Madagascar has a subtropical climate that varies according to geography and altitude. The eastern part of the country is the wettest and gets cyclones and rainstorms. The west and southwest are much hotter and drier. The coast is hot with temperatures reaching between 27 and 32 C.
When to fly to Madagascar
Madagascar’s summer is from November to March. Although it’s the wettest period, it’s also the best time to see book flights to Madagascar and when the flora and fauna is in all its glory. July to September is whale watching season when humpback whales migrate. The best spot to watch them is from Isle Sainte Marie, a 60km-long island off Madagascar's north-east coast.
Rainy season, which is also its summer, is from December to March. From April to October the weather is milder and drier.
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Getting around Madagascar
Island hopping is easy with the country’s national carrier Air Madagascar. If you feel like flying like royalty you could charter a private aircraft and have the plane all to yourself.
Renting a car is possible but there are many hazards on the road that could make driving very frustrating. Instead, most visitors hire a car and driver or a taxi.
If you’d rather travel like a local then hop on to one of their bush taxis which are shared vehicles: trucks, cars or minibuses; although most of these are quite uncomfortable and can be rather dangerous. When taking a short trip around town the easiest way to do so is by brightly coloured hand-drawn rickshaws or pousse-pousses.
Adventurous travellers can rent a bicycle, moped or motorcycle and explore the island’s rainforests, hillsides and white sand beaches.
Madagascar insider information
- Explore Madagascar’s laidback capital, Antananarivo, or as tourists like to call it "Tana". Stroll down its narrow streets and admire the French colonial buildings and colourful houses. Then take a taxi up to the ruins of Rova, the former queen's fire-scorched palace.
- Spend a day browsing through Antananarivo’s Zoma market, the largest open-air market in the world and look for some original carved zebu-horn and raffia baskets. Then head to the highlands, south of Antananarivo, for some precious gems. And if you happen to visit the island of Nossi be make sure to pick up some vanilla, ylang-ylang and local spices.
- Visit the Parc National de Ranomafana in the village of Ambodiamontana and take a guided tour of its lush rainforest with flowing streams that lead into the Namorona River, and look out for the 12 different lemur species.
- If you’re looking for an island resort then head to Madagascar’s popular island Nosy Be where you’ll find plenty of restaurants, a buzzing nightlife and some great spots for diving. Or visit the quiet village of Ifaty and spend hours sitting under a palm tree on a sandy white beach.
- Take an unforgettable overnight hike through the grassy plains and canyons of the Parc National de L’Isalo where you’re guaranteed to spot lemurs in their natural habitat and pick periwinkles off the rocks.
- Make sure to try the Malagasy national dish romazava - a delicious ginger-spiced meat stew along with a glass of some local highlands wine or Three Horses Beer.