Cycle Madagascar

Cycle Madagascar (2023 Departures) Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Madagascar
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
MZG3
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging

You are moderately fit and have an interest in remote or challenging environments. Some previous experience is required for activity based trips.

14 Days Land only
Ages: 18+

Trip Overview

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.

At a Glance

  • 11 nights standard and 2 night comfortable hotels
  • 8 days cycling with 100% vehicle support
  • Mostly surfaced roads, a few rough sections

Trip 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
  • Cycling through vilages

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 take photos and to stretch our legs.

There will be lots of early starts and long days.

Please note that in the winter months, the days are shorter with sunset coming by 5.30pm.  If cycling is not completed by this time, it will be necessary for safety reasons to get on the bus.

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.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
18
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Antananarivo.

    Our adventure starts in Antananarivo. 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 2

    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
    Distance covered: 72 km / 44 miles
  • Day 3

    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
    Distance covered: 54 km / 33 miles
  • Day 4

    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: Plumeria Hotelor similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 38 km / 23 miles
  • Day 5

    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: Artisan Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 84 km / 52 miles
  • Day 6

    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
    Distance covered: 74 km / 45 miles
  • Day 7

    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 morning will be spent walking through the park, learning about the abundant flora and fauna and in the early evening there will be the chance to go on a night-walk in the hope of spotting some the nocturnal lemurs and chameleons.


    Accommodation:Hotel le Grenat or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    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.

    Cycle approx. 56km.

    Accommodation:Tsienimparihy Lodge or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 56 km / 34 miles
  • Day 9

    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 hope to 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. 95km.

    Accommodation: Isalo Ranch or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 90 km / 55 miles
  • Day 10

    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 mayswim 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 11

    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. After finishing the ride we transfer through Zombitse National Park and through areas known for flamboyantly painted ‘Mahafaly tombs’ and ‘Antandroy tombs’. From Tulear we’ll continue north of Ifaty to Ifaty beach, 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
    Distance covered: 65 km / 40 miles
  • Day 12

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

    Our hotel 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, the area is also protected by a large coral reef, which makes it an ideal place for diving and snorkelling.

    Accommodation:Hotel de la Plage or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Transfer to Tulear for flight back to Antananarivo.

    Today we transfer to Tulear airport for our flight to Antananarivo which will arrive in the afternoon. Depending on the flight schedule, you may have free time to explore Antananarivo on your own.

    Accommodation: Au Bois Vert Lodge or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Antananarivo.

    Depending on the time of your flight, there may be the opportunity to embark on an optional short city tour of Tana by bus. With its bustling markets and ancient town on a hill with freestone churches and ancient royal palaces, it is unique among the world’s other capitals. Built around Anosy Lake, Tana offers much of interest set against a backdrop of terracing with outstanding views from the Queen's Palace.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels & Lodges

We use tourist class hotels throughout the trip. The hotels are simple but comfortable. Most of the hotels have mosquito nets in the rooms. Please note that although all of 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. Please be aware that some hotels do not have 24 hr electricity, and in some, hot water is not always available. There is WiFi in most of the hotels but often this is only in the communal areas and not in the rooms.

Single accommodation is available on this trip for a supplement.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £430.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

Food standards in Madagascar can vary and are probably not of the same standard you are used to at home. A one-course lunch/dinner should cost £4-6 while a three-course lunch/dinner should cost £9-12 . Please allow approximately £220 for 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.
Please note that if you eat neither fish nor meat, your food options will be rather limited (i.e. omelette, cheese, pasta, vegetables and rice) on this trip. Breakfasts are usually simple, eggs, a baguette, jam and coffee or tea, and sometimes fruit. You may wish to bring something to supplement your morning meal (e.g spread, peanut butter etc).

Transportation

We use private coach/mini-bus, which will be quite comfortable, usually with air-conditioning.

Vehicle Support: The coach will accompany the riders most of the time, allowing you the substantial flexibility to cycle as much or as little as you like, plus a support truck for the bikes and baggage. The coach will not be with the group for the short sections of dirt road.

There is an internal flight, with Air Madagascar between Tana and Tulear. Please note that there are strict baggage allowances on those flights of 20kg checked luggage, and 5kg hand luggage with charges for excess. Please see the "what to take" section for further information.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

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.

Weather Charts

Antananarivo

Joining Instructions

Travelling land only: 14 days starting and ending in Antananarivo

Your trip starts at our accommodation in Antananarivo on Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

The cost of a taxi is likely to be about £21 (approx. $US 27) should you decide to make your way independently.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Free Transfers

Exodus offers FREE airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip. Unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers may be shared with other Exodus customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance. 

Flights

Remember, flights aren’t automatically included in your trip. If you’d like Exodus to help you find some good options, give us a call on 020 8772 3837.

Location start:
Antananarivo
Location end:
Antananarivo

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Casual clothes. As it is generally hot, light cotton clothing is recommended for most of the trip, though it will be a little cooler in the central plateau (including Antananarivo) in the evenings, and in the rainforest areas, so you should bring some warm clothes (fleece and waterproof).

Due to the strict baggage allowances on the internal flights (with Air Madagascar between Tana and Tulear) you are advised to pack carefully and avoid taking excess baggage.  Allowances on those flights are 20kg checked luggage and 5kg hand luggage with charges for the excess of 35 EUR for up to 30 KG  checked luggage, and 50 EUR for a second piece of checked luggage up to 20kg,



We recommend packing the following items:
Cycling water bottle
Padded cycling shorts
Breathable cycling tops
Cycling helmet (compulsory on this trip)
Strong sun cream
Torch
Lightweight waterproof jacket
Sunglasses / cycling-specific eyewear
Sunhat
Anti-bacterial gel
Mosquito repellent
Comfortable shoes for cycling/walking in
A swimming costume will be well used
Warm sweater or fleece jacket (as nights can be chilly)
A first aid kit is carried on each trip, but you should bring your own first aid kit with diarrhoea treatment, painkillers, rehydration sachets, plasters and a blister treatment kit.
A buff/bandana to cover your mouth on the short dirt sections.
Long trousers and socks for walking in the national parks are advised in case of leeches if there has been heavy rain.

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment

Binoculars
Camera
Daysack
Earplugs if you have trouble sleeping
Please note that tampons are virtually impossible to get hold of in Madagascar

Due to laws in Madagascar about the dispensing of medicine, the guides are not able to carry any basic medicines should you feel unwell. These include Paracetamol, Imodium and Aspirin. Although they are available to buy in Madagascar, if you believe you may need these we advise you to bring them with you from home.

Equipment Hire

Local Bike Details: Specialized Pitch mountain bikes with front suspension.

Discount for bringing your own bike: £150.

Cycle Madagascar

Practical Information

Passport

Madagascar

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

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$37/€35).

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

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.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers visited on this itinerary, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Madagascar's Timezone:
Indian/Antananarivo EAT (GMT +03:00)

Electricity

Madagascar's Electricity:

127 & 220 Volts. Plug types C,D,E,J & K; establishments often take two round pin plugs.

Madagascar uses the standard Europe non-grounded electric two-prong power plug / type C or E.

Money

Madagascar's Currency

The national currency of Madagascar is the Ariary (MGA), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (September 2018) of approximately 3877 to the GBP, 2936 to the USD, 2421 to the CAD, 3535 to the EUR, 2370 to the AUD and 2136 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATM machines are only available at the airport and in the town of Antananarivo.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

A Visa card can be used to obtain a local currency cash advance at some banks, and the Master card is accepted as well, but only at the BNI Bank. But please note that we advise you to bring your spending money in Euros or US$ cash as these are easiest to change to local currency. Bills of 100 € or USD usually get a better rate than bills of 20 or less. British pounds Sterling can only be exchanged at banks at the airport, but even there, they are not always accepted.  You can bring maximum 7500 € or the corresponding amount in other currency without declaring it on arrival, above that amount, you have to declare it. Please note that you can import and export a maximum of 400’000 Ariary in the local currency Ariary. You cannot rely on credit cards for payment as they are rarely accepted and the ATM don’t always work, and American Express or Diners cards are hardly accepted anywhere in Madagascar.

All money should be exchanged at the airport on arrival, as in the banks in the provincial towns, it’d take too long. Also, the exchange rate at the airport is generally better than in the banks in Antananarivo or other cities. 

Any unused Ariary must be exchanged before checking in departures only US$ and Euros are accepted.

You will need about £220/US$285 for meals not included, which will allow you to eat well. Apart from the food, you should allow money to cover soft drinks (more if you like a beer) and souvenirs.
Most groups also find it useful to operate a snacks kitty system to buy snacks and drinks for the group on the cycling days. If the group would like the leader to arrange this, the suggested amount is around £20/US$26 per person depending on the group size.

 

Optional Activities

Ifaty Beach
Scuba diving:  Single dive – Approx. £40 or 155,000 Ariary per person
Snorkelling - Approx. £12.50 or 50,000 Ariary per person
Whale watching (July-September) – Approx. £35 or 140,000 Ariary per person (minimum 4 people)
Kayaking - Approx £9 or 35,000 Ariary per person.

 

Tipping

This is entirely at your own discretion, but we suggest that you allow a few pounds for tips for the local guides and staff.
In Madagascar, with the increase in tourism, tipping has become customary. The local staff will probably expect some gratuity and we suggest you allow for this. The leader will suggest to the group that they donate a sum of £45/US$59 per person towards a kitty on arrival. This money is then used for tipping of local guides, hotel porters, drivers etc. It is basically to ensure that the hassle is taken out of various activities for you. If you do not wish to contribute to a central pool for tips you are of course free to do so.
If you feel that your leader has performed well over the course of your trip, you may want to show your appreciation of their services. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a guide, £2-3 per person per day would be a reasonable starting point.
The 'tipping kitty' explained above is entirely separate from any contribution to the tour leader. Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus.

Responsible Tourism

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… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

Please note, although this trip doesn’t visit any FCDO no-go areas, it does visit a region close to an area where the advice is not to travel. If joining this trip, or if planning any additional travel pre or post tour in the area, you should ensure you visit their website to familiarise yourself with the advice. Any independent travel to these areas is entirely at your own risk and is likely not to be covered by your insurance.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.