independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Ever Wanted To

DISCOVER THE WONDERS OF MADAGASCAR ON YOUR BIKE

A cyclist in Masoala National Park, Madagasca

The Republic of Madagascar is an island located in the Indian Ocean, off the south-eastern coast of Africa. It consists of several islands together, however, its main island, Madagascar, is the fourth largest in the world.

Renowned as one of the most unique places on the planet due to its biodiversity, more than 90pc of Madagascar's wildlife is found nowhere else in the world, including 100 species of lemur and more than 9,000 species of plant. It is thus a particularly appealing tourist location.

It has a population of 22 million people and, though Malagasy is the main language, French is also widely spoken.

Cycling is the perfect way to explore this wonderful island; staying in its small towns and villages really gives you a sense of what the country is all about.

You will need a mountain bike or heavy-duty tourer, as the condition of the roads can vary greatly, depending on the weather and location.

In the rainy season, roads can become impassable, while it must be noted that there are little or no facilities for cyclists touring the islands, meaning they have to make do with setting up their own camping facilities or staying in basic guesthouses. However, the good news is that there is very little traffic on the roads, and there are plenty of things to see at almost every turn.

There are a variety of different cycling tours available, while a new cycling event is to take place next October.

This event is entitled the Tour of Madagascar 2014 and will be held in aid of the charity of your choice where you are required to raise a minimum of €3,500. It consists of six consecutive days of cycling between October 10-16.

This event offers a great tour of the north-east of the island, as you cycle through high villages and paddy fields, lush tropical fruit plantations, and also coastal trails.

The majority of the terrain is a mix of tarmac and dusty off-road tracks. The scenery is breathtaking and there are epic views of Lake Mantasoa from 1,300m.

This 450k route takes you from the capital Antananarivo to the coastal town of Mahavelona, where you will have the opportunity to relax in a coastal resort after a tough but rewarding week's cycling.

Date

October 10-16, 2014

How to get there/ where to stay?

Travel and accommodation are included as part of the registration fee and encompass: flights to and from Madagascar, internal flight, 30-day visa, accommodation, transfers, full medical support, guides, bike, water and meals. But you will need to cover airport tax, travel insurance and any optional tours.

Contact

Web:

www.classictours.co.uk

Phone: +44 207 6190066/77

Email: info@classictours.co.uk

Highs Discovering one of the ecologically richest countries on the planet; and beautiful views of Lake Mantasoa and Lake Rasoabe.

LOWS The unpredictability of the weather, which can make roads impassable.

Irish Independent

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