Sambirano Cocoa Tour
Bike tour through the cocoa region of Madagascar - 7 nights
This tour is ideal for nature enthusiast and chocolate lovers alike. After a visit to the chocolate museum in the capital of Antananarivo, you will fly to the north of Madagascar to discover by bike the cocoa plantations of the Sambirano Valley.
1st day - Antananarivo
After breakfast, visit of the ROBERT chocolate factory in Antananarivo. In the chocolate museum of Madagascar's oldest chocolate factory you will learn everything about cocoa and the production of chocolate. The rest of the day can be used to discover some of Tana's attractions, such as the Rova, Presidential Palace, Soarano train station and the market place. Overnight stay in Hotel Colbert (5-stars) or in the guest house Tana Jacaranda.
2nd day - Transfer flight to Nosy Be or Antsiranana (Diego Suarez)
Depending on the flight schedule you will either fly to Nosy Be or Antsiranana in the north of Madagascar. You will spend your night either in Eden Lodge on the "perfume island" Nosy Be or in Kartiffa Hotel in the heart of Antsiranana.
3rd day - Car transfer to Ambanja
After breakfast you will leave Nosy Be by boat to Ankify on the mainland. From there it is a 30-minute car ride passing giant mangroves to the town of Ambanja, your final destination. If you spent your night in Antsiranana, you will leave this coastal town by car direction Ambanja. Due to the partly bad road, the 240km stretch might take up to four hours. The beautiful landscape and lively towns along the route will recompensate you for any inconvenience. In the afternoon you bike to the village of Ambalavelona (7km), where an independent farmer will take you to his cocoa plantation to explain the farming and processing of cocoa. Overnight stay in the hotel Palma Nova in Ambanja.
4th day - Bike tour to Antanambao
After breakfast you will start your bike tour (50km) to the village of Antanambao, located at the banks of Ambahatra river in the Sambirano Valley. You will bike through many cocoa, pepper and coffee plantations as well as cross several rivers by pirogue (small wooden canoe). In Antanambao you will stay at the simple, but cosy house of the cocoa farmer Issouf. In the village there is no running water or electricity available. For recharging batteries, the farmer will turn on a generator in the evening hours. A jump into the nearby, very clear Ambahatra river will wash off the dust and heat of the day. Throughout your stay, Issouf's wife will spoil you with delicious Malagasy meals.
5th day - Antanambao
After breakfast you will walk together with Issouf to his plantation. Issouf is a cocoa farmer in 3rd generation with in-depth knowledge of cocoa farming. On the way back you will pass another village, where you can visit a school. You can spend the rest of the day swimming and sunbathing along the sandy river banks or take a stroll through the beautiful nature. Overnight stay at Issouf's house.
6th day - Antanambao
In the early morning hours you will ascend the Masomamangy mountain. From the top you will have a great view over the Sambirano Valley, the Manongarivo Massif up to the Mozambique Channel with its islands. On the top of the mountain you will enjoy a breakfast picnic. The descent will take you to the Ambahatra river, where you can cool down. The walk takes between two and three hours. After lunch you have time to walk to the impressive Sambirano river. Along this walk you pass many cocoa plantations, villages and rice fields. Overnight stay at Issouf's house.
7th day - Bike tour back to Ambanja
After breakfast you will start your bike tour back to Ambanja, where you will arrive at the hotel Palma Nova by lunch. Spend the rest of the day discovering the colourful market of Ambanja and watch the sundown from the bridge of the Sambirano river. Overnight stay in Hotel Palma Nova.
8th day - Transfer to Nosy Be or Antsiranana
Depending on your plans, you either leave to Nosy Be or Antsiranana after breakfast.