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Those who have always wanted to spend a holiday in Madagascar and plan a trip to this wonderful and unique island should find out in advance about the weather, climate and the best travel time in Madagascar. Unlike the temperate latitudes of northern Europe, Madagascar can experience various weather phenomena that, in the worst case, can negatively affect the holidays. Cyclones, for example, are not uncommon on Madagascar’s east coast in January, February and early March. In fact, such weather phenomena can be estimated relatively well and it is clear that when these phenomena accumulate and in which seasons they never occur, we have permanent access to the Internet and can therefore also during the time that hurricanes are possible to plan and accompany a trip.

In addition, there are seasons when heavy rains can occur in some areas and regions of Madagascar, so roads are barely or only slightly passable. However, these seasons are well calculable, where we always talk about the best travel time to Madagascar. In the following sections, we would like to offer you a complete overview of the climate, weather and the best travel time to Madagascar. This way, you can plan your holiday on the island in the best possible way and make sure that the weather does not bother you. If you need more information to plan your trip to Madagascar, or if we can help you with our wide range of fully planned travel services and packages, please contact us.

The general climate in Madagascar

With regard to the climate in Madagascar, it is necessary to distinguish between the different landscape areas of the island. Basically, the southern equatorial current is responsible for the tropical climate in Madagascar. From the humid tropical east to the east to the relatively dry and rain-free southwest of the island, the climate is very different. In general, a distinction is made between a dry season and a rainy season, which corresponds to the subdivision in winter and summer. The dry season generally lasts from April to October, while the rainy season lasts from November to March. As Madagascar as an island is exposed to both trade winds and monsoon rains, the rainy and dry seasons may sometimes shift.

Drying times are therefore much more difficult to calculate than the amount of precipitation: While in some parts of the east coast, rain falls almost every day from the sky, there are areas in the southwest of the island where, for years, not a drop of rainwater has touched the earth. With rainwater and the seasons, the temperatures on the island change of course. While in the south of the country, temperatures above 35°C similar to those in the desert are not uncommon, the thermometer in the central highlands fluctuates more between 25°C and 30°C. The temperature on the island is rather low and the temperature in the south between 25°C and 30°C. In the east of the country, temperatures rise a little higher, but at the same time maximum humidity is omnipresent. If you are planning your holiday in Madagascar and are known to be sensitive to different weather conditions, you should certainly take into account the different weather conditions when planning your trip. We are happy to provide you with advice from our extensive experience. But it is not only the trade winds and monsoon rains that have their climatic influences on Madagascar. The state of the island also contributes to this. Thus, for example, there are also many large dry areas in the north of the country, which is actually what we would prefer to assume in the south of the island. But these northern drylands date back to the influence of the Tsaratanana mountains.
These mountains cause rain in some areas to simply and poignantly block, causing the soil to dry up slowly but surely in these areas. However, these consequences can be exacerbated in a negative sense: it is mainly the uncontrolled burning and destruction of Madagascar’s original vegetation that have created an environment that is even more resistant to weather phenomena. The soil becomes karst and infertile, and the little rainwater that reaches the ground in the south of the island, for example, is not enough to create fertile land again. The Malagasy people, however, have little opportunity to draw the right conclusions from these ecological changes due to their poverty and lack of education. When soils are exhausted and there is no longer fertile soil available for agriculture, they simply move, clearing new parts of the rainforest and making the consequences for nature even more unbearable. In this sense, the island’s climatic conditions are also changing – the soils are becoming more and more karst and life in Madagascar is becoming more and more heavy.
Tropical cyclones

Madagascar is an island hit by tropical cyclones every year. These violent cyclones hit Madagascar mainly in the fertile and densely populated areas of the east coast. Such a tropical cyclone is a meteorological phenomenon that originates much further east. The formation of a cyclone is caused by air masses that bring different temperatures with them and then rise, condense and descend. In addition, there is the rotation of the earth, which also puts these air masses in motion. Air masses now revolve around a centre that is often referred to as the “eye of the storm”. When temperatures and solar radiation favour it in a negative direction, these rotating air masses turn into cyclones, which not only leads to extreme wind speeds, but can also cause storm surges and heavy rainfall. Rainfall of up to 700 millimetres in a few hours is as rare as winds of more than 200 kilometres per hour. For comparison, we can perhaps use the information that, in some areas of southwest Madagascar, there is not even 500 millimetres of rainfall per year.

Several areas are particularly exposed to cyclones in Madagascar. The former pirate island of Sainte Marie is one of them. Hurricane Ivan, which struck Madagascar in 2008, caused a wave of destruction. In Sainte Marie, more than half of the buildings were destroyed, nearly a hundred people lost their lives in the storm and more than 300,000 Malagasy people lost their homes. What is particularly remarkable in this context, however, is the fact that the people of eastern Madagascar are by no means defeated by these hurricanes. On the contrary, after each storm, they rebuild their villages and cities full of energy. The idea of moving to another part of the country is an idea that very few people think about. In fact, however, researchers have already pointed out that global changes in the global climate situation could lead to an increase in the frequency of cyclones and other meteorological phenomena in the future. In this context, it could be assumed that the Malagasy areas on the east coast in particular could probably only be used on a seasonal basis, as a permanent settlement of these regions would then probably entail too great a risk.

In 2013 (Haruna) and 2014 (Hellen) and 2015 (Chedza), there was no cyclone that entered the east coast towards the interior of the country, but it is surprising that one cyclone each formed in the Mozambique Channel.