Best time to travel to Madagascar

Chameleons in Madagascar

Have you seen how chameleon changes colours? The world's smallest species is found only in Madagascar

Best time: August–November


There are about 150 species of chameleon in the world and half of them could be seen in Madagascar. Three unique kinds of these lizards with independently swivelling eyes are almost entirely endemic to Madagascar: Brookesia chameleons, Calumma chameleons and Furcifer chameleons (19 species). Contrary to popular belief, chameleons change colour not to hide themselves but to communicate with each other.

Chameleons frequent the island’s drier habitat types. A popular place for watching chameleons is Parc National de la Montagne d’Ambre. In particular, it's the habitat of the world's smallest species—Brookesia chameleon. The tip of your thumbnail would be enough to accommodate a tiny fellow. It's not easy to spot, not only due to its size, but also because of its shyness and brown bark-like skin. Thankfully, you can always rely on local guides who have a good eye for these diminutive reptiles.

The best time to visit the National Park is August to November when the weather is drier and favourable for wildlife watching, and the worst time is December to April—the rainy season.

Practical info

When is the best time to view chameleons in Madagascar?

Chameleons in Madagascar are best viewed from August through November, which is the dryer season. Avoid December through April as the season is rainy and makes observation difficult. Show more

Where is the world's smallest species of chameleon located in Madagascar?

The Parc National de la Montagne d'Ambre, located in Madagascar's northern region, harbors the world's smallest species of chameleons. This national park is home to 19 different chameleon species found only in Madagascar, including Brookesia chameleons, Calumma chameleons, and Furcifer chameleons. To locate these elusive creatures, it is advisable to enlist the services of a local guide. Show more

What is the number of chameleon species found in Madagascar?

Madagascar is the habitat of about 150 chameleon species, which is half of the world's chameleon species. Several unique flora and fauna species, many of which are endemic to Madagascar, can be found on the island. The Brookesia chameleons, Calumma chameleons, and Furcifer chameleons types are three kinds particular to Madagascar. Show more

What is the reason behind chameleons changing colours in Madagascar?

Chameleons in Madagascar don't change colours to conceal themselves, but communicate with others. Colour changes are a means of communication for these reptiles, serving numerous functions, including aggression, courtship, camouflage, and thermal regulation. In Madagascar's drier habitats, chameleons change colours efficiently to communicate various moods and intentions with their social interactions. Show more

How do local guides assist tourists in spotting chameleons in Madagascar?

Local guides who are experienced in identifying the small chameleons in their natural habitat help tourists locate them. By understanding chameleon behaviour and having a sharp eye, they spot the perfect time and location for observing chameleons readily. Guides also provide information about the animals and can help with easy identification. Utilizing the services of local guides in Madagascar will maximize the chance of spotting and observing these fascinating creatures. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin