Nosy Komba, the lemur island
From the Malagasy capital, Antananarivo, you reach Ankify, located several hundred kilometres away, by car or via a short domestic flight. From this peninsula, the boat takes you to Nosy Komba island, the second largest of Madagascar's islands after Nosy Be. Yet it is only eight kilometres in diameter! You are about to witness a total change of scenery in the heart of extraordinary landscapes. Once you have disembarked onto this ancient volcanic island completely covered with tropical forest, you soon understand why you can only visit Nosy Komba on foot. Here there are no roads, only paths through nature between gigantic trees, surrounded by fruit and flowers.
You can't wait to discover this luxuriant nature by going hiking. There is something to suit all ages and all levels. Keen hikers won't be able to resist climbing the Antaninaomby peak, the volcano from which the island originates. It takes a good five to six hours surrounded by rosewood trees, banana trees and orchid vines to reach the summit. The view from the crater's ridge, which peaks at an altitude of 622 metres, is absolutely incredible, and is well worth the effort. Delight in the 360° panorama on the archipelago of Nosy Be and on the coasts of the main island. It is hard to come down after a show like that!
Astounding fauna and flora
If you are not a hiker, do not worry: the dense forest of Nosy Komba is a treasure trove of wonders, notably the famous lemurs, which gave its nickname "the Island of Lemurs". A species endemic to Madagascar, these wide-eyed primates are everywhere and have cult status among the local population, which is committed to their protection. Listen carefully to the sounds in the trees to pick up their vocalisations, keep a keen eye out for those small, agile creatures that live in the trees of the thick, protective and nourishing forest, and where mangoes, persimmons, and soursops grow in abundance.
There are many other animals to be observed on the island, especially during an excursion around the village of Ampangorina in the north, which is accessible to all. To discover this biodiversity, you can enlist a guide from the Tourist Office. He will take you to meet the maki macaco (a species of lemuriform primate), chameleons, lizards or turtles. Also take advantage of your visit to the main village of Nosy Komba to admire the work of the embroiderers. With nimble fingers that master the Richelieu stitch to perfection, these women make colourful cotton tablecloths that depict scenes from Malagasy folklore and the island's flora.
At the end of the day, go to Villa Nofiko. The green forest is blooming all around you. You admire the tranquil water from your deckchair on a wooden pontoon. You find absolute calm in these preserved surroundings. Here, everything is designed and built around nature, starting with the single-storey architecture of the building where you are staying. Octagonal in shape, it blends perfectly into the landscape. Similarly, electricity is supplied by solar panels. The hanging garden offers all the fruit and vegetables you will need for cooking: papaya, cacao, vanilla, coconut, mango, bananas or breadfruit (which has a similar taste to sweet potatoes) etc. Not forgetting the bougainvillea, frangipani and ylang-ylang flowers.
If you suffer a small injury or illness during your stay on the island, ask to see Mrs. Yvonne. This healer, who is almost 80 years old, knows all the plants, their medicinal properties and their correct usage. She is one of the island's unmissable characters, who passes on her knowledge to her descendants to keep this pharmacopoeia alive.
+261 32 91 625 54
Nosy Iranja, a paradise on water
Leaving behind Nosy Komba and its lemurs, you reach another little corner of paradise: Nosy Iranja and the two islets that form it, linked by a narrow two-kilometre-long sandbar. To get there, you take a boat from Nosy Be, neighbouring Nosy Komba. After an hour and a half of fast sailing, you have before you the picture postcard you always dreamed of: a turquoise blue, crystalline sea, casually leaning coconut trees, immaculately white beaches. Everything is in place for an escape like no other.
The order of the day is to savour every moment that passes. It is up to you whether you simply laze on the sand or go snorkelling and discover the underwater fauna, featuring sea turtles and manta rays, as impressive as they are majestic. The tuna, parrotfish, spinner dolphins, groupers and swordfish are unmissable. Humpback whales are the main attraction from July to October, with whale sharks following close behind. Besides diving, you can sail on a dhow, a traditional sailing ship, or on a pirogue.
Robinsonade in the Mozambique Channel
If you wish to prolong the magic, spend the night at Nosy Iranja. You can choose between straw huts in the fishing village or bivouac-style tents by the water's edge, especially on Madirokely Bay. The Baleines Rand'eau team will take you to watch turtles that have come to lay their eggs on the beaches in the dead of night. With a bit of luck – and the greatest discretion – you might even be lucky enough to see some hatching eggs.
If you want to keep dreaming, discover Nosy Iranja Kely, the second small islet located at the other end of the sandbar. This is a private area and access to it fluctuates with the tide. On foot or by small shuttle boats you reach the Zahir Iranja Hotel, a charming ecolodge, nestled in this paradisiacal setting. Imagine yourself sipping a cocktail with exotic fruits as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean... All that remains for you to do is set the dates for your next stay in Madagascar.
Nosy Iranja Lodge
+261 32 24 509 87