Il Sainte Marie is around an hour's flight from Antananarivo. It is an idyllic, tropical island with miles of sand and reef-protected coves and bays, with lush vegetation covering the island's hills, and coconut palms shading the beaches.
The island is 50kms long and 7kms at its widest point. Historically, it was the centre of piracy in the region when pirate ships would use the island as their base from which to plunder ships full of silks, spices, coins and jewels returning from the Indies. The pirate cemetery still stands on the island as a reminder of this history. Most of the hotels on the island are on the west coast, with a few in the east and a couple more on Il aux Nattes off the southern tip of the main island.
The majority of people who visit Il St Marie will be keen to watch the migrating whales which are normally seen here from July-September. You can often see the whales from your beach hotel, or for a more close-up experience, out on one of the many boat excursions available, the best of which is from Princesse Bora Lodge, who offer visitors the chance to assist with research.
There are also several wildlife areas on the island which are home to various types of lemur, birds, geckoes, chameleons, frogs and also many orchid species. Marine turtles also nest on certain beaches on the island. The shallow water around the island is ideal for diving and snorkelling. The coral reefs, various wrecks, tropical fish and turtles make for some superb diving sites.
Accommodation: Princesse Bora Lodge
Meal Basis: Full Board plus Activities
This long, narrow island off Madagascar’s east coast might be just the piece of heaven you’re looking for. Also known as Nosy Boraha, its lush islets, bays and coves will provide the same privacy and mystique they did for the legendary pirates that held out here after their plunders in days gone by. The waters are endowed with significant coralline growth and offer first-class diving; or if you prefer being ‘onboard’, take a traditional pirogue ride in the calm bays – from July you can witness the migration of substantial groups of humpback whales. And for history lovers, a visit to the pirates’ cemetery of Saint-Pierre is a must.
The four star Princess Bora Lodge offers discerning guests comfortable accommodation in a totally unspoilt environment, there is also an excellent restaurant offers a selection of French, Malagasy and European cooking. The activity centre will assist with a selection of island tours as well as snorkelling, PADI dive centre, water-skiing, windsurfing and fishing.
This itinerary is a guideline, Africa & Beyond tailor every trip to your individual specifications including all accommodation, flights, transfers & activities, please contact us to discuss your ideas.