A great way to explore the islands around Nosy Be is by private yacht charter. Fully crewed with a skipper, deckhand and chef the catamaran is exclusively yours and charters include excursions to Tanikely Marine Reserve, Nosy Komba Lemur Park and (if you are on the right boat) Lokobe National Park.
Islands you will visit may include Nosy Iranja, Nosy Sakatia, Nosy Komba, Tsarabanjina and the Four Brothers, the Mitsios, the Radamas, and so many more.
Activities on charter include endless fishing, snorkelling, kayaking, relaxing and visits to fishing villages. You are not restricted to what you want to do and when you want to do it. Your meals are expertly prepared using the freshest of ingredients. The advantage of a charter holiday is that you do not have to pay extra for the normally expensive excursions and activities and you sleep in a different place every night. Ideally suited for families, friends, fisherman and divers.
We prefer Charter Yacht Gecko and use Madagascat Charters & Travel to do all our travel arrangements throughout Madagascar.
While staying in Nosy Be - an island in the nothern part of big Madagascar - tkae your chance to explore some more remote places like Nosy Iranja island. If you are lucky enough - on your way there you meet dolphins and whales, but arriving on the island - just sea of incredible colours and white pristine beaches. And above that - it is very likely that your group will be the only tourists at that time. Even beeing there you won't believe such beauty is for real.
Okay I am not really a fan of fishing since I rather like to see the fish alive whilst I am diving - but we were put on a fishing boat jetting between the islands. If this is your cup of tea and can certainly recommend it - since Sail Fishing is very big in Northern Madagascar. To my relief my collegues did not catch anything... so back to the market :-)
One of the best ways to discover the islands is on one of the luxury yachts or catamarans that operate in the region. We booked ours through an operator in South Africa and were treated to absolute luxury and adventure.
Being a subtropical region Nosy Be has got a lot of sugar cane. Hence the idea was formed in 1930 to import a colmplete rum distillery from Brazil, the building was broken down in Brazil and completley re-built on Nosy Be. Currently it is not operational - but I have been told that after June 2005 rum will once again be produced at that distillery.
Very colourful and the main area for the locals to shop is the market. Divided into a fruit & vegetable section, a section for fish, meat and other goods it makes it interesting to see what the locals eat and buy.
Nosy Be is also called the perfume island since perfume production or the production of essence is very big. The yellow Ylang Ylang flower is one of the products used in the production of perfume essence. The trees are bend to the ground to ensure easier picking of the flowers.
The French who colonized this part of the world were very keen to keep control over the islands as well as Madagascar, since it meant a certain control over the Southern Indian Ocean. Fortifications and guns can still be seen as they were left by the French when they ultimately departed.
Besides the ferry one also can negotiate with the local boat operators to be taken to one of the other islands. Most of the traffic from Hell Ville will probably go to either Nosy Komba or Nosy Tanikely the resort island which can be reached from here.
Being an island there are only two ways to arrive and leave - by boat or by plane. Most of the islands close by are only served by boat - the ferry in the picture being one of the more or less regular services.
Another highlight of this trips exploration of the nature of Madagascar are the many frogs one can find everywhere, most of the time they relax on a leaf in the tree almost wanting to be photographed!
Madagascar is a nature paradise. Being separated from the African continent for so many years it has developed its own species of animals, reptiles, birds and insects – which can be found almost everywhere in the country, such as the colourful chameleons I discovered on Nosy Komba.
Along the port of Nosy Be you find a number of boats that can be hired to take the ride across to Nosy Komba.
If you are in this part of the world it is a must.
We paid USD 40 for 8 people - make sure you negotiate first. Our "captain" decided he wanted more money at the end - we refused to pay more since the price was agreed and he stopped persisting.
One can also visit the perfume distilleries and see first hand how the production of the essences is done, also possible to purchase some of the essences right in the factories.
One never learns out – I certainly did not know that pepper is used in the creation of perfume essence. But I learned on Nosy Be that red and black pepper is distilled as a perfume essence.