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Madagascar Wildlife Expedition
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13 days

from $10,283 AUD trip_detail hint icon

($6,995 USD)

Prices are per person, based on twin share occupancy. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange. The expedition price will be finalised at time of booking.

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trip_detail module Light icon Moderate-Strenuous trip_detail hint icon

Travelers should be physically fit and prepared for multiple hours of activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, biking) each day. Certain days may have more challenging physical activities, such as steep ascents/descents on mountainous terrain.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

trip_detail expedition map image
  • Encounter fascinating endemic species with a wildlife biologist, including the wailing indri lemur, the dancing sifaka, tiny amphibians, and unusual birds.
  • Visit the field station of primatologist and National Geographic grantee Patricia Wright, one of the world’s foremost experts on lemurs.
  • Explore the iconic baobab trees of Tsimanampetsotsa National Park, where National Geographic has funded research on an extinct gorilla-sized lemur species.
  • Step into weaving, woodworking, and paper-making workshops to watch local artisans ply their crafts.

A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed below are some of the experts and the departure date(s) they will be joining.

Madagascar Wildlife Expedition

Cut off from other landmasses 80 million years ago, Madagascar is a wonderland of unique species, where playful lemurs swing in the forest canopy, tiny neon-colored chameleons cling to lush ferns, and orchids peek out from the jungle floor. From the dense rain forests of Ranomafana to the canyons of Isalo, explore the island with a wildlife expert and get a close-up view of flora and fauna that exist nowhere else in the world.

Day 1: Antananarivo, Madagascar

Arrive in Antananarivo, known locally as “Tana.” Transfer to our hotel and enjoy an evening on your own.

Days 2-3: Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

Drive to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, arriving in time for lunch. Head into Vakona Private Park to look for orchids, lemurs, and birds amid lush lianas and ferns. Spend the next day exploring Andasibe-Mantadia National Park on a variety of hikes, and keep your eye out for 14 lemur species as well as birds, such as the beautiful blue coua. Observe at close range ruffed, brown, bamboo, and ring-tailed lemurs rescued from the pet trade. Enjoy a guided night stroll, spotting brightly colored chameleons, frogs, and lizards—many no bigger than your pinkie.

Day 4: Analamazaotra/Antsirabe

Rise early for an excursion into the Analamazaotra Reserve to track the indri, the largest lemur species. Listen for their eerie calls echoing through the canopy, and watch for indri families in the treetops. Travel through the highlands to Antsirabe.

Day 5: Antsirabe/Ranomafana National Park

Continue south today, stopping in the town of Ambositra to visit a woodcarving workshop. Then travel into the thick forests to our lodge outside Ranomafana National Park.

Days 6-7: Ranomafana National Park

Spend two full days exploring Ranomafana, declared part of a UNESCO World Heritage site for its incredible biodiversity. In 1986, National Geographic grantee and leading primatologist Patricia Wright discovered a new lemur species here—the golden bamboo lemur. She spearheaded the effort to protect this rain forest and continues to conduct important research at her on-site field station. On hikes, look for more than ten species of lemurs, including red-bellied lemurs, Milne-Edward’s sifakas, and greater dwarf lemurs; as well as tenrecs; mongooses; and myriad butterflies, frogs, and birds. Visit the Centre ValBio, founded by Dr. Wright, and hear about the latest studies that Pat and her team are conducting. On evening walks, watch the park come alive after dark and keep your eye out for nocturnal animals like Malagasy civets and mouse lemurs.

Day 8: Isalo National Park

Head west into the savanna toward Isalo National Park. Pause for lunch in Ambalavao, and visit a factory where Antaimoro paper is made from hand. Stop by a weaving workshop to learn traditional methods for harvesting, spinning, and weaving silk. Check in to our lodge late this afternoon.

Day 9: Isalo National Park

Isalo is a dramatic landscape of sandstone canyons and unusual rock formations dotted with gem-colored natural pools. Ring-tailed lemurs and Verreaux’s sifakas make their home in the park, as well as endemic species such as the Benson’s rock thrush and a plant called elephant’s foot. Hike the trails and stop for a picnic. Catch the sunset this evening at the sandstone “window of Isalo."

Day 10: Toliara/Anakao

After breakfast, travel to the coastal town of Toliara. From here, a boat ride brings us down the coast to our oceanfront lodge in time for lunch. Take advantage of a free afternoon to swim, or relax on the beach.

Day 11: Tsimanampetsotsa National Park/Anakao

Early this morning, set off for Tsimanampetsotsa National Park. National Geographic has funded research on lemurs here, including an extinct gorilla-sized lemur species whose remains were found in the park’s caves. Wander among Dr. Seuss-like baobab trees; explore the grottos where blind fish swim; and spot some of the park’s 100-plus bird species, including greater and dwarf flamingos and the Madagascar plover. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure back at the lodge.

Day 12: Toliara/Antananarivo

Transfer to the airport in Toliara and fly to Antananarivo. Gather for a farewell dinner tonight.

Day 13: Antananarivo

Visit the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga —a royal complex (or rova) that dates back to the 16th century and a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. Later in the day, transfer to the airport and depart on your flight home.

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of moderate\/strenuous; travelers should be physically fit and prepared for multiple hours of activity most days, as well as some full-day hikes. Excursions include navigating uneven terrain, climbing stairs without handrails, and hiking on paths with steep ascents\/descents at times through dense vegetation. Please note there are several long travel days.

We stay in best-available hotels and lodges throughout the expedition, ranging from a luxury eco-lodge to a rustic but comfortable hotel in Antsirabe.

Expedition Team
A National Geographic expert and an expedition leader will accompany this trip, and local guides join us along the way.


  • date Sep 16-28, 2019
  • double occupancy
    $10,283 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    $13,223 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

  • date Oct 7-19, 2019
  • double occupancy
    $10,283 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    $13,223 AUD Per Person
  • extensions yes

Prices are per person based on double or single occupancy (unless otherwise noted) and do not include international airfare to/from your destination or internal flights during the expedition. Internal flights are $325 per person. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities
  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
Cortni Borgerson
Anthropologist Conservationist Biologist

Cortni Borgerson is a National Geographic Explorer, anthropologist, and conservation biologist who is examining the dynamic interactions between ecosystems and human health. She is fluent in Malagasy and is currently a Visiting Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.Her work explores why people choose to hunt endangered species and looks at how this hunting affects human health and wildlife conservation. Her recent research has demonstrated the importance of understanding human incentives when designing conservation policy. Subsistence hunting and child malnutrition are widespread in Madagascar, and a household’s food security best predicts whether or not they decide to trap endangered primates. Cortni is working hard to better understand and improve both conservation and public health outcomes in areas of high biodiversity, so that we may simultaneously support forests and the endangered species and human communities who live within them.

  • Sep 16-28, 2019
Jonah Ratsimbazafy
Conservationist Educator

Jonah Ratsimbazafy is the president of the Groupe d’Etude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar, an organization that advocates for the protection of Madagascar’s lemurs and other wildlife. He leads a team of 20 Malagasy staff who work with the community to preserve the last remaining rainforests linking the northern and southern regions of Madagascar. Jonah is also a professor in the University of Antananarivo’s paleontology and anthropology department and vice co-chair of the Primate Specialist Group - Madagascar section of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission. In 2015, Jonah was named a Disney Conservation Hero for his work to protect Madagascar’s lemurs.

  • Oct 7-19, 2019