The Highlands | The North | The East | The South | The West

Mahajanga to Nosy Be

 map Mahajanga to Nosy Be

       © University of Texas

Vato Mirehitra  |  Port Bergé  |  Analalava  |  Bealanana  |  Magindrano  |   Ambanja   

Vato Mirehitra

At the kilometre 45 on the road from Ambondromamy to Mampikony a mysterious phenomenon occurs every night in the same place for decades. A brighten light it is said to shine on the far horizon Local people call it the "vato mirehitra" and of course none knows the origin of explanation for this unusual light (which is not a myth, since it has been seen by reliable witnesses), since the region is fady and nobody dares to defy the legend and venture into this terra incognita. If you are adventurous enough take your compass. You can overnight at one of the many basic road motels.

dry decidious forest
The dry decidious forest in this area grow sometimes on white sand. 

© Madagascar Travel Guide

Port Bergé

The new town was built on a hill after floods destroyed the ancient towen built near the Bemarivo River. There are several hotels very suitable for those heading to the North.
For those interested in discovering this beautiful region walking maybe the best way of doing it. The surroundings of Port Bergé are extremely pleasant, with many lakes and rivers as well as giant mango and palm trees. It is useful to be accompanied by a guide.


Analalava, 150 km from Mahajanga, is a charming coastal town over the Mozambique Channel, north of the Narindra Bay, at the mouth of the river Loza. It has a huge beach, which virtually disappears when there is high tide. In the evening villagers use to meet at the old pier to welcome new comers disembarking from tied up vessels. Analalava
© Madagascar Travel Guide

What to see

Actually, there is nothing much to do here, rather than lazing on the beach, renting a pirogue to explore this off the beaten track region or joining the old men of the village at the pier. However there are still some interesting sights in surrounding area, which are well worth a visit.

  • The old governor residence 

It is an old wooden building of the early 19th century in the hills above the city, which is unfortunately no longer maintained.

  • Le ballon de Loza 

This small hill of 200 m  offers a nice panoramic views over the bay and it is an ideal setting to enjoy a lovely sunset. The lighthouse can be visited too.

  • The palace of the Soazara princess 

It is located in the South of the town and with its modest and unattractive architecture made of local materials does not match exactly our image of a palace, but it is certainly not the palace the reason why the place is so important. It is (guess!) about the princess, who plays an important role in the local traditions and has an undeniable authority in the region, which has been obviously reinforced by the isolation of the village. Princess Soazara is a "Mpanjaka", which means that she descents directly from the ancient Sakalava kings and that deserves especial worships and big celebrations that are held every year in her honour and the ancestors’ honour.

Where to sleep

The best stay is by far the Narindra hotel near the police station. Comfortable and nice rooms from Ar 15.000 to 20.000. The hotel manager can help you arranging a motor pirogue trip.

What to see in the surrounding area

The northwest coast of Madagascar halfway between Mahajanga and Nosy Be is still almost unknown to tourists and this despite its obvious natural wonders: Small creeks of astonishing beauty, Tsingy of all sizes, spectacular rock formations, hospitable villages and –its greatest attraction- fabulous, empty beaches of golden sand.

  • Inlets Nosy Faho and Nosy Longo

These two small uninhabited inlets are located just a few miles from Analalava. You can hire a piroguier to get there (it takes one hour to cross).

  • La cuvette de Doany (40 km)

This place near the Loza River is a sacred place of the Sakalava, where Sakalava soldiers preferred to die drowned rather than become prisoners of the Merina. It is “fady” to bring ginger or speak “Merina” dialect.

  • Nosy Lava (8 sea miles)

The island of Nosy Lava is hosted the local prison, so previous authorization is required to visit the island. There is an old lighthouse with fabulous views on Nosy Saba to the north, Analalava to the east and the tip of Maromony to the South. There are some tombs Sakalava kings too (get the help of a guide to get there).

  • Nosy Saba (19 sea miles, 50 km south of Nosy Be)

Nosy Saba is a tiny island belonging to Radama Archipielago surrounded by a coral reef which is a paradise for divers. Plan half a day for the trip on a sailing boat or two hours on board of a motor boat. This discovery tour offers you a superb coastline with scattered fishing villages and coconut trees. Nosy Saba offers a large variety of landscapes: white sandy beaches with coconout palms and casuarinas trees, limestone cliffs, many small coves and protected primary forest which hosts lemurs, butterflies, chameleons, frogs and 40 species of birds.

There is a luxury ecolodge occupying the entire area of this "private island" (130 ha.) with 27 exclusive large suites from 2 to 6 persons scattered along the beach with direct access to the sea and a huge terrace. The restaurant has breathtaking views over the sea and proposes refined cuisine based on local products: seafood, meat, poultry and tropical vegetables and fruits.  All possible services you can imagine: spa, boat house with a wide range of activities and excursions, library, Internet, and  even a charter flight from Tana, Nosy Be and Mahajanga! Double bungalow 310 € per person.
Phone: +261 (0)32 03 333 02
Mail: contact@nosysaba.mg
Web: www.nosysaba.com

  • Radama Islands (35 sea miles; read more under the chapter about Islands around Nosy Be and in Sahamalaza  Îles-Radama  Reserve)

This sparsely populated archipelago accessible from Analalava has some beautiful coral reefs and idyllic beaches.

  • Moramba Bay (35 sea miles)

This extraordinary bay which resembles in some respects the Along Bay can be only accessed on boat. It has numerous tsingy-alike islets, where baobabs grow by the sea.

Where to sleep in the surrounding area

In this region we will find two of the best luxury accommodations of the whole country. Though their fares might not be affordable for everybody, those who can afford them will be greatly rewarded with a fantastic once in a lifetime experience.

Les Terres Blanches
Tel: +261 (0)32 05 151 55
Located 100 km from the next town (Mahajanga is 100 km south), this idyllic place only accessible by boat or private plane will for sure transmit you the feeling of having truly reached the world’s edge. Nestled in a unique environment of mangroves, virgin forests, kilometres of sanded beaches and turquoise waters, lonely creeks, small inlets, amazing tsingy and magnificent baobabs the wild beauty of this far corner of Madagascar will make you dumb. Alone the landing with a small bush plane is a glorious experience you will never forget. The lodge itself is a vast and beautiful complex with some few bungalows, not luxurious, but very comfortable and with hot water. The delicious meals (fish and seafood specialities) are served at a common table. Experience the feeling of being in a purely virgin environment far away from the civilization, where other guests, along with many parrots, lemurs, turtles, birds, and parakeets are your only fellows.
The price for this privilege (at 125 € per person and night) is still affordable. The transfer in private aircraft  from Mahajanga  or by boat costs 260 € per person.

Anjajavy Hotel
Tel: (+ 261 20) 22 327 59
Web: http://www.anjajavy.com

If you are looking for a really up-market address do not look any further. Located on the western coast 120 km north of Majunga, Anjajavy is an inaccessible fishing village overlooking the beach in a wide bay facing the Mozambique Channel. All buildings are constructed in rosewood with palm thatching. Computers are available if you need to communicate with the rest of the world. There are 24 luxury villas set in gardens along a path parallel to the sandy beach, all of them with a large bed, sitting area, bathroom with large bath and French windows which open onto a sea-facing terrace with armchairs and a hammock where you can watch the lemurs in the trees or the fishing pirogues.
Guests can walk through the mangroves at low tide to the Sakalava fishing villages of Ambondro, Ampassy or Anjajavy or walk in the forest for wildlife viewing
. A recommendable guided tour leads to the Moramba Bay, where some ancient burial caves can be seen along the way, as well as a sacred Baobab Tree, which covered by many fadys, for instance walking around it anti-clockwise or visiting it on Thursdays. The exceptionally friendly, well trained, bilingual staff is mostly recruited from the two local villages, which are heavily supported by the hotel. The food is of course top quality. Its increasing popularity makes the hotel sometimes  a little bit too crowded. The remote appearance is therefore not always guaranteed. However, still a perfect choice for the demanding travellers.
Minimum stay is 3 nights. Prices with half board for two people are 220 € p.p. during the low season,  295 € p.p. during the high season and 280 € in the peak season. The private aircraft company Madagascar Trans Air flies from Tana to Anjajavy three times a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) with light aircrafts such as Cessna Caravan. From the landing airstrip in Anjajavy an air-conditioned 4x4 picks up the guests and brings them after a 7 km drive through the forest to the hotel.


At the foothills of the Tsaratanana mountains, Bealalana is considered as the "rice granary" of the north-west coast of the island thanks to the particularly rainy weather. The landscape is surprisingly nice.


57 km to the North. It should be possible to reach the lost village with a 4x4. From here it is possible to climb on top of the Maromokotro Mt. (with 2876 m, the highest peak of Madagascar). Attention: a special permit is required!


  See here: Ambanja