Madagascar’s main attractions are unquestionably its phenomenal biodiversity and stunning natural landscapes. However, its idyllic Indian Ocean beaches with soft white sand lapped by turquoise waters are perfect for some rest and relaxation and should not be forgotten! Madagascar has some fantastic coral reefs, ideal for snorkelling and diving, and world-class dolphin and whale-watching.
Madagascar Beaches and IslandsThe remote, northern islands of Madagascar are idyllically unspoilt, despite four flights a week to from Italy to Nosy Be Island. These volcanic and coral Indian Ocean islands are truly spectacular. The sea is crystal clear for hundreds of kilometres at a stretch, the forests verdant and abundant with fruit and wildlife – and safe enough to walk barefoot. Wildlife is slightly goofy at times; lemurs hang by their feet out of trees, and chameleons google and shyly change colour before your eyes. Bright green lizards have improbably garish pink spots, and the common sparrow seems to have fallen in pot of carnelian red.
Nosy Be (‘big island’) in the Mozambique Channel is Madagascar’s most popular beach destination. While the west coast beaches are stunningly beautiful, the east coast boasts intricate coral reefs just offshore, and snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities are best on the other islets of the Nosy Be archipelago. Nosy Be offers a variety of accommodation options, including Tsara Komba Lodge, Tsarabanjina, Palm Beach and Royal Beach. A variety of yacht charters are available through your hotel to take you diving or snorkelling off the nearby islands. Turtles and dolphins can be seen year-round and humpback wales visit annually between mid-August and October. In the island's interior, visit Lokobe Nature Reserve to spot black lemurs and the beautiful Nosy Be panther chameleon. The climate is nearly perfect all year. Deep sea-fishing, jet-skiing, windsurfing, water-skiing, kayaking and horse-riding are also available.
Nosy Komba is a small island nestled between Nosy Be and the mainland in the Mozambique Channel, known for its population of black lemurs, lively local craft market and stunning beaches.This volcanic island is covered with lush rainforest, and home to the Macacoa lemur species and an abundance of chameleons, butterflies, tropical flowers and more. The beaches are white sand that flows into emerald waters. Snorkelling, scuba diving and boating excursions offer encounters with turtles, dolphins and hump-back whales (July-November).
Ile Sainte Marie (Nosy Boraha) is a luxuriant island off the eastern coast of Madagascar. This is a real tropical island with endless deserted beaches overhung by coconut palms, and bays protected by vibrant coral reefs and lush vegetation. The Princesse Bora is the place to stay on Nosy Boraha. Humpback whales visit the island’s shores yearly to calve. The island was a major pirate hideout in the 18th century and was the first part of Madagascar to fall under French rule in 1750; there is even a pirate cemetery with gravestones dating back to the 1830s. The best times to visit are June and from mid-August to December; whale watching is excellent from July to October.
Nosy Ankao – Miavana Private Island
Miavana Private Island, designed by the creators of North Island in the Seychelles, is due to open in May 2017. Miavana is located on a private island, Nosy Ankao, off the north-eastern coast of Madagascar. With just 14 exclusive villas, untouched white sand beaches and world-class marine biodiversity, Miavana is an outstanding way to experience the Indian Ocean. The island is surrounded by a pristine reef offering superb snorkelling and diving opportunities, as well as whale and dolphin watching, deep-sea fishing beyond the reef, jet skiing, kite surfing, helicopter flights, and more.
The Mitsio archipelago lies some 50km from Nosy Be, accessible only by boat. This is the Maldives of Madagascar with crystal clear waters, outstanding white sand beaches, abundant marine life and world-class diving. One of the islands, Nosy Tsarabanjina (‘good-looking’) is made up of red, grey and black volcanic rocks with lush green vegetation clinging to them, including baobabs and pachypodium.