Africa

Get in the saddle to ride across the Island of Madagascar

Horse riding through Madagascar is a truly unique experience. Horses were once a rarity, but breeders, fascinated by the success of racetracks worldwide, crossed mares with imported thoroughbred English stallions to create the unique race that can currently be ridden on the island, the Anglo-Arab-Berber-Malagasy. Madagascar offers a spectacular variety of landscapes through which to ride - semi-arid desert plains, lush sub-tropical forests, mountains and plateaus, deep canyons, rice fields and mangrove forests. At the town and village stops, you will be greeted with warmth and curiosity from locals who may still find horses, and their riders, something of a novelty! Whilst discovering the island of Madagascar on horseback and wild camping out in the diverse scenery, you will encounter flora and fauna, such as the famous lemurs and comet orchid as well as the distinctive African Baobab trees.
See all our trips

From the horse’s mouth

  • Ride from the highground to Madagascar's East Coast
    August 2019 Jane aged 58
    An extraordinary adventure in a starkly beautiful part of the world giving insight to both the high plains and the east coast (and the odd lemur!) from a viewpoint few will be able to experience. André's team were fantastic from start to finish and the horses I rode were fit, fun and so up to the job. Very special! I... Read all
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  • Ride from the highground to Madagascar's East Coast
    June 2019 Jiah aged 34
    It was a very well organised trip. What impressed me the most was Andre's ability to so smoothly come up with Plan Bs when the original plan for some reason did not go as planned. The staff was amazing and attentive. The food was so, so good. I would highly recommend this trip. I had a horse named Question Time, which... Read all
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  • Ride from the highground to Madagascar's East Coast
    April 2019 Charlotte aged 69
    After riding all over the world, I can truly say that the Madagascar ride was "something different"! Andre and his well-trained Fava Ranch horses hold a unique position in an otherwise almost horse-less country. All the children in the villages/hamlets ran to great us and follow us to the next village. Adults helped... Read all
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  • Ride from the highground to Madagascar's East Coast
    November 2018 Julia Elizabeth aged 65
    For those riders who eschew high end comforts for the sake of experiencing a country in real terms, this trip to Madagascar was perfect. Iris helped me customise a solo trip, which meant that I had lots of time with the operation's people and horses. Four hours a day (which we scheduled to start early to avoid the... Read all
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  • Madagascar on horseback
    Riding in Madagascar
  • Riding with lemur and Madagascar
    Lemur in Madagascar
  • Madagascar landscape
    Green landscapes of Madagascar
  • Madagascar and horseback trail
    Horseback trail in Madagascar
  • Horseback trail in Madagascar
    Riding on the red paths of the island
  • Baobab and Madagascar
    The giants boababs
  • Fishing in Madagascar on your riding trip
    Fishing in the river
  • Horseback trail in Madagascar
    On horseback in Madagascar
  • Beach and palm trees in Madagascar
    The incredible blue water of the ocean
  • Villages and riders in Madagascar
    Crossing the malgasy villages

Visa & Health

Formalities

You can buy a 30, 60 or 90-day tourist visa on arrival at the airport. Make sure an entry stamp is recorded in your passport. A tourist visa has a maximum validity of 3 months and isn’t extendable.

Alternatively, you can apply for an e-visa on the official Malagasy e-visa website before you travel:
https://evisamada.gov.mg/en/


Make sure that your visa is valid for the period and purpose of your journey. Overstaying may lead to detention and deportation.

Your passport must have at least 6 months’ validity remaining on your date of entry into Madagascar. You should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport on arrival.
You will be asked for evidence of onward or return travel at check-in in the UK and on arrival in Madagascar.
There’s no Embassy of Madagascar in London.
For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/madagascar/entry-requirements

Advice for visa application

The information provided by Equus Journeys can evolve and are given for indicative purposes only.

For up-to-date information, please visit:
https://evisamada.gov.mg/en/

Addresses of consulates

  • Ambassade de Madagascar
    4 avenue Raphaël
    75 016 PARIS
    Tél. : 09 83 32 45 15
    Fax :
    visasmadagascar@yahoo.fr
  • Ambassade de Madagascar
    2 av. de Riant-Parc
    1209 Genève
    Tél. : +41 22 740 16 50
    Fax : +41 22 740 16 16
  • Ambassade de Madagascar
    Avenue de Tervueren 276
    1150 Bruxelles
    Tél. : 0032 (0)2 770 17 26
    Fax : 0032 (0)2 772 37 31
    info@madagascar-embassy.eu
  • Ambassade de France à Madagascar
    3, rue Jean-Jaurès
    Ambatomena BP 204
    101 Antananarivo
    Tél. : +261 (20) 22 398 98
    Fax : +261 (20) 22 399 27
    ambafrance-mada@orange.mg

Health

There is no risk of yellow fever in this country, however, there is a certificate requirement.Under International Health Regulations, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK. These vaccinations include for example measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine.

There is a high risk of malaria in Madagscar: atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine recommended. There is also a risk of dengue in this country, and all travellers should avoid mosquito bites.

The following vaccines in this section are recommended for most travellers visiting this country: Hepatitis A, Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid.

For up to date information please visit:
https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/134/madagascar

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Voltage

In Madagascar the power plugs and sockets have two pins. The standard voltage is 127 / 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. British citizens require an adapter.

Budget and money

Official currency: ariary (MGA).
1 GBP = 4708 MHA (January 2019)

Visa cards are accepted in Madagascar. Mastercards are not always accepted.

Telephone and jetlag

Local time: GMT+3
Phone code: +261

Country information

Socio-economical data

Madagascar has been inhabited by human beings for the relatively short period of about 1,300 years. Language and culture point unequivocally to Indonesian origins, but there is no empirical evidence of how, why, or by what route the first settlers came to the island. The major foreign communities are French, Comorian, Indian and Pakistani, and Chinese, although emigration in the late 20th century significantly reduced their populations. There has been no significant emigration of Malagasy peoples abroad.

History

Archaeological investigations in the 20th century indicated that human settlers reached Madagascar about 700 CE. Although the huge island lies geographically close to Bantu-speaking Africa, its language, Malagasy, belongs to the distant Western Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family.

Much of Madagascar was populated by internal migration before the beginning of the 16th century, giving the theretofore empty lands their tompontany (original inhabitants, or “masters of the soil”).

The Malagasy Republic became independent in 1960, after a brief period as an autonomous republic in the French Community from 1958. Between 1972 and 1975 Madagascar was under military rule. Socialist political and economic reorganization was instituted in 1975, and a new constitution was implemented later that year for the renamed Democratic Republic of Madagascar.

Source: https://www.britannica.com/place/Madagascar/

Geography

Madagascar, island country lying off the southeastern coast of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world, after Greenland, New Guinea, and Borneo. Madagascar is located in the southwestern Indian Ocean and is separated from the African coast by the 250-mile- (400-km-) wide Mozambique Channel.

Madagascar consists of three parallel longitudinal zones—the central plateau, the coastal strip in the east, and the zone of low plateaus and plains in the west.

The hot, wet season extends from November to April and the cooler, drier season from May to October. The climate is governed by the combined effects of the moisture-bearing southeast trade and northwest monsoon winds as they blow across the central plateau. The trade winds, which blow throughout the year, are strongest from May to October. The monsoon, bringing rain to the northwest coast of Madagascar and the plateau, is most noticeable during the hot, humid season. The wind blows obliquely onto the west coast, which receives a moderate amount of precipitation annually; the southwest, which is protected, remains arid.

Source: https://www.britannica.com/place/Madagascar/




People, culture and traditions

Capital: Antananarivo (Tana)
Official languages: Malagasy, French
Government: Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic
Total area: 587,041 km2
Population: 2016 estimate - 24,894,551
GDP: 2017 estimate - $40,055 billion (total)
Currency: Malagasy ariary (MGA)

Useful words

Yes: èny/èka
No: tsìa
Hello: Salàma
Hello/How are you?: Manào ahòana ianào
Mister/Madam: Tòmpoko
Excuse me/Please: Azafàdy
Thanks (a lot): Misàotra (indrìndra)
Good/bad: tsàra/ràtsy
I am fine: Salàma tsàra àho
Welcome: Tònga sòa
Goodbye: Velòma
I don't understand: Tsy àzoko
Do you speak English: Mahày mitèny anglisy vè ianào ?

Choosing the right riding holiday

Choosing the right riding holiday

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Its located in the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of Africa. Madagascar is home to thousands of animal species, but especially known for lemurs, which are found nowhere else in the world: in fact, 90% of the wildlife in Madagascar is only found there. This diverse island is home to lush rainforests, beaches, reefs and mangrove forests – a hint to why the wildlife is so diverse.

The capital, Antananarivo, is well known for its “Avenue of the Baobabs”, a dirt road lined by these massive centuries-old trees. There are six different Baobab species on this magnificent island, more than 100 species of Lemur and an array of chameleons that cannot be matched. Seeing lemurs whilst out riding is a magical and entertaining moment that you won’t forget. French and the local language Malagasy are widely spoken on the island.

The climate is marked by its cool and dry winters, from May to October, and mild, rainy summers, from November to April. During the cooler seasons, the temperature rarely falls below 10 °C and in the hot season, it rarely tops 30 °C, making it the perfect choice for a riding holiday.