Volcanic Highlands Ride, Madagascar

9 NightsIntermediate to AdvancedFrom €2,575 EUR?Tour costs €2,575 EUR which is approximately $4,183 AUD

Get ready to lose yourself in one of the most unique countries in the world, globetrotters, because we’re heading to the magical ‘eighth continent’ – Madagascar!

It’s not every day {or lifetime} that you can say, “I’m going on a horse riding safari in Madagascar in July 2020.” PINCH me now. World famous for its pin-up animal, the lemur, Madagascar has often been referred to as the eighth continent – due to its EPIC biodiversity. It’s now Globetrotting’s turn to explore it, slowly and intimately, from a locally bred Malagasy horse.

On the Volcanic Highlands Ride we’ll fall in love with every single shade that this Rainbow Island has to offer: From its quirky creatures (half the world’s chameleon species is found on Madagascar), to meeting the Malagasy people to the changing and varied landscapes. This 10-day itinerary is more about immersing ourselves in local Malagasy village life and exploring contrasting eco-systems – than the Big Five. This ride is for the intrepid adventurers happy to sleep in 2-man tents and rustic accommodation, ready to open their hearts and minds to a country as diverse and magical as it is beguiling.

**You should also be aware that this is an exploratory ride which means we haven’t road tested this ride personally. It’s Globetrotting policy that we road test and experience rides first-hand before adding it to our portfolio. With that said, there is a heady sense of adventure when we’re on an exploratory departure hence our invitation to you. We’ve researched; read reviews, spoken directly to respected globetrotters and the outfitters to make sure this ride is a perfect match for our portfolio. BUT please be aware that our Volcanic Highlands ride in Madagascar is a NEW experience for us also.

Fast Facts

  • Horse Breed:A mixture of locally bred Malagasy Horses and retired Thoroughbreds imported from the neighbouring island of Mauritius.
  • Pace:The majority of the ride is at a walking pace, but there will be opportunities for long stretches of trotting, cantering and the occasional gallop when the terrain allows. All riders need to be physically fit and be capable of trotting for stretches of up to 10 minutes at a time.
  • Weight Limit:Maximum of 90kgs / 198lbs
  • Type of tack:Both English and Western saddles are used. This is dependent on the horse as all saddles are fitted to each individual horse.
  • Seasons:July
  • Group size:A maximum of 8 guests plus 2 Globetrotting guides
  • Time in Saddle:On average, between 4-6 hours in the saddle each day.
  • Riding Ability:Suitable for intermediate to experienced riders. All riders must be physically fit and confident on forward moving horses at all gaits outside an arena.
  • Accommodation:A mixture of camping in 2-man tents (mattresses are provided), basic hotel and B&B style accommodation. Please keep in mind, Madagascar is the world’s fifth-poorest country so hotels might not be of the usual standard we’re used to in the Western world.
  • Ride Length:10 days, 9 nights with 7 riding days
  • Inclusions:The price includes all riding, accommodation and meals (beginning with dinner on day 1 and ending with breakfast on the last day), all internal transfers outlined within the itinerary, airport transfers to/from Antananarivo International Airport on the first and last days of the itinerary, and the entrance fee to Lemur Park.
  • Exclusions:The price does not include international flights, travel insurance (compulsory), alcoholic beverages, staff tips (please budget for approximately €10-€20 EURO per guest per day), and tips for guides at Lemur Park and other attractions.

 

DEPARTURE DATES & RATES

Departing FinishingAvailabilityTotal
15th Jul 2020 - Guided!24th Jul 2020SOLD OUT!
€2,575 EUR ?Tour costs €2,575 EUR which is approximately $4,183 AUD - Twin Share ?Happy to share with another solo traveller of the same gender.Guided RideGuided Ride! Click to learn more.

A single supplement charge of €250 will apply to guests not wishing to twin share accommodation.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price includes all riding, accommodation and meals (beginning with dinner on day 1 and ending with breakfast on the last day), all internal transfers outlined within the itinerary, airport transfers to/from Antananarivo International Airport on the first and last days of the itinerary, and the entrance fee to Lemur Park.
Globetrotting photography & footage and a limited edition GT shirt & cap is also included in this Exploratory Ride rate.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price does not include international flights, travel insurance (compulsory), alcoholic beverages, staff tips (please budget for approximately €10-€20 EURO per guest per day), and tips for guides at Lemur Park and other attractions.

Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. There is a 2% surcharge on all card payments.

Why is the price quoted in EUR?
With our riding destinations, the currency is dictated by our ride partner in that country. Therefore due to fluctuating exchange rates we have to quote in the same currency.

Itinerary

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*Please note, this is a suggested itinerary only and subject to change due to weather and other influencing factors.

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  • Day 1

    With hearts aflutter with excitement, we’ll arrive in the unique land of Madagascar today, globetrotters. The Red Island, the Rainbow Island, the Eighth Continent, there are many names for this land of remarkable and unique flora and fauna, epic landscapes of dizzying diversity, and an intense array of kaleidoscopic nature. Madagascar is the land of the Lemur, the land that time forgot, and a land that we’ll be exploring by horseback. Bring. It. ON!

    We’ll fly into the country’s capital, Antananarivo (or Tana as it’s affectionately known), where we’ll be picked up by our hosts and take a 10 minute drive to our first night’s accommodation. We’ll have the rest of the day free to explore the nation’s capital and this will be our first taste of this remarkable country. Primitive and simple as it may appear, Madagascar is a land full of hidden charm and unexpected surprises, and I for one cannot WAIT to see what’s in store over the next week – be still my beating globetrotting heart.

  • Day 2

    After breakfast we’ll have a chance to purchase any supplies or last-minute items we might need for the ride, before we begin the drive to the Middle West region of Madagascar. On the way we’ll be stopping at Lemur Park, where you’ll have the chance to learn about Madagascar’s most iconic animal (there are about 60 Lemur species and sub-species in Madagascar!). No doubt we’ll crack out the song and dance – “I like to move it, move it!” – from the DreamWorks animated movie ‘Madagascar’ as we make our way around the park, which was created to enable passionate wildlife enthusiasts to discover these incredible animals as they are becoming increasingly scarce in the wild due to deforestation.

    We’ll then get back on the road in the direction of our ride partner’s ranch. We’ll stop of lunch along the way and enjoy the fact that we’re starting to get into the swing of the island’s way of life, before arriving at our destination in the mid-afternoon. It’s here that we’ll finally get to meet our beautiful horses who will help show us the wonders of the Red Island over the coming days. Madagascar is not a country with a strong horse culture, in fact there are only approximately 350 horses in total on the island, with around 31 of these stabled at our host’s ranch. These horses are a mixture of locally bred Malagasy Horses and Thoroughbreds who have been given the opportunity of a second life after retiring from the race track in Mauritius. They’ll surprise us with their athleticism, willing attitude, calmness in the face of running and shouting children in the villages we’ll pass through, and of course their loyal and loving nature.

    After dinner you’ll slip into bed in your room at the ranch, making sure you get a good dose of shut-eye because tomorrow the real riding adventure begins!

  • Day 3

    Hooray! We finally get to swing our legs up into the saddle today. It will be a lovely relaxing ride today so you can get to know your horse and the local terrain in preparation for the journey ahead. We’ll explore the countryside around the ranch for anywhere between 2-4 hours, with plenty of time left to relax and enjoy the delights of Madagascan life before dinner.

  • Day 4

    After breakfast we’ll mount up and start our riding adventure through the Malagasy Highlands. We’ll ride until lunchtime when we’ll stop for a picnic in the town of Babetville, founded by families from the nearby island of Réunion who immigrated to Madagascar in the 1950s. After lunch we’ll cross the Sakay plain and ford the Sakay River, then continue through lush fields along the riverbank until we reach the camp where we’ll leave the horses for the night. We’ll be transferred back to our host’s ranch (a 30-minute drive) for our final night there (tomorrow we pack our bags as we’re moving locations) and another campfire dinner under the stars.

  • Day 5

    This morning we’ll need to have our bags packed before enjoying a hearty breakfast, as we’re on the move today, globetrotters. We’ll drive the 30 minutes back to our horses, where we’ll mount up and ride out along the river’s edge before crossing the Lily River and turning onto black volcanic rock paths. As you ride along these paths you’ll find yourself in the shadow of the immense, conical Kasigie volcano. Our trail turns past the edge of a crater lake before descending to the beautiful Mananasy Lake for lunch. Here you’ll catch a glimpse of local life, with children herding groups of zebu cattle to the lakeside to drink in amongst the colourful laundry drying on the banks.

    After lunch, we will ride up a steep, rocky path towards the town of Soavinandriana. Riding through the town and its market, we’ll no doubt draw some curious looks from the locals, for whom horses are a rare sight! It’s been told that a riding group can bring an entire village football tournament to a grinding halt as all the spectators and players stop to watch the spectacle i.e. us, forgetting who is in possession of the ball! Shortly after leaving Soavinandriana we’ll reach our campsite, which is located at an altitude of 1650m and can therefore get quite cold overnight. We’ll enjoy a campfire dinner before snuggling into our tents for a night under a blanket of twinkling stars that dot the inky black night sky.

  • Day 6

    Today’s ride is set to be a highlight as we wander through rice paddies, rivers, mountains, ancient roads and bustling market streets. After breakfast at camp, we’ll saddle up and ride through the village of Ampefy before crossing huge rice fields and taking a narrow path between small mountainside farms to summit the Ankarata mountain range. From the mountaintop, we’ll bask in a 360 degree panoramic view across mountains, lakes and villages. Once we’ve taken it all in and savoured the moment, we’ll descend the slopes again and wade for a kilometre through shallow waters, leading our horses, to reach the remains of an ancient highway that rounds Lake Itasy.

    In the afternoon, our horses will meander along this lakeside route, passing lush countryside and countless groups of chattering children, who will watch us with a mixture of uncertainty and curiosity, smiling and shouting joyfully in our wake – they are a sign of Madagascar’s true wealth. Finally, after climbing the steps of the lively Manazary market on horseback, we will reach our camping ground on the banks of the magnificent Amparihikely Lake. With an aperitif in hand and another stunning Madagascan sunset on the horizon, we’ll watch the fishermen in their traditional dugout canoes working on the lake. Another campfire dinner awaits, with the stars glimmering above and the promise of a good night’s sleep to come.

  • Day 7

    During today’s ride, we will make our way right up to Lake Itasy, whose banks we followed yesterday. We’ll take a beautiful riding path along the north bank, stopping for lunch at a superb restaurant after four to five hours in the saddle. In the afternoon, the horses get a rest while we take a scenic drive around the lake and the picturesque village of Ampefy, before visiting the Îlot de la Vierge (Isle of the Virgin) – a shrine on a hill jutting out into the lake. We will then return to the village of Ampefy and settle into our rooms at a comfortable local hotel before enjoying a lively evening in the company of a local folklore group. A traditional dinner will be served at the hotel.

  • Day 8

    After a filling breakfast, we will ride through remote volcanic mountain passes and along trails overlooking the Lily Valley until we reach the famous Lily Waterfall, where plumes of water tumble and roar over a 25 metre drop. We’ll likely find ourselves surrounded by chattering children hawking souvenirs made from volcanic pumice stones! Leaving the thundering falls in our wake, we will ride out once more through the mountain passes to reach the region’s geysers. Here, we will dismount and enjoy the relaxing and therapeutic properties of the thermal springs, and bathe in a pool known for its iron-rich waters. When we reach your camp, we’ll enjoy an aperitif around the crackling campfire and another delicious traditional Malagasy meal before retiring to our tents under the starry sky.

  • Day 9

    Our final day of riding, Globetrotters, but it will be memorable for all the right reasons, that’s for sure. A change of scene awaits today as we travel on through the arid heat of the Mid West to reach the magnificent Andranomenabe Lake. Here we’ll see flocks of wild ducks with pink and teal beaks basking out of reach of predators. We’ll get to enjoy a thrilling gallop around the lake and glorious views of the rice plains of Ifanja, an area of over 3,000 hectares of fertile land, before discovering the Marmite du Diable (The Devil’s Melting Pot). A true curiosity of the River Mazy, the Devil’s Melting Pot is a place where the river carves its way through the surrounding black rock, looking truly cauldron-like. Finally, the moment will come to say a fond farewell to our noble steeds. We’ll leave the horses and remarkable countryside behind that’s no doubt left a mark on each of our souls, and take a three hour drive back to Antananarivo, alighting at a guest house for dinner and a good night’s rest.

  • Day 10

    Back in the city, we will have time to explore Antananarivo, or Tana, as the locals call it. The day is yours – visit the city’s craft market, be immersed in the fragrance of the local Madagascan vanilla, try the rum, take a city tour, and maybe chat to a few locals before being taken to the airport for our departing flights home.

  • Transfer Information

    Transfers to/from Antananarivo International Airport are included on the first and last days of the itinerary.

    Please ensure you inform Globetrotting of your flight itinerary prior to departure so we can arrange your transfers. Also please note, the last day of the ride (Day 10) sees you free to spend some time exploring Antananarivo at your leisure. You’re welcome to book a departing flight out in the morning, but keep in mind this will restrict your sightseeing time.

    Globetrotting is happy to provide a competitive quote on international flights, travel insurance and accommodation before and after your ride.

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS RIDE OR WHICH IS MOST SUITABLE FOR YOU?

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