Madagascar

An undiscovered paradise of lemurs, baobabs, beaches and mountains for naturalists and adventurers.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

April to December

Overview

A Madagascar safari offers a completely unique experience. For a start; there are no game drives. You explore the extraordinary biodiversity on foot. The national parks and reserves protect lemurs, endemic plants and birds to delight nature lovers. 5% of the world's biodiversity is found in this one large island, including 6 species of baobab tree and our smallest primate.

Sure, a Madagascar tour or holiday suits the more adventurous and curious traveller. Yet it also boasts some of the most unspoiled beaches in the Indian Ocean, so the classic combination of ‘bush and beach’ is definitely on the cards here.

Madagascar is like no other place on earth. This pint-sized ‘continent’ is neither Africa nor Asia. It split from Gondwanaland some 165 million years ago – a Noah’s ark, of sorts, sailing away to the east. This isolation led to a separate evolution of flora and fauna creating a paradise for safari visitors with over 20,000 species of flora and fauna, 80-90% of which are endemic to Madagascar.

This strangest of islands is an incredibly exciting wildlife destination, known for its lemurs, orchids (1000 species), chameleons (over half of the world’s population) and frogs (a mere 150 species!) Lemurs are the lure for most visitors, with nine-tenths of the world’s endangered lemurs only found on Madagascar. New species are being discovered still today.

We arrange mostly private tailor-made tours. Our visitors usually visit one or two of the prime wildlife areas such as Andasibe, the southern reserves of Ranomafana and Isalo or the unique spiny forest of the south. Then our guests end their Madagascar holiday relaxing on the gorgeous tropical beaches of Nosy Be, the northern islands or Ile Sainte Marie, for example.

However, a Madagascar tour is not for everyone! If you only like 5 star hotels throughout or if you need a trip to unfold exactly as the brochure says, then Madagascar may not suit. However, if you have a spirit of adventure, are amused by the unexpected, and are willing to accept some irritations and some more simple hotels, along the way, then this is a fascinating destination.

You experience the flora and fauna mainly by walking the forest trails, sometimes for several hours, sometimes in hilly terrain. So it’s best if you are reasonably active and mobile.

Our Madagascar tours use mostly simple hotels, tented camps and country lodges. However, the standards are improving, especially at the beach resorts where one or two deluxe options now exist.

Malagasy and French are the two main languages, though hotel staff and local guides all speak some English.

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Gloria Darvall

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.

Features

Why you may love it

  • Some of the most unspoiled beaches in the Indian Ocean.
  • Indigenous flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth.
  • Exciting wildlife destination, known for its lemurs, orchids, chameleons and frogs.
  • Nine-tenths of the world’s endangered lemurs only found on Madagascar.
  • The fascinating Malagasy culture

Explore the Madagascar map

When to visit Madagascar

Mid-January to March

Summer in Madagascar

Overall Madagascar has a tropical climate. The arid south-west and far northern parts of Madagascar are year-round destinations. But mid-January to March is cyclone season on the east coast of Madagascar, particularly February. Plus the eastern rainforests have a high summer rainfall (from November to April). So overall, this is not the best time to visit and some camps close. But if you do want to, we recommend choosing specific regions (Nosy Be and the north).
AVG RAINFALL 251mm
MAX TEMP 30℃ / 86 ℉
MIN TEMP 21.5 ℃ / 71 ℉

April to May

Good time to visit

This is a transitional period in Madagascar and certainly mid April onwards is a good time most parts of the country. It’s not too humid on the coast and the central highland areas are also a pleasant temperature.
AVG RAINFALL 152mm
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 19.5 ℃ / 67 ℉

June to mid-November

All-round interest

This is considered the best time by many to visit, especially September onwards. It’s the driest time in Madagascar and so ideal for a beach holiday and also trekking in the forests to see the lemurs. Note that the Central highlands around Tana and the south can be cool at night during the winter months of June to August.
AVG RAINFALL 79mm
MAX TEMP 25.5℃ / 78 ℉
MIN TEMP 15 ℃ / 59 ℉

Mid-November to mid-January

Increasing Humidity

Humidity and temperatures start rising from mid November onwards. Great if you like heat and pleasant inland temperatures. But the eastern rainforests will be wet. Not an ideal time if you want to do extensive hiking, given conditions under foot. But December is probably an under-rated month for Madagascar.
AVG RAINFALL 94mm
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 85 ℉
MIN TEMP 19.5 ℃ / 67 ℉

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Enjoyed Madagascar

"We enjoyed Madagascar. We love the people, the countryside, the lodging (all were quite excellent)" Mrs Debbi Ball
Did you know
  • GeographyMadagascar is the world's 4th largest island.
  • HistoryMadagascar was a French colony.