Madagascar Facts and Travel Tips
In Madagascar, getting to the islands is half the adventure and island hopping remains an essential part of the Madagascar experience.
Whether you’re sailing into a quaint harbour, listening to the lapping sea while bathing on a sun-drenched deck, you will be filled with a sense of adventure.
We suggest an itinerary visiting 2 or 3 islands in the Nosy Be archipelago, you choose the style of accommodation, we plan the routes and take the work out of your holiday.
Madagascar is the world’s 4th largest island, measuring approximately 1571 km in length and 571 km across. The capital of Madagascar is Antananarivo or ’Tana’.
The surrounding attractions are; Nosy Be, Sainte Marie, Morondava, Fort-Dauphin and Diego Suarez.
Some ecologists to refer to Madagascar as the “eighth continent”. Madagascar is that endemic fish of Madagascar include 150 species, 16 genera and 2 families, primarily inhabiting the island’s freshwater rivers and lakes. More than 670 species of terrestrial snail are endemic, as are a majority of the island’s scarab beetles, butterflies, spiders, lacewings and dragonflies. Environmental challenges Madagascar’s varied flora and fauna are endangered by human activity.
Nosy Be Island
Nosy Be, also known as the ‘Big Island’, is situated off the North West coast of Madagascar in the Nosy Be Archipelago with a surface area of almost 300 square kilometres. The Island is better known as the Perfume Island, due to the large cultivations and processing of Ylang-Ylang essential oil. It is a volcanic island with 11 extinct volcanoes, currently acting as natural water reservoirs for cultivation and human consumption. The highest peak, Mount Passot, is 450 metres above sea level. Nosy Sakatia, one of the surrounding Islands is 2 kilometres off the North-West coast of Nosy Be -Scuba Diving at its best. The Lokobe Reserve nature trail is on the Southeastern side of Nosy Be, which has the best walking trials.
Antananarivo is the capital of Madagascar with a population of 3 million people. ‘Tana’ is situated in the centre of the island, 4060 feet above sea level. It is Madagascar’s major international airport is situated in Antananarivo.
Sainte Marie Island
The Sainte Marie Island is just off the Northeastern side of the main island of Madagascar. This island is just a one-hour flight from ‘Tana’. It is a long thin tropical island approximately 60 kilometres in length and less than 7 kilometres wide, with the small island of Ile aux Nattes, just off the southern tip. The historical ‘Pirate’s Haven’ story dating back to the 16th century includes graves marked with skulls and crossbones.
Morondava is a city situated on the west coast of Madagascar, at the mouth of the Morondava River, where you will find the warm waters of the Mozambique Channel. Morondava is accessed by direct flights from Antananarivo and Fort Dauphin. It’s the gateway to the ‘Avenue of the Baobabs’, where massive baobab trees tower over the landscape.
Fort-Dauphin or Tolagnaro is a city on the southeast coast of Madagascar. It was the first French settlement in Madagascar and is the capital of the Anosy Region and of the Tôlanaro District. It has been a port of local importance since the early 1500s. The two main attractions are Berenty Private Lemur Reserve and Lokora beach
Diego Suarez is a port city in northern Madagascar and is situated on the second largest bay in the world. The main attraction is the Tsingy Rouge Park, situated approximately 60 kilometres south of Antsiranana near the town of Sadjoavato. The red Tsingy are made of sandstone which is found uniquely in several areas of Madagascar.
Climate & Weather
Nosy Be can be visited all year round and it can be divided into two distinct seasons. The dry season runs during the winter (May to October) and there is tropical rainfall from December to April. The weather does vary according to each region. The coastal areas are warm and enjoy average temperatures from 21°-26°C while the inland plateau is cooler (average temperature 13°-20°C) and generally dryer. The eastern and north western coasts receive more rain during the winter from the south easterly trade winds but the inland areas and western coast endure monsoon rainfall during the summer. The southern region is dry and barren with little rainfall, amounting to semidesert in some places.
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“Sakamanga was great, especially the on-site restaurant. Ankarana lodge was wonderful and so was visiting Ankarana National Park, punt seeing tsingy stone forest there! Definitely advise visitors to change money at the airport upon arrival, best rates.”
Hilda Todd – Antananarivo to Andasibe National Park
“Thank you, Sarah, for arranging the trip so well our flights, transfers, time on safari and the last night at the bed and breakfast were all well organised. The combination of swimming, fishing and snorkelling in such a beautiful environment was lovely.”
Grant & Heather Tradouw – Dhow Safari