- Seek out orangutans, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, and more in sanctuaries and wilderness reserves in Malaysian Borneo.
- Observe mountain gorillas in Rwanda and track the elusive Bengal tiger in India’s Ranthambore National Park.
- Set out on safari with expert rangers and trackers in the wildlife reserves of Sri Lanka and South Africa’s Phinda Private Game Reserve.
- Snorkel amid dazzling marine life from your overwater bungalow in the Maldives, and spot lemurs, chameleons, and wild orchids in Madagascar.
Acrobatic orangutans and beautiful Bengal tigers, wide-eyed lemurs and mighty silverback gorillas—the planet is full of rare and unusual creatures that National Geographic has photographed and studied for decades. On this extraordinary journey by private jet, travel with a team of inspiring National Geographic wildlife experts to biodiversity hotspots across Asia and Africa. Venture into rainforests and wetlands, hike volcanoes, and dive into turquoise seas, in search of some of the world’s most iconic animals. Along the way, gain insights from local communities, naturalists, and scientists on the critical work being done to protect them.
Arrive in Singapore and meet your experts and fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner. The next day, head to the Singapore Zoo, internationally recognized for its conservation efforts, including a successful orangutan breeding program. Then experience the breathtaking Gardens by the Bay, where futuristic architecture showcases an incredible diversity of botanical species.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel
Fly by private jet to Sandakan on Borneo’s northeastern coast, and drive to the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. Encounter rescued Malayan sun bears at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and continue to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to observe orangutans and learn about efforts to protect them. These critically endangered great apes—endemic to only Borneo and the Indonesian island of Sumatra—are some of our closest relatives, sharing some 97% of their DNA with humans. Spend two nights in the heart of the lush Kinabatangan River basin. Explore jungle waterways by boat with naturalist guides, and venture into the rainforest on foot to search for Borneo’s unique species: orangutans, gibbons, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, and a range of rare birds.
Sepilok Nature Resort or MY Nature Resort; Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort or Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Touch down in Jaipur, the capital of the desert state of Rajasthan, and settle into our splendid accommodations at Rambagh Palace, a former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Set out to explore the “pink city,” where sauntering camels share the road with rickshaws, and majestic, rose-colored monuments overlook bustling bazaars. Visit the 16th-century Amber Fort, the historic seat of Jaipur’s Rajput rulers. Admire the fort’s enchanting architecture, a blend of Mughal and Rajput styles, and its exquisitely carved, hand-painted ceilings. Or take a drive through old Jaipur to see the city’s pink sandstone walls and many beautiful gates; marvel at the honeycomb façade of the Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of the Winds; and discover the magnificent City Palace. Time permitting, stop by the 18th-century royal observatory known as Jantar Mantar.
Drive southeast to Ranthambore National Park, once the private hunting ground of the maharajas and now a protected habitat for the endangered Bengal tiger. After many years of declining numbers, India’s population of Bengal tigers has finally begun to increase thanks to conservation efforts. Set out on safari in 4x4s to search for leopards; sloth bears; and the sambar, Asia’s largest species of deer. With luck, we may glimpse the elusive tiger. If you wish, visit Dastkar Ranthambore, an NGO dedicated to improving livelihoods in the surrounding communities, and see locally made embroidery, block prints, and pottery.
The Oberoi Vanyavilas Wildlife Resort, Aman-i-Khas, or Sujan Sher Bagh
Fly by private jet to Mattala, Sri Lanka and transfer to our beachfront lodge. Explore the diverse ecosystems of Yala National Park on safari, seeking out elephants, leopards, sloth bears, spotted deer, peacocks, and some 200 bird species. Then venture to the coastal wetlands of Bundala National Park to see a plethora of migratory and resident birds and perhaps a crocodile basking in the shallows. If you wish, attend the evening puja at Kataragama temple, sacred to Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and the indigenous Vedda people.
Wild Coast Tented Lodge or Uga Chena Huts
Arrive in Malé, the capital of this stunning Indian Ocean archipelago. Made up of some 1,200 coral islands and protected by barrier reefs, the Maldives stretch across more than 500 miles of ocean just south of India. We’ll stay on one of these spectacular coral isles and spend our time discovering extraordinary marine habitats and getting acquainted with local culture. You may have the chance to go snorkeling, take part in local traditions, or look for dolphins and other marine life on a wildlife cruise. Enjoy time on your own to relax on private, white-sand beaches or indulge in our resort’s world-class spa.
Ozen Reserve Bolifushi
On the island of Madagascar, an estimated 80 percent of species are endemic—including its celebrated lemurs. Fly by private jet to Nosy Be, a stunning island off the northwestern coast. Settle into bungalows nestled among tropical gardens on the coast. The next morning, cruise to Lokobe Reserve for a hike in the lowland rainforests, home to black lemurs and Nosy Be panther chameleons. Or sail by catamaran to Nosy Tanikely to explore the island’s diverse flora and fauna and go snorkeling among vibrant reefs. In the afternoon, visit Lemuria Land, a nature reserve that harbors many of Madagascar’s endemic species, including lemurs, lizards, chameleons, orchids, and more. End the tour at a distillery where the essential oils of the island’s prevalent ylang ylang flower are extracted. Enjoy a festive dinner with a performance by local musicians.
Ravintsara Wellness Hotel
Land in Johannesburg and continue on a charter flight to Phinda Private Game Reserve, where seven distinct habitats—from mountains and wetlands to rare dry-sand forests—harbor a spectacular array of wildlife. Settle into one of two intimate lodges within the park, then set off with expert rangers and trackers on an open-vehicle safari. Stop for sundowner cocktails as the sun sets and watch for nocturnal creatures on the ride back to your lodge. Enjoy two full days to experience this remarkable habitat on sunrise and late-afternoon wildlife drives. Seek out the famed “big five”—lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and Cape buffalo—and spot some of the nearly 450 bird species seen on the reserve. During free time between safaris, take a bush walk with a ranger or relax on your veranda and enjoy the views. Gather one evening for a special dinner in the bush, accompanied by a marimba band.
andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve: Forest Lodge or Mountain Lodge
Make our final wildlife stop in Rwanda, where jungle-clad volcanoes harbor a growing population of mountain gorillas. On a full-day gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park, search for these fascinating giants that the late Dian Fossey studied with support from National Geographic. Learn about conservation efforts and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime chance to sit among gorilla families and observe them at close range. Then seek out endangered golden monkeys with a resident biologist and attend a talk by a researcher at the Karisoke Research Center before returning to Kigali for a night. Alternatively, opt to stay in Kigali and delve into the inspiring stories of Rwanda’s people at the Akilah Institute, which provides higher education to women, and the Kigali Memorial Centre. Here, meet survivors and hear their stories of fear and loss—and of reconciliation and healing. Toast our extraordinary wildlife adventure at a festive farewell dinner.
Amakoro Songa Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest or Virunga Safari Lodge; Kigali Marriott Hotel
After breakfast, fly to Rome and transfer to our boutique hotel, an elegant palazzo near the Spanish Steps. Enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers and return home via commercial air the following day.
Anatara Palazzo Naiadi Rome Hotel