Sun-kissed beaches, an azure ocean boasting natural coral reefs teeming with exotic fish, breath-taking sunsets and a tropical climate provide the perfect setting for an unforgettable getaway in this paradise. Nosy Be means "big island" in the Malagasy language. It is the largest and busiest of the numerous islands that lie off the north-west coast of Madagascar.
Nosy Be is called the Scented Island (Nosy Manitra) or 'Perfume Island'. An intoxicating mix of the abundant Ylang Ylang flower, coffee, pepper, vanilla, cinnamon, saffron and sugar cane fill the air in the area. These aromas originate in the wonderful spice ‘bazaar’ and the boutiques in Hell-Ville, the chief town in Nosy Be.
Other highlights include the harbour with its dugout canoes, and close by, the Ylang Ylang distillery, the CNRO (National Centre for Oceanographic Research) and the Maritime Museum, which are all worth a visit. Nosy Be offers absolute tranquillity, natural beauty and unique flora and fauna.
Nosy Be’s beaches are ideal for swimming as they shelve gradually, staying shallow for miles out to sea. Superb snorkelling conditions and safe swimming makes it the perfect family destination.
The calm waters of the Nosy Be region in North West Madagascar are also well suited to sailing, which can offer a whole new perspective of the island from out in the ocean deep.
There is one busy town, Hell-Ville, where the roads are alive with ancient Renault taxis, zebu-carts, bicycles and pedestrians. This is an interesting place to visit and to observe daily life.
Charter yachts set off from Nosy Be for luxury and sunset cruises. A trip to Crater Bay is often a highly talked about adventure.
Tsarabanjina Hotel is located on the breath-taking Tsarabanjina Island, part of the Mitsio Archipelago. A private paradise resort situated amongst lush vegetation and framed by white sandy beaches, Tsarabanjina really is exclusive and offers guests complete island privacy.
The Orangea Village Resort is located on the island of Nosy Be - small volcanic island on the northwestern point of Madagascar. Here, the Orangea Village is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and the Mozambique Channel. It is perfectly integrated into the surrounding luxuriant vegetation.
The tropical island of Nosy Be stands out from a large coral shelf in the Mozambique Canal. It is surrounded by several exquisite islands, including Nosy Komba, Nosy Tanikely, Nosy Sakatia and Nosy Mitsio.
Nosy Be's fantastic beaches and reefs fall within a protected national zone and the island is home to special lemur reserve, which guests are encouraged to visit. There is excellent fishing on offer, both deep-sea and bottom fishing, as well as unforgettable diving opportunities, and water sport activities.
Nosy Be is both a starting point for boat charters, excursions on the sea and the ultimate tropical island escape for a relaxing vacation. Indulge in cuisine, delicate tropical flavours, or watch the sun set whilst sipping an exotic cocktail after a leisure-filled day spent scuba-diving snorkelling, water-skiing, sailing, fishing or simply lying in the sun. Beneath the crystal clear surface of the sea lies a large variety of local marine life: soft and hard coral, groupers, turtles, mantas, whale sharks and barracudas.
The climate of Madagascar is tropical along the coast, temperate inland, and arid in the south creating a variety of completely different biomes and a diverse ecology.
The combination of south-eastern trade winds and north-western monsoons produces a hot, rainy season from November to April and a relatively cooler dry season between May and October.
The heavy precipitation due to the rain clouds that form over the Indian Ocean support the area's rainforest ecosystem along the east coast of the island. The central highlands are both drier and cooler, while the west is drier still.
A semi-arid climate prevails in the southwest and southern interior of the island. The best time to visit Madagascar is during the drier May to October period, so as to avoid the risk of monsoon season. Potential floods see the closure of many camps.
Nosy Iranja Lodge is a luxury resort on one of two islands that make up Nosy Iranja, just off the coast of Nosy Be. The islands are joined by a sand bar that, at low tide, can be crossed on foot. Each of the 29 chalets boast a private terrace, providing panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, with a hammock and deck chairs tailor-made for whiling the days away.
Eden Lodge is a luxurious, yet environmentally sustainable development that offers its guests a peaceful, decadent, yet comfortable stay on Nosy Be's Baobab Beach, which is a 30min boat trip from Nosy Be on Madagascar's northern mainland. It is the first Green Globe certified lodge in Madagascar.
Vanila Hotel is one of the most beloved getaways on Nosy Be Island. It is situated in a lush palm garden right on the beautiful beach. Enjoy superb seafood and local cuisine from a choice of two restaurants at the hotel. There is a boutique, massage room and a Spa for guests' indulgence.
Sun Safaris can arrange scheduled flights for visitors to Madagascar. Ivato International Airport is an airport located in Antananarivo (Tana), the capital of Madagascar. Ivato Airport is main hub for Air Madagascar and the majority of flights around the island originate from here, which is a good thing considering the bad state of the roads. Besides the big cities, lots of little hamlets are also served via light air transfers.
By road is the only inexpensive way to get around, but Madagascar's roads are mostly very poor quality (except for two routes leading in and out of Tana). These road excursions will take guests into beautiful forested areas; however, if there is a time limit on the journey, travellers should be reminded that these trips will take a while longer than expected.
There are not many direct routes on land and the many small towns are accessible via one road only, meaning guests should be advised on which routes to take should they be self-driving. The best option is light air transfer to destinations on the island.