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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

NOSY BE, Madagascar: Welcome to Paradise!

Nosy Be is the most famous island of Madagascar; in Malagasy it means “Big Island” and is located between the graft of the Mozambique channel and the Comoros Islands.

Nosy Iranjia, Nosy Be, Madagascar


I don't particularly like staying in resorts and, being Nosy Be a quiet and safe place, my dad trusted me and left me alone planning this trip. After various researches on the web and asking friends who had already been there for some advice, I booked everything online.

Flight: I chose Ethiopian Airlines and, by booking in July, on the official website of the Ethiopian airline I spent € 754 each from Rome Fiumicino with a stopover in Addis Ababa.

✈ FCU – ADD (6 hours) → ADD – NOS (4 hours)

✈ NOS –ADD (4 hours) → ADD –FCU (6 hours)

Nosy Lodge, Nosy Be, Madagascar

Hotel: I booked online on; I usually always choose but comparing the various prices, the same structure cost me less, so I tried this one for the first time. The choice was dictated by the quality, not so much by the services: I did not want all-inclusive options, already knowing that we were going to do many excursions on the islands and by boat for diving, ending up almost always having lunch out. I looked for something that, however, in the evening would allow us to reach the restaurants in a short time but that had the free breakfast included.

Nosy Lodge, Nosy Be, Madagascar

I chose the Nosy Lodge,, near the village of Ambondrona, paying € 419 for two people with free continental buffet breakfast, a room of 25sqm spacious room, with typical basic but very clean and well-kept furnishings, wonderful bathroom, free wifi and air conditioning . The lodge is on the beach of Ambondrona (it is not as splendid as you imagine it, for the simple fact that the sand is not white).

Nosy Lodge, Nosy Be, Madagascar

At Nosy Lodge you will find a restaurant, where we only ate a couple of times for lunch (a few dishes, simple, but very good and with typical and fresh products), a wonderful outdoor swimming pool, a bar and a beautiful garden on the beach in which we have spent many evenings looking at the stars. The reception is open 24 hours a day with English and French speaking staff and a currency exchange service. We always exchanged money in Ambatoloaka in the bank, which was much cheaper. In the evening we always moved to Ambatoloaka to have dinner, have a drink and take a stroll in the shops. The place is very quiet and easily reachable in less than 10 minutes aboard a tuc-tuc, which you cannot try!

Tuc Tuc in Hellville, Nosy Be, Madagascar

Every evening we tried a different little place, experimenting with the various typical flavors: from fish to meat, we always ate very well and spent little. N.B.: the transfer from / to the airport was not included in the price of the structure, so I had previously booked it by contacting the hotel via email. Bike and car rental are available at Nosy Lodge and the area is popular for hiking and cycling. In addition, in the lodge you can book your excursions on the island with the tour operator Nosy Be Original, and 20 meters away is the Scuba Nosy Be, a Diving Center with which we have organized our dives.

Tramonto a Nosy Be, Madagascar


My father and I both dive except that he is very obsessed, and he left with the intention of taking two dives every day. As much as I love to dive, I love visiting places, getting to know their culture and not leaving anything unseen: when I go somewhere it's always thinking that I will probably never go back, there are many countries in the world and I would like to see them all, so once I go somewhere i want to see everything a place offers. My dad doesn't think the same way, so he has been on the boat every day, while I often went alone on excursions. So let's start to discover Nosy Be in the places I have visited and which I think you absolutely cannot miss.


Mercato a Nosy Be, Madagascar

With a one-day excursion, the only one in which I was able to drag my father, we made a beautiful tour of the island that allowed us to visit the main points of interest. - The "La Sirama" sugar factory in Dzamanzar (opened since 1920): now fallen into disuse, it is a historical monument despite its recent closure. We also took a small tour of Dzamanzar to discover its village, its market, and its wonderful sculptures.

- The sacred Ampombilava tree: it is a mysterious place, you will find a forest of curious and characteristic plants whose roots stretch towards the sky; this plants are called "BANIAN". It is a huge "ficus Bengalensis" whose branches and aerial roots create a dome over 50 meters in diameter populated by some lemurs and where some spiritual rituals are carried out. Along the road to Fascene, through the sacred tree, you will meet coffee trees, pepper trees, fruit trees and above all the Queen of Flowers on the island of Nosy Be, the Ylang Ylang, the sacred flower, and you can admire the countless plantations scattered throughout the island of Nosy Be.

Mercato delle spezie, Hell-ville, Nosy Be, Madagascar

- Hell-ville: it is the main city, about 20 minutes from the airport. We visited the municipal market and the tablecloths, skilfully handcrafted, typical of Nosy Be, but you can also stroll among exotic fresh fruit, as well as magnificent colorful spices of which I have made a large stock. The city is chaotic but beautiful, with historic buildings, such as the prefecture, and other colonial constructions. Here we had lunch in a very nice restaurant, inside an internal garden under beautiful frangipane trees, all included in the price of the excursion. - Andilana beach: after lunch we headed north to what is considered the most beautiful beach on the island, but don't expect a Caribbean sea; honestly it does not compare with those of the islets near Nosy Be and which I highly recommend. Here you will find some kiosks to eat and many stalls where you can buy beautiful handmade souvenirs. On the beaches you will be intercepted by Beach boys, vendors or people who want you to have lunch in some restaurant. Fortunately, they are not too pushy.

Tramonto sul Mont Passot, Nosy Be, Madagascar

- Sunset on Mont Passot: from here you can admire the seven sacred lakes of Nosy Be and enjoy the breathtaking spectacle of the sunset on the island, with a sky that colors the whole landscape in red, a magical experience accompanied by an aperitif offered by the tour operator. Legends and beliefs teach that those who rule the destinies of the world live on this hill, in front of which the sun bows down every evening. In just one day you can get an idea of ​​the island always with the Malagasy philosophy of MORA MORA (slowly): I highly recommend it, it will allow you to discover fantastic places and people and to fully immerse yourself in the life of Nosy Well.

Albero Sacro, Nosy Be. Madagascar

LOKOBE NATURAL RESERVE: a glimpse of the Jungle Book

Riserva Naturale di Lokobe, Nosy Be, Madagascar

Located in the southeastern part of the island, the Lokobe Natural Reserve, includes almost 9 square kilometers of forest and it is home to numerous endemic plant species, such as some particular palm trees, and animals such as owls, snakes and psychedelic chameleons. But the real soul of this reserve are the lemurs, which populate and animate the paths of the park, entertaining travelers with their friendly expressions.

Kayak alla Riserva Naturale di Lokobe, Nosy Be, Madagascar

Got by minibus to the fishing village of Ambatozavavy in the south of the island, after a few kilometers on foot on the beach (a wonderful spectacle characterized by low tide) I embarked on a traditional pirogue with which, rowing, I reached the East reserve of Lokobe passing through the mangroves. The paddling is long and tiring, I warn you, but it is absolutely worth it. Once at the reserve, the guide (specialist in local flora and fauna) led us into the forest to discover real living treasures, explaining all the species sighted and sharing the secrets of the place with us.

Riserva naturale di Lokobe, Nosy Be, Madagascar

I saw beautiful things, from huge boas, to owls, tiny frogs and lots of cute little lemurs. Bring a hat and dress lightly and with comfortable shoes, the paths are inaccessible, and it was incredibly hot with an almost unreal humidity, hydrate yourself a lot! Don't forget your swimsuit, there was time to swim on the beach, sunbathe and look for beautiful shells. For lunch we stopped in the tavern facing the beach and tasted typical Malagasy dishes: wonderful shellfish and lots of coconut rice, which I am madly in love with.


Nosy Tanikely, Nosy Be, Madagascar

Nosy Tanikely, is a protected underwater nature reserve that we reached with the diving boat in a day of diving. Here we made two splendid dives, excellent visibility, little depth but the bottom is breathtaking. Corals, anemones, lots of colorful fish, moray eels and sea turtles; given the proximity to the coast of the islet and the shallow depth, it also lends itself very well to simple snorkeling. A mask and a tube are enough to immerse yourself in an incredible life-size aquarium just a few meters from the beach.

Faro di Nosy Tanikely, Nosy Be, Madagascar

To complete the exploration of the island it is worth going into the lush vegetation and admire the forest inhabited by very sociable lemurs who will meet you if called shouting "Maki Maki", until you reach the lighthouse on which you can climb for free to enjoy a spectacular view. The beach is beautiful, and between one dive and another and the lunch included in the day, there was time to sunbathe and take a few baths in the crystal clear water and the very fine beach. Also highly recommended for non-divers: there are excellent excursions that you can choose from various tour operators, often in combination with the island of Nosy Komba.

Nosy Tanikely, Nosy Be, Madagascar

❀ NOSY SAKATIA: the orchids island

Nosy Sakatia, Nosy Be, Madagascar

Nosy Sakatia is perhaps the most authentic island of Nosy Be, it is very well preserved. Old “flamboyants” trees, coffee trees, pepper, vanilla, traveller's trees, pineapples, cashews, mangoes, goyaves, eucalyptus, raffia, orchids, medicinal plants and much more. Nature is wonderful and waiting to be discovered. You can reach the island with excursions organized by tour operators or beach boys. We reached this paradise aboard a catamaran and along the way we were very lucky to see a lot of whales swimming next to our boat. Before landing on the island, we stopped to snorkel on a colorful coral reef and lots of fish and giant turtles. Once on the beach we took a tour of the island and had lunch in the shade of the coconut palms and relaxed on a beautiful private island. One of the most beautiful I've seen these days: very fine golden sand, and a truly heavenly crystalline sea. Give it a go if you are around here, it really deserves.


Nosy Iranjia, Nosy Be, Madagascar

Nosy Iranja is definitely the most beautiful island among the pearls of Nosy Be: located about 50 kilometers from the coast, it is composed of two islets called respectively Nosy Iranja Be (the largest one) and Nosy Iranja Kely (the smaller one), linked by a sinuous strip of sand, a couple of kilometers long, which is revealed only at low tide. This island is one of the favorite places for the turtles that populate these waters, and who choose the quiet beaches of the island to lay their eggs.

Nosy Iranjia, Nosy Be, Madagascar

We came here with the diving boat and stopped on the island between dives for lunch, a tour of the island in the many local stalls and to relax for a few hours on these beautiful beaches. Don't miss the fishing village and the old lighthouse built by the famous Gustave Eiffel over 100 years ago. The island is great, white sand, Caribbean-Maldivian sea you can't absolutely miss it.

Nosy Iranjia, Nosy Be, Madagascar


Climate On the island, the winter season starts from July until September. The climate, the rest of the year, is tropical; therefore they usually recommend going in the period from January to April: at the end of September we never caught even a rainy day, it did some showers at night but we hardly noticed it. For the rest, always very hot at 30-35 °, in the evening I wore the jacket only on the tuc-tuc.

Visa: as regards the visa, if you are planning a do-it-yourself trip, I recommend that you rely on an agency that will take care of all this paperwork for you and allow you to save time .. The agency provides online travel documents such as visas for entry to countries around the world (but also health declaration forms, embassy documents, passport photos, passport renewals, tourist cards and other documents travel). The site is safe and secure, the service is fast and efficient, and the team is experienced and available 24 hours a day for any need. Relying on will allow you to fully concentrate on your journey without wasting time and struggling with bureaucracy, as well as allowing you to leave with confidence that there will be no hitches once you reach your destination. Click here to go directly to the page to apply for visas and travel documents.

Vaccinations: no vaccination is mandatory. Before leaving, we made an appointment at the Hygiene Office in the international travel clinic: the visit is free, the nurse asked for the destination and checked the various mandatory and recommended vaccinations, you only pay if you decide to do it. We were advised against malaria prophylaxis, typhus and vaccination against hepatitis A (more for the fact that we were not in a tourist village). We had typhus (huge tablets that give a hell of a stomach ache) and the injection against hepatitis A.

Mercato di Hell-ville, Nosy Be, Madagascar

Nurse's advice: with hindsight, for first-hand experiences, I highly recommend starting a treatment with lactic ferments before leaving and continuing throughout your stay. Do not forget antidiarrheals and drugs for nausea and vomiting, and if you can also a specific intestinal antibiotic. Be careful what you eat, if you can avoid running water and unsealed, and raw foods; do not take unnecessary risks because health facilities do not have European standards.

Time Zone: + 2 hours when solar time is in effect in Italy and + 1 hour when summer time is in effect in Italy.

Currency: the local currency is the Ariary (MGA): 1 Euro = 3,450 MGA but they also accept US dollars. Language: the official language is Malagasy; French is known only in the cities; the Italian and English language is spoken only by some guides and by the staff of some hotels. NB: upon arrival at the airport you will meet both officers who force you to leave a tip at each passage of the airport (passport visa, baggage check etc.): we didn't leave anything, however be prepared with cash and coins. Even the local boys will ask you for a tip to load your suitcases. They will all ask you to change your coins into pieces of paper, because the banks don't accept them.

There are lots of children so if you can, bring from home markers, colors, notebooks, pencil cases and children's clothes that you no longer use to leave in schools.

Diving in Nosy Be, Madagascar

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Apr 20
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for sharing of this informative article!

I am going to travel in Nosy be , may i ask where you keep your valuable such as camera, cash and etc. when you go diving or snorkeling ? As i think there are no safty box in hotel , thank you !

Vanessa Valenti
Vanessa Valenti
Apr 23
Replying to

Hi, thank u so much! You can take with you a waterproof bag to store your belongings and bring them with you, otherwise leave them inside your suitcase closed with a padlock… I usually use this tricks!



Jun 14, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

well done, very usefull to me. want to make 1 month tour in 2024 september-october

Vanessa Valenti
Vanessa Valenti
Jun 14, 2023
Replying to

thank u so much! you’ll love it, I’m sure!


May 14, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.


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