Madagascar Adventure

  • 12-day hiking and wildlife adventure
  • Activity Rating: Moderate/Strenuous

Trip Details


Cut off from other landmasses 80 million years ago, Madagascar is nature’s great experiment. In this wonderland of unique species, playful lemurs swing in the forest canopy, tiny neon-colored chameleons cling to lush ferns, and orchids peek out from the jungle floor. Experience Madagascar’s wild and diverse landscapes on an adventure crafted with the insights of National Geographic Emerging Explorer Luke Dollar, an expert on the island’s wildlife. Track indri lemurs in the forests of Andasibe, hike among the limestone spikes of Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, snorkel the pristine waters of Île Saint Marie, and get a close-up view of wildlife that exists nowhere else in the world.

Trip Highlights

    • Look for the glowing eyes of nocturnal lemurs, minuscule chameleons, and frogs on an enchanting night walk in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.
    • Find yourself in a magnificent cathedral of rock needles while hiking and canoeing in the unparalleled Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park.
    • Catch the sunset on the colossal, ancient trees along the Avenue des Baobabs.
    • Snorkel the reefs, stroll the sands, and hike the coastal rain forests of idyllic Île Sainte Marie.

Itinerary - 12 Days

Day 1 — Antananarivo, Madagascar

Arrive in Madagascar’s lively capital city, known locally as “Tana.” Transfer to our hotel, and gather for a welcome dinner tonight.
Palissandre Hotel & Spa (D)

Day 2 — Marozevo/Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

Drive east to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, and along the way, stop for an introduction to some of the island’s rare species at the Pereyras Private Reserve in Marozevo. Arrive at our lodge, and later, go on a guided night stroll to see nocturnal lemurs, and brightly colored chameleons, frogs, and lizards— many no bigger than your finger. (2 miles hiking, 3–4 hours)
Vakona Forest Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Andasibe National Park

Set out into the park early this morning to track indri lemurs, the largest lemur species, which travel in clans among the treetops. On a variety of walks and hikes, encounter grey bamboo lemurs and red-fronted brown lemurs, look for birds such as the stunning blue coua and reptiles like the Malagasy tree boa and Parson’s chameleon. Take the afternoon to explore the wildlife on the hotel grounds, including an island teeming with lemurs and a crocodile park. (5–6 miles hiking, 5–6 hours)
Vakona Forest Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Antananarivo/Morondava

Drive back to Antananarivo and board a private charter flight to Morondava, set on the Mozambique Channel on Madagascar’s west coast. Check into our beachfront hotel and gather for dinner.
Palissandre Cote Ouest (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Bekopaka

Head north in 4x4s on a full-day drive to the spectacular Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. Along the way, cross the Tsiribihina by ferry, and observe everyday life in the countryside. Our hotel tonight is in Bekopaka, poised on the edge of the park.
Olympe Du Bemaraha (B,L,D)

Days 6 & 7 — Tsingy de Bemaraha

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is exceptional in every way: from the jaw-dropping beauty of its wild geology to its vibrant ecosystems, safeguarded in part by the remoteness of the park. Here, karst formations have eroded into endless forests of limestone needles and blades—some soaring as high as 300 feet—inhabited by endemic flora and fauna. Spend two exhilarating days discovering the “Little Tsingy” and the “Great Tsingy” formations on hikes. Then glide in canoes through the gorges of the Manambolo River to a vast grotto whose jagged stalagmites and stalactites mirror the landscape outside. Learn about the Vazimba tombs nearby, and spot a range of endangered wildlife, including 11 lemur species. (Day 6: 4–5 miles strenuous hiking, 6–7 hours; Day 7: 2–4 miles strenuous hiking, 3–6 hours)
Olympe Du Bemaraha (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Morondava

Drive back to Morondava—perhaps best known for the nearby Avenue des Baobabs, flanked by majestic, 1,000-year-old baobab trees. Arrive in the afternoon and take a stroll between these ancient behemoths at sunset.
Palissandre Cote Ouest (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Antananarivo/Île Saint Marie

Fly to Antananarivo on a commercial flight and continue via private charter to Île Saint Marie, an idyllic tropical island off Madagascar’s northeastern coast. Settle into thatched bungalows right on the beach and enjoy time to take a swim or walk along the surf before dinner.
Princese Bora Lodge (B,L,D)

Days 10 & 11 — Île Saint Marie

Blanketed in thick rain forests and fringed with white-sand beaches, Île Sainte Marie strikes the perfect balance for adventurers: hiking and snorkeling options abound, and the warm, palm-shaded sands beckon after a day of activity. Board boats for a full-day excursion to gorgeous Coco Bay, where we’ll hike black granite hills to look out over a massive grove of coconut palms and don snorkels to explore the reefs. This tranquil island was also once a haven for pirates; we’ll hear the tales of these buccaneers on a walk through the intriguing pirate cemetery.
Princese Bora Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Antananarivo

Fly to Antananarivo and check into day rooms near the airport. Schedules permitting, take a tour of this fascinating city. Transfer to the airport in the evening for your flight home.
Relais Des Plateaux Day Room (B,L,D)

Please Note: The itinerary shown describes the 2015 departures. We will be offering this trip in 2016, however it will follow a slightly modified itinerary which will be posted shortly. Please call 1-888-689-2557 for more details or to be added to a waitlist.

National Geographic Active Expeditions are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that combine spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenge. You'll explore fascinating, off-the-beaten-path places with top guides, and wherever possible, meet National Geographic experts in the field.


This expedition is not currently being offered.

Please Note: The itinerary shown describes the 2015 departures. We will be offering this trip in 2016, however it will follow a slightly modified itinerary which will be posted shortly. Please call 1-888-689-2557 for more details or to be added to a waitlist.

Featured Expedition Moment

Activity Level


On average, we will hike 2 to 6 hours per day (1 to 4 miles) over uneven dirt trails on moderate grades. Days 6-7 have longer and more strenuous/ adventurous hiking.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.

What To Expect

Accommodation Style

We will stay 7 nights in ideally located hotels and lodges and 2 nights in minimalistic and comfortable bungalows inside the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park.

Travel Logistics

This itinerary is an adventure in the truest sense; travelers should be flexible, keep an open mind, be in good health and physically fit. Roads will often be unpaved with drives up to 7 hours in a 4x4 vehicle.

Contact Us: 1-888-689-2557

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