Home to some of the world’s most beautiful coastlines, stretching more than 1,800 miles, it’s perhaps little wonder that Madagascar beaches are as good as they come; not to mention the amazing resorts which aim to cater for everyone lucky enough to head there.
Whilst a number of dreamy islands lie just offshore (including notable beaches such as Ile Sainte Marie, Nosy Be and Tsarabanjina); many remain just off the beaten track, thus offering that little extra when it comes to a much more deserted and private feel. In fact, many of the island beaches offer a great opportunity to indulge in a little privacy, enjoy some of the many snorkeling opportunities and even explore some of the most beautiful coral reefs which certainly aren’t uncommon across Madagascar. This combined with the plethora of things to do in Madagascar make this a prime holiday destination.
However, if you’re spoilt for choice (which you almost certainly will be!), here’s a rundown on the top 10 beaches of Madagascar.
Photo by Dormiveglia .
Nestled on the south east side of the island, Manafiafy is one of the smaller and lesser known beaches of Madagascar which naturally means it’s also less populated than some of the other popular choices. The bay itself offers a reasonable amount of shelter making it a great place to enjoy the sun, or even some of the many beach activities you’ll find on offer such as snorkelling, canoeing and even whale watching. If you’re planning to spend any amount of time here then there’s also a small hotel, the Manafiafy Beach & Rainforest Lodge which offers great accommodation and makes for a perfect base to explore the local area.
Photo by Yuen Yan
Forming part of the Mitsio archipelago and approximately 64km from Nosy Be, Tsarabanjina is one of the smallest tourist islands surrounding Madagascar and makes for one of the most scenic too. Given that the island is only accessible by boat, you can’t help but feel a real sense of adventure when crossing the Indian Ocean to reach it and if you’re planning to stay then there’s only one lodge on the island which gets booked up well in advance, so make sure you think (and act) well ahead if you’re looking to enjoy its beautiful sandy beaches for more than just a day.
If you’re looking to do any watersports then you’ll find plenty of options on offer from the island, including catamaran sailing, fishing, water skiing and scuba diving – in fact, if you’re planning on the latter then a visit to the Mitsio coral reefs are a definite must since it’s now renowned as being a notable dive spot.
Photo by Tomcensani
Nestled at the very edge of a national park of the same name, Anjajavy is ideal for swimmers and non-swimmers alike since it not only offers a beautiful sandy beach (which offers great snorkeling opportunities) but also has a beautiful infinity pool for those wanting to appreciate the stunning views yet without having to venture into deeper waters.
Photo by Steve .
Situated between Nosy Be and mainland Madagascar, Nosy Komba is a stunning, oval-shaped volcanic island which is now home to several stunning beaches and lodges, making it an ideal to place to kick back and relax at for a few days. In addition to its beautiful beaches the island also offers a real sense of adventure with its numerous coves and paths which all lead inland towards the island’s magnificent hills. If you take the time to venture from the beach then don’t be surprised to find an abundance of wildlife such as birds, chameleons and black lemurs; all of whom inhabit the island and naturally make for great photo opportunities!
If it’s seclusion and privacy you’re after then be sure to look at the Tsara Kombra Lodge which not only offers fantastic accommodation but can only be reached by boat … it simply doesn’t get any more private than that!
Nosy Be beach in Madagascar. Photo by Giorgio Minguzzi
Renowned as being the most famous and popular tourist destination in Madagascar, Nosy Be (meaning ‘big island’) is notably traditional, in every sense of the word and being one of the larger islands surrounding the coast of Madagascar, is hugely popular with tourists.
The island itself is also known as Nosy Manitra (meaning ‘scented island’) and it’s not difficult to see why! This volcanic island is home to a huge variety of very different spices which certainly puts it on the map in terms of a unique shopping opportunity!
Other than its spices, many tourists also visit the island in the hope of spotting the Omura whale since it’s one of the very places to spot this magnificent mammal – in fact, it remains one of the rarest animal species on the planet.
In terms of accommodation, you’ll find plenty of luxury resort hotels to choose from, most of whom offer some great sporting activities, such as parasailing, deep-sea fishing, hiking and cycling. In fact, given the range of activities available from the island it’s a great place to travel to as part of a family since activity types quite literally cater for all age ranges, interests and abilities.
Known locally as “Nosy Boraha”, Ille Sainte-Marie is a long thin island nestled on the north east coast of Madagascar. Given that it’s incredibly rich in terms of underwater fauna, it’s a huge hit with both snorkelers and divers, not to mention a great base for anyone wanting to go whale watching since the humpback whales regularly frequent the area for both breeding and raising their young.
If you’re looking for a taste of adventure then the local diving schools will gladly share stories of the island’s pirate heritage before taking you off on a wreck diving expedition; although it’s equally a great location to simply kick back, relax and enjoy the whole ambience of the place.
If you’re looking for somewhere truly tropical then this is definitely the place to head for. Referred to locally as “Nosy Nato”, this small 3km wide island can be found at the southern end of Sante Marie and offers a great range of activities which include whale watching, fishing, snorkelling and glass bottom boat rides.
Since it offers the ultimate in relaxation many choose to spend more than just a day here and the main lodge on the island, the Hotel La Petite Traversee, makes for a great place to stay.
The small fishing village of Anakao is nestled on the south west coast of Madagascar and simply oozes appeal to those wanting that perfect tropical getaway. Whilst the beach is slightly off the beaten track (making for a perfect place to sunbathe), the bay itself hosts a wide range of activities including surfing, kite-surfing and jet-skiing; so there really is a little something for everyone to enjoy, whatever you’ve got in mind. Again, it also makes for an ideal place to spend more than just a day since it offers great accommodation options, including the Anakao Ocean Lodge.
Made up of two adjacent islands (Iranja Kely and Iranje Be) – both of which are connected by a 1500m sandbank – Nosey Iranja is often referred to as the island of turtles; given that turtles commonly lay their eggs on the islands’ pure white beaches. Suffice it to say, it makes for a great place to sunbathe, particularly given the very cleanliness of the place and also offers a great opportunity to explore both islands during low tide.
For those seeking a little culture, the northern island is home to an extremely quaint lighthouse designed by the French architect Gustav Eiffel (and yes, you’ve probably recognised the name!) but for those simply wishing to relax then the accommodation here certainly won’t disappoint. Places such as the Iranja Lodge certainly make for great overnight stays and even offer a variety of excursions such as whale-watching, dolphin spotting and even shark diving, for the more adventurous!
Situated on the mouth of the Onibe River to the north east of Madagascar, Mahavelona offers an amazing beach which is protected from the rough seas due to its reef system, some 150m off the coast. It therefore offers a great place to both sunbathe and swim and is extremely popular with both couples and families alike.
Whichever beach you decide to head to in Madagascar you certainly won’t be left disappointed with the amount of choice or indeed, the cleanliness of them. Since many of them are surrounded by corals reefs they make for a great place to explore from; whether that’s by simply dipping your toe into the sea or doing something a bit more adventurous, such as dolphin watching or even rubbing shoulders (quite literally) with the many sharks that populate the area.
What’s more you’re always guaranteed a very warm welcome from the locals so if there’s anything at all they can do to make your beachside experience even more luxurious then you can rest assured it’ll get done – leaving you to simply kick back, relax and enjoy all that the beaches of Madagascar have to offer.