hope of spotting some the nocturnal lemurs, chameleons and other endemic Madagascan animals.

    Accommodation:Hotel le Grenat or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Cycle to cottage industries en route to the red-dust roads of Ambalavaro.

    We’ll start today with a 2 hour transfer to Fianarantsoa, which literally translates into ‘good education’ and is known locally as ‘the City where one learns good things’. It is regarded as the cultural and intellectual centre of Madagascar and is home to some of the oldest Protestant and Lutheran cathedrals on the island. We’ll start cycling here following a windy road to Ambalavao. Ambalavao is the centre of the Madagascan wine industry - the climate is said not to be ideal for grape vines but it is a tradition left by the priests and monks who lived in the area of Fianarantsoa. We climb a steady pass then enjoy a fabulous descent with great views before arriving in Ambalavao. Here we visit the ‘Anteimoro Paper Factory’ which is a vestige of the Arabian civilisation on the island.

    Cycle approx. 56km.

    Accommodation:Tsienimparihy Lodge or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Continue through the hills and rock formations towards Horombe plateau.

    We’ll start cycling from the hotel today and pause to visit the small Anja nature reserve where we may see Ring-tailed Lemurs in their natural surroundings. Continuing on a straight road flanked by mountains we’ll head towards Ihosy, the capital of the Bara tribes. This nomadic tribe are shepherds to the prized Zebu cattle recognisable by their large horns. We’ll pass through the mountain chain of Andringitra, which serves as a transition between the dry south and the green highlands, with its famous ‘3 hillocks’ and its huge ‘archbishop's cape’. Along the way we’ll pass the ‘Bishop’s Hat’, a sacred place for local people as it is a place where their ancestors chose a collective suicide rather than to give in to the Merina tribes. On reaching the town of Zazafotsy we’ll jump on the bus for a transfer over the mountain-pass and then through the huge dessert-like ‘Plateau de Horombe’ famed for its deep red soil and sprawling savannah. Beyond the plateau we arrive in Isalo, our base for the next 2 nights.

    Cycle approx. 90km.

    Accommodation: Isalo Ranch or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Full day trekking in Isalo N.P.; explore canyons and cool off in natural waterfalls.

    Today we take a break again from our bikes for a hike in the stunning Isalo National Park. We spend the day exploring this vast region of wind-polished and water-scoured rock towers, deep canyons, gorges and oases often described as Eden. During our time we will go walking in the magnificent Canyon des Makis in search of cheeky Ring-tailed lemurs and the Verreaux's Sifaka. The eroded mountains also served as a place where the Bara kept their dead before they could bury them in their actual tombs. We start our walking and reach the massif after about 20 minutes, where we will have a spectacular view of the huge sandstone mountains with its beautiful colours and its strange and battered formations creating many different images like ‘the tortoise’, ‘the masks’ and ‘the crocodiles’. We also visit the 'Piscine Naturelle' (natural swimming pool), a beautifully lush spot in such an arid landscape, where we can swim and relax. Perhaps the magic is just to soak up the sheer beauty of the park, the combination of coloured eroded rock forms, strange plants and enveloping silence make this one of the most captivating places in Madagascar.

    Accommodation: Isalo Ranch or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Cycle through bushland and thick forests; transfer to Tulear on coast.

    Today is our last day cycling and we ride from the hotel through the dramatic rock formations heading out of the national park. Leaving the canyon, the ride continues to the sapphire mining town of Ilakaka and through isolated forests that constitute the most important remnant of dry deciduous forest of Madagascar. The area acts as a transition zone between the dry and the humid forests of Madagascar and the flora is therefore especially rich within the protected area. Baobab trees and several orchids are particularly common. After finishing the ride we transfer through Zombitse National Park and onwards to Tulear, known for flamboyantly painted ‘Mahafaly tombs’ and ‘Antandroy tombs’. After a short tour of Tulear we’ll transfer to Ifaty, a seaside beach resort protected by coral reefs. The landscape is dominated by cactus-like plants and mangrove trees line the coast which is used by local Vezo communities that earn their livelihoods through fishing.

    Cycle approx. 65km.

    Accommodation: Hotel de la Plage or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Day of leisure on tranquil Ifaty beach overlooking a vast turquoise lagoon.

    Ifaty lies on the beach and today is a full free day to relax on the beach or take part in some optional activities. From July to mid-September there is the option to go whale watching as the migration of Humpback whales passes through to give birth in shallow warm waters. Situated in the largest lagoon of the country, Ifaty is also protected by a large coral reef, which makes it an ideal place for diving and snorkelling. In the afternoon we can walk to a nearby village to experience the Vezo fishermen's way of life.

    Accommodation:Hotel de la Plage or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Transfer to Tulear for flight back to Antananarivo.

    Today we transfer to Tulear airport for our flight to Antananarivo. Depending on the flight schedule, you may have the afternoon free to explore Antananarivo on your own.Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport in the evening for the very early flight the next morning.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Fly to London.

    Most flights depart for the airport in the early hours of the morning for a daytime flight to London. Flight schedules are subject to change so please check with your agent when booking.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Madagascar

Visas are required for entry to Madagascar. 30-day tourist visas may be obtained at the airport on arrival. If obtaining a visa at the airport, you should ensure that an entry stamp is recorded in your passport. The visa fee is payable in US dollars or Euros (US$31/€28).

Vaccinations

Madagascar

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

The food in Madagascar is generally of a good quality, particularly so on the coast where the seafood is excellent. The cuisine has been strongly influenced by the French and a three-course meal should cost £9-£13 (approx. US$12-17). A one-course lunch should cost £4-6 (approx. US$ 5-8). Please allow approximately £220 (approx. US$285) for the meals not included, plus a little more if you enjoy a drink with dinner! Malagasy lager is reasonably priced and easily available. Malagasy wine is also reasonably priced but is not to everyone's taste. It is sometimes possible to get hold of French or South African wine. A delicacy in Madagascar is the various flavoured Rum’s which are widely sold and very reasonably priced.

Weather

Madagascar has a tropical climate with two seasons - rainy and dry.

The driest season extends from April to October. It can be cold on the central plateau (including Antananarivo) in the evenings, and in the rainforest areas, so you should bring warm clothes (fleece and waterproof).

There is considerable regional variation but coastal areas will normally be very hot and dry. Expect daytime in the shade temperatures up to 38ºC from October-December and up to 30ºC during the trips running from April-June and September.

Antananarivo

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified Road and Activity Level 4:

Average daily distance: 67km (47 miles)
No. of days cycling: 8
Vehicle support: 100%
Terrain and route:
Routes follow a mixture of back roads and a few main roads, but Madagascar lacks heavy traffic in most areas. Some of Madagascar is mountainous and there are a few tough climbs and long downhills in the first week, but vehicle support is always available. Road condition are varied; some are excellent with smooth new tarmac, however some can be bumpy and pot-holed and in some places not suitable for cycling, which is when we'll transfer using the bus. There are a few bumpy and dusty dirt road sections.

Mountain bikes are ideal for this trip and flat bars are preferable, but a good strong tourer will suffice.

Madagascar is a rewarding destination with its wealth of flora and fauna, however, before you decide to travel, we would highlight the following issues for you to consider:
Travelling by vehicle in Madagascar can be uncomfortable as some of the road quality varies. Please read our travelling conditions for more information. We do have a few transfers but the diverse scenery more than makes up for time spent on the bus. We break up our road journeys with stops to visit villages, to take photos and to stretch our legs.
Madagascar is one of the world's poorest countries and a degree of flexibility and improvisation is required at times. The tourist infrastructure in Madagascar is still new and some services are limited. It is not unusual for there to be changes to accommodation or internal flights and for this reason, the order of the itinerary (but not the content) may sometimes have to be changed. However, what tourism does exist is of a pleasantly good standard and you may be impressed by the level of services in some of the places we stay.

Accommodation

Hotels & Lodges

11 nights standard hotels and 1 night comfortable hotel with en- suite facilities.

We use tourist class hotels throughout the trip. The hotels are simple but comfortable.

Please note that although all the hotels are said to have a reliable electricity and water supply there may be instances in which you experience some gaps in supply - this is more a reflection of life in Madagascar than the standard of the hotel.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed November 2016
    Andre Mueller

    Madagaskar cycling

    Altogether a good trip, would do it again!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the people happy, although they are very poor (in western standard).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Friendly and helpful, knows a lot about the nature and animals.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring your own moskito -net, because most hotels don't provide it. Avoid milk and cheese and yoghurt .....

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You shortened the yourney for one day without telling ... meaning for nearly all of us one more (useless?) day in Antananarivo. - Quite angry about that, I must tell you!
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Sarah Hoelting

    Sarah

    Wonderful trip - still not perfect (since it was only the fourth one) .. but getting there

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Ranomafana - the rain forest

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armel is a great tour leader and had everything under control at all times - he did a brilliant job. Excellent knowledge about the flora and fauna - knew every path and supplied us with lots of snacks (from the kitty).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1) Pack lots of disinfection spray 2) Sun factor 50 3) Pack antivomiting pills - 3/4 of the group got sick during the course of the trip 4) take something to give flavor to your drinking water

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip was originally 14 days long - than Exodus shortened it and we were left hanging there, not knowing if the last night would be included or not .... We tried to get in contact with Exodus and they told us that it's not their problem - we should talk to the company we booked it with. Several travelers had the same problem and I for my part did not think that with was handled very well. Our tour guide was brilliant and he successfully sorted it out - cheers Armel!
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Brian Caplan

    CYCLING HIGHLIGHTS IN MADAGASCAR

    To summarize, my cycling trip to Madagascar proved to be an extremely enjoyable experience. Great wildlife,exhilarating cycling,competent and enthusiastic tour leader and excellent Hotels.Even the weather in November was brilliant.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Downhill cycling through mountain terrain

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Extremely competent and enthusiastic.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Michael Hudson

    Seeing rural Madagascar by bike

    This was an exciting trip, with varied scenery, and the lemurs don't disappoint! Madagascar is an intriguing country with rural life lived without much western influence. The population were universally friendly. This trip is fairly new and as such not as slickly run as other established trips elsewhere, but it's great nonetheless and Armel is very committed to sorting the fine detail. Good hotels, good food, good beer - A great choice - book it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Roads were quite safe, with many Zebu and people power carts plus chickens, geese and a few extremely docile dogs. The scenery and village locations are often quite stunning, and the children endlessly enthusiastic for cyclists passing through. In the Parks it comes as quite a surprise when you first realise how close to the Lemurs you can get in the wild and how many different varieties you see; not to mention the snakes and reptiles.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armel was an excellent guide. He was always good humoured and enthusiastic. Quite rightly, he got us up fairly early every morning so that at least some of the cycling was before the hotter part of the day. His management of the snacks kitty was really good -he always managed to produce some surprises at the right moment to keep us going. He was also very supportive when anyone was unwell, giving good practical advice. Perhaps however, Armel needs more thought and presentational planning prior to the daily itinerary briefings. People do expect well explained details and background info, at the right moment.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    By early November the weather was getting hotter. It didn't spoil the cycling, but made it tougher. We used mosquito repellent liberally in the evenings, but in fact saw few mossies. Some of the cycling is fairly arduous but the bikes were comfortable and the low gears came in useful given the number of hills! Some hotels have pools and the natural pool (and BBQ) at Isalo is excellent. Don't miss the optional walk to the fishing village at the beach and the snorkelling trip via wind powered pirogue.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Credit cards not really usable after Tana. Limited ATMs but probably adequate. Exodus recommended spending money about right but dodgy to manage if you stay on at the beach at the end (we extended a few days). Weak WiFi available every evening. Take hand gel and wipes. It will rain in the rain forrest but you will love it !
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Francis King

    Cycle Madagascar

    An astounding country to visit. The scenery was spectacular and various. The people very friendly and of course the wildlife unique.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trek into the National Park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fi (Finaritra) was very willing and helpful. He was however inexperienced which led to a few minor problems but he did cope very well over some confusion about return flights and accommodation. I would have liked to have heard and therefore learnt more about the country as we travelled from our guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Leave your smartphones in you luggage.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My only real concern was the bikes. Ours was only the third trip for the bikes. They were more than adequate for the terrain but they were already showing signs of excessive wear. Not unurprising but the staff were very inexperienced with few tools (a plastic bag with a 14mm spanner, a couple of allen keys, a flat head and crosshead screwdriver, puncture repair kit and a pump) and virtually no spares. My multi-tool was used frequently. If a chain had broken or a derailleur had failed they would not have been able to cope. Cleaning the bikes in a river is a surefire way of decreasing the life of bottom brackets, hubs and derailleurs. Fortunately we escaped serious breakdown but future tours may not.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Sharre Fox

    Madagascar Moments!

    What a fantastic trip. The country is just amazing with constantly changing scenery that was quite unexpected. The people took great delight in cheering us on and were only too happy to have their photos taken with the mad white people cycling in the heat of the day. The cycling was varied, undulations they call it, I call it hills! But the downhill was worth every uphill. One day was mainly off road so that was quite a challenge but very enjoyable. The hotels were brilliant, always had hot water and really nice rooms - much better than I anticipated. Also having 2 nights at several places was great. The seafood at Ifaty was fantastic as were the cocktails! The trip was graded as moderate when I booked but changed to moderate/challenging which is what I felt it was - but a great achievement finishing it in one piece. Madagascar is truly a wonderful country and still relatively undiscovered by tourists so cycling is the best way to really see it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not sure about inspirational but cycling the off road bits has to be my favourite. I had not really done much of this and thoroughly enjoyed it. Especially as at the geysirs we treated ourselves to a well deserved leg massage.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tahina was one of the best leaders I have had on an Exodus trip. He encouraged the group to ride at their own pace, stop to take lots of photos and generally just enjoy themselves. Being at the back most of the time he was very supportive and kept us amused. He was always around to help and nothing was a problem for him. Cannot rate him highly enough and his knowledge was amazing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of snacks from home - museli bars, energy tablets and sweets. The lunches were normally things you had brought from the supermarket or baguettes from the hotel and this did become a bit too much bread for most people so that would be the only thing I would change.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just do it!
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Kelly Topliss

    Finding King Julian!

    It was with some trepidation that I booked to go on the inaugural Madagascar cycle tour, but with only a couple of hiccups, I can quite honestly say this has been the best Exodus cycle tour I have been on. (My 4th). Madagascar is a country of such stunning natural beauty it will surely take your breath away. The trip had plenty of variety with 8 days of cycling & 2 superb days of trekking in 2 totally different National parks - the first Ranomafana - a lush jungle rainforest where everything smells damp & earthy & then Isalo Nat park which was in complete contrast with it's stunning rock formations & canyons & beautiful rich red hues of colour. Both were home to wild lemurs & having them join us for lunch at Isalo was the icing on the cake. They are cheeky & naughty & won't miss an opportunity to steal food. No two days of cycling were ever the same - the landscape constantly changes from beautiful valleys with terraced rice paddies & fields of assorted crops, colourful, noisy villages where the children fall about laughing hysterically at these white people riding bikes! Some real "off road" riding on dirt roads/tracks. Long stretches of road disappearing for miles in front of you, magestic rock formations & the hills! Madagascar is not flat & some days I'm sure we spent as much time going up as we did coming down! The gradients are not too bad though and on our lovely new bikes were easily manageable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our moment of reflection at Isalo National Park. Getting up close with lemurs in their natural surroundings. Breathtaking scenery & landscapes. The opportunity to see something of village life & how hard working the people are.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mel was an inspiration himself! He certainly had his work cut out for him from the start with 5 people off the group flight arriving minus their luggage & Exodus's brand new bikes sitting at the airport tied up in red tape. Luckily everyone was reunited with their gear by about day 2/3 & we finally got our lovely new bikes on day 4 after riding loan bikes hired virtually the day before we arrived. Mel went out of his way to ensure everyone was enjoying themselves. He always had a smile, a sense of humour & an aura of calmness even when everything could easily have gone pear shaped. He kept us well informed of any changes - like our flight from Tulear which changed from a late afternoon flight to a very early morning flight virtually within an hour! If there was something we wanted to do that wasn't necessarily in the itinerary (like an impromptu village visit) like a genie, Mel delivered! Over the course of our journey, he also became an expert at finding "lady bushes" - an essential skill when there are no "real" toilets virtually anywhere en route! Mel is so very passionate about his country & it is easy to see why. He also takes the most stunning photos!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In June, be prepared for some cold, possibly wet days. There are few opportunities to dry wet clothes in these conditions ( no matter how quick drying your fabrics might be) so extra changes & plenty of warm layers are essential. Our snacks were plentiful & varied. Lunches were generally "picnics" so we would either stop at a supermarket or the hotel would make baguettes. Overall the food in Madagascar was good & reasonably cheap. Breakfasts were generally always eggs - fried, scrambled or omelette so if you have an aversion to them you can buy cereal at the supermarket.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Put this trip at the top of your bucket list - you will not be disappointed. The variety, the wildlife, the scenery, the people (& Mel!) - this trip has it all.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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