Madagascar’s untouched island of Nosy Be

Posted on 31 July 2023

Lines of coconut palms move to the rhythms of paradise and restrain the forest from the powdery-white sand and inviting waters.

Nosy Be (which means ‘large island’ in Malagasy) is the hub of this archipelago of islands off the north-western coast of Madagascar and is Madagascar’s best beach destination

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Nosy Be, Madagascar. Image: Getty

While lemurs and otherworldly creatures like the panther chameleon play in the forest, you can slip into the deep blue and snorkel or dive along pristine coral reefs, brushing past fish, dolphins, turtles, manta rays, and whale sharks.

Nosy Be isn’t just a playground for scuba diving and sport fishing: for those with a more sedentary approach to holidaying, you can choose to glide along the ocean’s surface aboard a luxurious catamaran, disembarking on surrounding islands for a meal.


Lemur, Madagascar. Image: Getty

On the island, you can visit Lokobe Nature Reserve which houses untouched tropical rainforests with towering trees. among the rare flora, you can see colourful birds.

Of course, a trip to Madagascar would be amiss without seeing lemurs. Fortunately, there is a nearby Lemur Island. Yes, you can go island hopping from  Nosy Be.

Nosy Kombe – Lemur Island – is 90 minutes away by boat and as its name suggests, has plenty of lemurs. Another island worth visiting is Nosy Iranja.

Nosy Iranja is made up of two islets – Nosy Iranja Be and Iranje Kely 0  which are connected by a 2km strip of white sand during low tide. Here, you’ll find a secluded island paradise and maybe after stopping for a drink at the hotel on Kely, the staff will point out the green turtle breeding spot.

Scuba diving off Nosy Be. Image: Getty


Dhows glide across the warm Indian Ocean off the coast of Nosy Be. Image: Getty.

Dubbed ‘Nosy Manitra’ (‘the scented island’) by locals, you’ll be surrounded by the aroma of fragrant ylang-ylang, frangipani, vanilla orchids, and other tropical blooms wafting across the island.

Frangipani flowers, Nosy Be. Image: Piaxby

Away from the beach, explore the Nosy Be’s unique vegetation and take a guided tour to find saucer-eyed lemurs, with their long slender tails and bouncing gait, or visit the markets and handpick vanilla, pepper and other spices.

Dhow off the coast of Nosy Be. Image: Getty.

Explore one of the most beautiful coastlines in the Indian Oceana and discover that every moment on Nosy Be is magical. The island’s also easy to get to as Airlink flies directly from Johannesburg to Nosy Be in under four hours.

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