Western Madagascar

Arid Western Madagascar is remote, rugged and photogenic - but this no easy and convenient side-trip.

Overview

The dry west coast of Madagascar contrasts markedly with the lush humidity of the rainforests in much of the country. A western Madagascar itinerary offers some of the most remote highlights of the country, yet also the most extraordinary. But expect to put in some effort to get there!

The Avenue of Baobabs is perhaps the most famous scenic highlight on the west coast. And these are some of the most famous photogenic trees in the word. These huge baobabs, up to 800 years old and 30 metres in height, are at their scenic best at sunset, when they reveal their beauty with the red colours of dusk.

Approx 1 to 1½ hours north of Baobab Alley lies the Kirindy Forest. This is a tropical dry deciduous forest, the world’s most threatened habitat type. Kirindy is a rewarding wildlife experience with lemurs and rare mammals, especially the Fossa which looks like a cross between a cat and a dog. We recommend an overnight stay here so you can do a guided night expedition.

The Tsingy in the Bemaraha National Park is well worth the (not inconsiderable) effort of getting there. The scenery rivals anything in Madagascar and it’s a treasure house for botanists. This strange stone forest of serrated ‘tsingy’ is a 100 meters tall in places. Under the tsingy, there are undiscovered caves, rivers, and canyons.

Walking amongst Tsingy, Western Madagascar adventure

How to incorporate a Western Madagascar tour into your trip?

Most of our guests have big expectations of what they want to see. But not nearly enough time. As travelling in Madagascar is a slow process. Nowhere is this more acutely felt than when trying to see some of the western highlights. The unparalleled sunset shot of the Avenue of Baobabs could necessitate a good 3 days of your trip, for 90 minutes of perfect light.. But unlike with wildlife photography, you are sure to capture that other-worldly and almost surreal image. And you can visit nearby Kirindy.

So you can make the Western side your primary destination and cover all the highlights (see our Western Madagascar Adventure tour). Then you can add on Andasibe for the rainforest wildlife if you have time.

Or you can combine just the Avenue of Baobabs & Kirindy with a Southern Madagascar trip (adding approx 3 nights to the itinerary).

Madagascar - Western region Kirindy red tailed sportive lemur

Western Madagascar Itinerary to Tsingy de Bemaraha

There are two options to get here. Either travel north from Kirindy and back. These are adventurous travel days so we recommend at least 2, preferably 3 nights in Bekopaka (near the park).

Or more adventurous souls can take a rustic boat cruise down the river, camping out on the river shore at night. This is scenic and cuts out one of the dusty travelling days. But it's not for everyone!

Hiking on a Western Madagascar tour to tsingy de Bemaraha

Features

Why you may love it

  • Avenue of Baobabs, most famous and photographed collection of baobabs in Madagascar.
  • Kirindy Forest with 7 types of lemurs and the giant jumping rat!
  • Three of Madagascar’s six endemic species of Baobab tree. (The whole continent of Africa only has one species!)
  • The remote yet remarkable Tsingy de Bemaraha.
  • Scenic, yet rustic, boat cruise down the Tsiribinhina River for an off-the-beaten-track adventure.
  • Relax at the beach in Morondava for some R&R at the end.

Explore the Western Madagascar map

When to visit Western Madagascar

Mid-December to mid-March

Somewhat rainy summer season

Overall, this is one of the driest areas of Madagascar (700-1000mm of annual rain) and temperatures remain hot throughout the year with only a slightly drop off in temperature from June to September. These summer months do bring abundant rain from mid December to early March.
AVG RAINFALL 174mm
AVG HOURS OF SUNSHINE 9 Hours
MAX TEMP 32 ℃ / 90 ℉
MIN TEMP 23 ℃ / 73 ℉

Mid-March to May

Dry season

Great time to visit as April is the start of the dry season. The south-east trade winds in the winter bring drier weather. Days are dry with plenty of sunshine and hot temperatures. However, night-time temperatures remain pleasant.
AVG RAINFALL 53mm
AVG HOURS OF SUNSHINE 9 Hours
MAX TEMP 32 ℃ / 90 ℉
MIN TEMP 20 ℃ / 68 ℉

June to October

Dry but nights are colder

The hot, dry weather continues but night-time temperatures can drop down to 14-15C. The sea temperature remains warm throughout the year, but heads down to 25c.
AVG RAINFALL 5mm
AVG HOURS OF SUNSHINE 10 Hours
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 14 ℃ / 57 ℉

November to mid-December

Dry but more humid

Still dry but getting hotter and more humid as the start of the summer rains approach. But still a great time to visit.
AVG RAINFALL 16mm
AVG HOURS OF SUNSHINE 9 Hours
MAX TEMP 32 ℃ / 90 ℉
MIN TEMP 22 ℃ / 72 ℉

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Did you know
  • Trees7 types of Baobab Tree (Africa only has 1).
  • WildlifeThe Fossa is a cross between a dog and a cat.