Thursday, 23 June 2016

Places to Stay on Nosy Be

Sakatia Lodge Nosy Be
The beach from Sakatia Lodge. Dreeeaaammmyyyyy. 

Yup. It rhymes. Say "be" like "bae" and you're there.

Where on earth is Nosy Be, right?! I had no idea either. It is a beautiful, lush, tropical island, just a 20 minute speedboat from the north-west coast of Madagascar, snuggled in to the side of the main island. It's pretty protected from the cyclones which batter the east coast in rainy season, and has slightly more predictable weather. In June till about September - IT IS GLORIOUS. A healthy 30 degrees today - but a with a sea breeze. Perfection. (For a few general tips on travelling in and around Madagascar, see my previous post here.)

Oh, and the name? In Malagasy, Nosy = island and Be = big. Big island. Simples. Makes sense! 
Snoozy Boa in a tree

Excuse my goofy face. I'm overjoyed!
The sunsets from Nosy Be are unrivalled, the sea is like a warm bath, and there are loads of things to do - from guided walks in lemur-filled rainforest (where we met this Brookesia chameleon above - she's in the genus of the smallest chameleons in the world); to some beautiful diving and snorkelling, you won't be bored. I've sampled three fantastic, won't-break-the-bank hotels - there's something here for everyone.

Sakatia Lodge Nosy Be
The super-cute bungalows at Sakatia Lodge
Sakatia Lodge - ok, ok, so I lied. This isn't technically on Nosy Be. It's on Nosy Sakatia, a little island just off Nosy Be. This hotel is an absolute gem. For about 200,000 Ariary (40 pounds at time of writing) you can stay in a beautiful little bungalow a stone's throw from the ocean. It's beachy, rustic, and the staff are wonderful. No air conditioning here, so bear that in mind if you can't take the heat, but there's plenty of shade and fans! Of an evening, you'll almost definitely have some wild black lemurs eating bananas just outside your bungalow door. If you love pretending to be David Attenborough, you're in heaven here.
The food is nothing short of incredible - particularly if you're a seafood lover - and the evening set menu is just out of this world. There are a few little gargottes on the same beach too, if you fancy a change of scene one evening - the food is equally great there!
This place is also absolute paradise for a diver. Even if you're just an avid snorkeller like me, there's a lovely coral reef 200m from the shore - it's like swimming in a fish tank! If you're lucky, you might end up swimming with some of the grazing sea turtles nearby. Bliss! 

Vanila Hotel and Spa - back on the "mainland" Vanila Hotel is a really chic boutique hotel right on the coast. The manicured tropical gardens and super-cool infinity pool are the perfect setting to relax in. The rooms are massive (and have air-con) and the communal areas are airy and spacious. There's also an on-site spa, again beautifully decorated, with a great choice of massages and treatments available. A slightly more up-market option than beachy Sakatia Lodge. 
Vanila Hotel Nosy Be
A typical Vanila Hotel room. Note gargantuan bed.

The gardens at Vanila
Hotel Arc en Ciel - this is another hidden gem. Down a dusty track, off the main road, if you're not used to Madagascar travel you could be forgiven for having misgivings. These will soon disappear, I promise. This little place is a time warp to a 70's Bond film. Parquet floors, all wooden er'thang (but not in a tired, dated way. You're just expecting some long-haired cat-eyed sex kitten to wander round the corner brandishing a Harvey Wallbanger) and a bar with in-pool seats - helloooooo Madagascar retro luxe.

Arc en Ciel. 70s. In a good way.

The owner is Italian and super lovely - it does help to have a little Italian, French or Malagasy if you're staying here, but everyone will try in English! Again, loads of trips can be easily organised from here.. Though you'll want to spend some time on those comfy coral loungers!

Arc en Ciel Nosy Be
The night-time view from Arc en Ciel. Nae bad.

It is a bit of a hike from the UK, but if you're looking for a little slice of paradise (but maybe not quite so sun-bathing orientated as your classic beach holiday) you'll find it here. 



  1. All of these places look amaaazing! I think I'm too much of a bug-phobe for the bungalow though! The Vanilla Hotel looks beautiful xx

    Tamz |

  2. Nosy Be looks and sounds absolutely lush, and thanks for the hotel suggestions! You've made me really want to visit now haha!

    The Velvet Black | UK Style & Beauty Blog

  3. Lovely post. x


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