Madagascar

When to go to Madagascar

the best time to go to Madagascar

Whilst Madagascar holidays can be enjoyed year-round, the principal wet season is from late December through to the month of March; often involving cyclones, it is probably best avoided! The best time to go to Madagascar is therefore between the months of April through to mid-December. Being prepared for all weather conditions is always recommended as weather patterns do not necessarily stick to the traditional seasons. Madagascar is a huge country and therefore climate varies hugely subject to your geographic location.

Find out more about travelling to Madagascar with our practical planning FAQs which can be found here.

In brief, the best time to go to Madagascar is...

  • July to September to see humpback whales. These are often considered the prime months to visit with excellent weather and stunning beach relaxation accommodation.
  • October and November are excellent for baby lemurs; in fact this is Sales Manager, Arabella’s favourite time to go. Lemurs in general can be seen year round.
  • April avoids peak season and is ideal for lush landscapes, bounding lemurs and quiet parks and beaches.
  • September to December is a great time for combining lemur watching, chameleons and beach holidays with hot, relatively dry weather.

The best time to go depends on where you want to go and what you want to see. as a general rule April to December work well. 

When to go

Click on a month to gain an overview of Madagascar's weather across the island. This is a guide for the country as a whole, indicating good times to plan a holiday, taking into account popular places to visit, wildlife encounters and overall weather. 

When to avoid

January to March has heavy rains and cyclones, especially in the east and northeast, making roads sometimes impassable and muddy. Often lodges will close or be inaccessible at this time. Unfortunately this coincides with the most active time for reptiles in Madagascar. We usually would not recommend travel at this time unless travelling to specific areas away from the usual cyclone regions.

With distinct weather patterns and very different wildlife experiences dictated by the month of travel, please feel free to get in touch to receive a selection of itineraries tailored to your preferred dates of travel.

Best time to go to Madagascar by season

A short overview follows below outlining the variety of Madagascar’s seasons and when it is best to travel and why. We also take a look at regional variations throughout the country, including the best times to go to the Masoala Peninsula, the central highlands and more.

April to November

This is the drier and milder season and is also winter in Madagascar. July and August specifically are the coolest months of the year, as well as the busiest due to more people taking holidays. September to November is an excellent time to visit, as it marks the end of the cool, dry season albeit before the rainfall increases. April and May are noticeably greener months with verdant countryside following the rainier months. It's a great time to travel to Madagascar on any of our safaris, especially for seeing lemurs on our Sights & Sounds of Madagascar Safari.

December to March

This is Madagascar’s tropical summer, and is the hottest and wettest period. The months of February to March are specifically cyclone season and are particularly wet. Travel in the northeast and east during these months can be notoriously difficult.

Regional Variations

Weather across the various geographical regions of Madagascar is largely dictated by altitude and geographic position. The south and southwest are arid with very little rainfall experienced year round. The west coast is drier than that of the east and the central highlands. The east coast is the wettest part of the island, and also the most humid. The capital Antananarivo enjoys a temperate climate thanks to its altitude of 1,300 metres, and other areas of the highlands such as Antsirabe can see temperatures dip as low as 4°C or 41°F. The Masoala Peninsula in the northeast experiences its highest rainfall from July to September, and generally speaking the eastern reaches of Madagascar are always worth preparing for wet weather.

When to go to Madagascar by Wildlife and events

Discover the best time to go to Madagascar by the wildlife you want to see, from baby lemurs and chameleons, to humpback whales. We’ve also had a look at popular Malagasy events, including the Madajazzcar Festival.

Wildlife

With 100% of the world’s wild lemur population and in excess of 50 species, this is usually a huge item on the wish list for visitors to Madagascar. Visiting in October or November you will stand a good chance of seeing young lemurs. Humpback whales are seasonal, arriving into Madagascan waters to give birth and nurture their calves between July and September off the east coast. Princesse Bora Lodge is a particularly good base for this, which you can visit on safaris such as our Lemurs, Whales & Beaches Safari and provides the perfect honeymoon finale! Amphibians and reptiles are more commonly seen during the rainier months of January to March, whilst September to December is an excellent time for birding as it is breeding season.

Events

Lively celebrations and festivals occur year-round in Madagascar, and whilst you may catch the odd one just by chance, the October Madajazzcar Jazz Festival in Antananarivo is popular, as is Donia in Nosy Be with its sporting events and carnival. Slightly quirkier is the Feria Oramena or annual lobster festival in in Taolagnaro, on the South coast, which takes place in June.

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