Madagascar – Island Hopping

NOSY MADAGASIKARA | NOSY BE |  NOSY AMBARIOVATO |  NOSY TANIKELY

Nosy in Malagasy means Island.  Just an hour and a half flight north of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, lies the sleepy island of Nosy Be (Big Island in English). Known for its beautiful beaches, sleepy villages, and French colonial influence, this archipelago serves as a jumping-off point to a number of smaller islands in all directions. One finds it easy to disconnect from the digital world here.  Not only are there an abundance of underwater dive excursions, horseback riding, island hopping, wildlife, and scenic parks to distract one from digital devices, but these islands are so far off the grid that electricity is unstable.  It can and will vanish during any one of the many fierce lightning storms which pass over daily, leaving one delightfully disconnected from the outside world.  The abundance of vibrantly colorful reptiles is very present on these islands.  They are everywhere.

Madirokely beach, Nosy Be.  Local fishermen return with this day’s late-afternoon catch. Want anything?
David Loughlin

There are no shortage of resorts along Madirokely beach offering a full range of accommodations. I’m enjoying an ice-cold beer at high tide.

A local woman strolls Madirokely beach in search of buyers for her fresh fruit.
David Loughlin

Low tide Southwest side of Madirokely beach, Nosy Be; I’m peering south down the beach.  I highly recommend l’Heure Bleue Hotel, you will not be disappointed.
David Loughlin

Madirokely beach, Nosy Be.  Warm sunsets with fast-moving clouds.  The sky here constantly changes.

Raw video of a lightning storm in slow motion to expose the bolts.


H E L L   V I L L E,   N O S Y   B E

Peaceful drive into Hell Villa, the capital of Nosy Be. There are great deals to be had on local coffee, vanilla, and many spices.  Not known for tourism, this small town serves as the capital of the island and main trading markets for the island.  I clearly stand out here.

Here you will find hundreds of merchants selling anything from freshly caught fish, local produce, electronics, and nearly anything you may need.


Island Hopping – Nosy Be to Nosy Komba (Lemur Island)

Off the coast of Nosy Be lies a volcanic island, famous for the preservation of lemurs, appropriately nicknamed Nosy Komba (Malagasy for Lemur Island). For a nominal fee of $35. USD, about 110,000 Malagasy Ariary, you can travel via boat to any number of outer islands and explore the deep blue, snorkel, picnic, or, my favorite, get up close and personal with a community of Malagasy lemurs.


N O S Y   K O M B A

After 35 minutes of fresh ocean wind in my face, we arrived at the small beach town of Ampangorinana on Nosy Komba.  A picturesque island, covering 25 km2, complete with lush jungles and golden-sand beaches.   Thanks to Ampangorinana’s location, this island is unspoiled. 
David Loughlin

Eager to explore the island, we beached the boats inside the cove. Overhead winds from the Indian Ocean provided persistent change of light as the clouds above cast quick-moving shadows on the tropical landscape, causing the rich colors to alternate between soft and deep shades of blue and green.  Hot, balmy and very beautiful.

Stock video footage of our arrival at Ampangorinana Beach on Nosy Komba.


Malagasy Lemurs

After a twenty minute hike into the forest, we encountered curious lemurs who scampered up and down the skinny tree trunks, hungry for fresh bananas. Connecting with these creatures was an amazing experience.  They are fun-loving, playful, and trusting, but mostly motivated by food.   Bold and eager to jump on your shoulders from all directions for a bite to eat, they are not shy when it comes to asking for handouts.
David Loughlin

This little guy is curious to see if we have food. What friendly little animals!

This lemur is fascinated with the cell phone.
David Loughlin


Other Creatures on Nosy Komba

Lemurs are only a few of the natural surprises you might encounter on Nosy Ambariovato. The jungle is alive with jewel-colored reptiles.

I’m not a big fan of snakes, but everyone else took the same picture, so why not don a reptilian scarf?
David Loughlin


Rum & Lime – Sleepy Beachfront Bar

Beachfront bar on Ampangorinana Beach. I found a sleepy beach bar offering shots of local rum, a 50/50 mix of rum and local lime juice served with a salted rim.  This thatched roof structure provides well needed protection from the intense sun.  Paradise found…with a twist of lime.
David Loughlin


N O S Y   T A N I K E L Y

Heading back to Nosy Be, we stopped at an even smaller island in the archipelago, named Nosy Tanikely. The lighthouse on the island was once the navigational aid for nautical traffic in these waters.
David Loughlin

Boats tied up, let’s exploreNosy Tanikely.
”David

David Loughlin

The lighthouse located at the island’s highest point is a reminder of days when sailors relied on their visual senses, not electronics, and were guided to safety by carefully-tended flashing lights.
David Loughlin

Atop the lighthouse, you get a panoramic view in all directions.

David Loughlin

David Loughlin

View from the lighthouse: your chariot awaits below. Gazing down at the beach, you gain perspective
David Loughlin

Local fishing boat in deep waters.

David Loughlin


H O R S E B A C K   O N   N O S Y   B E

The mid-morning start of a half-day ride across the lush countryside on Nosy Be. We rode on horseback through the Malagasy countryside, crossing  many local farms and plantations.
David Loughlin

We paused for a rest, taking in the sights before descending to the beach.
David Loughlin

David Loughlin

It’s warm today, so it’s time to head to the beach and have some fun cooling off in the bay with the horses.
David Loughlin

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