The Madagascar climate is hot and sub-tropical, it is colder in the mountains, while the south and west regions are particularly dry. The stunning island is ringed by golden beaches and palm trees, and has a diverse interior with plateaus, volcanoes, forests and natural reserves.
The wet season in Madagascar is also the hottest time of the year, with temperatures hitting a daily average maximum of 28º C (82º F) in December with a daily low of 17º C (63º F). July is the coolest month with daily average temperatures ranging between a 21º C (70º F) and 9º C (48º F). The daily temperature range averages around 8 º C (46º F) year-round. Indian Ocean trade winds dictate the Madagascar climate, bringing with them variations in precipitation throughout the region. For example, on both coasts, the climate is wetter towards the north but the east coast is hit by the monsoon. This region is also the most prone to sudden and violent cyclones during the hot, rainy season (December to March). In 2004 nearly 200 people were killed by the strong Cyclone Gafilo, mainly around the northeast of the country, while a further five were reportedly killed 22 in 2011.
The western side of the island is sheltered by the central highland area, which is also home to Antananarivo. This region tends to have a cooler and windier climate from May to October, with thundery showers commonplace in the intervening months.
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