MADAGASCAR: USEFUL INFORMATION
The size and greatness of the Big Island, as Madagascar is commonly called, make this a “Continent” Island.
Fifth bigger island in the world after Australia, Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo, Madagascar is almost three times larger than Italy.
Madagascar is located 400 km from the East coast of Africa (separated by the Mozambique Channel), at 800 Km from Réunion and is crossed by the Tropic of Capricorn in the Tulèar area. Its extension and the difficult conditions of internal transports make Madagascar a destination suitable to be visited in more than one journey.
The different regions are extended across a dorsal spine: the central mountain chain high from 1200 to 1500 mt divides the Country into two zones: East and West. The highest mountain, Maromokotro, is 2876 mt high.
The “Hauts Plateaux” highlands are characterized by a variety of hills, mountains, plains and granite massifs. The rise fields are the most common element of these regions, where agriculture and breeding still represent the main activities. You will also be able to find the water sources of some of our bottled waters. Forests and fields alternate with red soil, with the latter giving another well-known name to Madagascar: Red Island.
The East coast from North to South shows the same characteristics everywhere.
You will find pluvial forests, amazing plants, the ocean as well as lagoons and bays in which you will be able to swim in a transparent sea showing all shades of blue. Endemic plants and animals, as well as vanilla plants and spices complete this old-age and amazing picture.
The West Coast and the Big South along the Mozambique Channel are the most deserted part. Forests of silk floss trees, “Famathy”, characteristics fishers’ villages on the seaside and zebu breeders’ villages, with large beaches where you will see women bringing tuna or other fishes upon their heads: you will think you are daydreaming.
The North, an area born from the volcanic activity, is naturally isolated by the big massif of Tsaratanana. In the west zone you will find the Ambanja coast, one of the most fertile areas of Madagascar.
Finally, you will be able to discover yourself the several beautiful aspects of the archipelago of Nosy Be during your holiday. You will bring at least one thing with you: the desire of coming back.
There is no mandatory vaccination, although the antimalarial and antityphoid prophylaxis is recommended, especially when traveling in the inland. If during the last months you have traveled in areas where Yellow Fever is endemic, you could be asked to exhibit a vaccination certificate before entering Madagascar.
Avoid raw food and running water. Use of anti-mosquito spray is recommended. A chargeable medical service is available in the hotel.
Climate and time zone
Madagascar is known for its tropical climate, with two main seasons. Hot and wet from November to April, with a fresh and dry climate from May to October. Obviously, these climates tend to be more or less intense depending on the geographic zone and altitude.
The climate of the West coast of the Island, where Nosy Be is, is dryer compared to the East coast, but it’s still characterized by a dry season from April to November and a wet season (with rains during the night and sometimes during the day) from December to March.
Concerning the time zone, compared to Italy (CET) you need to add two hours (one hour during our summer).
The tropical climate of NosyBe will allow you to put few clothing in your luggage. Bring fresh and comfortable clothing to use during the excursions. Trekking shoes as well as comfortable sandals will be needed for land excursions, while simple flip-flops will be your choice for sea excursions. During winter months, from May to September, people who especially feel the cold might need a sweater during dinner.
You don’t need elegant clothing to go to the restaurant, although you cannot enter while wearing a bathing suit or without a shirt on, to respect other guests.
You can bring a pareo bought on the island or during a previous journey to wear it during the Malagasy evening, when our girls will decorate your face with the typical maquillage of Malagasy holidays.
Sun protection, hat and glasses are essential to protect yourself from the sun. You will also need anti-mosquito oil or spray to protect yourselves during the evenings.
Don’t forget to wear rubber shoes during your walks on the beach to avoid little cuts by shells or corals.
All the equipment for snorkeling will be provided by our nautical center, as well as the diving suits.
Communications, currency and languages
The international prefix for Madagascar is +261. The Corail Noir Hotel offers chargeable services such as wi-fi connection and phone service to its guests.
VISA credit cards are accepted at the Corail Noir hotel. However, since the internet connection used by this service is not reliable, we advise you to bring cash with you. The excursions can only be paid in cash.
Bancomat cannot be used, while for all the other credit card circuits you will find ATM services in the Hell-Ville city, 30 minutes far from the Hotel.
The local currency is the Malagasy ariary (MGA).
French and Malagasy are the main languages. English is less used.
Restaurants and entertainment
Hell-Ville, at 30 minutes from Corail Noir, offers several restaurants and clubs. It is advisable to book the taxi to come back to the hotel.