Riding the Red Isle

Ride through Madagascar on horseback and experience the rich diversity and beauty of the Malagasy countryside. From the hills and plains of Antananarivo, ride trails on strong, docile horses across Madagascar, trails taking you through the volcanic region of Itasy, past natural geysers and the Lily River falls and through the rice fields whose lush green colour weaves through the Island's red laterite earth. In the saddle in Madagascar , you will be the main event when entering the local towns and villages and you will have a chance to learn more about the country's people, culture - and lemurs!
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
11 days / 7 days riding
From £1,870
  • Madagascar on horseback
    Riding in Madagascar
  • Baobab and Madagascar
    The giants boababs
  • Malgasy villages on horseback
    Crossing the villages
  • Horseback trail in Madagascar
    On horseback in Madagascar
  • Riding in Madagascar
    Stables in Madagascar
  • Riding with lemur and Madagascar
    Lemur in Madagascar
  • Madagascar and horseback trail
    Horseback trail in Madagascar
  • Fishing in Madagascar on your riding trip
    Fishing in the river

Itinerary

Highlights

- Wild camp across this magnificent island and spend time getting to know the way of life here and spend time soaking in the atmosphere in the country's more out-of-the-way areas
- Ride through a large variety of landscapes including the volcanic surrounds of Lake Itasy, pass crater lakes, climb hills and volcanic peaks up steep and craggy paths as well as through Eucalyptus and tropical forests
- Enjoy varied days and activities, both in and out of the saddle. Visit cascading waterfalls, take a dip in the geysers, visit the Marmite du Diable and explore the local markets
- Ride through the intriguing and colourful terraced rice growing cultures
- Discover and interact with a variety of lemur species, unique to the island, on a private lemur reserve
- A range of extensions to this trip are available - riding Route Nationale no. 7 or the Isalo massif, exploring Tsingy du Bermaraha National Park - a UNESCO heritage site, the island of Sainte Marie or Nosy Be... Just get in touch and let us know what you are interested in doing!
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE - ANTANANARIVO

    On your arrival into Antananarivo airport, you will be met by your guide from the local team and taken to your hotel close to the airport to settle in for the evening.

    Flights are not included but we can assist with this on request.
  • Day 2 2 : ANTANANARIVO - FAKA RANCH

    After breakfast, you will be taken into the city and have a chance find your bearings in your new environment before heading out west. You will visit the Lemur Park where you will get to see the animals that Madagascar is best known for and that are seen as the symbol for the island; Madagascar is home to around 60 species and sub-species of lemur.

    You will have you lunch on the road, starting to get into the swing of the island's way of life, as you travel to Faka Ranch and arrive mid-afternoon. On the ranch, you will meet the horses before having your first traditional Madagascan dinner and then turning in for the night in your accommodation on the ranch's grounds.
  • Day 3 3 - FAKA RANCH - 2-4 hrs riding

    Still getting used to the horses, you explore the land around the Ranch on horseback, on a relaxing ride before your trail begins.
  • Day 4 4 : FAKA RANCH - ANTAMBAHOAKA - 6 hours riding

    After breakfast, you will head out in the saddle to start your adventure through the unique Madagascan high plateaus - you will cross the open Sakay plain until you reach the river of the same name. You will stop for your picnic lunch in the town of Babetville, founded by Reunionese families who immigrated to Madagascar in the 50s.

    You will continue your ride through lush fields along the river banks until you reach camp where you leave the horses for the night. Overnight at Faka Ranch
  • Day 5 5 : ANTAMBAHOAKA - SOAVINANDRIANA - 5-6 hours riding

    After your first night under the stars on the riverbanks, you will be greeted with a hearty breakfast before riding out to ford the Lily River and take the black volcanic rock paths shadowed by the impressive Kasigie volcano. Taking trails past crater lakes, you will ride down to the beautiful Mananasy Lake to stop for lunch.

    The river's banks offer a glimpse of the local life, with groups of zebu, led by the children that herd them, coming to drink in amongst the colourful laundry drying along the riverside.

    After your lunch, you will ride up towards Soavinandriana, where the paths can be both steep and rocky. Riding through the town and its market, your horses and presence are likely to draw some curious looks! Reach the pasture where you will leave your horses for the night.

    Overnight a camp (please note the camp is located at an altitude of 1650m).
  • Day 6 6 : SOAVINANDRIANA - MANAZARY - 5-6 hours riding

    A fantastic day in the saddle awaits you! After leaving the village of Ampefy, you will ride through the regions vital rice fields and climb up through the growing terraces along narrow paths. Once you reach the summit, you will have a breathtaking 360° panorama of the Ankarata mountain chain as well as of Lake Itasy. A 1km wade through shallow waters, leading your horse, will see you reach the remains of an ancient highway that rounds the Lake Itasy to the east.

    In the afternoon, your horses will meander their way along this route that travels the length of the lake. You will pass through lush countryside and encounter groups of chattering children, who will watch you with a mixture of uncertainty and curiosity, but always with a ready smile and joyful shouts! After having climbed the steps of the lively Manazary market on horseback, you will reach your camping ground for the evening on the banks of the magnificent Amparihikely Lake. Aperitif in hand and another stunning Madagscan sunset on the horizon, you will watch the fisherman in their traditional dugout canoe out working on the lake.

    Overnight at camp.
  • Day 7 7 : MANAZARY - AMPEFY - 4-5 hours riding

    During the day's ride, you will make your way right up to the lake whose banks you have been following. Along a beautiful riding path on the north bank, after 4 hours in the saddle, you will reach your lunch stop.

    In the afternoon, the horses get a little rest before you explore the village and make your way to the Îlot de la Vierge - a Christian shrine jutting out into the lake. You will then return to the village of Ampefy and settle in to your room at a local hotel (Farihy hotel or similar) before enjoying a lively evening in the company of a local folklore group. You will have your evening meal and spend the night at the hotel.
  • Day 8 8 : AMPEFY - GEYSERS - 4-5 hours riding

    Setting out in the saddle, you will ride through volcanic mountain passes leaving you with the impression of truly being in the middle of nowhere. You will ride trails overlooking the Lily Valley until you reach its famous waterfall that send plumes of water over a 25 metre drop. Here, you will likely find yourself the object of a hoard of children selling souvenirs and volcanic pumice stones.

    Leaving the thundering falls in your wake, you will once more ride out through the mountain passes to reach the region's geysers. Here, you will stop and enjoy the relaxing and therapeutic quality of the natural thermal springs and bathe in a pool known for its iron-rich waters. After an aperitif around the crackling campfire, you will enjoy another delicious traditional Malagasy meal before retiring to your tent for the night under the clear night sky.

    Overnight at camp.
  • Day 9 9 : ANDRANOMENABE, The Devil's Melting Pot AND TANA - 5/6 hours riding

    A change of landscape and a day spent riding under the heat of this semi-arid region of Madagascar will lead you to discover the magnificent Andranomenabe Lake. It is here that flocks of wild ducks, pink beaks and teals, bask out of the reach of predators. You will enjoy a superb gallop around the lake during which you will have a glorious view of the rice growing plains of Ifanja an area of over 3000 hectares of fertile land. Discover the Marmite du Diable (The Devil's Melting Pot) - a true curiosity of the River Mazy, the bed of which has marked its way through the surrounding black rock.

    Overnight in a guesthouse.
  • Day 10 10 : FREE DAY IN TANA

    Today, you will enjoy some free time and a free day to explore the capital city of Antananarivo, often simple called Tana. Here, you will have a chance to visit the city's craft market, be immersed in the fragrance of the local Madagascan vanilla, try the rum and discover the local ambiance and maybe chat to a few locals!
    You will then be taken to the airport to catch your flight back to the UK.
  • Day 11 11 : ANTANANARIVO - EUROPE

    Arrive into Europe.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights to your destination (international/domestic) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.     

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double room/tent during the ride. 

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 3 riders and a maximum of 8 international riders, plus guides. 

- Please note: the ride will also confirm for 1-3 riders on payment of a supplement of c. €170/£150 per person. Once the group has reached 3 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it.

- If you sign up to the ride as a solo rider and there are no other riders likely to share your room, you will be charged a single room supplement of approx. €325/£300. You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you at a later date. 

- Ride departures are possible on all dates between mid-April and mid-October with 1 or more riders. Ask us for more details.

- Rider weight limit: 90 kg / 14,2 stones / 198 lbs.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support team

A riding guide and expedition leader who speaks Malagasy, English and French

Logistics

1 groom per 3 horses
1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
1 assistant cook
1 cook
1 vehicle and driver and camp aid

Inland transport

Minibus organised for all transfers mentioned within the itinerary
Return transfers from the airport

Accommodation

3-man tents for 2 people sharing - foam mattresses provided
Hotel - rooms for 2-3 people with a private bathroom

Meals

Full-board from breakfast on day 2 to breakfast on day 10

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverages and personal extras

International transport

Visa fee (c. £25)
International flights that we can book for you upon request

Extras

Tips to the local team

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation
  • May - June 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    01/05/2021 11/05/2021 £1,870 Guaranteed departure Book now
    08/05/2021 18/05/2021 £1,870 Guaranteed departure Book now
    22/05/2021 01/06/2021 £1,870 Guaranteed departure Book now
    12/06/2021 22/06/2021 £1,870 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • July - August 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    10/07/2021 20/07/2021 £1,870 Guaranteed departure Book now
    07/08/2021 17/08/2021 £1,870 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • September - October 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    11/09/2021 21/09/2021 £1,870 Guaranteed departure Book now
    02/10/2021 12/10/2021 £1,870 Guaranteed departure Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

You will be riding geldings and stallions from local farms, and also from Mauritius and South Africa. These large horses are all in excellent condition, docile, patient and are well adapted to long days riding. Some are reformed from the race track and so can be a little bit more difficult to handle, but you will be matched with a horse suited to your level.

They are 1,40cm to 1,70 cm high.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

This ride is suited to experienced and seasoned riders, at ease in the saddle at all three paces outdoors on varied and uneven terrain. Certain of the horses are livelier than others and best ridden by experienced riders, however the herds also include mounts that are perfectly suited for riders of a more intermediate level.

Rider weight limit: 90 kg / 14,2 stones / 198 lbs.

Pace

The base pace of the ride is a walking pace, the terrain will regularly allow for long stretches of trotting as well as some unforgettable gallops. You will experience some long very rhythmic stages.

Tacking ability and participation

A team of grooms take care of the horses throughout the ride. They will also tack and untack your horses at the beginning and end of each day's ride, however if you wish to work alongside them in caring for the horses, you are more than welcome!

Trip conditions and Requested experience

In order to get the most out of this expedition, you need to be in good all-round physical condition. The temperature during the day can reach highs of up to 30°c in May and November, so you must be prepared to ride in hotter weather than perhaps you are used to all whilst spending long days in the saddle.

Previous experience of a ride over several days is a plus but is not obligatory. On embarking on this adventure to Madagascar, you will meet people from a different culture with a different mindset to your own, you must be ready to accept and respect any differences you encounter.

Equestrian equipment

English tack
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit. A helmet is mandatory.

Travel info

Comfort

Your nights camping will be spent in 3-man tents shared between 2 riders. A shower and toilet tent will also be set up for the camp.
You will spend 2 nights in bed and breakfast style accommodation - a room for 2-4 people with a private bathroom.
For your remaining nights, you will stay in 2* standard hotels in double rooms with private bathrooms.

Meals

Your meals will be had around a camp fire in comfortable chairs. During your lunchtime picnics and dinners, you will enjoy varied and quality Madagascan cuisine.

Climate

The area surrounding Antananarivo has a high altitude tropical climate. Although Madagascar is situated in an intertropical zone, the yearly average temperature is moderated by the effects of the altitude. 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.

Frosts are rare but not completely unheard of; during June, the morning temperature can drop to 1°C. Days when the sun doesn't make an appearance are equally as rare - less than ten sunless days per year!

Guide and local team

Your guide will be local to the area and Malagasy, French and English speaking.

Tips

Tipping is customary in Madagascar, especially within the tourism industry. Any tip you leave will be split between the porters at the airport and in your accommodation, your waiters/the grooms, drivers and camp helpers, the cook and their assistant.

An acceptable tip would be around 20000 Ariary (£5.70 - £8) each day for the driver and for the guide. For the porters, waiters/ waitresses and other staff 2000 to 100000 Ariary (80p - £4) per worker. These amounts are just a suggestion and any tips left are at your own discretion.

Packing list

Head
- A riding helmet is compulsory and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable. You also have the option of buying protective shells to go under your hats (Ranch & Rider, Lexington Safety Products) or western hat helmets (Troxel).
- Sunhat (indispensable under the African heat)
- Sunglasses with high protection lenses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun, wind or rain

Upper body
- T-shirts in cotton and long-sleeved shirts (to protect against the sun) or t-shirts made from rapid-dry material
- 1 lightweight fleece or jumper
- 1 lightweight waterproof jacket made from Gore-Tex or a similar material that is waterproof and breathable

Legs
- 2 pairs of lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- 1 change of riding trousers or jeans
- A swimming costume
- Non-irritant cotton or synthetic underwear

Hands and Feet
- 1 pair of comfortable riding or walking boots. We recommend short boots with half-chaps specifically for riding. We don't recommend taking your favourite leather boots in case they get damaged
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding

Nightwear
- Tents, sleeping bags and mattresses are provided. We recommend you bring a sleeping bag liner.

Other useful items
- Travel bag 60-80 litres (hold luggage)
- Travel bag 25-30 litres (cabin bag)
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Toiletries
- Protein or cereal bars for the longer stretches of riding
- Swiss army knife or equivalent (in checking-in luggage!!)
- Small plastic bags for your rubbish
- Ear plugs (may be useful)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- A pair of binoculars

Medical kit - our recommendations
Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) and clearly stated in your medical kit. A group pharmacy will also be provided.
- Any medication you regularly take
- Painkillers
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhea medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- Plasters
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant over 100 ml and all bottles can be decanted into small, clear, plastic Ziplock bags. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- In your hand luggage carry any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!

Our Recommendations
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lip balm etc)
- If you wish to travel 'light' and wash your clothes throughout the ride, please bring with you laundry detergent that is biodegradable
- All waste that could be considered toxic (batteries, aerosols, batteries, empty cream tubes, film) needs to be kept with you and transported back to the UK, where recycling is done well and efficiently. Avoid, wherever possible, to bring with you unnecessary packaging

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

Did you know?

Did you know?

Lemurs

Lemurs are indisputably Madagascar’s most well known animal and considered ancestors to the apes; although more precisely they area distant cousins. The lemur family includes 36 species of which the vast majority are found only on the Red Isle. Varying in size from the tiny - it is in fact a lemur that holds the title of theworld’s smallest primate,"Mrs Berthe Microcebe" weighing in atonly 30 grams to themore robust Indri, which can weigh up to 9.5 kilos.

Coming across lemurs whilst out riding in Madagascar is always a magical and entertaining moment !