Nosy Be, a misunderstood island

Nosy Be vue du ciel

You are planning your trip to Nosy Be and of course you want to know more. You have just visited some local guides, Tripadvisor, little smart, backpacker and I guess you are a little lost on “what to expect?” This is the primary reason for this site because during my first stay in Nosy Be in 2010, I was totally wrong about what I was going to discover.

An forgotten time Island

Nosy Be may be communicated as the tourist flag of Madagascar, attendance figures remain ridiculous. With an arrival of barely 60 000 tourists / year (to compare, 81 000 000 / year in France), Nosy Be (“the big island” in Malagasy) is still far from mass tourism. Nosy Be is a small island where life is good, the beaches are for you, you are certain to be able to take a picture during your vacation in Nosy Be the beach completely deserted!

What climate in Nosy Be ?

Hôtel floraly komba

340 days of sunshine a year.

Rainy season in January & February, plus the hurricane season is the period when operators take their holidays.

How many seasons in Nosy Be ?

excursion requins baleines nosy be

High season: July to December, better book your hotel

Low season: March to June

Humpback whale season: July & August

September: The whales are still there, the whale sharks are coming and the big holidays are over 🙂

Nosy Be, more than an island, an archipelago

Nosy Tanikely

The most famous side of Nosy Be is undoubtedly its archipelago! With more than 10 islands, you will fall in love. Note that some islands are not accessible in one day, to be able to enjoy it is to consider either a bivouac or a cruise, whether it is a catamaran or more traditionally Malagasy dhow.

Places to discover

Excursion à cheval à Nosy Be

Don’t think that Nosy Be has only beaches to offer, the interior of the island offers magnificent panoramas to who takes the time to discover them. Whether hiking in Mont Passot, bicycles in the vicinity of Hell-city, Quad at the Nosy Be waterfall, tour the island in 4 × 4, visit the islands by boat without forgetting diving , fishing, whale safari and many more

Varied accommodations

Hôtel coco beach madagascar

The advantage of the destination of Nosy Be is precisely that it favors tourism. You will find there all types of accommodation:

  • Hotels from * to ***, air-conditioning, hotel services
  • Guest houses, which offer for the majority the same hotel services but in a more friendly atmosphere.
  • Holiday rentals, studios, apartments, villas. The choice is wide, the advantage being of course to have the autonomy, ideal for the means-long stay to many.

Nosy Be population

Ecole nosy be

The inhabitants of Nosy Be are from the sakalava people (Madagascar is populated by 18 ethnic groups), so they have their own history & culture, music, dance and makeup specific to their island Nosy Be.

In the culture of the Sakalava and Antakarana people, taboos and taboos (fady) play an important role in daily life. The cult of the ancestors, the belief of the power of the deceased ancestors, is omnipresent.

In the past, simplicity is reflected in the dress code worn by men and women. The wearing of the kitamby, a loincloth wrapped around the hip, the traditional dress of the time is over, the time having brought a radical change in the ways of dressing for men. However, on the women’s side, the kisaly was able to keep its place.

Since the time of colonization, Christianity and Islam have arrived which has generated a cultural and religious mixing visible through the habits and life of every day. These new religions cohabit peacefully with local tradition.

Story of Nosy Be

Visite hell ville nosy be

It was around the 9th century that Arab sailors visiting the island periodically named Nosy be “Assada” or “Sada”, the Malagasy then called “Vario Be”.

It was banned “fady” at the death of Queen Ambary 2 and became “Nosse-Be” or “Nos-Be”. Various sovereigns will succeed each other on the island.

Around 900 the Arabs who approach the northwestern coast of Madagascar refuel Nosy Be and create a counter in Mahilaka. They then fortify the city with a wall of 4 meters high and 2 km by 1 km side. In 1100 the Arabs create a counter in Ambanaro.

In 1200 Mahilaka becomes the largest city of Madagascar.

In 1400 the Indians settled in Ambanoro following the decline of Mahilaka.

Occupied by the French from 1841 interested in its beautiful harbor – 55 years before the rest of Madagascar – and quickly colonized, Nosy Be became, in the nineteenth century, an important trading post on the west coast of Madagascar.

It is in 1842 that the French baptized it by decree “Nossi-Bé” the big island or “the pearl of the Indian Ocean”.

From the 1850s, food crops and cash crops developed there, with settlers from Reunion, Mauritius and France. The island is part of the island of St. Mary of Madagascar Mayotte government and has 15 000 inhabitants around 1865.

It is attached to Madagascar at the end of the century. Thus, the small island becomes an agricultural colony, covered with fields of cane, indigo, coffee, but also sesame, rice, corn, potatoes and cassava.

She harvests the flowers of ylang-ylang from the 1920s. It is from this activity that comes to him the nickname of perfume island.

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