Southern Madagascar

Lemur Safaris, white sandy beaches and protected lagoons...


Beach Holidays in the Dry South of Madagascar

The south-west of Madagascar is very dry compared to the central highlands and the east coast. As you travel south, the lush green mountains give way to dry savanna plains. You start to see cactus, euphorbias, even baobabs in the surreal ‘spiny forest’, unique to Madagascar.

However, Southern Madagascar also has some stunning beaches for the perfect end to a Madagascar safari. Choose between Ifaty or Ankao. Or perhaps the greener, lush vegetation of Manafiafy Beach Lodge on the south-east.

The easiest way to get there is to fly to either Toliara, for Ifaty or Ankao. Or take a scenic road trip over several days down the central spine of the country. See our Rainforests, Mountains and Beaches of Southern Madagascar trip.

Ifaty lies close to Tulear on the South-west coast. It’s the ideal place to relax after your wildlife safari. Situated on the largest lagoon of Madagascar, a coral reef protects Ifaty and also offers good diving and snorkelling.

Ankao is accessible only by boat, a more remote alternative to Ifaty. Situated on a beach with emerald seas, it is one of the best spots for diving, kite surfing and watersports in Madagascar.

Spiny Forest of the Dry South

Alternatively, you can fly to Fort Dauphin and head to Mandrare River Camp deep in the spiny forest. Here you get a true sense of rural Madagascar life. You’ll visit remote tribal communities that have not been exposed to modern day pressures. These small villages, surrounded by ancient baobab trees, have a complex network of taboos and traditions which rule every area of their lives.

TIP: For greater reliability use the 'scheduled charter' flights organised and part-funded by Manafiafy Beach Lodge and Mandrare River Camp.


Why you may love it

  • Sand, sea and snorkeling at Ifaty and Ankao
  • Snorkeling and diving opportunities
  • Great humpback whale-watching by boat from June to September. Spectacular experience as sometimes the whales approach very close to the boat
  • Visit the Reserve Reniala to see its baobabs, spiny bush, reptiles, geckos and Parson’s chameleon.
  • Visit remote villages deep in the spiny forest for a unique cultural experience.
  • Ifaty is also good for birding, given its fast-dwindling spiny forest. Here you’ll see some rare southern endemics.

When to visit Southern Madagascar

December to February

Summer in Southern Madagascar

The arid south-west is a year-round destination. Around Ifaty and Tulear is the driest part of Madagascar, with an annual rainfall of less than 500mm. Being in the south, away from the equator, there is a greater differential between summer and winter temperatures. The summer months have hot temperatures and some rain but only once every 3 days on average. So this is the best place to be for a summer beach holiday in the Indian Ocean islands. Note: Fort Dauphin is a lot wetter (annual rainfall of 1700mm) so expect more rain in the summer, on average every 3 days.
MAX TEMP 32 ℃ / 90 ℉
MIN TEMP 23 ℃ / 73 ℉

March to May

Pleasant shoulder season

Great time to visit as rain drops off from mid March onwards (average of 3 days of rain per month). Days are dry with plenty of sunshine and hot temperatures. However, night-time temperatures remain pleasant. Fort Dauphin remains quite rainy during this time (rain every 3 days).
MAX TEMP 31 ℃ / 88 ℉
MIN TEMP 20 ℃ / 68 ℉

June to August

Dry winter season

The hot, dry weather drops down a little to 27C from June to August but night-time temperatures can drop down to 14-15C. The sea temperature remains warm throughout the year, but heads down to 25c. On the East coast (Fort dauphin) the days are a little cooler (24-25C) but the night-times remain a little warmer (16C)
MAX TEMP 27 ℃ / 81 ℉
MIN TEMP 14 ℃ / 57 ℉

September to November

Great time to visit

Remains a great time to visit with hot dry days and only 1-2 days of rain on average per month. Humidity starts to build in November prior to the start of the summer rains.
MAX TEMP 30 ℃ / 86 ℉
MIN TEMP 20 ℃ / 68 ℉

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Did you know
  • MarineIfaty is great place to see whale sharks.
  • WildlifeLemur habitats are under threat from sisal plantations.