The size and wealth of the Big Island, as Madagascar is commonly called, make it a “continent” island. The fifth largest island in the world after Australia, Greenland, New Guinea and Borneo, Madagascar is about three times the size of Italy.
Madagascar is 400 km from the east coast of Africa, separated by the Mozambique Channel, and 800 km from Reunion Island. It is crossed, around Tulear, by the Tropic of Capricorn. Its vast size and transportation situation make Madagascar a destination to visit on multiple trips.
The different regions are distributed around a “backbone,” the central mountain range between 1,200 and 1,500 m, which separates the country into two zones: the eastern and western. The “Maromokotro” is Madagascar’s highest peak at 2876 meters.
The “Hauts Plateaux” are characterized by a wide variety of hills, mountains, plains and granite massifs. Rice paddies are the common denominator of these regions, where agriculture and animal husbandry are the main activities. There are also springs whose water ends up on our tables. The alternation of vegetation, crops and red soil reveals another well-known name of Madagascar: the Red Island.
The east coast, from north to south, still has the same characteristics. Rainforests, striking vegetation, an imposing sea but punctuated by lagoons and bays where crystal-clear water and countless shades of blue allow swimming in a dreamlike setting. Endemic flora and fauna, as well as vanilla, tea and spice plantations complement this landscape of yesteryear.
The west coast and the deep south, along the Mozambique Channel, are the driest and most desert-like areas. There are forests of thorny trees, the “Famathy,” the “octopus trees.” The zebu herding villages in the interior and, on the coast, the quaint fishing villages with their kilometer-long beaches and women passing by carrying tuna or other fish on their heads will make you dream.
The north, a region of volcanic origin, is naturally isolated by the great Tsaratanana massif. To the west, you will find the Ambanja coast, one of Madagascar’s most fertile lands.
Finally, during your stay you will discover for yourself, day after day, the beauty of the Nosy Be archipelago from which you will take away a precious souvenir: the desire to return as soon as possible!
No vaccinations are required, although prophylaxis against malaria and typhoid is recommended, especially if you plan to travel inland. If you have traveled to areas affected by yellow fever in recent months, you may be asked for a vaccination certificate upon arrival.
Avoid raw foods and running water. The use of mosquito sprays is recommended. Medical service is available at the hotel for a fee from local private doctors.
Madagascar is known for its tropical climate, with two main seasons: hot and humid between November and April, dry and cooler between May and October. Of course, these climatic conditions are more or less intense depending on your geographical position and the altitude at which you are located.
The climate of the west coast of the island where Nosy Be is located is drier than the east coast but it does not escape the dry season, from April to November, nor the wet season, which extends from December to March with its nightly and sometimes diurnal rains.
As far as the time zone is concerned, compared to France (CET), two hours must be added (only one during summer time).
The tropical climate of Nosy Be allows you to travel rather light. Choose light, practical clothing that will provide a good degree of comfort for excursions. Hiking shoes and comfortable sandals are necessary for land excursions, while a simple pair of flip-flops is an essential companion for sea excursions. During the winter months, from May to September, the more chilly among you will pack a little warmer clothing that can be used in the evening for dinner, when the sea breeze will make you appreciate a little cotton sweater.
It is not mandatory to bring elegant clothing to the restaurant, even if it is forbidden to wear a bathing suit or bare back out of respect for the other guests.
A pareo souvenir of a previous trip or bought on the spot will be welcome for the Malagasy evening, during which young women will recreate with pleasure on your face the typical make-up of the Malagasy festive moments.
Sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses are essential against UV rays, and don’t forget to take along a mosquito repellent to protect yourself at nightfall.
For your walks along the beach, don’t forget your rubber sandals to avoid the painful micro cuts that corals and shells can sometimes cause.
All diving equipment will be provided by our dive center, including full gear for the diving sessions.
The telephone code for Madagascar is +261. Hotel Corail Noir provides its guests with wi-fi connection and telephone service for a fee.
VISA credit cards are accepted at Corail Noir, but the internet connection required for this service is not always reliable, so we recommend that you bring cash. Excursions can only be paid for in cash.
Credit cards are not accepted. For all other credit card networks, ATMs are available in Hell-Ville, 30 minutes from the hotel.
The local currency is the Malagasy Ariary (MGA).
The two main languages are French and Malagasy. English is less common.
Hell-Ville, 30 minutes from Corail Noir, offers a wide choice of restaurants, but also many discotheques and nightclubs. It is advisable to book a cab to get back to the hotel.