When is a great time to spot wildlife? Wild animals can be found in ecosystems like deserts, forests, rain forests, plains or grasslands. Often wildlife is hidden and difficult to spot. Here you will find the right time and areas where the chance for a wildlife sighting is much higher.
Best time is early morning and late afternoon when the ring-tailed lemurs are most active. Although it is worth to stop by all year round, the dry season in July/August is the best time for a visit. Another reason to start early is the length of the long hike because you should avoid the hot mid-day temperatures.
The Anja Community reserve is one of the most visited community-managed sites in Madagascar. It is famous for the large groups of ring-tailed lemurs and the dry forest is located just beneath three large granite mountains. Like other community manages sites the Anja Community provides a protected area for the natural resources and enables the Malagasy inhabitants to benefit from ecotourism. Besides more than 300 cattas (ring-tailed lemurs), three different lizards (Chameleons), several snake species and many birds. The ring-tailed lemurs had been fed by humans in the past and lost their fear.
Seasons / Weather
The dry period lasts from April to December. However, there is not much precipitation year-round. Day temperatures reach 30°C and more.
In October the lemurs have their babies. That's why our preferred time is from mid-September throughout October.
The Isalo National Park is accessible throughout the year due to its dry tropical climate. However, the winter time from December to February experiences most of the annual precipitation. The tourist season starts in April, the peak season is during summer in July and August and the best months are September and October. At these months, the end of the dry season, there are only a few mosquitos around, and you may spot newborn baby lemurs.
Compared to other parks wildlife is not as numerous due to the higher temperature. However, Isalo is an outstanding park to spot the awesome Verreaux’s Sifakas along the streams in the canyons.
Another highlight is the elephant’s foot plant (Pachypodium rosulatum) which is in bloom from August to early October.
The most popular spot in Isalo is the "Piscine Naturelle" therefore it can get pretty busy especially during midday to escape the heat.
The dry season lasts from April to late October, but there is not much precipitation in the south west of Madagascar. Pleasant day temps from April to September ranging between 23°C and 28°C / 74°F and 82°F though nights are chilly between 10°C to 15°C / 50°F - 59°F. The rest of the year temps are around 30°C / 86°F. Inside the canyons, it's cooler while hiking through the savanna without any shelter is pretty hot and strenuous. The hottest months with higher humidity are November to March.
Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for MDG at location (-22.5,45.41) from 1991-2015; source. worldbank.org
The Best Hotels Close to Isalo
Some of the best lodges of Madagascar are located next to the Isalo National Park entrance. Usually, the available hotels have a lower standard and rating. Advanced booking is recommended to ensure having an excellent stay.
- The Isalo Rock Lodge has truly a spectacular location; embedded into the rocky landscape. The staff is super professional and the management perfect; that is rare to experience in Madagascar.
- Le Jardin du Roy is also excellently located surrounded by huge rocks. It's an incredible view from the terrace or balcony. It's a high standard hotel with a gorgeous restaurant. Take your breakfast outside and enjoy the scenery.
You may have the best game viewing experiences in September and October before the rainy season starts. These months are the hottest with day temps around 34°C to 38°C. More pleasant temps in the peak season from June to August, but nights are pretty chilly with one digit temps. Continue reading to get all information for each season.
May - June (sweet spot months)
Lower prices and fewer tourists than in high season. Cold nights. Especially in May, the landscape is still green with thicker bushes. Thus animal sightings are a little harder than during the dry season. However, sightings are often good already. If you like more privacy during the safaris, these months could be for you.
July - October (Dry Season)
High season with increasing prices. Mornings can still be chilly in July and August. Fewer mosquito. Highest animal concentration along the riverfront and waterholes. This is the best game viewing time. Particularly in the hottest and driest months of September and October the sightings are sensational. However, it can be crowded: You’ll see many other jeeps at hot spots like Chobe’s riverfront.
November - March/April (Wet Season)
Lower prices, fewer tourists. Higher humidity, more mosquito. Rain sometimes starts in November. The wet season is incredible for bird watching. Game viewing is still possible but not as stunning as in the peak months. The worst weather usually occurs in January / February with a possibility of rain for days and thunderstorms.
It's an unforgettable experience to witness almost a million bats flying out of the cave. Each evening at dusk the bats come out of the cave in a spiral formation which can last for hours. You may think you get hit by raindrops, but this is the bat's pee.
Best time to travel to Trinidad is the dry season from January to May, but showers can always occur. During the rainy season, it may rain several times each day, but the sky clears up in between. There is often a short break between mid-September until mid-October Luckily, Trinidad and Tobago are south of the hurricane belt and hardly experience any hurricane, but it can happen as it did in September 1963 or September 2004. Trinidad is more likely to be affected between August and September.
The dry season from Jan to May is likewise the peak season. It's less crowded from October until Christmas when the temps are cooler.
The Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary can be visited year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's not far from Cradle Mountain. Their significant contribution to the Tasmanian devil is unique. For more than 30 years now they run the conversation breeding programme successful. You shouldn't miss the feeding time of the Tasmanian devil at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Around December you may see the baby devils as well.
If you like to feed the kangaroos, that's an extra charge of $3. Visit Trowunna already in the morning when they open the park. It starts to get crowded from 10.30 a.m.onwards and the kangaroos start hiding.
Cradle Mountain National Park is a heaven for wildlife which is plentiful throughout the park. Have a look at the different species to get detailed information when and where you can spot them. Most of them are used to humans and let you watch them as long as you don't get to close.
They are crepuscular and nocturnal. The best chance for a sighting is at dusk and dawn. They also venture out for feeding on cool and overcast days. The famous Cradle Mountain is crowded with day visitors but in the late afternoon it becomes quiet and peaceful, and you may spot several wombats near the Interpretation Center, Waldheim Lodge, and Cabins.
- Wallabies and pademelons
Can be spotted late afternoon and evening especially near Waldheim Lodge and Cabins. Pademelons are also often seen around the self-catering cabins.
Active until the end of summer (March/April) before they hibernate again until late October to mid-November.
- Tasmanian Devils
Possible to spot but rare. Unfortunately, cases of devil facial tumor disease are reported recently. Trowunna close to Cradle Mountain is an excellent Wildlife Park to see them relatively close.
- Possums are seen during the night frequently close to garbage bins and around the cottages.
- Platypus is extremely difficult to spot, coming out when it's almost dark. We haven't seen any yet.
Snow in winter usually from July to September with an average day temp of 6°C / 43°F. It can get pretty cold during the night (below 0°C). Snow can occur even in November with a temp of 0°C / 32°F at daytime. More stable weather from December to April with warmer temps. The warmest months are January and February. The coldest months are July and August. Anyhow, the weather is unpredictable in Tassie. Be prepared for 4 seasons in one day even in summer. Autumn from late April to May is an exceptional time with colors ranging from gold to deep red.