Madagascar Cycle Tour

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May 6, 2025
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Looking to experience real Africa by Bike? Our Madagascar Cycle Tour is Extraordinary

Explore the unique wildlife and mysteries of Madagascar as you bike from the central highlands to the white sandy beaches of the Mozambique Channel on our Madagascar Cycle Tour.

If you think Madagascar is just another part of Africa – think again!  Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, broke away from Africa millions of years ago and was uninhabited for millennia.  With a coastline lined with coral beaches and lagoons the land rises sharply to a great central plateau that covers most of the island. From temperate highlands to tropical coasts the landscape and scenery is as rich and unique as it’s wildlife.  Madagascar’s isolation has allowed many remarkable species to evolve, and there is not a single Madagascan mammal species which can be found in any other place in the world.

To explore it all would take months, so we have created our cycle tour to bring you up close to the essence of what makes Madagascar tick. Starting from the capital of Antananarivo we leave the busy city behind. We ride on remote back roads, visit small towns and rural villages, and discover lemurs, chameleons and more wildlife not found anywhere else on earth. We cross the central highlands, through endemic dry forests, past ancient towering baobab trees and out to the tropical coast overlooking the Mozambique Channel in Morondava. You’ll take a two day riverboat trip through sparsely populated gorges, remote villages and sleeping crocodiles, hike through the incredible Tsingy limestone formations and dine on a mouthwatering mix of Malagasy and French cuisine.

How about a Madagascar & Kenya & Tanzania Combo?  Each year our second Madagascar cycle tour times in perfectly with our first Kenya & Tanzania cycle tour – making an awesome Two Trip Combo possible in one flight to Africa.

Tour Highlights - Madagascar Cycle Tour

Departure & Return Location

Start: Madagascar, Antananarivo
Finish: Madagascar, Morondava

Price Includes

  • Transfer from the airport to your hotel
  • 15 nights Accommodation
  • Meals as per tour itinerary
  • Two NZ based Escape Adventures leaders
  • Local interpreter & driver
  • 4x4 support vehicle
  • Park Entry Fees: Lemur Park, Tsingy Bemaraha Park, Kirindy Forest
  • 2x Day Riverboat Cruise
  • Local entry fees, river & road tolls throughout your tour
  • Camping Equipment - Tents and Mattresses

Optional Extras

  • Bike Hire: If required hire fee is NZD $450

Price Excludes

  • Airfares, visas, or airport taxes
  • Optional activities and excursions
  • A couple of meals as per the detailed itinerary
  • Personal vaccinations or personal equipment

Solo Travellers - Single Supplement

  • NO Single Supplement! If you are traveling on your own, we will pair you with another single biker of the same gender to share a twin room. You will have your own tent for camping nights.
  • If you don't wish to share thats fine too, a single supplement of NZD $1150 will apply.

Itinerary - Madagascar Cycle Tour - Antananarivo to Morondava

The daily riding distances listed below are the maximum we plan to ride each day. Our support vehicle is always close by if you would like a break from the saddle.

DAY 1: Meet at our starting hotel in Antananarivo

Meet with your tour leaders & fellow bikers at 5pm for your pre-departure meeting and first meal together. Please plan to arrive no later than mid afternoon to allow transfer to our hotel in time for the tour start.

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals: Dinner

DAY 2: Lemur Sanctuary & warm up ride

After visiting a lemur sanctuary, we get used to bikes on some quiet paved roads and rolling countryside.

Cycling Distance: 46km

Accommodation: Local Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: Cycling central Madagascar highlands

Continuing on our journey through the central highlands we ride past rice fields and terraced farmland and through rural villages to Ampefy, a small town on the shores of Madagascar’s fourth largest lake.

Cycling Distance: 34km

Accommodation: Hotel Bungalows

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 4: Crossing the Hauts-Plateaux

A short transfer takes us from the lake into the mountains and out to our first dirt road. We pedal across a highland plateau at over 2000m altitude before dropping down to Antsirabe and the major fruit and vegetable growing region of Madagascar.

Cycling Distance: 48km

Accommodation: Hotel Bungalow

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: Explore Antsidabe

A free day to explore Antsirabe, known locally as the ‘Pousse Pousse City’ in honour of the hundreds of rickshaws plying the streets. Explore the vibrant local markets, check out local handicraft workshops or head to the nearby hills and an intriguing volcanic crater lake.

Accommodation: Hotel Bungalows

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 6: Discover Madagascan village life

Join the 100 club! Our first century ride for those that are keen. Remember that our support vehicle is there if you want to take a break in the heat of the day. The road is paved all the way today as we start making our way westwards across an ever-changing landscape like a rumpled duvet dotted with rice paddies and villages.

Accommodation: 108km

Accommodation: Basic Bungalows

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: Glimpse the desert landscapes of the west

Continuing west the landscape continues to change and become drier until we descend at the end of the day into a semi desert-like landscape to Miandrivazo, rumoured to be the hottest town in the country!

Cycling Distance: 43km

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

DAY 8: Cycle to Tsiribihina River

A morning ride takes us to the banks of the Tsiribihina River where we swap our bikes for a river boat for the next couple of days. Relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery and camp beside a waterfall on the banks of the river.

Cycling Distance: 30km

Accommodation: Riverside Camping

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: River boat cruising

We continue our riverboat cruise on the Tsiribihina River, spotting wildlife, watching spectacular sunsets and camping on the riverbank.

Accommodation: Riverside Camping

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: Explore riverside towns

After breakfast on the boat we continue downstream to the tropical riverside town of Tsiribhina. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore town and grab a coffee or beer and watch the world go past.

Accommodation: Basic Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: Cycling rural roads, off the beaten track

We warm up those leg muscles after a couple of days off! On red dirt 4×4 roads to Tsingy Bemaraha Nature Reserve with rumbling ox-carts for company and wide open savannah rolling off into the distance. You can ride as much or as little as you like today and set your own personal challenge as our trusty support vehicles are with us all the way.

Cycling Distance: 50km

Accommodation: Hotel 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

DAY 12: Learn about Tsingy Bemaraha nature reserve

A day off the bikes today. We take dug out canoes then hike to explore the famous rock formations in the Tsingy Bemaraha Nature Reserve. In the afternoon, relax next to the pool!

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13: Bike the Madagascan Savannah

What goes up must go down, or in this case ‘what goes north must go south’. The only road out of here is back the way we came so we retrace our wheel tracks to Belo Tsiribihina, riding as much or as little as you like.

Cycling Distance: 50km

Accommodation: Basic Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14: Cycle Kirindy Forest Nature Reserve

A short morning ride takes us into Kirindy Forest Nature Reserve – home to seven species of lemur and the elusive fossa. We take a guided walk in the afternoon and another in the evening to check out the unique wildlife found only in Madagascar.

Cycling Distance: 15km

Accommodation: Basic Bungalow

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15: Bike Avenue Du Baobab

Our last ride of the tour takes us through the famous Avenue Du Baobab, and on to the beach at the seaside town of Morondava.

Cycling Distance: 63km

Accommodation: Beachside Hotel

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 16: Farewell

Final Bike Trip breakfast together. Stay on and relax at the coast or onward travel via Morondava Airport.

Meals: Breakfast 

Photos from our Madagascar Cycle Tour

Map - Madagascar Cycle Tour

Madagascar Cycle Tour Frequently Asked Questions

Escape Adventures fully supported bike tours have been running for decades, if you have any questions "just ask us"

The biking lowdown

Your tour itinerary offers 15-108km biking per day; a total distance of up to 580km spread over 10 days of biking.

The Madagascan Terrain is predominantly rolling and flat, with a couple of climbs up to 6km in length. The riding surface (50% quiet paved roads and 50% dirt and 4×4 roads) can be rough at times, slow going, pot-holed and sandy and the riding challenge of the tour should not be judged by mileage alone. The trip is suited to riders with a good level of biking fitness and off-road biking experience will greatly enhance handling on rough roads and add to the enjoyment of your tour. A mountain bike with front suspension is the ideal bike and we have a fleet of our own mountain bikes available for hire.

Support: Our trusty support vehicle carries all your luggage, has lunch, snacks and water at hand, and is there if you need a break from the saddle.

What about the Madagascar riverboat journey?

Riverboat Journey

We take a break from our bikes for a 2 day/2 night riverboat journey down the Tsiribihina River. Our chartered large flat bottomed riverboat has a shaded top deck and seating with tables.  All our meals are prepared in the onboard kitchen by our boat crew.

We spend between 4-6 hrs per day on board gently cruising downstream and camping beside waterfalls on the riverbank at night.

How fit do I need to be for this cycle tour?

It is not always ‘Just like riding a bike’!  The Malagasy dirt roads can be rough and sandy, and are not maintained as roads may be in your country.  So get out there and ride as many off-road surfaces you can find, and some hills too. Please do read about the daily riding distances and riding terrain in the itinerary and prepare accordingly.  The more prepared you are the more you will enjoy your holiday.

Preparing for your cycle tour should involve:

  • Gravel, dirt and off-road riding, with some hills.
  • You should be comfortable riding 3-5 times a week with regular rides of 30-50km in length. 

Please do contact us if you would like some help with a detailed training plan.

What kind of meals do you provide?

Your tour leaders will take care of your meals and snacks throughout your adventure with us- often taking advantage of the delicious Malagasy and French fare in local cafes and restaurants. This excludes three lunches and one evening meal which are at your own cost to give you the opportunity to explore eating options of your own choosing.

We are most definitely able to cater for *vegetarians and special diets and if this includes you, it is essential to advise us of this before your tour begins, so that the support vehicle can be stocked with the necessary supplies.
Typical meals include:

  • Breakfasts – French continental style, bread, omelettes, coffee & tea. (Supplemented with muesli).
  • Lunches – Picnic style lunches, fresh salads, cold meats, cheese & bread.  
  • Evening Meals – Mostly taking advantage of the delicious local dishes in cafes and hotel restaurants. Generally including fish, chicken or beef and loads of vegetables.

*Vegetarians – Please note that in Madagascar meat is considered staple.  Travelling as a vegetarian is definitely possible, however may lack variety.

What kind of accommodation can I expect?

All accommodation for the duration of your Madagascar bike trip is included. 12 nights are in small hotel bungalows and guesthouses on a twin share basis (2-4 star), and 3 nights camping. The camping is real camping in remote locations. Washing facilities & toilets are available every night except one night while on riverboat where we have no washing facilities. We supply spacious dome tents which we will show you how to erect, and foam mattresses. You will need to bring your own light sleeping bag and a small travel pillow.

Travelling on your own? 
We will pair you with another single biker of the same gender to share a twin room.  If you do not wish to share, that is fine too, but a single supplement will apply.

What type of bikes do we ride?

In Madagascar we have our own fleet of bikes available for hire. They are Avanti Montari 7.4 which are a quality New Zealand designed mountain bike with 29 inch wheels for medium, large and XL frame sizes and 27.5 inch wheels for small frame size. They have Rockshox 100mm front suspension, hydraulic disc brakes and shimano 2×10 gearing. We carry all our spare parts out to Africa and maintain them ourselves to make sure they are in optimal riding condition for your ride with us.

If you will be hiring a bike from us please let us know prior to your trip, and please feel free to bring your favourite saddle and clip in pedals (if you normally clip in).

 

What is the maximum size of the cycle group?

This trip has 6-12 bikers, plus two experienced Escape Adventures tour leaders and a small team of local interpreter and drivers.

Tell me more about Madagascan hiking opportunities

Hiking in Madagascar – We also have 2-3 short hiking opportunities during the tour in two stunning national parks:

Tsingy Bemaraha and Kirindy Forest. One daytime hike takes 2-3 hrs and one is a night-time hike to make the most of the possible wildlife opportunities. The trails are generally unformed so good sturdy walking shoes are ideal. Open sandals are not recommended.

Madagascar cycle tour & making a difference

Escape Adventures, endeavor to ensure that our actions always benefit the people, communities, economies, environments and eco-systems we visit.  The following are specific ways of how we aim to make a difference in Madagascar…

Lets support Local Business

We charter our support vehicles from a small owner/operator Malagasy business and we employ local drivers and a local knowledge / interpreter. This directly employs 4-5 local people for the duration of each of our Madagascar cycle tours.

All of the accommodation we stay in – in Madagascar are small businesses, family owned and run guesthouses and locally owned boutique hotels.

You have probably not considered how good Malagasy avocados could possibly be!! Our bikers can all tell you they are huge and to die for! Indeed Madagascar grows a lot of delicious tropical fruit and temperate vegetables! Avocados, coffee (infused locally) tomatoes, bananas, mangos, pineapple, papaya, peppers, cucumbers, onions, and potatoes just to name a few! We buy lots of this delicious locally grown fruit and vegetables either directly from the farmers or from local markets. We stop regularly to enjoy coffee and donuts (the local way). When we eat out we use small locally owned establishments that rarely see tourists.

National Parks

In Madagascar the National Parks provide safe place for lemurs, chameleon, fossa and many other flora and fauna species only found in Madagascar.

On your Madagascar cycle tour you will visit two national parks, Kirindy Mitea National Parkand Tsingy De Bemaraha National Parkand The Lemurs Park

Not only do our park fees help towards the preservation of these wild spaces and the protection of the wildlife, we also pay local guides to host and educate us and of course it provides you with the amazing opportunity to see these native animals of Madagascar in their natural habitat.

Lets plant trees!

We have been trialing a tree planting project with a local village near the coast to help preserve and increase a remnant forest – unfortunately this project we has had mixed success to date and we are working with the local villages to see how the success rates can be improved. We are also researching a regeneration project near the city of Antsirabe where our plan is to plant 10 trees for every biker and our crew who join us on tour in Madagascar.

Read our Cycle Tour Environmental & Social Policy

4 Reviews
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Pete Thretheway

Couple Traveller

My wife and I did a memorable cycling tour across Madagascar with Escape Adventures. The organisation was good, the itinerary was well thought out, the tour leaders were top notch and the local support crew terrific. It was fun from start to finish and really was a great adventure. I highly recommend Escape Adventures to anyone.

December 10, 2020

Janey Johnston

Solo Traveller

Well done to the Escape Adventures team! A perfect balance of physical adventure and personal challenge. I never thought I would learn a new sand biking skill at 65 years! Your attention to detail, from Mandy and her super prompt response to emails to Leigh saying ‘have a donut’ with your mid morning roadside coffee, to the reminder from Mushi to ride on the RIGHT side of the road! Ongoing information of the next step in our holiday, individual and team chat, delicious picnic lunches, along with lemur table cloth! Even after the tour was officially finished, Escape Adventures has organised a taxi for us!! Our tour leaders were so conscientious, however giving us independence at the the same time! I was impressed with their care and attention to each individual. I’ll keep spreading the work about you in my Escape Adventures bike shirt! Happy Days!

June 17, 2019

Diane Stead

Solo Traveller

A great trip in a very poor country. The people were fascinated seeing cyclists. They were very friendly and welcoming. Some awesome scenery and some long days, but great diversity. We saw Lemurs in the wild as well as in the Lemur park. Guides and drivers were great and overall a very worthwhile experience.

October 3, 2018

Ed Shand

Solo Traveller

I found the trip very enjoyable because it was well organised with good bikes and tour leaders. We participated in a diverse range of activities as well as sights while touring, and found it easy to interact with the local people especially. By the end of the trip we had bonded as a friendly group.

September 30, 2018