Madagascar’s Beaches & Islands
Glorious beaches and idyllic Indian Ocean Islands might not be the first thing you think of when planning a trip to Madagascar. However, there are some stunning coastal spots and islands worthy of your attention; from Nosy Be to Manafiafy and many more in between.
We were the only guests for much of the time in Manafiafy, so it was really peaceful.
Beach holidays in Madagascar are not usually the first thing travellers are looking for as there’s no denying that wildlife is Madagascar’s prime attraction, lemurs in particular. But what could be nicer than spending a few days relaxing on a gorgeous sandy beach, swimming in warm waters teeming with tropical fish? It can be a wonderful way to round off a holiday to this intriguing destination.
There are plenty of options too, so we’re bound to find something that fits in with your requirements, be it diving, whale watching, deserted beaches, island-hopping or just sitting beneath a swaying palm letting the sea breezes wash over you.
- Nosy Be: There are several delightful islands in the Nosy Be archipelago, ideal for snorkelling, diving, swimming and sunbathing. You’ll also find beautiful forests and fascinating wildlife here, just in case you fancy a break from the beach. Whale sharks feed in the waters around Nosy Be in November and December and humpback whales pass through in July and August. Turtle enthusiasts should make their way to Nosy Komba or Nosy Iranja, both important breeding sites for Hawksbill turtles.
- Ile Sainte Marie: With its rich pirate history of the past to its modern-day beautiful natural bounty of beaches, sunshine and swaying palms, this island is a favourite amongst visitors. With watersports aplenty on offer, it’s also a nature lover’s paradise with lemurs, birds, chameleons and geckos awaiting discovery, plus from July to September there’s a good chance of spotting humpback whales on their migration route.
- Anjajavy Private Nature Reserve: Accessible only by air, this remote reserve on the northwest coast is well worth the journey. It has excellent birding, varied wildlife and a fascinating landscape combining forest, beach and mangroves. Meet local villagers, shop for locally embroidered cloth and watch the fisherman returning with their catch. Take leisurely walks in the forest, enjoy beach life, take to the water in a canoe – so many options.
- Western beaches: Tulear (Toliara), Ifaty and surrounds are perfect for combining culture with the coast. Tulear has an art museum, jewellery shops and seashell market and Ifaty is renowned for snorkelling and diving. It has the privilege of being in the heart of the island’s magnificent coral reef. Visit Anakao by boat and watch the Vezo fishermen head out to sea in their traditional boats, or go inland for ring-tailed lemurs. Popular with honeymooners is Salary Bay, harder to get to, but relaxing and charming. About 100km north of Tulear is Ankasy, this is the place to relax by the turquoise sea and get away from it all. If you prefer to combine a beach with nature, then visit Madagascar’s newest park, Mikea. As well as inland areas to explore in search of lemurs, there are miles of coastline, ripe for snorkelling and sunbathing.
- Southeastern Beaches: Manafiafy is possibly the best place for whale watching in Madagascar. Migrating humpbacks pass through the waters here from late June through to early November. Boat and canoe trips are offered into the mangroves while day and night walks are wonderful for exploring and seeking out more unusual wildlife. End the day watching a perfect sunset on the horizon with a cocktail in hand.