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Marvelous Madagascar

Cycling through the republic offers close-up views of the island's diverse array of plants and animals

By Jeanine Barone The Washington Post

This article was published July 1, 2018 at 2:08 a.m.

the-spindly-limbs-of-baobab-trees-in-parc-mosa-the-bulging-trunks-are-fibrous-and-saturated-with-water-the-baobab-seen-here-in-parc-mosa-is-the-national-tree-of-madagascar-jeanine-baronewashington-post

The spindly limbs of baobab trees in Parc Mosa. The bulging trunks are fibrous and saturated with water. The baobab, seen here in Parc Mosa, is the national tree of Madagascar. Jeanine Barone/Washington Post

WHERE TO STAY

Hotel Au Bois Vert

Ivato 101, Antananarivo

auboisvert.com/en

Simply furnished cottages with interiors embellished with Malagasy symbols (zebu, palms and wagons) dot a lush landscape within this expansive gated property. Rooms from about $99, with breakfast included.

Hotel Plumeria — Antsirabe

Lot 0912 C 90 Manodidina NY Gara, Antsirabe

plumeriahotelantsirabe.com

In the center of a bustling town that’s almost 5,000 feet above sea level, this contemporary boutique property is a placid retreat. Rooms from about $52.

Dine alfresco at their restaurant on specialties that include zebu carpaccio or stew. Main courses from about $5.

Hotel de la Plage

BP 397 — 601 Tulear 1, Ifaty

hotelplage-tulear.com/?lang=en—us

Simple bungalows, each with a deck — and where it’s literally lights out at 11 p.m. — are set along the beachfront. Rooms from about $45. Its restaurant also features fish sourced from area fisherman. Have a meal on the breezy terrace or small gazebo for a more private setting. Main courses from about $6.

What to do

Exodus Travels

(844) 227-9087

exodustravels.com

Among the company’s Madagascar trips are those that involve cycling, trekking and/or bus. Tours run from May to October. Prices, which include lodging, ground transportation, van support, bicycles, guides and breakfast, start at $3,295. Guests arrange their flights to Antananarivo. Keep in mind that cycling and trekking tours are moderate to challenging.

Information

travelmadagascar.org

Sifaka lemurs are known as "dancing lemurs" because they appear to be prancing when they move across the ground. Jeanine Barone/Washington Post

Camp houses dot the countryside. The simple dwellings are used by farmers in Madagascar's interior. Jeanine Barone/Washington Post

A woman looks out a window in Andranovorivato, Madagascar. The area's houses are made of uncooked brick and clay, and topped with thatched roofs. Jea...

A biologist by training, I ask a lot of questions -- so many that I've been compared to Frank Columbo, the 1970s TV detective whose tag line was, "Just one more thing ..." My inquisitiveness, however, focuses on understanding the curious attributes and adaptations of plants and animals.

WHERE TO STAY

Hotel Au Bois Vert

Ivato 101, Antananarivo

auboisvert.com/en

Simply furnished cottages with interiors embellished with Malagasy symbols (zebu, palms and wagons) dot a lush landscape within this expansive gated property. Rooms from about $99, with breakfast included.

Hotel Plumeria — Antsirabe

Lot 0912 C 90 Manodidina NY Gara, Antsirabe

plumeriahotelantsirabe.com

In the center of a bustling town that’s almost 5,000 feet above sea level, this contemporary boutique property is a placid retreat. Rooms from about $52.

Dine alfresco at their restaurant on specialties that include zebu carpaccio or stew. Main courses from about $5.

Hotel de la Plage

BP 397 — 601 Tulear 1, Ifaty

hotelplage-tulear.com/?lang=en—us

Simple bungalows, each with a deck — and where it’s literally lights out at 11 p.m. — are set along the beachfront. Rooms from about $45. Its restaurant also features fish sourced from area fisherman. Have a meal on the breezy terrace or small gazebo for a more private setting. Main courses from about $6.

What to do

Exodus Travels

(844) 227-9087

exodustravels.com

Among the company’s Madagascar trips are those that involve cycling, trekking and/or bus. Tours run from May to October. Prices, which include lodging, ground transportation, van support, bicycles, guides and breakfast, start at $3,295. Guests arrange their flights to Antananarivo. Keep in mind that cycling and trekking tours are moderate to challenging.

Information

travelmadagascar.org

Sifaka lemurs are known as "dancing lemurs" because they appear to be prancing when they move across the ground. Jeanine Barone/Washington Post

Camp houses dot the countryside. The simple dwellings are used by farmers in Madagascar's interior. Jeanine Barone/Washington Post

A woman looks out a window in Andranovorivato, Madagascar. The area's houses are made of uncooked brick and clay, and topped with thatched roofs. Jea...

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