Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa across from Mozambique and is the fourth largest island in the world . From the low-lying coastal areas of the country, the country grows into a central plateau in the interior of the country. In Madagascar you can admire a multitude of animals and plants that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
In Madagascar, most people travel by plane in the north and by car in the south. This is because in the north the roads are bad and the distances are long. In the south, on the other hand, there is a relatively good road network. All flights depart from the capital Antanananrivo (Tana). Popular destinations are the islands of Nosy Be and Sainte Marie. The town of Maroantsetra is the gateway to Masoala National Park and Antsiranana is the best place to explore the Montagne d’Ambre National Park and the Ankarana Reserve. South of Antananarivo, the paved route nationale 7 winds through a number of villages and towns. We recommend a drive along this scenic road with a local driver, he knows the most beautiful corners and sights.
Best travel time
By and large, it is hot and tropical in the north, temperate in the west, wet in the east, and the south has a dry climate.
Madagascar can be visited all year round. There is a rainy season from December to March and a dry season from April to October. You should be prepared for any weather, as the weather conditions are not based on the classic seasons. It can be very lively around Christmas because many tourists come and it is sometimes very crowded.
The best time to travel to Madagascar is between July and November , but April, May and June and December are also good times to travel. There are occasional heavy rains, but these are always interspersed with sun. The land is green and fresh after the rain, the lemurs and reptiles are active and easy to watch. December is hot as lemurs, reptiles and tenreks are active and these months are great for wildlife viewing.
July and August are cool and dry, making them ideal for exploring the island. The whales come to Île Sainte-Marie in July and stay there until around the end of August. September, October and November are especially nice because the weather is nice and the temperatures are pleasantly warm. The jacaranda trees are purple in bloom and there are plenty of baby lemurs. Therefore, these months are also the optimal travel time for Madagascar.
The weather in the different regions of Madagascar is largely determined by altitude and geographic location. The south and southwest are very dry with very little rainfall all year round. The west coast is drier than the east and the central highlands. The east coast is the wettest part of the island. The capital Antananarivo enjoys a temperate climate thanks to its altitude of 1,300 meters. In other areas of the highlands, such as Antsirabe, temperatures can drop as low as 4 ° C. The Masoala Peninsula in the northeast has the highest rainfall from July to September.
If you visit in October or November , you have the best chance of spotting young lemurs . Humpback whales are seasonal, they appear in the waters of the east coast between July and September to raise their calves. Amphibians and reptiles are more common in the rainy months of January to March.
Optimal travel time after months
January – March
The cyclone season is from January to March, so we do not recommend traveling to Madagascar during this time.
Heavy rains can still be expected in April, May and June, but the sun usually shines in between. After the rainy season, the landscape is lush green and you can see many wildlife such as lemurs and reptiles.
This is a good time to spot humpback whales when they emerge off the island of Sainte Marie. The weather is a little cooler and dry so it is very easy to explore the animals at this time.
The weather is good and it is pleasantly warm. Humpback whales can be seen around the island of Sainte Marie until the end of the month, during which time lemurs give birth to their young.
Temperatures are rising all over the country and jacarandas can be seen blooming with their bright purple flowers.
Temperatures are rising again across the country, and the rain is increasing somewhat. Lemurs, reptiles and tenreks (hedgehog-like mammals) can often be spotted at this time.
Climate in Antananarivo
The maximum temperature in Madagascar is 26 ° C in November. In July the thermometer rises to a maximum of 19 ° C. The summer (June to September) with average 20 ° C warm . In the winter months it is around 25 ° C very warm . During the day, the average annual temperature in Madagascar is a pleasant 23.2 ° C.
At night it gets coldest with 9 ° C in July and August. The thermometer rarely falls below 16 ° C in January, February and March. While the nights in summer have averages of a mild 10 ° C, the thermometer drops to a warm 15 ° C between November and March. The temperature averages 12.8 ° C at night all year round.
With 19 rainy days, December is the rainiest month of the year. The August and September are with 2 days of rain, the driest months of the year . From June to September Madagascar is very dry with an average of only 3 rainy days each, the winter (November to March) is relatively humid with 15 rainy days. An annual average of 8.2 days of rain falls per month.
Madagascar is usually approached by plane. There are no direct flights , you usually fly via Paris. The airline network in the country is dense, but not very reliable. You have to expect cancellations or massive delays. Air Madagascar is no longer allowed to fly in the EU because the airline has security deficiencies and is therefore on a blacklist.
Madagascar is rarely approached by ship. When a cruise ship heads for the island, it is usually in Fort Dauphin in the south of the country.
A visa can be purchased on arrival in Antananarivo, the 30-day free tourist visa is available on arrival.
The Malagasy people have Malayo-Indonesian and African-Arab ancestors. Indonesians probably migrated to the island around the year 700. King Andrianampoinimerina (1787-1810) ruled the great empire on the island, and his son, Radama I (1810-1828), united many parts of the island. The French made the island a protectorate in 1885, ended the monarchy between 1894 and 1895 and banished Queen Ranavalona III into exile in Algiers. A colonial administration was set up, which in 1908 was expanded to include the Comoros and later other areas. During the Second World War, the British occupied Madagascar, which is still in contact with Vichy France to this day.
According to thereligionfaqs, French and Malagasy are spoken everywhere and are official languages, in hotels you usually get to your destination with a little English. Basic knowledge of French is always helpful.
Money and expenses
Cash is the best form of taking money with you in Madagascar. We recommend you to exchange your money at the airport for Ariary (currency of Madagascar). If at the end of your trip you want to exchange Ariary for Euros again, you can only do so at the airport and the exchange rates are pretty bad. We therefore recommend only exchanging as much money as you think is necessary until the next time you are able to get to a bank. While this takes a little planning, it means you won’t have thousands of Ariary when you leave. Please do not keep an Ariary to use in the duty-free area of the airport, only Euro or Visa cards are accepted there. The conversion is a bit cumbersome, currently 10,000 Ariary are worth around 2.50 euros.