The island of Nosy-Be: the jewel of Madagascar

Nosy-Komba, Nosy-Be, Madagascar

Nosy-Be island, Madagascar

Exotic destinations are very popular with holidaymakers looking for a change of scenery. They offer the chance to visit picturesque regions and learn about other cultures. If you want to get away from the daily trains and pollution for a few days, visit Nosy-Be, the jewel in Madagascar’s crown.

Geolocation of Nosy-Be island

Nosy-Be is a 320km² island paradise off the northwest coast of Madagascar. The tropical sun shines here all year round (340 days of sunshine) and the average temperature is around 25°C. The four corners of this pearl of the Indian Ocean are surrounded by beautiful beaches cradled by the Indian Ocean. The majority of Nosy-Be’s inhabitants are Malagasy. They speak good French. Foreigners from all walks of life work here as tour operators, hotel and restaurant managers and leisure club owners. This jewel of Madagascar also boasts a wealth of endemic flora and fauna.

Nosy-Be, Madagascar

Accommodation in Nosy-Be

Nosy-Be is Madagascar’s main tourist destination. It is one of the main foreign currency earners in the local economy. It welcomes tens of thousands of holidaymakers every year. All types of accommodation are available on site: palaces with private beaches, 3, 4 or 5-star hotels, bungalows or rooms in private homes. Invoices are payable in euros or Ariary (1€ ≤ 3.00 Ariary). All credit cards are accepted, and ATMs are to be found almost everywhere. A week’s stay allows you to relax and explore the natural riches of the fragrant island.

Nosy-Be tourist attractions

Nosy-Be’s main town is Hell-Ville. Here you’ll find luxury stores, art boutiques, bars, nightclubs, spas and leisure centers. Charming seaside villages make Nosy-Be unique. Andilana is the destination of choice for the privileged class. Ambatoloaka, Madirokely, Ambondrona and Orangea are delightful little hamlets that also face the sea. Their crystal-clear beaches rival each other in beauty.

In Nosy-Be, 4X4s, motorcycles, quads and bicycles are available for vacation rental to discover every corner of the island. Yachts, catamarans, speedboats and boats of various sizes also enable you to discover the Indian Ocean and see the humpback whales, whale sharks and other cetaceans that pass through the region.

Plage de Mandirokely, Madagascar

Mandirokely Beach

Rental organizations offer scuba diving, deep-sea or sport fishing, jet-skiing, water-skiing, canoeing, towable buoys and trekking for water sports enthusiasts. On the mainland, the island of Nosy-Be also offers many interesting tourist attractions. The 740-hectare Lokobe nature reserve is home to the endemic plants for which the region is famous. Mount Passot, the island’s highest peak, offers a view of the island’s depths and the ocean. In a tiny forest called the Sacred Tree by the locals, you’ll find a banyan fig tree whose ancestral branches intertwine beautifully. You’ll experience a typically tropical atmosphere if you visit the Dzamandzar region during the Donia Festival. Shows by local stars as well as those from neighboring islands, carnivals, modern and traditional song and dance enliven this small town for a week.

La Nosy-Be

In short, Nosy-be is an unforgettable destination. On your return, don’t forget to take along some souvenir gifts. Local craftsmen make stunning objets d’art from precious wood, raffia and coconut.

Nosy-Be and its beautiful beaches

Andilana Beach, Nosy-Be, Madagascar

Andilana Beach – Wikimedia – Saidfaid

Once you’ve arrived in Hell-ville, the island’s largest town, you’re spoilt for choice as to which beach to visit first. Just 7km away is Ambatoloaka, a fishing village surrounded by numerous luxury hotels. A few minutes away is another tourist site, Madirokely, the preferred holiday resort of the locals. Every Sunday, this small hamlet is bustling with activity. Yet most vacation rentals here are less expensive. Still heading north, you’ll discover Ambondrona, the must-see destination for all visitors to Nosy-Be. It boasts a charming, rounded cove where you can bask in the sun all day long or enjoy a thousand and one water sports activities. Palm-Beach, a luxury hotel so popular with wealthy holidaymakers from all over the world, has taken up residence in this typically Malagasy village.

Nosy-Be and its vacation rentals

In Nosy-Be, lodge, villas and bungalows with modern facilities welcome visitors in search of theexotic. Local dishes and recipes from every continent are wonderfully concocted in the refined restaurants, pizzerias and gargotes that line the roads. Lobsters, prawns and crabs are present on every table. Exotic fruits such as mangoes, pineapples, soursops, papayas and more are a welcome addition to any dish. They are sold directly from the stall and are used to prepare a wide range of desserts and drinks.

Plongée sous-marine Nosy Be

Credit –

According to tour operators, Nosy-Be has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Local tour operators offer car rentals of all kinds, as well as other means of locomotion such as quads, motorcycles, scooters and bicycles. Catamarans, sailboats and fishermen’s pirogues are available for water-based tourism, allowing you to explore the island’s surroundings or take part in sport or deep-sea fishing. Extreme sports enthusiasts are spoilt for choice when it comes to water sports. Jet skis, trekking, surfing kits and diving equipment can all be rented at low prices on site. Other water sports such as surfing and water skiing are also available on the idyllic beaches. This part of the Indian Ocean is home to humpback whales, white sharks and dolphins. Excursions and cruises allow you to discover the seabed and the northern part of Madagascar.

Direct flights operated by Air Madagascar and Air France connect Nosy-Be with France and Europe. Thanks to its tropical climate, this jewel of Madagascar welcomes holidaymakers with open arms all year round.

Nosy-Be: the local landscape and the natives

Nosy-Be is a dream destination in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Surrounded on all sides by a crystal-clear sea, it boasts beautiful sandy beaches. On land, Mother Nature has blessed this island paradise with a thousand and one assets. Its landscapes are atypical and its inhabitants welcoming.

Nosy-Be fully deserves its title of « perfume island ». As soon as they leave the international airport, visitors are greeted by a pleasant fragrance. Extensive ylang-ylang plantations line the road leading to the island’s largest town. They form a veritable crown of flowers that seems to welcome newcomers. The nectar of this aromatic plant is very useful to luxury perfume manufacturers. Many farmers pick ylang-ylang flowers for the local distilleries.

This 321 km² island boasts marvellous beaches, interspersed with charming traditional villages, comfortable falafa bungalows and luxurious 3, 4 and 5-star hotels. During a stay on this island paradise, travelers have the opportunity to see the locals at work or strike up a conversation with them. They are friendly and welcoming. The influx of tourists has encouraged them to learn foreign languages. Some understand the language of Molière and Shakespeare perfectly, while others can articulate a few words in Italian or Japanese. Most of them offer themselves as guides to show their hospitality while earning a few extra ariary.

Nosy Be vente fruit plage

Photo credit: Flickr – Giorgio Minguzzi

In Nosy-Be, the main activities of the local population are fishing and farming. Throughout the day, it’s not uncommon to see women with baskets on their heads walking up and down the beach. They sell tourists local delicacies, freshly picked juicy fruit or objets d’art. In the afternoon, young people enjoy the beach or organize amateur soccer and beach soccer matches. In the early evening, the frail fishermen’s pirogues return to dry land. Whether they return empty-handed or laden with fish, the whole village welcomes these heroes who have crossed the sea since sunrise with dances and shouts of joy.

By chatting with the locals in between sightseeing activities, there are plenty of opportunities to find out more about Nosy-Be, its people and local culture.

Main photo: Wikimedia – Jean-Louis Vandevivère