Nosy Be & Islands

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.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

April to November

Overview

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.

Northern Islands off Nosy Be

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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Tasha Eygelaar

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.

Features

Why you may love it

  • Array of golden sandy beaches and a lush interior.
  • Direct flight connections with mainland Africa.
  • Excellent climate - warm throughout the year.
  • Friendly laid-back vibe
  • Superb snorkelling and diving on smaller islands such as Nosy Tanikely and Nosy Sakatia, with wonderful coral life.
  • Opportunities to see lemurs in Lokobe reserve.
  • Easy access to the mainland for more rugged scenery and a wider array of wildlife.

Explore the Nosy Be & Islands map

When to visit Nosy Be & Islands

Mid-December to March

Summer in Nosy Be & Islands

Nosy Be actually has a perfect climate for most of the year. It remains hot all year and even the summer months don’t have as much rain as further south. So this area (along with the South-west) are probably the best areas to visit during the summer rainy season. But it does rain. during this time the north-west monsoon prevails bringing heavy rain showers especially in January and February. This starts dropping off from mid March.
AVG RAINFALL 384mm
AVG HOURS OF SUNSHINE 7 Hours
MAX TEMP 31 ℃ / 88 ℉
MIN TEMP 23 ℃ / 73 ℉

April to May

Transitional season

This is a transitional period in Nosy Be. April remains somewhat rainy (usually afternoon thunderstorms) but May onwards is a stunning time to visit with dry conditions, plenty of sunshine and hot temperatures.
AVG RAINFALL 213mm
AVG HOURS OF SUNSHINE 8 Hours
MAX TEMP 31 ℃ / 88 ℉
MIN TEMP 22 ℃ / 72 ℉

June to September

Hot and mainly dry weather

Great time to visit with hot and mainly dry weather. Sea temperatures drop but its still 26-27C especially September onwards. It’s the driest time in Madagascar and so ideal for a beach holiday and also trekking in the forests of smaller islands to see the lemurs. Note that the Central highlands around Tana and the south can be cool at night during the winter months of June to August.
AVG RAINFALL 56mm
AVG HOURS OF SUNSHINE 8 Hours
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 18 ℃ / 64 ℉

October to mid-December

Still dry and getting hotter

It is still dry in October but getting hotter (max 32c) and then more humid in November with more chance of afternoon thunderstorms.
AVG RAINFALL 143mm
AVG HOURS OF SUNSHINE 8 Hours
MAX TEMP 32 ℃ / 90 ℉
MIN TEMP 22 ℃ / 72 ℉

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Accommodation

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Sakatia Lodge review

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.

Cedarberg : Kate Bergh
Did you know
  • SizeName means Big Island - 30km long and 19km wide.
  • Fun FactIts nickname is Nosy Manitra - the scented isle…