When is the Best Time To Visit?
When to go
A holiday in Madagascar can be had year-round, but different regions are at their best at different times of year. Travel from the end of March until the first half of December is generally considered to be the most suitable. The rainy season is usually from mid-December to mid-March, with heavy downpours interrupting blazing sunshine. Traditionally, cyclones strike the island during the peak of the rainy season, from late January through February. The semi-arid South is dry for most of the year with rains falling in January - February. Expect warm to hot weather for most of the year, but do note that during the austral autumn and winter (May to August) nights can be very cold in some parts of the country. Wildlife enthusiasts tend to visit in the austral spring, starting right at the beginning of September.
Getting to Madagascar
Currently there are no direct flights from the UK to Madagascar.
Air France flies to Antananarivo up to four times per week via Paris CDG.
Turkish Airlines flies four times per week from London Heathrow (and selected other UK airports) to Antananarivo via Istanbul and Mauritius.
Ethiopian Airlines operates regular flights from London and Manchester to Antananarivo via Addis Ababa. The airline has also started to operate flights from London or Manchester to Nosy Be via Addis Ababa, so if you don't wish to spend time in the capital, this is an attractive option.
Air Mauritius operates flights between Antananarivo via Mauritius twice weekly.
Kenya Airways operates regular flights to Antananarivo via Nairobi.
SA Airlink has just resumed operating direct flights between Johannesburg and Antananarivo.
Prices for international flights vary enormously, depending on travel dates and routing. Our website prices are based on international flights with Kenya Airways (economy class seating) from London to Antananarivo in low season. This is simply to provide an idea of logistics and a guideline price.
* Advice for families planning trips during the peak holiday months (July-August and Christmas/New Year): book your flights as long as possible in advance of your desired departure, in order to avoid oftentimes extortionate airfares, especially for the summer holidays.
Madagascar is two and a half times the size of Britain, with often difficult terrain and few good roads***, so getting around can be challenging and time-consuming: the country is thus best suited to reasonably 'hardy' travellers. It makes sense - and is sometimes essential - to fly internally. Air Madagascar has a wide domestic flight network. Charter flights are well worth considering wherever possible.
On overland trips, you travel in a four-wheel drive vehicles with a qualified driver and a professional guide.
Note that Air Madagascar's domestic flight schedules are changed quite frequently but our team constantly monitors these and we do our best to work around them to ensure that trips are hassle free.
*** Many of the country's roads are in need of repair as no maintenance was carried out during 2020-2021 and cyclone damage added further damage.
Malagasy is the first language. French, the second language, is also the business language. English is not widely spoken.
Visitors to Madagascar require visas which is best obtained on arrival. If you are visiting Madagascar for less than 15 days, there is no visa requirement. However, travellers must pay a 10 Euro administrative fee on arrival.
You can buy a 30 or 60 day single entry tourist visa on arrival at the airport in cash using euros or US$.
The Malagasy e-visa platform is NOT yet ready for use. (2023 update).
Please note that currently the arrivals process in Ivato airport can be quite time consuming (allow an hour for it).
There are no compulsory requirements unless you are arriving from a yellow fever area. Madagascar is a malarial area and precautions should be taken. Always consult your doctor at least six weeks before travel and see the useful NHS website for details of recommended vaccinations for your destination.
Why Rainbow Tours for your Madagascar holiday?
Our Program Manager, Derek Schuurman, knows Madagascar better than anyone in the Anglophone tourism arena and during his 30 years of working with the island, co-authored two books, many magazine articles and scientific papers on travel, wildlife and conservation in the country. Other members of our team, notably Helen Kennedy, who worked for the NGO SEED in Southern Madagascar,
have travelled around the country extensively. Our network of long-time friends and professional connections in Madagascar will ensure that you'll be in the most capable hands during your travels. We work with the country's top English-speaking guides and most capable drivers and you will have support 24/7 both in-country and on our emergency line.
Accomodation in Madagascar
Madagascar has – and Rainbow Tours can book – some exceptional lodges near nature reserves, along with a wide range of appealing places to stay by the beach ranging from upmarket air-conditioned hotels to simple bungalows. That said, please note that standards of accommodation do not equal that which may be found in Southern or East Africa's better-developed destinations. We also offer a selection of comfy hotels in the capital, Antananarivo, and can arrange both no-frills and luxurious camping. Be aware that accommodation is in short supply, and should be booked well in advance. See our Where to Stay web page.
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You'll find expert travel guides, holiday ideas and insider tips now on the Rainbow blog
Why Choose Us?
Passionate travel experts
- We've been leading wildlife travel since our first South Africa tours over 25 years ago
- Our Travel Specialists have lived in their specialist area for years
- We work with local guides to immerse you deeper in our diverse range of experiences
Personal & tailor-made
- You'll speak to your own expert who'll share their first-hand knowledge
- We'll make your itinerary seamless with 24/7 emergency contact available
- Your Travel Specialist will listen to ensure you have the best chance of seeing the wildlife you love
Responsible by nature
- We take care to actively contribute to the conservation of environments we visit
- For select countries, we make a charitable donation on your behalf when you make your booking
- We've partnered with conservation experts and NGOs to curate responsible tours