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Before travelling | During your journey

When to go and climate

When to go

When planning a trip to Madagascar, travellers should have in mind what they do not want to miss from this extraordinary land and which their personal interests are, since each season has its own highlights.

In general, the period between May to October (winter in the southern hemisphere) is the most pleasant time to travel to Madagascar, with cooler temperatures and little rain. However, since the last years the traditional weather pattern is no longer reliable due to global climatic changes. You can have plenty of rain during the dry season and vice versa, so be ready for anything!

The touristic season begins in April after the cyclones. The rainy season is almost over but some areas are still hard to reach because of the terrible roads after the rainfalls. Until June it is “low season”, so prices are cheaper now than during the following months. This is the season of the rice crops on the highlands, a real impressive event to see.

The months of July and August are the peak of the "high season" because it is the time when most tourists come here since they are on holidays. So if you are planning to visit Madagascar during “our summer” in Europe and USA, you should book in advance (both plane tickets and accommodation in busy beach areas). July and August are the “coolest” months of the year, which is not bad at all in the coastal regions where you can perfectly bath without being burnt by the sun. For nature lovers there are good and bad news: it is the whale season on the east season but at the same time many reptiles and small mammals are hibernating. You can never have it all!

Cyclone Ivan The months from September to December are also a very popular period to visit Madagascar. It is hotter than during the last months and it does not rain a lot (the rainy season starts at the end of December). It is the best time to enjoy beach holidays and to observe the rich wildlife, since chameleons, lizards, snakes and rodents are active again.

The only time you should avoid is January to March, when heavy rain can make many roads muddy and impassable, and when there's a high risk of cyclones in the east and northeast. Certain hotels are closed and even some big tour operators are not operative.
Cyclone Ivan struck the northeastern part of Madagascar in February 2008
© Madagascar Travel Guide

Climate

The climate of Madagascar is subtropical, with a hot and rainy season between November and April (summer), and a cooler dry season from May to October (winter). However there is a big temperature variation depending on altitude and geographical position. The west coast is drier than the east coast, whilst the far south and south west is a semi-desert region that experiences very little rainfall. Temperatures are much cooler in the highlands. Night temperatures in Antsirabe can descend below 5°C, so do not leave a warm pullover at home. Antananarivo has a pleasant, temperate climate thanks to its 1300 m altitude. Along the coast temperatures are much higher than in the capital and range from 27°C to 32°C in the wet season and 18°C to 22°C in the dry season. If you are travelling to the Eastern region, do not forget your rain gear: rainfalls are expected to happen the whole year. On the Masoala Peninsula and around Maroantsetra the wettest months are from July to September.

You find more specific information about the different climatic conditions in Madagascar in the sections dedicated to each zone in this travel guide. Just click on the area you want to visit to find out: The Highlands, The South, The North, The East and The West