Nosy Be, also called Nossi-Bé ,
Nosy Be island lying about 5 miles (8 km) off the northwestern shore of Madagascar. The name means “Big Island.” It is 19 miles (30 km) long, 12 miles (19 km) wide, and has an area of about 120 square miles (310 square km). Formed by volcanoes, the island is forested and has numerous craters and crater lakes. Its highest point is Mount Passot (1,079 feet [329 metres]). It has an annual rainfall of 78–118 inches (1,975–3,000 mm). The island’s products, chiefly sugar and oils for perfumery, also include rum, vanilla, black pepper, and bitter oranges. The main town, in the south, is Hell-Ville, a resort and port for foreign shipping and trade along the west coast of Madagascar. There is an airfield at Fascène, 7 miles (12 km) away from Hell-Ville.

The arrival of Captain Passot’s warship Colibri in 1840 initiated the cession of the island to the French, and the town Hell-Ville was named for Passot’s commander in chief, Admiral de Hell. The island has been part of Madagascar since 1896.

The climate is sunny year-round, and Nosy Be is paradise for water-based activities. Diving is the island’s top draw, and there are plenty of swimming, snorkelling and sailing for those keen to stay close to the surface.

Once you’ve had enough of seascapes, head for the rolling landscapes of the little-explored hinterland: as well as the brilliant Réserve Naturelle Intégrale de Lokobe, there are cocoa, ylang-ylang and vanilla plantations, crater lakes and waterfalls, and miles of dirt tracks accessible only by foot or quad bike.

With its lovely beaches and postcard sunset views, it’s no surprise most hotels on Nosy Be have decided to set up shop on this part of the island. It stretches from Madirokely to Andilana in the north. The further north you go, the more isolated and quieter it gets, so you’ll need to eat where you sleep (or take a taxi to go out) if you stay up there. If you look for the company, you’ll be happier in Ambatoloaka or Hell-Ville.

 

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Possible routs of your trip.

1 - South.

Nossy-Be -> Ankazombiravy -> Nosy Iranja -> Radama

2 - North.

Madiroke -> Nosy Tanikely -> Nosy Komba -> Nosy Tsarambajina -> Guatre Frere -> Ankarea -> Grand Mitsio -> Nosy Tanga

3 - South, Mamuko.

Madirokely -> Bay de Russe -> Nosy Kisimany -> Nosy Mamoko -> Nosy Komba -> Nosy Faly -> Iranja Kely

4 - North. Lukube.

Madororely -> Hell-Ville -> Lokobe -> Nosy Faly -> Nosy Fanihy -> Nosy Sakatia -> Madirokely

5 - Nort-North-East

Crater-Bay -> Nosy Sakatia -> Quatre Frere -> Cape Sebastian -> Nosy Tanga -> Nosy Hara -> Diego Suarez (Antsiranana)