When to Visit Madagascar
When to visit Madagascar, in terms of the best time? This may be dictated by the weather as Madagascar has a subtropical climate which means it has both wet and dry seasons. Dry season is the cooler part of the year and runs from May to October while wet season is hot and rainy and stretches from November to April.
Depending on what you want to see, it may be necessary to choose a particular time of year to visit Madagascar. The best time of the year to see orchids, for example, is between January and March, because that is the height of the wet season. This is probably the most difficult time of the year to be travelling in Madagascar, though, as many of the roads will be impassable due to the rains, and hiking in the national parks will be difficult because of daily torrential weather.
Unless there is something specific you want to see between January and April they are probably the only months when to visit Madagascar is ill-advised. It is worth remembering in these months some of the national parks and hotels are closed so if you are planning a trip contact the parks and relevant hotels well beforehand.
May is when the tourist season picks up again: people begin to visit Madagascar in greater numbers, and the weather starts to cool, becoming less hot and humid. There may be still be the odd downpour but as it goes further into the dry season they will become less frequent and by the time it reaches June the country will be cooler and drier.
July and August are the height of the tourist season in Madagascar and the coolest months of the year. This makes it a good time to be out hiking in the national parks as the cooler dry season makes walking in the daytime easier and there is very little possibility of having to camp in heavy rain. Humpback whales can be spotted on the coast around Madagascar and in particular near Ile Sainte Marie on the east coast at this time of year also.
Due the drop in temperature some of the reptiles and chameleons hibernate at but larger animals such as lemurs remain active right through this cooler time.
As these months are busiest in terms of tourist numbers it may be worth reserving early if there is a specific hotel you want to stay at, but things don’t become so crowded that accommodation cannot be found. Many hotels have high season rates which are slightly more than the other times of the year so it may be best to check these prices when planning to visit Madagascar.
September and October are both very good times to be in Madagascar. Temperatures increase the number of reptiles out of hibernation, and the high season for tourists has ended. It is still cool enough to make hiking in the parks comfortable, and the humidity of the wet season has not yet kicked in.
November and December are also good times to visit Madgascar but temperatures increase and in December in particular there can be very heavy downpours as the wet season starts to set in properly. I struggled in the heat at times when I was hiking in Makay national park in December so remember to bring a good sun hat and water purification tablets for longer hikes. The upside is that reptiles and most other animals are very active at this time of year.
There is something to see all year round in Madagascar as long as you plan properly and have an idea what to expect. From orchid enthusiasts to animal lovers pick a season and go to Madagascar.