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The islands around Nosy Be
© University of Texas
The so called
It’s relatively untouched by tourism, so is the perfect place to hole up and enjoy the real
You can wander among the giant ferns, check out the birds and beasties, laze on the beach or don mask and snorkel and explore the underwater world for which the island is rightly famous. And if you’re a qualified or aspirant diver you’ve come to the right place; Sakatia has its own NAUI approved dive centre and offers the full gamut of dive courses. The diving is easy — all dives are boat dives, but most are just a short distance from the launch site. The island is fringed by coral reefs and there’s plenty of fun to be had in the channel between there and Nosy Be. In addition to colourful coral you are likely to see giant cucumbers, turtles, sponge crabs and, at night, exquisite Spanish dancers, so the sites are great for novices to learn the trade or for night dives. There’s also plenty of challenging diving for the adventurous. Huge extensive reefs surround Sakatia and Nosy Be and at their edges are exciting walls and drop-offs, some exciting drift dives and a wreck off Ambatoloaka.
Where to sleep (Hotels in alphabetical order, prices from 2013)
Phone: +261 (0)32 027 7099
Lovely set of different types of bungalows and villas with all comforts and nicely decoated by a wonderful beach. The restaurantserves good food and the there is a reputed diving centre as well.
Phone: +261 (0)32 41 325 49
12 charming high standard bungalows with terrace set on a wonderful location amid palms and a private beach. Several activities offered, specially diving and fishing.
Double bungalow 79 € with breakfast, bungalow with AC 93 €, meal for 19 €
Mobil: + 261 (0)32 02 01 986 / Tel: + 261 20 8692230
Single bungalow 80 €, double 94 €, family bungalow from 139 €
|Nosy Tanikely and
Nosy Komba, in the
South of the “Big island”make up together with Nosy
Be the archipelago off the
eastern coast of
Nosy Komba view from the plain
© David Darricau
Thousands of reef fish, schooling jacks, harlequin shrimp and blue ribbon eels are found along with leaf fish of all colours and numerous species of morays can be seen within a few yards of each other. It is also an excellent spot for diving, especially for beginners, who will get their ‘dive-baptism’. During November and December whale sharks consistently feed in the rich waters around Nosy Be and sharks can be seen feeding in crystal clear waters at Manta Point. During July and August, humpback whales migrate through the Nosy Be area, and sperm whales have been one of the rarer encounters.
On the inland, the only inhabitants of this island are the famous giant fruit-bats bats or flying foxes. From the lighthouse one has a wonderful view of Nosy-Be.
Between Nosy Be and Nosy Komba there is a tiny dream islet called Nosy Vorona
(just 50 x50 m large) ideal for switching off the world and just doing nothing but simply enjoying peace, sunbathing, snorkelling or kayaking. On Nosy Vorona there is only a lighthouse and a two welcoming guesthouses with several rooms and a charming bungalows. The whole accommodation is superb, ecological and really cosy.
Website: www.nosy-vorona.com Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Male black lemur on the photograph
Black lemurs are the main attraction of Nosy Komba and are easily spotted
© Bruce McAdam
Thousands of tourists arrive by every
year per cruise ship, small boat and local ferry from the mainland, as
Nosy Be. And nevertheless: anyone hoping for a
‘wild’ or ‘authentic’
will be disappointed. Just past the
Where to sleep in Nosy Komba (Hotels in alphabetical order, prices from 2013)
Chez Laurent (Villas
Phone: +261 (0)32 04 740 53
3 magnificent, charming and huge villas with all comforts among a beautiful garden with sea views and a private beach. Many activities and transfers offered. Ideal for big families or friends´ groups.
Double room from 34 €, the whole villa up to ten people from 145 € a day
Chez Madame Madio
Phone: +261 20 86 93 946
7 simple but welcoming bungalows south of Amangorina village from 15,000 to 30,000 Ar. The restaurant serves local food. Good choice for tigh bufgets!
Phone:+261 (0)32 07 127 97
This upper class hotel consist of 8 delightful wooden bungalows located on the south side of Nosy Komba on the village of Anjiabe. All bungalows are nicely decorated and with all comforts, the garden is fantastic, the beach peaceful and the restaurant excellent.
Price per person 67 € with breakfast, 98 with full board; suite 106 € with breakfast
Phone: +261 (0)32 8547734
Pretty little inn on the North shore consisting of 5 bungalows on a rock overseeing the sea with incredible views. The bungalows with all facilities have single or double canopy beds and a private terrace, the restaurant serves delicious local and international dishes. Single bungalow from 38 € to 54 €, double from 49 € to 64 € (depending on the season)
Phone: +261 (0)32 02 200 38
8 beautiful bungalows built with traditional materials on a quiet beach. Several activities and transfers offered. Single bungalow 33 €, double 54 € (breakfast included). English spoken!
6 simple bungalows and rooms from 18,000 to 25,000 Ar. Very good food.
Tsara Komba Lodge
Phone: +261 (0)32 07 440 40
8 superb, charming and large bungalows with all comforts and detailed decoration which blend in perfectly with the outstanding unspoilt natural environment, guaranteeing an intimate and cosy setting for their guests. The Caring Luxury Ecolodge has a fantastic tropical garden, great views over the sea and a cosy beach. The restaurant serves delicious meals thanks to the presence of one of the best french Chefs in Madagascar. You'll have unforgettable moments discovering the island of Nosy Komba with its many activities or trips both on land and at sea,or just relaxing and enjoying the place. Ideal for honeymooners, but also perfect for families and great for nature lovers.
Price from 220 € per person, full board.
The Bay of Russians (or Ambavatory Bay) lies on the coast of the Virgin Islands, North 25 kilometres of Nosy Be. It lies at the tip of the Ampasindava peninsula. The bay is a real shelter for passing ships and is being used long time anchorage area. The marine environment is remarkable for its beauty and biodiversity. This region is known for the presence of dolphins, whale sharks and manta rays. The humpback whales mate and give birth in this area. The beaches also serve as nesting place for sea turtles while many fringing coral reefs are real natural aquariums. The forests are inhabited by lemurs, wild pigs, bats and birds is represented by one of the rarest raptors (50 couples in the world), Pygargue Madagascar (Haliaetus Vociferoides). Some villages are located nestled the coast and live mainly on fishing, animal husbandry and the cultivation of coconuts. The Bay of Russians has beautiful white sand beaches lined with coconut trees and filao. The most beautiful are Ampoahana, Mahavanona, Ampasimena and Angidroka.
Phone: +261 (0)34 86 93 119
Located South from the Bay of the Russians on a stunnig place, the Eden Lodge is an upper class ecolodge (it works entirely with sun energy) only accesible by boat from Nosy Be or Ankify (40 € per person). All 8 bungalows are impeccable, well decorated and very comfortable: The hotel offers all kind of water activities and walks, and has an immense garden with 20 old baobabs. A real paradise! Minimun stay 3 nights. Price per person with full boardon a double bungalow between 195 and 237 €, on a single one from 265 to 295 €.
Nosy Iranja, 30 miles south of Nosy Be, is made up of two islands conjoined by a bank of white sand, which is submerged at high tide (Nosy Iranja Be: the big, and Nosy Iranja Kely: the small). The island has many attractions and amenities, one of the most notable being that it is an important breeding reserve for hawksbill turtles. An information centre is presently being built on Iranja - in the south of the island where most of the turtles lay their eggs. The setting is idyllic, stunning beaches surround a lush tropical island covered with coconut palms, Filaos trees and tropical flowers. The bird life is diverse and remarkable and the island is also home to huge Coconut crabs. The northern (bigger) island, Nosy Iranja Be, is home to a small village, inhabited by the local fishermen and a lighthouse designed by Gustav Eiffel. The lighthouse is abandoned. One can climb up to the lantern, but be careful: the platform is severely rusted and weak in some places. The Island is situated 1 hour and 15 minutes southwest of Nosy Be Island by boat. (Helicopter transfers are available and are the much more luxurious option - 20 minutes only).
Nosy Iranja Lodge
Phone: +261 (0)32 41 628 12
This luxury hotel has been built on the small Iranja despite the pressure of environmental organisations protecting the hawksbill turtles. It consist of 29 impeccable suites with all comforts amid a huge tropical garden. Prices from 235 € upwards.
The Radama Archipelago consists of four primary Islands, Nosy Kalakajoro, Nosy Ovy, Nosy Antany Mora and Nosy Valiha. The Archipelago owns rain forests and beautiful beaches, not very often visited. The small fishing villages have to be seen not only for the kindness and the welcome of the locals, but also in order to discover their way of living. Beyond the beaches, all the islands are characterised by the unique rock formations of eroded limestone known as tsingy. On some, forest grows through and upon the soaring cliff faces. Endemic birds and reptiles inhabit the forest. An undescribed bright blue lizard lives along a dry stream bed on the biggest island. A pair of the endemic and endangered Malagasy Fishing Eagle inhabits the area. On the island of Nosy Valiha, maybe as many as ten thousand graceful sooty terns come to nest in November.
The main island of the Radama archipelago is located 50 miles south of Nosy Be. The surrounding water is an astonishing transparent and once landed feet sink comfortably in the powdery sand of a wonderful wild beach. The island is not inhabited. The wilderness of the landscape and the untamed coasts are a living testimony of this.
Nosy Antany Mora
The island Antany Mora is located 10 miles south of Nosy Kalakajoro. Hundreds of birds have found a nesting site and are perched on the rocks surrounding the island. Its long beach is occupied by one of the largest camps of shark fishermen of this region. Wings of dogfish are collected and then exported to Asia. There is an old coconut plantation that can be visited.
|© Madagascar Travel Guide|
Nosy Berafia is the largest Island of the archipelago of Radama (2500 ha). The Southern half of the island is covered of more or less abandoned plantations (coffee, pepper, ylang-ylang, pepper) from the first half of the twentieth century, while the largest village has been settled along the sheltered long beach on the West Coast. At this point an old metal sign indicates that the island is owned by the family Hassanaly & son. The small village of Mahabo, perched on the top of a wooded hill, is well worth a look. Visitors have to abide certain customs as the village houses some mahabo royal tombs. Mamady still reigns on this small isolated area. Most kings and queens Sakalava occupy an important place in community life. Their power is mostly spiritual because they have a duty to represent God on Earth. Their shamanic skills allow them to communicate with the ancestors during certain ceremonies.
Seafood is an important export
commodity for northern Madagascar, and in the early 1970s a fishery was
built on the island of Nosy Be to harvest and process local sea
products. In 1973 it started to fish near Nosy Be for giant prawns
(makamba). The allocation of fishing rights became an important issue
since the richest waters surround Nosy Faly. Fishery management
consisted of French nationals, Merina, and Betsileo. They knew that if
their fishing boats were seen near the island it would cause an uproar
among the Sakalava. For this reason they decided to hire someone who
was Sakalava who could help them approach the Bemazava royalty and gain
access to the waters. The man they hired is a member of the northern
Bemihisatra royal family (which is based in Nosy Be) and is
knowledgeable in both financial and royal affairs.
Gaining initial and continued access to the waters involved complicated negotiations and private conferences with both living and dead royalty. This emissary first approached the Bemazava king and his advisers, who eventually gave him permission to visit Nosy Faly. There, in the village of the royal tombs, he had to confer with the tomb guardians who, in turn, helped him gain access to the saha and thus the tromba spirits themselves.
The standing agreement reached between the fishery and the royal tromba spirits requires that at the opening of each season the emissary visit Nosy Faly and acquire permission to fish in the local waters during that season. If the fishing season is a successful one, the fishery must then host a joro and rebiky (a royal dance) in honor of the royal ancestors. This contract is similar to that made by any client who consults with a tromba spirit in town: one makes a request (for medicine, to be cured, and so forth) and then promises to return to thank and repay the tromba spirit with goods or money if the tromba’s actions were effective. The first ceremonies were held in 1975, and every year since they have done the same. Each time the fishery hosts a joro or rebiky, both living and dead royalty preside.
The Mitsio Archipelago is a collection of small islands 40 nautical miles north east of Nosy Be affording excellent diving and snorkelling on vibrant fringing coral reefs. The archipelago is made up of about a dozen islands, which are uninhabited except by a few small fishing hamlets and one tourist resort and is only accessible by boat. Skimming over the water you often glimpse bottle nosed dolphins and green turtles but the arrival is even more breathtaking, as you slow amongst tiny tropical islands, lush with tropical vegetation and necklaced with powder-white beaches. Few parts of Madagascar suffer from any light pollution and this is no exception: at night the stars glitter brightly over the water.
La Grande Mitsio
La Grande Mitsio, biggest islad of the archipelago and it is the only one which is inhabited with the small farming villages of Antakarana and Akalava. It is known for its huge basalt columns, resembling organ pipes. A climb up the highest hill on Nosy Ankarea (219m), passing many interesting succulents en route, reveals spectacular views over the entire archipelago. The island also offers wonderful beaches and an exceptional surrounding seabed.
Nosy Ankarea has a fabulous bay where the beauties of the seabed are displayed for the admiration of the divers. You can enjoy a stupendous view over the archipelago from the highest hill (219m).
Les Quatre Frères (the Four Brothers) is made up of four imposing silver basalt rocks containing huge caves with fantastic overhangs that serve as place of laying for hundreds of sea birds such as brown boobies, northern gannets, white-tailed tropicbirds, and frigate birds. . These islands of silver basalt are particularly beautiful at dawn and at sunset.
Nosy Tsarabanjina is a private island 40 nautical miles northeast of Nosy Be, in the Mitsio Archipelago. Its mountainous silhouette, fringed by white sand beaches and encircled by coral reefs, loos up on the horizon. Its luxuriant vegetation includes baobabs and pachypodium. You can observe the sunset on the Frères islands with a ballet of frigate birds, northern gannets and white-tailed tropic birds. Try traditional fishing in the evenings and boat trips to the great basalt columns, the famous sight of “Grande Mitsio”. Tsarabanjina was acquired by Hotels Constance in May 2007.
Mobile: + 261 (0) 32 05 152 29
Constance Lodge Tsarabanjina is a place renowned for its diving and ideal for navigation, and offers one more hour of sunshine per day. You can stroll around, climb up the hills and lose your way in the mesh of its luxuriant vegetation. Bungalows look out onto the sea with private terraces, some of them built from rosewood with a thatched roof. Every bungalow is unique, each one bearing the name of a flower, a tree or a fish. It consists of the main bedroom equipped with fans, a bathroom with shower, a private terrace with deck chairs and coffee table and they are built on two beaches. Meals are served in the Restaurant, in the mezzanine above the bar overlooking the sea. Price for one person from 240 € to 595 € with full board.