About the challenge
From canyons and gorges to bush-covered plains and dense forests, rocky ridges and the summit of the island’s highest accessible mountain peak, this is a unique and highly varied trek steeped in natural beauty. Our route takes us through the sandstone rock gorges of Isalo National Park, home to ring-tailed lemurs, before heading east to the valleys and ridges of Andringitra National Park, where our goal is Pic Boby (2658m), Madagascar’s second-highest mountain.
Madagascar is an adventurous destination, with rough roads making travelling distances long. The rewards more than make up for the efforts of seeing the country – this is a truly unforgettable trek.
Part Payment Option is available for this challenge.
Dates & prices
|Departs||Days||Charity||Availability||Registration fee||Fundraising target||Payment option|
|29 Oct 2016||10||Open challenge||Limited||£399||+||£4000||Or||£1750||Contact office|
|12 May 2017||11||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£4150||£1825||Book now|
|27 Oct 2017||11||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£4150||£1825||Book now|
|11 May 2018||11||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£4200||£1850||Book now|
|26 Oct 2018||11||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£4200||£1850||Book now|
Wonderful trek through National Park tosummit of Pic Boby
Discover diverse rainforest, mountain landscapes and traditional villages
Fantastic opportunities to spot endemic wildlife including lemurs!
Low mountain summit
Day 1-2: Fly to Antananarivo
Day 3-4: Acclimatisation walks in Ranomafana National Park, including rainforest night walk; drive to Fianarantsoa
Day 5-8: Trek through small villages and rice paddies to impressive mountain scenery and lush valleys of Andringitra National Park; trek Pic Boby (2685m) and down to camp
Day 9-11: Drive north via Antsirabe; fly back to UK
What makes it tough?
Remote trekking in mountains
Trek up to 9 hours on summit day
Hot, humid and unforgettable!
Adventurous destination with long days travelling
Semi-permanent camps on trek
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
All accommodation is included as well as all flights, transfers, camping equipment (other than sleeping bag and mat); all meals except two as specified in the itinerary; internal air tax; National Park entry fees and all other sites visited as part of the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of porters, guides, cooks and drivers.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement if charged by the airline (capped at £250 by Discover Adventure), two meals as specified, tips for local crew, entry visa or international airport tax. It also does not include any entrance fees to any optional sites you may wish to visit. Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. There is plenty of opportunity to buy souvenirs. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Kenyan Airways. However, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
We camp for five nights during the trek; tents are usually two-man tents, you will be sharing with someone else on your trek. Some campsites are quite basic, others are permanent tented camps with very good facilities. All have great views! The hotels are comfortable and clean hotel with en-suite facilities; they are on a twin-share basis. Some are like guesthouses and others more international in style, so expect some variation. Please do not expect hotels to be the same as a tourist hotel in the UK – they may be better in some ways and more basic in others!
All food is included when trekking. The food is great, will give you plenty of energy, and there is plenty of it. Meals will be generally local-style. Two meals as specified in the itinerary are not included.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but an average-sized group in Madagascar would be led by two leaders and a doctor. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, drivers, cooks and porters. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers, cooks and porters do not always speak much English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! Your leader will let you know if there is any change to this guideline. All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in this country is far lower than ours.
Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek in both National Parks and pick us up at the end. Porters carry all luggage, food, water and camping equipment. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
Terrain is very varied as we pass through different eco-systems on the island. We trek through grassy plains, dirt tracks and rocky trails, forest paths which may be overgrown and slippery at times, and barren rocky mountain paths with some clambering over boulders on the ascent of Pic Boby. Our highest point is at 2658m; this is not serious altitude and you are unlikely to feel any major effects of being at a higher elevation. You will trek approximately 60-70km on this trip overall. Because of the varied terrain and lack of accurate maps, it’s impossible to give more accurate daily distances. It’s also much more useful when training to think about the hours you need to walk for, and the terrain! We are always happy to talk through the trip in more detail with you if you are worried about your fitness at any stage.
Clothing & Equipment
We are trekking on a remote mountain, where we could be exposed to bad weather at any time so be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. Weather conditions can change quickly on the mountain. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
The dry season runs from April to mid-November. Although warm by day, and hot on the valley floor, altitude has a great effect on temperatures and it will get cooler as you climb higher. UK summer months are winter on the highlands, with warm days and cooler nights. It is hotter nearer the coast.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Passport & Visa
A valid ten-year passport is essential; it should be valid for at least six months after entry into Madagascar. Most nationalities, including UK citizens, require a visa for entry into Madagascar. 30-day tourist visas are free of charge at time of writing but that may change; in the past they cost around €50. They can be obtained upon arrival. We will send you more information about visas nearer to departure.
We insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. A Yellow Fever certificate is necessary if arriving from an infected country. Although you are unlikely to encounter any mosquitoes while you are above 1000m, protection against malaria is recommended as there is a risk at lower elevations. You should always check with your GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.