11 Amazing Beaches in Madagascar You Can’t Miss
As an island nation, Madagascar is no stranger to its fair share of world-class beaches, often on smaller islands of their own. Situated off the southeast coast of Africa, it’s an absolutely unmissable location for seasoned travellers and luxury-loungers alike.
If your aim is to escape the hustle and bustle of crowded beaches, Manafiafy is the dream destination for you. This is one of the smaller beaches of Madagascar, but it’s one of its best-kept secrets.
Found to the south east of the island, Manafiafy is characterised by its lush greenery and rainforest that can be found fringing the bay. There is one small hotel on the island, and guests can either simply bask in the sun or partake in typical beach activities such as snorkeling, canoeing and even whale watching.
Nosy Be can be found off to the north west of Madagascar’s coast. As its own individual island, there is plenty to do here, in addition to visiting the beach. You’ll find that nature loves to make the area its playground, and to the south east of the island, the forests of Lokobe Reserve allow you to see chameleons, geckos and frogs in their natural habitat.
The capital of the island is known as Hell-Ville, and here you will see French colonial influence with the old-style buildings and the market. Be sure to visit Lemuria Land, a park with an abundance of lemurs (and reptiles as well). If you are a fan of essential oils, the native ylang-ylang trees within this park are used in the process of extraction.
Just a short distance from Nosy Be is yet another beautiful island, Nosy Komba. This is yet another nature-lover’s dream, because a visit here is guaranteed to involve the island’s most famous residents, the habituated black lemurs.
For lovers of the water, the setting here is absolutely perfect. Hills meet the ocean and form sandy coves, and within them you’ll find charming little fishing villages. Much of the island is deserted, save for the quiet residents and wildlife that call it home.
To the east of the Madagascan mainland lies Nosy Boraha, also known as Île Sainte-Marie. In addition to its aesthetic as a true paradise, the island serves as a treasure trove for explorers, with a rich history of its own. Just outside of the main town of Ambodifotatra, a pirates’ cemetery can be found, and in true pirate style, the graves there can be found marked with skull and crossbones.
ÎLE AUX NATTES
For those who prefer an altogether less eerie experience (compared to visiting the graves of dead pirates), to the south coast of Nosy Boraha you can find Île aux Nattes, a beautiful little island where you’ll find plenty of sea turtles and other marine life that call the shores and coral reefs their home. Locals call it “Nosy Nato”, which seems in keeping with the other local islands.
It is sometimes referred to as a “paradise at the end of the world”, and as such it is increasing in popularity year on year, although this has not spoiled its magic. You’ll find endless white sand, crystal-clear waters, tropical palm trees and so much greenery that you’ll almost doubt that it is real. You can go canoeing, diving, whale-watching or simply relax with a few beers and listen to reggae or head to the local rooftop terrace with an incredible view.
Two small islets make up Nosy Iranja - Nosy Iranja Be and Nosy Iranja Kely respectively. The two are connected by a thin corridor of sand and, at low tide, you can walk between them (the distance is a short 2km).
The landscapes here are unsurprisingly alluring, with sparkling blue water surrounding the lagoon, and appearing even more beautiful in the sunlight. If you seek to relax and shut off from the world, this is the place to be. However, you can also partake in a multitude of aquatic and land activities, or simply look out for the area’s best residents - the turtles.
As we’ve seen by now, Madagascar is not short in the slightest of pristine and picturesque locations, nested around this stunning section of the ocean. Nosy Mitsio is a small archipelago just over 50km to the northeast of Nosy Be, and the beauty here is undeniable. For divers, the waters here are still relatively untouched and therefore diving here is a blissful experience.
Tsarabanjina is perhaps the best island in this area, both remote and idyllic enough to impress even the most critical traveller. This is a place where you will be almost entirely disconnected from the rest of reality, which in today’s modern society, sounds incredibly appealing. There are many multi-day trips which can be taken from Nosy Be to reach the area in around two hours, many with the sole purpose of diving. There is a certified diving club in the area, and visitors usually have to stay a minimum of three days.
If the idea of 400 metres of pure white sand sounds like heaven, then Anjajavy is one destination that you won’t want to miss. The beach can be found at the edge of a National Park which shares its namesake, and there’s a lodge you can stay at there with a stunning infinity pool that you won’t forget in a hurry. This is the perfect place for those who are not confident swimmers to still enjoy the views.
The coral reefs here are absolutely marvellous, and they can be easily appreciated by snorkelling close to shore. As the area is so unspoiled, there is a lot of emphasis on preservation, making this a brilliant place for eco-tourists. The peninsula can only be accessed by private plane.
Also known as Foulpointe, Mahavelona at first glance seems rather unremarkable. However, the truth is that this town does not need much other than its gorgeous white, sandy beaches to sell itself as a worthy destination.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of accommodation and dining options, and there is certainly enough to keep you entertained in the sun over a weekend getaway from elsewhere in the country.
Towards the southwest of Madagascar, you will find Anakao, a delightful little fishing village which can be distinguished by the quaint and colourful boats which line its beach.
The sand here is certainly marvellous, and will make for an ideal stretch to simply lie back and appreciate the sun. For the more adventurous, venturing into the ocean itself provides a myriad of diving and snorkelling opportunities. And, if you visit at the right time of year, you’ll enjoy some fantastic whale-watching opportunities from June through to September.
For those looking to think outside of the box, Ramena offers perhaps the most genuine injection of local culture and flavour that one could possibly hope for as a traveller. During the week, the town moonlights as a sleepy little fishing village, but on Sundays, it truly comes alive.
Due to its proximity to Diego Suarez, the town is filled with people from far and wide, looking to feast upon a traditional Sunday buffet in the restaurants. The beaches themselves towards the north end of the village are an ideal spot for picnics, and the locals enjoy traditional dancing, which you are more than welcome to join in with. The beach time spent here is worthwhile overall, even on the somewhat quieter days.