September – November period is great for lemurs – babies are born at this time. Birds breed from September to December, while humpback whales arrive to Madagascar in late June until mid-September and whale sharks in October in Nosy Be. Antananarivo and highlands are much cooler than the rest of the island, therefore it is advised to not focus your holiday plans on weather in areas that are situated in high altitudes.
Firstly, please see the general weather summary for visiting Madagascar:
+++ the best time to visit
++ good time to visit
+ good time with some rain expected
– not a good time to visit (cyclone season)
Month by month weather in Madagascar:
During these months the island is experiencing the cyclone season in the central highlands and the north coast. Many hotels, lodges and national parks will be closed due to unpredictable weather, strong winds and lots of rain and mud. However, the south is fine at this time of year but you would need to skip all the rainforests if you like to visit during this time. In general, we would advise against travelling to Madagascar during this time.
Following the wet months, Madagascar is now lush and green. It is a great time of year to observe both reptiles and lemurs making great appearance all over the island. The temperature is very pleasant and makes an ideal condition. Visiting the north at the end of May marks the time for Nosy Be’s biggest cultural event of the year: The Donia Festival. It is a festival of culture where you can witness vibrant traditional dance and music. If you like beach time, you could visit the island of Saint Marie where in June you can spot the humpback whales.
This is a good time to try spotting humpback whales in Saint Marie Island (average temperature 24°C) and in Anakao (average temperature 27°C). The rainforests in July and August are buzzing with life, although some small species, such as dwarf lemurs and chameleons go into hibernation. Good conditions for snorkelling.
This is the best time to visit Madagascar for various reasons. It is a great time to observe native birds nesting in this birding paradise. Moreover, some lemurs are starting to give births to the young and this is an amazing opportunity to see them on the trees. September is still good for whales in many regions of the island. September brings warmer temperatures and a more peaceful atmosphere. Hibernating creatures also become active again thanks to a rise in temperature, so you really get the best of both worlds. This is also the peak of Madagascar’s bird breeding season. Many of the native birds have spectacular plumage and unique characteristics, and you may discover observing them is one of the highlights of your trip.
December can sometimes be the start of the rainy season but at the beginning of the month, rainfall should be at a minimum and lizards, snakes and chameleons are usually quite active during this time giving the best opportunity for photographers. Visit during this period for a combination of great weather and abundant wildlife. December is definitely the best time to visit Madagascar if you are hoping to hit the beach.
What to consider when planning to visit Madagascar?
- Cyclones reach the island in February – the high winds and severe floods leave many thousands of people homeless each year.
- Changing weather patterns mean the cyclones are less predictable, so avoid January and even March to be on the safe side.
The southwest, including Tulear and the Spiny Forest, is one of the hottest, driest regions. Summer temperatures can reach 40 °C