To answer that question about the best seasons highlights in Madagascar, it’s important to remember that it’s a large country with incredibly diverse geography and topography.
It’s possible to travel from temperatures only slightly above freezing high up in a cloud forest fringed by volcanic mountains to just below blistering in the desert not even 300 kilometres away.
Madagascar is a subtropical island and doesn’t have the 4 separate seasons that most people are used to. Instead, most of the island switches between the dry season and rainy season. The east coast of the island is the hardest hit by the rainy season so it would be best to visit after the seasonal rains have subsided, it is this abundant rainfall that creates the perfect conditions for the lush tropical rainforests that can be found in Andasibe National Park and on the idyllic island of Nosy Be.
The rainy season is from December to March and rain falls nearly every day with the occasional cyclone blowing in.
The central parts of the island, such as the capital city Antananarivo, are drier and cooler during this time. The west coast is the driest part of the island and is home to the beautiful and otherworldly Avenue of Baobabs, a dusty road lined with tall striking baobabs.
The Tsingy de Beharama National Park is a magnificent mineral forest of unique Tsingy formed out of limestone, as well as an expanse of mangrove forest and is also found on the western side of the island, as well as the beach paradise of Ifaty Ankao.
If you decide to visit during the rainy season you will still have many highlights to explore. The southwest and the extreme south are the driest and hardly any rainfall occurs here, in fact, parts of it can be classified as desert. It’s here where you will find Isalo National Park with its unique sandstone formations, deep canyons, and palm-lined oases.
The dry season takes place from April to October. It is now a wonderful time to visit the east side and experience such tropical gems as the island of Ile St Marie with its picture postcard-perfect beaches and historical pirate graveyard, as well as Manafiafy Beach and its barefoot luxury. The western, drier parts of the island are considerably warmer during this time and the deciduous forests have erupted in a canopy of green after the rains.
Some other highlights to consider are the mating or breeding season of some of the fauna on the island. July to September is when groups of humpback whales visit the azure coasts of the island so whale watchers are in for a treat, this luckily coincides with wonderful weather. The island’s endemic lemurs can be found year-round but babies are born in October and November so it’s a great time to see cute little lemurs discovering the world. September to December is when the snakes and lizards come out of hibernation so it’s an ideal time to visit for anyone with a keen interest in reptiles.
As you can see it’s entirely possible to visit the island any time of year, travellers only need to consider what highlights they most want to experience. Speak to one of our travel consultants to find out what is the correct destination for you and make your dreams of visiting this vibrant, diverse and unique island come true.