If you're looking for paradise beaches then the North region is where you'll want to be.
But there's much more to the tropical North situated closest to the equator. The North has a seven month dry season followed by intense rainfall from December to April creating a varied landscape including altitude rainforests, limestone caves and tranquil lagoons.
Nosy Be off the northwest coast, is a five-star resort destination renowned for its snorkelling and diving in warm tropical waters, offering coastal cruises, marine excursions, various types of fishing and island tours. There are more than 30 islands in and around Nosy-Be, including Nosy Komba (also known as 'Ile aux Lémuriens') or Nosy Tanikely, the Mitsio archipelago to the north (with Nosy Tsarabanjina) and, to the south, Nosy Iranja and the Radama archipelago extended by Nosy Saba and Nosy Lava, offering pristine, white beaches. And the tourist friendly lemurs.
The Bay of the Russians, this large bay located between Nosy Iranja and Nosy-Be, formerly known as the Bay of Ambavatoby, is not a simple resort for holidaymakers looking for a change of scenery.
Bordered by the rugged Tsaratanana Massif mountain range with its highest point Maromokotro at 2,876m, there are other spectacular sights in the North including the lakes and waterfalls of the Montagne d'Ambre (Amber Mountain National Park) forest, and the Tsingy (limestone formations) with a network of grottos, caves and underground rivers in the Ankarana Special Reserve.
The coastline is deeply indented featuring the natural harbor at Antsiranana (Diégo Suarez). At Antalaha in the Sava region, dhows, traditional sailing vessels used originally for trading by the Arabic storekeepers who frequented this part of Madagascar are still used and constructed in the small shipyard.
The Northern region has a fascinating culture via its multi-ethnic population, a mix that includes Muslims, descendants of African slaves, Indian traders, Arabic sailors and French plus the local Antakarana.
The North subdivides into the Sava area consisting of Sambava, Vohémar, Andapa and Antalaha and also the Diana region comprising Diégo, Ambilobe, Nosy-be, Ambanja.
MAJOR TOWNS: Antalaha, Maroantsetra, Sambava, Vohémar, Andapa, Nosy Be, Diego Suarez (Antsiranana), Ambilobe, Ambanja, Nosy-Be
NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES: Ankarana Reserve, Montagne d'Ambre, Lokobe Reserve, Nosy Komba, Nosy Mangabe, Nosy Tanikely., Nosy Hara, Marojejy Reserve, Anjanaharibe Reserve.
Prime Magazine Featured destinations in North Madagascar
For an unforgettable holiday, make a stopover in the village of Ambobaka. Located in the heart of the Diana region in the North of Madagascar, this village is a paradise for researchers and scientists, but also for trekking lovers. Put on your equipment and get ready for a breathtaking adventure.....Read more
The Bay of Russians is a small island located between Nosy Iranja and Nosy-Be, formerly called Bay of Ambavatoby. This is not a simple holiday resort for vacationers in search of change of scenery. This place is also a witness of the Russian fleet’s journey in Madagascar in 1905 during the moment of the Russo-Japanese war.....Read more
The peaceful city of Antalaha was once inhabited by fishermen. Everything changed at the end of the 19th century when vanilla, a variety of orchid with vines, was introduced in 1905 in the Sava region – composed of Sambava, Antalaha, Vohémar and Antalaha - in the northeast of the island.....Read more
If you have a passion for water sports, we advise you to spend your next vacation in Babaomby. This place located on the northern tip of Madagascar in Diego-Suarez, between the Mozambique Channel and the Indian Ocean, offers you the best kitesurfing and windsurfing spots on the island.....Read more
Orangea, this paradise site of Diégo-Suarez housed in the 19th century the "port aux Boutres" or "Port des Arabes" or "Port des Antalaotra". These Islamic seafarers from Mayotte or Zanzibar, who mastered the Swahili dialect, supplied the people of the north of the island with manufactured goods and weapons. They also sometimes traded slaves.....Read more
Antotorogno is one location deriving its great value in the tourism field in Madagascar passing through Nosy Komba; the villagers still practice harpoon fishing , and let’s not forget the various lemurs that overrun this district. Known for its surrounding islands, in Nosy Be, go to Nosy Komba which houses Antotorogno village: the fishing village.....Read more
Located in the UNESCO marine biosphere reserve of Sahamalaza, about 100 km south of Nosy Be, accessible by boat and private plane, is Nosy Saba which means "Life is sweet". This 130 hectare island naturally offers everything that nature and sea lovers can expect.....Read more
Anjiabe, is a unique village that deserves a special detour during your trip in the North of Madagascar. Located 20 minutes by boat from the island of Nosy Be and south of Nosy Komba, this village offers a timeless setting with authentic landscapes, rich in local agriculture.....Read more
The history of Nosy Be dates back to the beginning of the arrival of Arabs on the island in the 900s. At this time a city called Mahilaka was created which created the first trading post of the island. These first inhabitants lived on the export of copal, iron, chlorite, rock crystal, gold and slaves, a maritime connection with a large part of the countries of the Indian Ocean.....Read more
The Sambirano River, located in Ambanja, north-west of Madagascar, has its source in the Tsaratanàna massif and flows to the bay of Ampasindava. It is possible to go down it, sometimes on foot, sometimes in a canoe. A sporting and meditative adventure where the exuberance of vegetation is omnipresent.....Read more
Madagascar is full of relaxing places and those of the north are the most striking. It is in an unsuspected part of the island, that is located the Androadroatra waterfall, a location little known to the Malagasy people. 621 kilometres separate it from Antananarivo, the capital of the country.....Read more
Antalaha, the city of vanilla, is the pivotal place of the SAVA region in the north of Madagascar. Its name derives from the era of sailing-ships which implored (mitalaho) passage through the barrier of reefs offshore. Here Madagascans have built an exceptional site, that combines the environmental, education and tourism aspects: welcome to "Macolline"!.....Read more
Madagascar abounds in magnificent landscapes. The Ambato peninsula, located in the northwest of the Big Island and nestled at 26 meters above sea level, is an example. The arrival is pleasant, the roads and bridges are well maintained and all around the peninsula, punctuated by the sea, are settled the typically Malagasy fishing villages. The primitive way of life of the population, recalls the beauty of simplicity out of the tumults of the city. Calmness is the watchword.....Read more
Leading us to the province of Diégo-Suarez in the North of Madagascar (DIANA region), this tour allows to discover the mangrove of the West coast of Madagascar. This mangrove plays a vital role in protecting the land against erosion and at the same time serves as a nursery for many marine species.....Read more
The Nosy Be Archipelago is well-known for its beautiful islands, unique beaches and relaxed lifestyle. This “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” is also a good position to observe the marine megafauna: Humpback whales, Omura whales, lots of dolphins, whale sharks, Manta and Mobula rays and other sea turtles appear to value these conditions of rich, calm waters, to live, feed and breed.....Read more
Nobody has yet experienced the paradise, but there surely might be similarities to Nosy Tsarabanjina, a beautiful isolated island in the middle of the ocean, located off the north-west of Madagascar. It is part of a myriad of small islettes that form the Archipelago Mitsio and is considered the most beautiful of them all.....Read more
Taking the RN6 to the north of Madagascar will lead us to the village Ambondromifehy. More precisely, it is located 43 kilometers from Ambilobe, in the rural district of Anivorano North. With its 3000 inhabitants, Ambondromifehy represents the typical Malagasy life-style with a plenty of straw houses, small shops everywhere in-between, and just a few concrete buildings.....Read more
About 10 km off the west coast of Madagascar, 50 km south of the international airport of Nosy be, accessible by boat and private plane, there is Nosy Saba which literally means "Life is Sweet". The natural environment around this island of 130 hectares offers everything it takes, to fall in love with the beaches, the sea und its underwater space.....Read more
Since the waterfall was discovered by priests, it was named the "Cascade of Good Fathers". It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the Big Island, with a difference in altitude of more than 80 metres shaped like a succession of natural bathtubs. Do not hesitate to bathe here. No wonder it is one of the most visited sites in the northern part of Madagascar.....Read more
Ambatobe Mamy Antely (great honey rock), is – as the name suggests – a great rock well known for its natural and pure honey. It is located 4km from the centre of Andapa, in the SAVA region, an area rich in agriculture. Rice growing, vanilla fields, coffee, fruit and vegetable plantations, fish farming and beekeeping make up the daily life of the villagers.....Read more
At this unique natural pilgrimage site, come and discover Malagasy fauna and flora in an easy accessible way via the “Baobab Valley Tour". The vegetation is lush. The forests are abundant and contain an impressive number of local and regional endemic species.....Read more
Its wild and rugged character as well as its exceptional biodiversity, make Marojejy National Park a paradise for mountain lovers and an exceptional landmark for the most exigent naturalists. Described as "a wonder of nature", this UNESCO World Heritage site is found in the northeast of Madagascar.....Read more
Ambatozavavy is a village of fishermen and farmers, located north-east of Nosy Be, 11km from Hell Ville. En route to Ampasipohy and a visit Lokobe Park, this village is mainly known for the stone that gave it its name: "Ambatozavavy", a combination of "Vato" (stone or rock) and "zavavy" (woman). Therefore, the name of the village would mean "Female Rock".....Read more
A trip through Madagascar's vanilla trail is an exceptional adventure. The point of departure is Amboangimbe, an extremely well-known village in the north of the island. This region has Madagascar’s largest area of land devoted to this high-quality export crop, well known throughout the world.....Read more
Exploring a stunning landscape with the impression that no one else has ever set foot there before you is still possible in Madagascar. Bemanevika is a region where you will be constantly delighted and amazed. Nestling at the heart of a volcanic region, Bemanevika has a unique ecosystem, with forests, savannah grassland, lakes, bogs and marshes, forming an extraordinary natural environment.....Read more
The island of Nosy Tanihely, which literally means ‘small land’, has been blessed with enchanting scenery, so much so that you will soon forget its small size. Its reputation is due to its magnificent soft white sandy beaches, where you can sunbathe or simply relax. But behind this dream setting, there lies a wealth of other extraordinary treasures. Welcome to the National Marine Reserve of Nosy Tanikely, one of Madagascar’s marine hot spot!.....Read more
Built in 1911 between 1963 and 2005 in a heavenly spot, the penitentiary of Nosy Lava used to house an average of 1600 convicts. Since it was closed down, the former prison has been welcoming tourists, who come to enjoy the extraordinary beauty of the island and explore its three exotic little villages.....Read more
Sambava is a town that leaves nobody indifferent. The naturally-friendly population, the specific character of its environmental resources including the floating fragrance of vanilla and the unusual architecture of its streets give it an undeniable charm.....Read more
Baobab trees growing on tiny islands, giant mushroom shaped rocks and beautiful coral are just some of the attractions of Madagascar's 'Bay of Halong'. The Bay of Moramba, with its strange sandstone rock formations, is nicknamed Madagascar's 'Bay of Halong’. In this extraordinarily beautiful spot, you will find baobab trees growing on tiny islands that look out over the pristine waters of the bay. At low tide, you can marvel at the giant mushroom-shaped rocks with their base eroded away, defying the laws of physics. You wonder how they manage to remain standing.....Read more
For an encounter with the nocturnal frogs of Beradaka and to hear their chorus of croaking then visit Beradaka in the rainy season, just a hop from Andapa. One kilometre from the town of Andapa is Beradaka, a site that was inaugurated by the Ministry of Tourism in 2012. The name means both ‘abundance of frogs’ and ‘large-sized frogs’. In any case, an ideal site for observing nocturnal frogs. During a rainy spell, the croaking of the frogs fills the air of the northern forests, their joyous cries quite simply due to the period of reproduction, during the hot and wet season. Most of the frogs to be found in Madagascar are endemic to the island.....Read more
A picturesque retreat away from the far more touristy Nosy Be, the island of Nosy Sakatia offers the calm of its pristine beaches, its endearing shy lemurs and its chameleons. You can get lost in the hills, trekking down the dry river-beds and listening to the sounds of the Malagasy wilderness....Read more
A unique starting-point for those wishing to explore the north-west of Madagascar, a visit to Marovasa Be will give you a magical experience at the heart of the forest, with tall baobabs and a myriad rocks. Truly grandiose scenery. In addition, the locals, traditionally fishermen, have recently started growing oranges, kaffir limes, frangipani, cashews, ylang-ylang, coconut palms and mangoes. The lush natural vegetation also attracts bird-life. But there is more to come…..Read more