Everywhere wherever you go in Madagascar, you’ll be spoiled by the beauty of its biodiversity. It is an island of treasures, many of which can be found on a tour of the north.
- Ambre Cap
- Mt. Ambrequi
- 3 Bays: Bay of Sakalava, Bay of Pigeons, Bay of Dunes
- Nosy Be
The city of Diego Suarez – also known as Antsiranana – is renown for its three superb bays, as well as being home to the Tsingy of Ankarana. It is the capital of the province and also the third largest port in the country. We’ll start here and move around the northern region to enjoy some of its highlights.
Ambre Cap is the absolute tip-top of the island of Madagascar, putting you in the one position on earth where you will have the Mozambique Channel to the west of you the Indian Ocean due east. Its inhabitants are called Antsiranana. It is a cosmopolitan city (Antakarana, Sakalava, Antandroy, Merina, Comorians, Indians, Chinese, Yemenis and Somali, Europeans: French, Italians, and Swiss), occupying a surface area of 49,000 km2.
Before reaching this splendid area, you will pass through Ankarafantsika on the RN4, about 450km from Antananarivo. (The equivalent of about 9 hours of time of the road). The people here are the « SAKALAVA». It is in this region you will find the famous “ANKARAFANTSIKA,” a national park of dense and dry forests. Distinguished by its lakes and preservation of 8 species of lemurs, you will also find 129 species of birds, as well as iguanas, snakes, terrapin, chameleons and crocodiles. In terms of flora, more than 800 species exist here, 80% of which are herbaceous and endemic. You will also have the opportunity to trek, take “night walks” or enjoy a picnic.
Antakarana holds appeal to visitors for geological reasons as well: according to historians, during the 19th century, the mountainous area was the residence of the kings of Antakarana. Some caves still preserve the tombs of their leaders. Additionally, you will find 330 plant species, ficus and baobab trees, 11 species of lemurs, 60 species of reptiles and amphibians, 96 species of birds, 50 mollusk species, etc.
There is also the Mountain of Ambrequi, southwest of Diégo Suarez. It is built by a kind of wet primary forest with a surface area of 18200ha, and is rich in vegetation and flora: crowned cascades, foams, lichens, orchids, ferns and others epiphytes. With regard to fauna, you will have the pleasure of admiring seven species from lemurs (2 nocturnal and 5 diurnals), 75 species of birds and 59 of reptiles – particularly the smallest chameleon of the world.
Back in the city of Antsiranana on the eastern edge of the island, you can visit the 3 bays that make the area famous: Bay of Sakalava, Bay of Pigeon, and Bay of Dune. They follow one another in a charming string of white sand, abutting beautiful clear waters of the Indian Ocean.
Each bay holds activities in store for you that are not to be missed.
The bay of Sakalava, for example, is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful spots in Madagascar. Encircled by a coral reef of approximately 2 km in length and 1 km broad, it is perfect for amateur surfers. There are also beautiful comfortable beaches and grounds for games of beach volleyball.
Then there’s Bay of Dunes. A beautiful place for a walk from the local village, you may pass by the remains of military buildings as well as shelters for all types of birds.
Finally, there’s Bay of Pigeons. Enclosed by forest and accessible from Sakalava, you’ll find several species of endemic birds, white sand beaches ringed with coconut trees, coral masses home to multicolored fish, and an emerald bay begging to b explored by boat. There’s a natural lagoon for swimming, as well as opportunities for underwater hunting, snorkeling, kite surfing and windsurfing.
From there, you can continue your adventure on the island of Nosy Be. It is a coastal island inside the Mozambique Channel at the northwest corner of Madagascar, famous for its whale festival. The actives are essentially endless: visiting Mount Passot and Nosy Sakatia, scuba diving, taking in the Natural lokobe Special Reserve, visiting Lemur Island, Nosy Fanihy, observing whale and dolphin migrations, or visiting Ambaro Ranch.
After a great adventure up north, we will finally return you to the capital of Antananarivo.