An Island between Islands – Nosy Be

Posted On February 15, 2010 

With beautiful sandy beaches, small islands around for excursions, a rich marine life that makes snorkeling and diving Nosy be island Madagascarexciting and quaint town and villages, the Nosy Be Island is close to a paradise.


Located in the Western Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa, is Madagascar, the fourth largest Island of the world. The Mozambique Channel separates it from Africa.

When to go

The Tropical climate of the Island of Nosy Be keeps it bright and sunny throughout the year so you don’t have to think too hard on when to go there. The summer season in months of December, January and February is humid. The rains mostly come in the months from November to March. The months from April to October are dry.

The Tsaratanana massif to some extent protects the Nosy Be Island from the strong north-east winds that affect the region in August and during the tropical depressions.

The temperatures of water here remain around 25 degree Celsius.

How to reach

The Island of Nosy Be is pretty much tourist friendly and more so with the development of an international airport here. The Fascene Airport here has direct flights from Europe.  The three major airlines offering their services here are the Corsairfly airlines, the Air Madagascar Airline and the Air Austral Airlines.

Attractions of Nosy Be Island

The Nosy Be Island is one of the pretty islands of Madagascar. One step here and you will be busy with plenty of destinations around that demand a visit.

Of the main towns here is the town of Hell Ville, the capital of the island, in its southernmost part. The name comes from a French Sea Captain. The structures here are reminisces of French Colonialism. The port of Hell-Ville provides is open to Madagascar as well as international freighters.

Besides, there are entertainment centers of the modern days like the cafes, eating joints, bars as well souvenir shops.

On the west coast of the Island of Nosy Be is the Dzamndzar town where you can see the former cane sugar that was used to make rum. It has a vibrant nightlife with a number of clubs and bars around.

Located between Hell- Ville and the Crater Mania, is The Sacred Forest or the Arbre Sacre Mahatsinjo where people come to pray around the Sacred Tree.

About 20 kilometers from Hell Ville, to the north of Nosy Be Island is the Mount Passot, the highest point here measuring 329 meters. The pretty crater lakes, some of which are said to have crocodiles, surround the mountain. This makes a perfect setting for a breathtaking sunset view. There are special tours to this place arranged by hotels and tour operators.

The Island also has the Lokobe Natural Reserve, spread across 740 hectares. This reserve is home to a rich flora and fauna such as the boa constrictors and four varieties of lemur. You can spot here some of the rare species of birds like the ‘Paradise Fly Catcher’ and small kingfishers. In the reserve is Ampasipohy, a small village and the only place within the reserve where you can stay. You can hire a guide to tour the reserve and get more out of it.

Lokobe Natural Reserv

There is the Little Waterfall which is also a sacred place for the Sakalava people. Fishes in the lake of the fall and a rich variety of flora round makes this place vibrant.

The most attractive element of an island is very obviously its beaches and the Nosy Be Island has plenty of them. About 7 kilometers from Hell-Ville, is a small fishing village of Ambatoloaka, which is also home to a popular beach of this island that opens to the Mozambique Channel and offers you a nice view with lots of sunshine, along with the crystal blue water for a good swim. The beach also has scuba diving centers.

Not far from here is the beach of Madirokely, known for its beach party that attract locals as well as tourists who wish to dance away their afternoons at the beach and especially on Sundays. Further north of the Madirokely beach is the Ambodrona beach or the Palm Beach. The beach is excellent to relax at with its sandy bay and several small and charming bungalows.

Another fantastic beach here is the Andilana Beach, at a distance of about 27 kilometers from the Capital Town of Hell- Ville, on the northwestern tip of the Island of Nosy Be and is the centre of attraction among all the beaches of this Island.

Again on the northwestern coast of Nosy Be is the isolated beach of Orangea that’s worth a visit because of its deep waters and the view of the Sakatia Island that it provides.

With a wealth of marine life that the Island of Nosy Be can boast of, diving centers are in plenty here. The Mozambique Channel is in fact known as the aquarium of the western Madagascar.

Some of the popular dive sites on this Island are the Nosy Tanikely, 20 minutes by boat from Ambataloaka and Nosy Iranja, 2 hours by boat from the Nosy Be Island. More than half an hour by boat takes you to the Grand Bank where the expert divers can visit the underwater pinnacles covered with gorgonian sea fans. Ocean drop off here is up to 80 meters.

At about 15 minutes away by boat from the Ambataloaka is Nosy Sakatia Island with well known diving sites around.

Nosy Tanikely
In addition to the above, you are spoilt for choice if you want to go for excursions in the Nosy Be Island. You could rent cars, motorcycles, Quads, bicycles and boats and join the day trips and excursions that operators here arrange fro you.  Sea fishing excursions too can be arranged here.

There are many small islands around that make for delightful excursions. Not far from Hell-Ville is the Island of Nosy Comba, which means Island of Lemurs. The highest summit here measures about 622 meters and there are magnificent beaches around.

South of the Island of Nosy Be is the Island of Nosy Tanikely, which means ‘The Small Island’. As a nature reserve and as a marine reserve, with a variety of corals, fishes and turtles and with a beach that’s just perfect for a picnic, this Island is one of the most visited Islands around Nosy Be.

With forest trails, wild orchids, bats and chameleons among other species of flora and fauna, the Nosy Sakatia Island off the west coast of Nosy Be is serene Island just 5 minutes away by boat from Nosy Be.

To the southwest of Nosy Be is the impressive Island of Nosy Iranja and about 55 kilometers to its north east is Nosy Mitsio Island, a diverse archipelago with plenty of small islands like the Nosy Tsarabanjina and Nosy Antalys.

Nosy Iranja
A major attraction in the Nosy Be Island is the Donia Music Festival, launched in 1994, held over 5 days to the end of May. It is the biggest festival of the Indian Ocean, attracting about 50,000 spectators.

That the Island of Nosy Be is still authentic and under development, gives it its unique charm and makes it a place worth a visit.

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8 Responses to “An Island between Islands – Nosy Be”
  1. Pres says:

    What a name of the island, Nosy Be. Its so funny :) )

  2. Robben says:

    Its situated near to the fourth largest island of the world and yet it is not known. You can never imagine what a person desire’s for.

  3. Shaun says:

    I’m sure people must be knowing this place but not remembering it as it must be getting over shadowed by Madagascar.

  4. Madonna says:

    I just love if the water is turquoise! It looks so beautiful so romantic :)

  5. Lopes says:

    There is not much happening on this island but the place and the surroundings are really soothing for a small vacation.

  6. Will says:

    Islands are the most confusing place on earth. You never know when you landed on a different island or other small island.

  7. Smith says:

    The water temperature is very suitable for a swim or scuba diving. People really enjoy that temperature.

  8. Teddy says:

    Madagascar is my favorite island of the world! I just had the most amazing time here :)

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