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The islands around Nosy Be

mapa Nosy Be
   © University of Texas

  Nosy Sakatia   |   Nosy Takinely and Nosy Komba   |   The Bay of of Russians   |   Nosy Iranja  |   Radama islands   |   Nosy Faly   |   Mitsio Archipelago   

Nosy Sakatia

The so called Orchid Island is still unspoilt piece of paradise only 1km west of Nosy Be, offering excellent snorkelling, diving and moderate hiking. Sakatia is only six kms long and two wide. The population (300 people) is spread over three villages and lives of both the fisheries and crops. The inland is pretty hilly and it offers beautiful hikes, especially at higher elevations. The southern tip of the island is still a virgin forest inhabited by the smallest chameleon of the World (1 cm) and many other species such as fanihy (giant bats).
It’s relatively untouched by tourism, so is the perfect place to hole up and enjoy the real Madagascar, away from the crowds. A small boat ferries you from Ampasimoronjia, just north of Nosy Bé’s bustling beach resort of Ambatoloaka, to Sakatia, where there are no roads, only footpaths.

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)

Sakatia Lodge
Phone: +261 (0)32 027 7099

Mail: sakatialodge@sakatia.co.za
Web: http://www.sakatia.co.za
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.

Sakatia Passions
Phone: +261 (0)32 41 325 49
Mail: contact@sakatia.net
Web: http://www.sakatia-passions.com
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 €

Sakatia Towers
Mobil: + 261 (0)32 02 01 986 / Tel: + 261 20 8692230
Web: www.sakatiatowers.com
offers a private beach, gazebo and boardwalk. It’s a simple and stunningly beautiful place for a maximum of 16 guests. There are four large en-suite bungalows, with verandas and sea views, plus four smaller bungalows with cold water. The bar/lounge is stunning, the perfect place to sit and watch the lemurs play in the trees or enjoy the last rays as the golden sun sets into the ocean.
Single bungalow 80 €, double 94 €, family bungalow from 139 € 

Nosy Tanikely and Nosy Komba

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 Madagascar. Nosy Tanikely (located only a few miles south of Nosy Be) is a tiny, uninhabited island surrounded by patches of shallow coral and sandy beaches, famous for its marine reserve teeming with underwater flora and fauna, allowing visitors the chance for some superb snorkeling in warm waters with great visibility, where divers and snorkels can discover angelfish, clown fish, puffer fish, grouper, spotted stingrays while swimming alongside with turtles in shallow water. Nosy Komba
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.

Nosy Komba (Lemur Island) is a small volcanic island just southeast of Nosy Be, where a pretty village called Ampangorinana sprawls along the northern beach. It is an enchanting spot, with amiable inhabitants going fishing when tourists are not around (which is apparent by the abundance of tattered fishing nets and old wooden skiffs scattered about the beaches). The secret of its tourist boom: the 5000 black lemurs resident to the island (these are sacred and thus safe from any danger). The combination of the small volcanic island's close proximity to Nosy Be, the nearby holiday hotspot, and the resident population of adorable and far-from-timid animals has made it the nation's most visited "wildlife" attraction.
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: nosyvorona@gmail.com
Mail: iledereve@gmail.com

Black lemur
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 well as Nosy Be. And nevertheless: anyone hoping for a ‘wild’ or ‘authentic’ experience will be disappointed. Just past the village of Anjiabe, there is a secondary forest where visitors almost immediately find themselves surrounded by the famed black lemurs. These beautiful animals with black and velvety fur and by piercing orange eyes, are so habituated to human contact that they will jump onto one's shoulders to eat bananas out of one's hands. They are not fenced in, and come and go as they please, but when the Westerners show up, they tend to hang around, waiting for something to eat. Perching on tree branches primates are close enough to provide some unusual photographic opportunities. Despite the blessing of protection they are still considered endangered. Many of their cousins have not faired as well and some have even gone extinct.On the other coast of the island, there is a calm and serenity that makes the tourist bustle of the main village inimagible . The island has three beautiful beaches. Climbing the Antaninaomby hill for a nice panoramic view of the island is certainly a good idea to escape the masses.
To get there from Nosy Be go to the port of Hell-Ville and negotiate the passage (Ar ca. 5000). The crossing takes about half an hour.

Where to sleep in Nosy Komba (Hotels in alphabetical order, prices from 2013)

Chez Laurent (Villas Komba)
Phone: +261 (0)32 04 740 53
Mail: villakomba@gmail.com
Web: http://www.locations-villas-nosy-komba.com
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
Mail: c3chicco@hotmail.com
Web: http://chezmadamemadionosykomba.com
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!

Jardin Vanille
Phone:+261 (0)32 07 127 97
Mail: i
Web: http://www.jardinvanille.com
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

Maki Lodge
Phone: +261 (0)32 8547734
Web: http://www.lemakilodge.com/
Mail: info@lemakilodge.com
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)

Les Floralies
Phone: +261 (0)32 02 200 38
Mail: floralieskomba@yahoo.fr
Web: http://www.bungalows-floralies.com
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!

Les Lemuriens
Mail: hotel.lemuriens@yahoo.fr
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
Mail: resa@
Web: http://www.tsarakomba.com
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

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.

Eden Lodge
Phone: +261 (0)34 86 93 119
Mail: resa@edenlodge.net
Web: http://www.edenlodge.net
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

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
Mail: reservation.iranja@gmail.com
Web: http://www.iranjalodge.co.za
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.

Radama Archipelago

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.

You find further information here about Sahamalaza-Radama National Park and the tiny island of Nosy Saba.

Nosy Kalakarojo

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.


Radama archipielago
© Madagascar Travel Guide

Nosy Berafia

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.

Nosy Faly

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.

Mitsio Archipelago

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

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).

Quatre Frères

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

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.

Constance Lodge
Mobile: + 261 (0) 32 05 152 29
e-mail: resa@tsarabanjina.com
Web: www.tsarabanjina.com
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.