Madagascar is one of the most spectacular, vibrant holiday destinations! It is full of luscious wildlife, great food and welcoming people. There are breathtaking hiking trails for the adventurous, and tranquil beaches for those that want to relax. It's a fantastic holiday destination all year round. But different months offer different climates, and therefore different types of visits.
Madagascar is a huge island, measuring at 230,000 square miles, there is a lot of different climates and environments. From tropical rainforests and beautifully warm beaches to colossal mountains and active volcanoes. While this means there is a lot to see and do, it can create some very unpredictable weather patterns and odd seasonal changes.
Before you travel, consult our monthly guide to the Madagascan climate, weather and events. The following guide will help you decide when the best time of the year to visit Madagascar is.
January to March
While Madagascar has a lot to offer all year round, visiting the island in January, February or March definitely isn't for the faint-hearted! These three months cover Madagascar's rainy season meaning that the island becomes a completely different place.
The rainy season in Madagascar brings with it some drastic weather and warm temperatures. January can see up to 340mm of rainfall, drenching the island in almost constant rain, which, combined with hot temperatures, can result in a damp, monsoon-like atmosphere. This high amount of rainfall means many of Madagascar's roads and national parks become impossible to access. With many hotels and holiday houses fully closing until the weather becomes more manageable. Yet the rainy season can put a lot of tourists off visiting, meaning that those hotels that are still open are cheaper and have more rooms. Despite this, January may not be the best time to visit Madagascar.
Unfortunately, February and March are an even worse time to visit Madagascar then January. Not only does the extreme rainfall persist, but there is also an increased risk of cyclones developing meaning that many of the island's attractions close and many of the dirt tracks become impassable.
April to June
The April to June period is a much better time to visit Madagascar. While the rains do not fully subside, the weather becomes significantly more pleasant, with a balance between sunshine and gentle rain. This encourages some of Madagascar's famous exotic wildlife to appear throughout the island, if you're lucky you may even see an adorable ring-tail lemur!
May is one of the best times to visit Madagascar, as the month is host to the famous Donia festival, a celebration of local culture and unity. The festival has some great local music and cuisines, and it's a great way of immersing yourself in the local culture and traditions. May is also outside of the typical tourism period meaning that it is much easier to find a hotel room at a cheaper rate. This is one of the best times to visit Madagascar!
June is also a great time to visit Madagascar. The weather has greatly improved, with average rainfall seeing a dramatic reduction. Alongside this comes some of the most beautiful fauna and flora. June is also the most common time to spot Humpback whales who start to return to the coast of Ile Sainte Marie.
July to September
The July to September period is the official start of the tourist season in Madagascar. This brings with it a spike in crowds and a lot more tourists. Hotels and attractions become much more expensive, with many requiring advanced booking. July is also the start of the Madagascar winter, with the temperature dropping to a cooler 15-20°C. This means that the island's hikes into the higher rainforests can be refreshing and cooling.
August is just as busy as July, but also sees even cooler temperatures. This means that many of the reptiles and land animals of the island go into hibernation. Yet there is still plenty to see on the coast, with much of the aquatic wildlife returning. Some of which includes: humpback whales, sea turtles and whale sharks. August is the best time to enjoy many of the great snorkelling spots Madagascar is home to.
September marks the end of the tourism season in Madagascar. Adults go back to work, children go back to school. This means that the island becomes a lot more peaceful, while hibernating animals return from their sleep as the temperatures rise. This month is also the start of bird breeding season, giving visitors the chance to see some of Madagascar's beautiful birdlife in spectacular colours. September is one of the best times to visit Madagascar if you're hoping to avoid crowds.
October to December
By October, the temperature in Madagascar begins to rise to around 25°C. This means that almost all of the islands fauna and flora is out at its full height. This gives visitors the perfect chance to see all of the island's wildlife.
October and November are some of the most popular months for animal photographs in Madagascar. They flock to the island to see everything from newly born baby ring-tail lemurs, to the fearsome fossa, Madagascar's apex predator. Birds are still in their mating season meaning their plumage is incredibly bright and colourful. October also offers the very last chance to see the breathtaking sight of humpback whales, who leave the coast in these months. if you're visiting Madagascar in October or November be sure to bring a camera!
December sees the start of the rainy season, with rainfall seeing an increase. This is not as dramatic as in January, but there is definitely a higher chance to get wet. Temperatures rise to around 28-30°C, the hottest period in the year, bringing more lizards and insects out.
During the October to December period, hotels and other forms of accommodation are likely to much cheaper, with more rooms available. The same can be said for the many different attractions Madagascar has to offer. This period is one of the best times to visit Madagascar, as long as you don't mind a bit of rain!
Our top tip for a December holiday in Madagascar is to go as early in the month as you possibly can. As the month progresses, the chance for heavy rainfall and cyclones increases, which can really ruin a holiday.
Madagascar is one of the most beautiful holiday destinations the world has to offer. With spectacular fauna and flora, a vibrant variety of local cultures, and one of the globes' most unique climates, it's got something for everyone!