The Western Indian Ocean Region (WIOR) is a biodiversity hotspot with a very large number of endemic taxa. The islands in the region differ in age, size and geological history, making a unique area and interesting place for studying biogeographic patterns. It has been shown in several studies that Africa is the main source of the Malagasy flora, and that transoceanic dispersal is the most common colonization mechanism in the WIOR. Here, we examine the phylogenetic position and biogeographical history of the Madagascar-centered tribe Danaideae of subfamily Rubioideae (Rubiaceae). Previous studies showed conflicting topologies regarding the phylogenetic position of the tribe, implying contradicting biogeographical hypotheses. In our study Danaideae is resolved as sister to a subclade of the Spermacoceae alliance consisting of the two tribes Knoxieae and Spermacoceae. The ancestor of Danaideae is inferred to have been distributed in Africa and to have dispersed to Madagascar between 49.67 Mya and 13.47 Mya, where the crown group of Danaideae emerged 13.47 Mya. The tribe diversified in Madagascar and later colonized the neighboring islands: once to the Comoros in the northwest, and once to the Mascarenes in the east. The single species occurring in Tanzania is the result of a later long distance dispersal event from Madagascar to Africa. The dispersal events all took place in the Pliocene (from 5.3 Mya) and onwards, when Madagascar had become subject to both the northwestern Indian Monsoons and southeastern trade winds, which could facilitate dispersal events in both directions. Our results are consistent with several other studies, showing an African origin for the Malagasy flora and Madagascar being the main place of origin for plant species on the neighboring islands.