We travelled to Ankify harbour from Ankarana
(140km which took 2.5 hours), stopping at
a fruit and spice farm en route. From the
harbour the Tropic tours boat took us to
Nosy Tsarabanjina one of the islands in the
Mitsio Archipelago. It’s an amazing,
remote, hidden jewel. Pristine, white sand
beaches caressed by turquoise blue waters.
There is excellent diving and snorkelling
on vibrant coral reefs and the ocean offers
a large diversity of reef fish.The staff
are very welcoming and extremely keen to
ensure that you have the holiday of a lifetime!
Tsarabanjina was the perfect location to spend my birthday and end our Madagascar travels.
The Mitsio Archipelago consists of a dozen small islands located about 55 kilometres north-east of Nosy Be and 30 kilometres off the mainland of Madagascar. It is uninhabited except by a few small fishing hamlets and the tourist resort on Nosy Tsarabanjina. Nosy Tsarabanjina was the location for Joanna Lumley’s Girl Friday TV programme and book, set in 1992, two years before the hotel lodges were built.
Our snorkelling and kayaking expeditions
The Mitsio Archipelago
We went on an afternoon trip to explore Nosy Mitsio and the villagers who live there. The Mitsio Archipelago comprises Nosy Mitsio (La Grande Mitsio), Nosy Ankarea, Nosy Lava, Nosy Antaly, Nosy Tsitampevina, Nosy Tsarabanjina, Nosy Toloho and the Quatre Frères islets of Nosy Beangovo, Nosy Betalinjona, Nosy Antsoha and Nosy Betanihazo.
Each island has a unique character. La Grande Mitsio is known for its huge basalt columns (the Organ Pipes). A climb up the highest hill on Nosy Ankarea (219m), passing many interesting succulents en route, reveals spectacular views over the entire archipelago. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to visit Les Quatre Frères (the Four Brothers), islands of silver basalt containing huge caves with impressive overhangs and nesting seabirds such as northern gannets, white-tailed tropicbirds, and frigatebirds
Nosy Be Archipelago
Lying off the north-west coast Nosy Be, the largest in the extensive archipelago, is Madagascar's most important holiday resort. Exotic perfume plants such as ylang-ylang, vanilla (Madagascar is the world's largest producer), lemon grass and patchouli are grown here. The main town is Hell-Ville. Nearby, there is a ruined 17th-century Indian village. It boasts some of the most beautiful beaches of Madagascar on its 200km coastline, caressed by turquoise blue waters protected from heavy swell by the Mainland. Emerald green lakes occupy its craters and a myriad of heavenly islets ensure it has an exceptional sea environment.
Nearby islands include Nosy Tanikely, Nosy Vorona Nosy Iranja and Nosy Tsarabajina. Tanikely is a small marine reserve island (fabulous snorkelling); Komba is a sanctuary for Black Lemurs, and Iranja and Tsarabajina are remote jewels for the discerning traveller. The islands can be visited all year except during February and March, when the rains peak.