Best time to visit Madagascar

temperature & rainfall

Generally speaking, the north is hot and humid, the east is wetter, and the south is arid. The wettest season is Jan-Mar, with cyclones in February, but outside of these months the best time to visit Madagascar depends on your itinerary.

The central highlands are cold and wet in May-October, but these months are the best time to visit Madagascar's dry southwest – where temperatures in the summer (Nov-Jan) are unbearably hot. Oct-Dec are great for lemurs – babies are born at this time. Birds breed in Sep-Dec, while humpback whales arrive at Ile St Marie in July and August

When to visit Madagascar

a month by month guide

Madagascar’s central highlands and north coast can get extremely wet in January all the way through to March with the cyclones of February making the start of the year well-worth avoiding although, accommodation will be cheaper and there will certainly be fewer tourists.

April still finds a few storms but on the main this is the start of Madagascar’s dry season with plenty of lush green foliage making April or May the best time to visit, especially for surfers.

Visiting Madagascar in June and July is perfect for watching baby lemurs as well as humpback whales on Ile Sainte-Marie, and birdwatchers will want to hang around until August and September to catch the abundance of endemic and migratory species.

Madagascar’s iconic ring-tail lemurs are born in October and a visit to national parks, such as Isalo, lets you see these cuties up close, particularly now it’s cooler in the southwest.

Temperatures begin to soar in the southwest during November and December with rains returning to Antananarivo, the central highlands and the north of Madagascar. December is definitely the best time to visit Madagascar if you’re hoping to hit the beach.

Best time to visit Madagascar

Our recommendations

Laurenne Mansbridge, of our supplier Pioneer Expeditions, shares with us her best time to visit Madagascar:
"My favourite time of year is May because the rains have finished so everything is lush and green. You don’t see many other tourists as they tend to go in September and October, but everything is just beautiful – it’s pretty perfect."
Our Madagascar culture pick: Hiragasy
Theatre, dance, storytelling and music are combined in these traditional Malagasy performances. Held each July, particularly by the Merina of the highlands, the tradition began in the 1700s when the royals appointed troupes to perform for their subjects. The audience participates, showing their approval – or disapproval! – for the troupes.

Festivals & events in Madagascar

Our cultural pick from the Madagascar calendar

Nosy Be’s Donia Festival
in May or June is one of the best opportunities to enjoy homegrown music as well as sporting events. The carnival-like celebration takes place at the Hell-Ville stadium over four days.
Since 1988, Antananarivo’s Madajazzcar Festival
has united jazz musicians from the Indian Ocean and across the world for 12 days each October, inspiring fantastic musical fusions.

Did you know about...?

Lobster-lovers should get down to Fort Dauphin on the south coast in June for the annual Feria Oramena – the Festival of the Lobster. Eat grilled spiny lobster while listening to traditional music, and watching a local wrestling match – called ‘ringa’
Photo credits: [Hiragasy: MAURO Didier]
Written by Vicki Brown
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