Palm-lined coves, whales and the world's only pirate cemetery
Relaxed tropical isle off the East Malagasy coast, a perfect treasure island for those seeking stunning beaches, coral reefs and whale watching.
Ile Sainte Marie is a tropical island set just of the north east coast of Madagascar. This island, also known as Nosy Boraha, was once known for being a harbour for pirates and a hideout for vagabonds, and today it’s a treasure island for those seeking stunning beaches, coral reefs, relaxation, and at the right time of the year, a lot of humpback whales.
Most famous for its whale watching between July and September, the channel between Sainte-Marie and Madagascar is a hot spot for substantial groups of humpback whales migrating from the Antarctic to this idyllic breeding place. The conditions here are favourable for the growth of their young and well suited to their courtship and powerful acrobatic displays before their big return toward the cold seas.
Other activities to try on a visit to Ile Sainte Marie include fishing trips, cycling around the island, snorkelling and diving - Ile Sainte Marie offers wreck diving around the pirate ships, whilst Ile aux Nattes to the south of Ile Sainte Marie boasts some of the best coral reefs in Madagascar.
For the naturalist, Sainte Marie is also of interest thanks to its lemurs (brown lemurs, mouse lemurs, the white-fronted brown lemur, grey gentle lemur, and the beautiful black-and-white ruffed lemur) as well as its diverse orchid and reptile life – look out for the 2ft long Parson’s chameleon!
Nosy Ankao is a very expensive private island eco resort situated at the north west tip of the country. There is an abundance of on-water, underwater and wildlife activities which can all be done with private guides. Built in 1998 and designed by the same team behind the uber chic North Island in the Seychelles, Nosy Ankao private island resort is an indulgent and idyllic way to spend a few days. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
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