Destination Spotlight: Nosy Be

April 10, 2022  |  Share:

Nosy Be, Madagascar

Situated off Madagascar’s northwestern coast, Nosy Be is a small island and the number one beach destination in Madagascar. Nosy Be is also known as the ‘Perfumed Island’ because of the ylang-ylang plantations near the colonial capital, Hell-Ville, in the southern corner of the island.

Getting there

The island of Nosy Be can be visited as part of the itinerary on specific South African cruises, with sailings around Madagascar, often stopping in the port of Nosy Be either for the day or an overnight stay.

Nosy Be is a sought-after area for many cruise lines to visit, with guests soaking up the sandy beaches, pristine ocean and mouth-watering cuisine. Nosy Be welcomes a variety of cruise ships, from all-inclusive ultra-luxury vessels such as Regent Seven Seas and Oceania to smaller-ship sailings with StarClippers and Windstar.

The island itself isn’t too far from the mainland of Madagascar and is easily accessible by boat from Ankify, should your cruise not stop at Nosy Be.


Nosy Be was first inhabited by migrant tribes from the Madagascan mainland, including the Antakarana and Sakalava locals. The island was under French control from 1840 until it became part of Madagascar in 1896 and eventually gained independence in 1960. Nowadays, Nosy Be is one of Madagascar’s most prominent yet unique tourist resorts.


Lokobe National Park

You may catch a glimpse of the rare black lemur in Lokobe National Park.


Things to do

Snorkelling and scuba diving are among the popular activities on Nosy Be island. You can explore the island’s underwater world of vibrant coral reefs that host a wealth of tropical fish, turtles and rays within its marine reserve.

Located on the southeastern side of Nosy Be is the must-see Lokobe National Park. Its rainforest walking trails allow you to come face-to-face with wildlife, including the rare black lemur. This reserve is the last remaining forest in the region and is home to over 350 species, including the spectacular panther.

For something a little more historical, explore the centuries-old Sacred Banyan Tree outside the village of Mahatsinjo or walk amidst crumbling French colonial architecture in Hell-Ville.

Furthermore, you can join a guided tour to Orchid’s Island, on Nosy Be’s west coast. Orchid’s Island is a preserved ecosystem hosting flocks of rare birds, endemic plants, and an intriguing past.


The traditional dish of Lasopy

The traditional Madagascan dish of Lasopy.



Nosy Be offers fantastic Madagascan dishes, including the traditional Lasopy (vegetable-based soup), usually served as a starter.

Previously voted as the best restaurant on the island, Pilly Pilly Restaurant serves many exotic dishes, from grilled lobster to skewered crocodile. Perched on a small cliff peninsula and boasting stunning panoramic views over the bay of Andilana, Pilly Pilly Restaurant is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner whilst watching the sunset on the horizon.  

The local’s favourite, Le Papillon, is located in an old colonial house with a spacious veranda in the heart of Hell-Ville. The menus change according to the season and feature delicious dishes, including fresh pasta and fish.

La Table d’Alexandre is a classic French restaurant offering a divine selection of meat, fish and vegetarian cuisine. The pavilion perches over a low hill overlooking the beautiful mangroves, Indian Ocean and the nearby Orchids Island of Nosy Sakatia, ideal for a special occasion whilst appreciating the incredible views.

Best time to visit

The average temperatures in Nosy Be remain relatively consistent; however, the best time to visit the island is between May and October, whilst the wetter months range between December to February. The island may be affected by tropical cyclones, usually familiar from January to March.


The sunsets at Nosy Be are certainly worth waiting for..

The sunsets on Nosy Be island are certainly worth the wait.

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