Madagascar expedition

Madagascar expedition






Sep 07, 2024






New Paths Expeditions offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore Madagascar, home to over 90% of its wildlife species. Their comprehensive itinerary ensures a thorough exploration of the island, including its central, southern, western, eastern, and northern regions, promising remarkable encounters with iconic wildlife. In 2024, they proudly host naturalist Ed Smith, renowned for his 35-year career at the national zoo and expertise in multiple subjects like flora, reptiles, mammals, and ecology. With two decades of global travel experience and captivating lecture skills, Smith’s passion for Madagascar’s unique ecosystems and endemic species adds an enriching dimension to the expedition. His lifelong fascination with the island’s evolutionary history and biodiversity enhances the expedition’s educational value, making it an unforgettable experience for wildlife enthusiasts and adventurers alike.


  • 90% of the Madagascar flora and fauna are endemic.
  • Visit 9 protected areas (national and private) encompassing the most complete Madagascar itinerary available today.
  • Observe over 20 species of Lemurs in their natural hábitat, including the largest and the smallest of them all.
  • Superb bird watching with plenty of native species.
  • The biggest diversity of chameleons on earth.
  • Private flight from Berenty to Morondava.
  • Double visit to Baobab avenue, including a sunset session.
  • Outstanding wildlife photography.
  • Enjoy the intimacy of a truly small group of like-minded, experienced travelers.
  • Escorted by an NPE lecturer Ed Smith and a Local Master Guide.
Waking up by the calls of  the giant Indri lemurs has been the highlight of all my nature travels. Madagascar is truly a jewel.

Nelson F – Orange. CA


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!


Itinerary in Brief

Day 1 
Arrive Antananarivo (Tana)

Upon your arrival in Tana (Antananarivo) you will be met by your Expedition Leader and taken to the Palissandre Hotel. You will be able to rest and relax after your journey at this centrally located hotel, which is considered the best in town and has beautiful views of the city center, a comfortable restaurant, bars, and even a spa among other amenities.

Overnight at Palissandre Hotel (D).

Day 2
Antananarivo, Lemurs’ Park, and Birding for endemics

After a good breakfast, a full day of sightseeing awaits you in Tana and the surrounding areas. The beginning of the day includes a pre-departure briefing by your Senior Leader and Local Naturalist Guide. Then you will continue with a drive around the city, where you will be introduced to the points of greatest interest, and will also have a chance to see how Malagasies live in nearby villages. There are plenty of photo opportunities for you during the panoramic excursion.

You will then reach the Lemurs’ Park, which is approximately 12 miles outside Tana. This important and well-managed project is a private park where orphan lemurs are raised for an eventual release back to the wild. The park is a lush botanical setting and provides great sightings of multiple lemur species. After lunch and some rest, you will depart towards the Tsarasaotra Bird Sanctuary. Right in Tana, it is home to dozens of different species, including multiple endemics. The park provides a quiet and beautiful retreat from the city proper.

Overnight at Palissandre Hotel (B, L, D).

Day 3 
Tana to Berenty Reserve

Today you will leave Tana on a morning flight to Fort Dauphin. Once you land, you will have a 4-hour drive over some rather challenging roads in order to get to the Berenty Reserve. You will undoubtedly be greeted once you arrive by some of the ring-tailed lemurs, which are plentiful here; some of these may well be mothers carrying their adorable young on their backs. After arriving and checking in, enjoy some free time with your Leader and Guide to photographing the multiple lemurs that roam the lodge grounds. A talk by your Local Naturalist follows. You will enjoy dinner before embarking on a night excursion in the forest.

The Berenty Reserve not only is home to 6 species of these unique primates but also to a large colony of Madagascan flying fox. Strolling through the reserve will provide you with panoramic landscapes of ancient tamarind trees and riverine forest. The rather bizarre, but extremely interesting Spiny Forest is also to be found on the reserve. Over 100 bird species can be seen here, and many of them nest at the reserve as well. You will be staying at the Berenty Lodge, which provides simple clean, and comfortable chalets with air conditioning, but so designed and arranged that you never lose sight of the fact that you are right in the center of a Madagascar forest. Lemurs will be, literally, everywhere! The simple but comfortable main lodge at Berenty has a tea garden, restaurant, and bar, and the Malagasy food served is quite good.

Overnight at Berenty Lodge (B, L, D).

Day 4
Complete Exploration of Berenty Reserve Ecosystems

A full day exploring the two ecosystems that Berenty offers. The morning’s nature hikes will provide you with plenty of opportunities to see lemurs. It is guaranteed that you will see Verreaux’s sifakas (dancing lemur) dancing from tree to tree and peering at you from around the trunks. It’s also likely that you will be able to spot some of the rarer red-fronted brown lemurs, which are also a diurnal species. At any time during your hike, you may hear the loud and distinctive calls of one of the couas, birds native to Madagascar.

The daytime is also a good time to look for chameleons, those gentle and amusing jesters of Madagascar, the Madagascan flying fox, a species of bat which hangs from the trees as they await the coming of the night to go in search of fruit, and also an impressive number of unique insects and plants.

Evening and nighttime hikes will enable you to see the animals which only come out during the hours of darkness. This is the time when the white-footed sportive lemur and the diminutive grey mouse lemur, with its large eyes and ears, may be sighted as they come out to hunt for food. An optional visit to the Ethnographic Museum and Textile Collection is also included.

Overnight at Berenty Lodge (B, L, D).

Day 5
Kirindy Village

After an optional early birding tour, visit the Berenty museum then transfer to Ifotaka airstrip for a charter flight to Morondava (about 3h30 flight). Upon arrival, late lunch at Palissandre Cote Ouest. Then, drive to Baobab avenue for sunset, before driving ahead to Kirindy (60 Km/2h).

Overnight at Relais Du Kirindy (B, L, D)

Day 6
Kirindy, Marofandilia

Most of the day will be devoted to exploring the Kirindy Forest; a private nature reserve. The Kirindy is a dry, deciduous forest and is part of one of the most severely threatened ecosystems on Madagascar. This forest is in one of the more out-of-the-way places in Madagascar and receives fewer visitors than most areas. It abounds in all sorts of life, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Seven species of lemur make this forest their home, and it also provides sanctuary for the giant jumping rat. The fossa, Madagascar’s largest mammalian predator, is also found in Kirindy, and searching for it will be one of the day’s priorities. One of the more spectacular ground birds of Madagascar, the giant coua is also found here. This bird has bright blue skin around its eyes and a white throat shading into a roseate breast. Approximately 2 feet long, it is the largest member of the cuckoo family.

Overnight at Relais Du Kirindy (B, L, D).

Day 7

After an early breakfast, drive back to Baobab avenue for photos. Lunch at Palissandre Cote Ouest, then transfer to Morondava airport for your flight back to Tana with Tsaradia’s regular flight.

Overnight at Palissandre Hotel & Spa (B, L).

Day 8
Tana, King’s Palace

Tana has 12 sacred hills around it, and the day excursion will take you to Ambohimanga Hill, the site of the ruins of the Palace of King Andriaanampoinimerina, built for him by his father, Andriamasinavalona. It is a humble but much interesting palace, that will allow you to understand the unique history of this fascinating country. We will also drive around farming fields, spend time with locals, and enjoy a simple but delicious lunch in a local cottage with great views of the valley.

Overnight at Palissandre Hotel & Spa (B, L, D).

Day 9
Chameleons and The Cloud Forest of Madagascar

Drive 3 hours to Andasibe, along the way stop at Peyreiras Reserve, where you will be able to observe and photograph a great number of the endemic reptiles and amphibians of Madagascar.

Arrive in Berenty and lodge at the beautiful Eulophiella Hotel, at night time enjoy walking the forest.

Overnight at Vakona Lodge (B, L, D).

Day 10
Andasibe National Park

Your Senior Leader will take you on an exploration of the Andasibe National Park. Even though you will certainly meet lemurs of all kinds here – the bamboo lemur, the brown lemur, and the black & white lemur, the main objective of the day will be to spot the indri indri, the largest lemur of them all. The trails to spot the indri are beautiful, and other than the lemurs, they provide great birding opportunities, superb reptile sightings, and magnificent botanizing. After lunch visit the Vakona Private Reserve, a section of the property dedicated to providing shelter to lemurs that were displaced by the loss of their habitat, mainly by mining activities.

Overnight at Vakona Lodge (B, L, D).

Day 11

After breakfast, we will drive to Tana, then you will be taken to Palissandre Hotel. Enjoy a farewell dinner with Valiha music. You may decide to fly tonight, or the next day. Your hotel overnight is included.

Overnight at Palissandre Hotel & Spa (B, L).

Day 12
Fly home

Today, after breakfast, transfer to the airport and fly back to the U.S, or continue with the Nosy Be Extension.


Palissandre Hotel & Spa

Located on a hillside, in the center of Antananarivo, Palissandre is a 4-star hotel and is a perfect base to discover Antananarivo. It features an outdoor pool, a spa, and a restaurant with a terrace offering panoramic city views. Free WiFi access is available. The rooms are particularly small (16m2) and are equipped with a TV, telephone, mini-bar and air conditioning. You can enjoy city and pool views from the room. The restaurant serves local and French cuisine. Guests can enjoy drinks, cocktails, and snacks.

Berenty Lodge

Built-in harmony with the environment, but without renouncing comfort, Berenty Lodge rooms feature air conditioning, ceiling fans, and hot running water. The Berenty not only provides you with good lodging but gives you the chance to observe Lemurs right outside your door and very close access to two distinct types of forest.

Relais Du Kirindy

The Kirindy Forest has very limited accommodations and this new hotel is a gamechanger. Accommodation consists of 20 simple, neat, en-suite bungalows, constructed out of wood and other natural materials. Windows are netted with gauze. The lodge has a spacious, open-air restaurant where meals served incorporate Malagasy and European-styled dishes and a swimming pool. It’s by far the best option in Kirindy, the most threatened habitat of Madagascar.

Vakona Lodge

Vakona Forest Lodge is situated on a picturesque hillside that slopes down to a lake. Surrounded by lush vegetation and filled with fresh mountain air, only the sounds of frogs and other wildlife can disturb you here.

Expedition Leader

Lova Idriss

Born and raised in Madagascar, Lova is our best “soldier” on this fantastic Island, known as the land of the endemics, due to its fascinating and unique wildlife in the area. 

Lova has over 20 years of experience exploring the most remote sites in Madagascar and became part of NPE around 2008. Lova loves his country, and his energy and pride while showing the outstanding wildlife in Madagascar make him one of our top-notch guides.

Ed Smith

Ed Smith has traveled nonstop and extensively to pursue his love of wildlife and natural species. 

He gave frequent lectures at the Smithsonian Institution about a variety of themes over his 35-year career at the national zoo, including plants, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater vertebrates, insects, mammals, evolution, and ecology, among others.

His ability to engage the audience and give unique educational information made him a star in the field and lecture rooms.

Ed will escort you towards the Madagascar nature wonders while he explains to you firsthand the amazing ecosystem complexity, evolutionary history, and endemism of this beautiful island. 

Departure Dates & Rates


07 Sep 2024



Single Supplement



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Great Migration 2024

 Sept. 1, 2024

Great Migration & the Big Five

Without a doubt, the Great Migration is the greatest spectacular wildlife display on the planet. At NPE, we’ve worked hard to create the perfect schedule to see it at its best. Even though no animal encounter can be guaranteed, the time of year, the parks we’ve chosen, and the location of our campgrounds create the best possible scenario for getting a front-row seat to this beautiful natural phenomenon. We also guarantee that this is the most extraordinary itinerary for getting up and personal with all of the “Big-5” and many more species. Without question, this is the best Safari experience available. No NPE expedition would be complete without providing close contact with locals, and we have covered this aspect perfectly, both at Samburu and the Masai Mara. We keep the group to a maximum of 14 people and stay in tiny, first-class safari camps in remote regions. We strongly advise that you reserve your spots as soon as possible.


  • Visit the most important Protected Areas in Kenya: Ol Pejeta, Samburu National Park, The Ngorongoro Crater, and the Masai Mara National Reserve.
  • Experience the greatest wildlife show on Earth, The Great Migration, at its peak.
  • This itinerary provides the highest chances to observe the `Big-5’, lions, elephants, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros.
  • High chances of seeing the black and the northern white rhinos.
  • Come in close contact with local tribes at Samburu and the Masai Mara.
  • Enjoy the intimacy of a truly small group of like-minded, experienced travelers.
  • Ideal expedition pacing, using the best possible accommodations and best naturalist guides.
“If there were one more thing I could do, it would be to go on safari once again.”

Karen Blixen


If you have any questions, please let us know. We are here to help you!

Itinerary in Brief

Day 1 
Arrive in Nairobi:
Your flight will have you arriving in Nairobi, Kenya, where you will be met and greeted by a New Paths Expeditions representative and given a short safari briefing before being transferred to your Hotel. Overnight at Karen Blixen Coffee Garden & Cottages (Meals Aloft).
Day 2

Nairobi to Ol Pejeta Conservancy

After breakfast, we will depart Nairobi and head to the Olpejeta Conservancy to arrive for lunch. Enjoy an afternoon game viewing drive in the amazing Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is the largest black rhino refuge in East Africa, located at the foothills of Mount Kenya. It also has some of the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos. Ol Pejeta, a pioneering wildlife conservancy that began as a working cattle ranch in colonial Kenya and is now a sanctuary for rescued chimps, seeks to safeguard wildlife and provide a haven for them. The Conservancy is a famous safari location, with the renowned ‘Big Five’ and a diverse range of other African creatures such as zebra, giraffe, hippo, cheetah, jackal, serval, hyena, vervet monkey, and many others. Horseback riding, game hikes, and nocturnal wildlife drives are among the outdoor activities available to visitors. Overnight at Sanctuary Tambarare (B, L, D).
Day 3 & 4

Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Spend the day photographing the gorgeous scenery while seeing wildlife and birds in this beautiful park. The vast plains turn a vivid green color during the rainy season, attracting hundreds of birds and small creatures. Open grasslands, Acacia forests, thorn scrub, swamp, and marshlands are the five ecosystems found in Pejeta; this variety of ecosystems provides for good game-viewing throughout the year. Overnight at Sanctuary Tambarare (B, L, D).
Day 5

Ol Pejeta to Samburu National Reserve
After breakfast, we will depart to Samburu National Reserve, arriving for lunch. There we will enjoy an afternoon game drive. Samburu National Reserve, located on the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro River and adjacent to Buffalo Springs National Park, is known for its stunning environment of steep hills, undulating plains, and riverine forests. The park is home to various animals, including the reticulated giraffe, long-necked gerenuk, Somali ostrich, Grevy’s Zebra, and Beisa Oryx, among others. Over 900 elephants, various predators, and over 450 bird species can all be seen by visitors. The Samburu people’s ancient culture is still alive and well here. We will watch herds of cattle respond to each man’s unique voice as they call them, and we will enjoy the tribe extraordinary dances that date back hundreds of years. Overnight at Elephant Bedroom Camp (B, L, D).
Day 6 & 7
Samburu National Reserve to Ngorongoro Crater
On this day, we will get up early and head to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area with lunch boxes to make the most of our day at the Ngorongoro Crater. Before dusk, we will return to our lodge and refresh, before dinner and prepare for another day full of adventure. The Ngorongoro Crater, located in northern Tanzania, is famed for its natural beauty and wealth of various animals, making it one of Africa’s most outstanding safari destinations. This UNESCO-listed crater, surrounded by Tanzania’s highlands, is said to be the world’s largest preserved volcanic caldera. Visitors can expect to see the world-famous Big Five and a variety of other wildlife, including vast herds of zebra and wildebeest. It is well-known as one of Tanzania’s most popular tourist destinations, providing visitors with various exciting activities such as superb bird watching, trekking, wildlife viewing, and visiting a Maasai village. NPE’s planned excursions include the spectacular Olduvai Gorge. Overnight at Elephant Bedroom Camp (B, L, D).
Day 8

Complete Exploration of Samburu National Reserve
We will enjoy a day full of adventure and game viewing on this unique ecosystem. After breakfast, we will depart to inner Samburu in our quest for wildlife. Afterward, we will return to our camp for lunch and relax. Once we recharge our energies, we will head again for an afternoon game drive on our last day on this beautiful National Reserve. Overnight at Elephant Bedroom Camp (B, L, D).  
Day 9
Samburu National Reserve to Masai Mara National Reserve
After breakfast and check-out, we will drive to the airstrip to board our scheduled flight to Serengeti/Tarime, near the Tanzania-Kenya border. Once we land, we will transfer from the Tarime Airstrip to Migori Airstrip for a scheduled flight to Masai Mara departing around 12:15 hours. Once in the Mara, the NPE driver-guides will meet the group at the airstrip and take you on a game drive on your way to the camp. Once at the camp, we will be greeted with an ice-cold beverage and an overview of what to expect on our game drives. You will be shown to your tents and have the option of going on your first Mara game drive after lunch. The Masai Mara National Reserve, which covers more than 1500 square kilometers in Kenya’s southwest, is unquestionably one of the country’s natural wonders. Elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, crocodile, and hippopotamus in the Mara River are many of the especies protected by the park. With over 450 resident bird species, birdlife is equally stunning. The Great Migration, which has been named one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, is the genuine highlight of the trip. 1.7 million wildebeests migrate from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park’s arid plains to survive the dry months of July to September. They migrate to the Masai Mara’s more forgiving plains together with smaller herds of antelope, buffalo, and zebra. Predators like lions, hyenas, and cheetahs follow in their wake, looking for easy meat in these massive herds. Overnight at Little Governor’s Camp (B, L, D).
Day 10
Masai Mara
You will enjoy two full days in Mara with two game drives on each day, in search of the perfect view of the Great Migration. The Masai Mara National Reserve is Africa’s most famous wildlife park. For many, the sight of acacia trees dotting infinite grass plains encapsulates Africa; add a Maasai warrior and some livestock, and the discourse is complete. As previously mentioned, the yearly wildebeest migration over the Serengeti and Masai Mara plains is the undisputed highlight of the Masai Mara National Reserve. With over a million animals following the rains, it is known as the world’s most significant mass movement of terrestrial mammals. Our excursions will always be on first class safari vehicles. Also, the opportunity to enjoy horseback riding safaris will be available for those interested. Overnight at Little Governor’s Camp (B, L, D).
Day 11
Masai Mara – Fly Back Home
  After our breakfast, you will be driven to the airport in time for your local scheduled flight back to Nairobi, where an NPE representative will meet you and drive you to the airport to check-in for your departure home. You’ll meet your NPE driver at Wilson Airport and be taken to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. We recommend a flight departing from Nairobi around 5 pm or later.


Karen Blixen Coffee Garden & Cottages

The cottages are located in the midst of one of the oldest formal gardens in Kenya which have huge jacaranda, candelabra, cactus, bottlebrush, and other trees. Over 200 types of flowers bloom through the year and numerous bird feeders attract hundreds of varieties of birds. The cottages have been designed after the historic Swedo House to give a sense of reliving history in elegant style. All well appointed cottages have hi-beam ceilings with fireplaces, wood and mazeras stone floors. Mini bars, satellite TVs and internet connections have also been installed. Each bedroom has a large bathroom with its own shower and bath. Internet connections and phones are available in all rooms. Three cottages have two private suites with a separate dressing room.

Sancturary Tambarare

Nestled amongst the shadow of Mount Kenya, Sanctuary Tambarare delivers the perfect balance of adventure and serenity. Sanctuary Tambarare looks out across the grassy plateau of the award-winning Ol Pejeta Conservancy, 90,000 acres of the unspoiled African landscape, where the Big Five roam, including the last two northern white rhinos on earth.

Elephant Bedroom Camp

Set on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River in Samburu National Reserve surrounded by doum palms and other beautiful indigenous trees and shrubs sits this small and exclusive camp of 12 luxury tents – all furnished in rustic African style while offering all the comforts expected of a luxury Camp (hot & cold running water, electricity and herbal products). The lounge and dining area offer vibrant safari colours with original oil paintings, soft intimate lighting designed to relax guests returning from an exciting game drive. Huge herds of elephant, prides of lion or the solitary leopard amongst other game are regular visitors around the camp providing excellent game viewing in spectacular scenic background of rugged rolling hills.

Little Governors Camp

With only 17 luxury en-suite tents placed around a big watering well teeming with both birds and wildlife, the award-winning Little Governors is intimate in character. A boat journey across the Mara River leads to the camp, followed by an escorted stroll through the riverine jungle. Vehicles are parked on the river’s opposite bank, leaving the camp calm and undisturbed. Little Governors’ guest tents have wooden decks with big verandahs where visitors may watch the constant game action surrounding the camp’s watering hole. Elephants frequently visit the camp, so guests may need to move out of the way.

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