This ‘Perfumed Isle’ offers lovely sandy beaches and a lush interior alive with the smells of vanilla, ylang-ylang and coffee. Visit smaller islands to swim with turtles and whale sharks or walk with lemurs.
April to November
Nosy Be is the largest, and best-known, of several beautiful islands off the north-west coast of Madagascar. This ‘Perfumed Isle’ offers lovely sandy beaches and a lush interior. Everywhere there’s a pervading smell of vanilla, ylang-ylang and coffee. Why not add on a few days of beach relaxation here at the end of your Madagascar safari?
The north of the island is wilder and more secluded with some of the best beaches and resorts. However, the long southern beaches are also attractive. And they’re close to local villages for a choice of restaurants and hand-made crafts.
The Nosy Be hotels vary in style. There are mid-sized resorts in the more popular south-west. Or there are some quieter beach lodges in the north and east of the island.
Nosy be is a year-round destination and can be treated as a stand-alone beach holiday destination. There are direct flight connections with Johannesburg and Addis Ababa.
There are several smaller picture-perfect islands with sandy beaches and a rich coral life: Nosy Komba, Nosy Tsarabanjina and Nosy Sakatia. Here you experience tropical-island living at its best, superb diving and unspoiled natural beauty.
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I really enjoyed my family’s stay at Sakatia Lodge. In fact it really grew on me as we spent time there. It’s a family-run lodge with a very friendly team and a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere. You really did feel part of the family in a way. Everything was kept very clean and neat yet the lush tropical vegetation was all around you.
The snorkelling was excellent. I particularly loved the fact that we saw green turtles every time we went snorkelling. This was a magical experience. One minute you are snorkelling quietly, focused on the coral and the fish. Next minute a massive green turtle comes swimming by, does a double-take and then calmly swims past. Magical!
The beach was pretty enough but not the best beach in Nosy Be. However if you take the morning pirogue trip, you can spend time at one of the nicest beaches in the islands, a deserted expanse of golden sand with a sleepy little fishing village tucked behind.
There’s a coral reef right in front of the lodge which you can swim out to. Its important to note that there is a big tidal range (the case for all of Nosy Be). This means that at high tide, this is a long swim out to the reef so we recommend snorkelling closer to low tide, where you can also walk around the bay so that you start your swim closer to the reef.
The lodge was chosen for the proximity to this coral reef and so it faces east towards the mainland. This means that your view is over water to the distant lights of Nosy Be and not vast expanses of open water. We didn’t mind this but its worth noting.
The food was fine but not as amazing as some of the reviews suggested. It is a set menu with no real choice so if you are someone who only eats certain things, then I would recommend discussing the menu ahead of time as they are happy to make substitutions.
I am not a diver but my kids loved diving with Jacques and it’’s clear that this is a major drawcard of Sakatia Lodge.