The island Nosy Be in Madagascar: 5 cool activities and things to do!

In this travel guide about Nosy Be you can read everything you need to know about this beautiful island in Madagascar. What are the sights and activities you should not miss at Nosy Be! How to get to this island and what are nice restaurants to eat? Besides, this blog contains a short hotel guide with our favourite hotels on Nosy Be. Finally, we give you practical travel tips for a visit to Nosy Be! Enjoy your trip through Madagascar!

Roadtrip Africa Nosy be

Nosy Be in Madagascar!

With white beaches, a turquoise sea surrounded by palm trees, tropical flowers and large butterflies, it is a true paradise here. While the rest of Madagascar has hardly any tourists and therefore has hardly any facilities for tourism, Nosy Be is completely different! Nosy Be has many facilities. You will find several supermarkets, many restaurants, bars and hotels here. You can also go out on Nosy Be, the island barely has a power outage and you have good wifi here!

Nosy Be means “big island”, referring to the small islands that surround Nosy Be. It’s not that big at all, you can drive around the entire island in three hours! The islands around Nosy Be are also worth a visit. In short, there is more than enough to do in and around Nosy Be!

Travel Guide Madagascar Nosy be

Nosy Be is a popular tourist attraction in Madagascar

Nosy Be is an island with many tourist facilities. That is not surprising since you can fly directly to Nosy Be from Italy. This is, therefore, a popular place to visit among Southern Europeans.

Don’t worry, the island is definitely not too touristy: it’s not too busy on the island and you can still feel the authenticity of Madagascar here in some places. The beaches here are still pretty empty but have more facilities than other beaches in Madagascar.

Avenue des Baobab Morondava Madagascar

Read more: Free travel guide to Avenue des Baobabs: the scenic trees of Madagascar!

Backpacking in North Madagascar: Add Nosy Be to your travel itinerary!

Nosy Be is an ideal destination for backpackers, there are plenty of hostels and nice bars to hang out. Even if you make a road trip through the north of Madagascar, we recommend that you include Nosy Be in your travel itinerary. It is actually another side of Madagascar that is worth exploring. The contrast is big compared to the mainland of Madagascar. Good roads, many amenities and almost everyone speaks English!

In short, this island has a more luxury and comfort than the charming (but often basic) hotels and worse roads of northern Madagascar! After our road trip through Northern Madagascar for two weeks, we really appreciated this island! Don’t get us wrong, we love adventures and everything that comes with it! But sometimes spoiling yourself after such a travel experience through the North of Madagascar is not wrong either!

Where on the map of Madagascar is Nosy Be located?

The island of Nosy Be is located in the northwestern part of Madagascar. Near the port city of Ankify. For your convenience, we created a map of Madagascar with all the major highlights and sights on it.

Map of Madagascar:

Highlights of Madagascar Travel guide Madagascar

What is the best travel time to visit Nosy Be in Madagascar?

The best time to visit Nosy Be is from May to October. The traditional rainy season is from December to March. From the end of April, the weather is often good, only you have more chance of rain and thunder. The same applies to the months of November and early December: often good weather with some rain showers.

Read our travel guide about the Red Tsingy here!

5 great activities to do in Nosy Be, Madagascar

If you want to relax and enjoy the beautiful beaches, then this island is very suitable as a holiday destination. In addition to relaxing and reading a book, you can also do more on this island. Read below about five great activities to do for Nosy Be.

1. Visit the most beautiful beach of Nosy Be: Andilane Beach

The most beautiful beach of the island is in the north: Andilane Beach. This place of interest is a must-visit. The water is wonderfully fresh and the bay nicely stretched. The perfect tropical beach! Click here for the location on Google Maps.

Nosy Be drone shot

Tip: for a beautiful sunset, drive a little further north where you can hit the beach with the jeep. Buy a beer in advance and watch the sun sink into the sea.

2. Go on a day trip to Nosy Iranja!

Nosy Be is surrounded by small islands such as Nosy Iranja. And no matter how cliché it may be, a visit to Nosy Be is not complete without a visit to one of the other small islands. We visited Nosy Iranja, a 2-hour boat ride. Here you have many sea turtles and a beautiful sandbar with clear water.

Nosy Iranja consists of two islands that are connected by a sandbank at low tide. The water is clear here and with the white beaches, it is a perfect tropical island. It could be the screen saver of your computer. We spend hours in the sea and eat a tasty barbecue lunch. Click here for the location on Google Maps.

Nosy Iranja

3. Visit the lemurs in Lokobe National Park on Nosy Be

Always wanted to see lemurs in the wild in Madagascar? Then this is your chance. In Lokobe National Park on Nosy Be you can see wild lemurs, including the black lemur! Click here for the location of the park.

An alternative destination for seeing lemurs: Nosy Komba, a volcanic island where you can find black lemurs in nature as well.

Travel Guide Madagascar

4. Humpback Whale watching/safari (July to November)

Yes, you read that right. A super cool activity: you can do a whale-watching safari here just like on Ile Sainte-Marie! Please note that you book this tour with an organization that handles this humpback whales with respect. For more information, visit this website: Baleines Rand’eau.

Ile Sainte-Marie Whales

5. Diving and snorkelling on Nosy Tanikely

Diving and snorkelling at Nosy Tanikely Marine Park. Click here for the location on Google Maps. You can enjoy wonderful snorkeling and diving between protected coral and tropical fish. This island is less than half an hour by boat from Nosy Be, the perfect day trip activity.

The coral on Nosy Be itself is unfortunately damaged in many places, so we recommend snorkelling and diving on Nosy Tanikely.

Whale watching in Ile Sainte-Marie: All you need to know about Ile Sainte-Marie in Madagascar!

The best restaurants of Nosy Be!

Nosy Be has many good restaurants. Besides, the street food is also delicious. Anyway, to make the decision easier for you, we selected a few cool restaurants to eat on this pretty island. Do you want to be sure of a cosy restaurant with good food? Then consider the following hotspots:

Restaurant Chez Loulou, on Andilane Beach

Chez Loulou is on the beach of Andilana, especially the Sunday buffet brunch is very good. This restaurant is located in the north of the island. Click here for the location on Google Maps.

For the fish lovers: restaurant Chez Eugenie

Hotel Chez Eugenie is known for its good fish! The catch of the day is especially recommended! Click here for the location on Google Maps.

Villa Duplex Nosy Be

The island’s hotspot: Le Papillon restaurant in Hell-Ville

Hotel Le Papillon in Hell-Ville seems to be very good and is the place to be. This restaurant is located in the largest village. Click here for the location on Google Maps.

Go for delicious pizzas at Chez Angeline

Chez Angeline has delicious pizzas! This cosy restaurant is located in the town of Ambatoloaka. Click here for the location on Google Maps.

We traveled all over Madagascar by 4×4! Read everything you need to know about car rental in Madagascar here!

How to get to Nosy Be in Madagascar?

Nosy Be is the perfect end to your itinerary through Madagascar. The island has good facilities and great food. Now the question is, of course, how do you get there?! Very simple, by boat or by plane:

1. By boat from Ankify to Nosy Be:

Nosy Be is located in the northwest of Madagascar. You can reach the island by speedboat in half an hour. If travelling by car you can take the jeep on the ferry. Duration, approximately 2.5 hours. Taking the ferry is an adventure in itself. The boat trip is safe and not scary at all. But getting your jeep on and off the ferry at the harbour of Ankify is a challenge! Rarely have I seen Ries sweating from fear while driving a 4×4;)

Roadtrip Africa Nosy be

2. Fly to Nosy Be

If you are short of time or do not plan to make a round trip by car through North Madagscar and do you want to take Nosy Be with you? Then flying is the best option.

Use a domestic flight. Nosy Be is an hour’s flight from the capital Antananarivo. Another option is to fly directly from Europe. With this international flight, you fly directly from Paris or Milan. Click here for more information!

From Nosy Be it is just a short flight or a bit longer of a car ride to the far north of Madagascar: Diego Suarez. Click here to read all about Diego Suarez (Antsiranana) and Ramena!

Transport tips!

We also recommend having a car on the island. Taxis/tuk-tuks are not cheap and with a car, you are much more flexible. Renting a scooter is of course also possible. It is wonderful to have your own vehicle and to explore the island on your own time and drive everywhere.

Transport Nosy Be

Read everything you need to know about the Ankarafantsika park in this travel guide!

Where to stay in Nosy Be: The best hotels and villas!

Nosy Be offers many accommodations to sleep at. Most of these hotels can be booked online as opposite to accommodations on the mainland of Madagascar. These hotels can only be found by using travel guides like the Bradt and Lonely Planet. That is quite old school, right? We liked this old way of finding hotels as well! It has something very exciting, you have no idea where you end up! Nowadays, these accommodations slowly adapt to the internet area as well!

Hell-Ville is the capital, here are many tourists and hotels, just like in the slightly northern city of Ambondrona. Both cities are known for sex tourism. Therefore, we recommend not to stay there, go a little more to the north and stay in a small-scale hotel outside these cities. Below, our nice places to sleep on this beautiful island.

Les Hibiscus €

Hotel guide Madagascar Les Hibiscus Nosy Be

Paradisaical bungalows stylishly decorated and surrounded by nature. Beautiful design swimming pool and in the evening you can sit by the campfire. What else do you need? You sleep here from €39 per night (two persons).

Book now!

Hotel Gerard&Francine €€

Hotel guide Madagascar Hotel Gerard et Francine Nosy Be

Sleeping right on the beach and close to the center of the island? This fine hotel is known for its excellent service and a large garden to relax. You stay here from €54 per night including breakfast (two persons).
Book now!

Villa Sakina €€€ 

Villa Sakina

Luxury villa with staff (chef and housekeeper) is perfect for a group of friends/family (room for 7 people). Location right at the beach and the villa is stylishly decorated. You sleep here from €138 (7 persons).

Book now!

Wondering if a trip through Madagascar is expensive? Read more in our Madagascar budget blog!

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1 Comment

  1. by Delarey on 31 July 2021  17:48 Reply

    I am planning a trip to madagar, would like to go fishing but also spoil my wife with spa treatment. Where is the best places to go and also best time of the year?

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