Madagascar is a paradise for snorkelers. Its reefs are renowned for being populated by nearly 300 coral species and 400 tropical fish species, including clownfish, lionfish, angelfish, butterflyfish and Napoleon wrasse. Sea turtles are commonly seen grazing on the seagrass meadows, while manta rays can be spotted in some specific locations. Madagascar is one of the rare destination where you can easily snorkel with humpback whales: during the whale migration season, from late August to early December, these fascinating animals are seen on an almost daily basis.
The Nosy Be archipelago, Ste Marie Island, and the Southwest coast of the main island (North and South of Tulear) are the three hotspots for snorkeling in Madagascar.
Laying off the northwestern coast of Madagascar, the Nosy Be area hosts dozens of good snorkeling spots, on the main island but also on the neighboring islands and islets. The seagrass beds of Nosy Sakatia (frequented by sea turtles), Nosy Fanihy, Nosy Iranja and Nosy Vorona all offers excellent shore snorkeling, but the mass tourism has contributed to the deterioration of the coral reefs in some areas. Nosy Tanikely, covered by a marine reserve and hosting some of the healthiest corals of Madagascar, is renowned to be the best snorkeling site in the area.
Off the east coast of Madagascar, Ste Marie Island and Île aux Nattes, fringed by a lagoon on their eastern side, are also a great options. The southwestern coast of Madagascar, edged by a coral reef, is the best snorkeling on the shoreline of the main island. Around Tulear, head to Ifaty, Mangily, Belo-sur-Mer or Nosy Ve (a tiny islet located in front of Anakao) to explore one of the largest barrier reef in the world.
Madagascar is a huge island with a varied climate. In Nosy Be, the climate is tropical, hot and humid all year round, with a drier season from May to October, which is the best time to visit. The east coast (where Ste Marie Island is located) is the wettest, and the southwest (including the barrier reef) is arid. Avoid the rainy season, from December to February, when rains occurs almost everyday and cyclones sometimes hit the island.
More than 200 spots have already been published on Snorkeling Report, but there are still many spots to be added! You too can contribute to populate the map by sharing your favorite snorkeling spots around the world. The more snorkelers will contribute, the easier it will be for you, and other snorkelers, to find sites and enjoy the underwater world!
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Can be seen almost everywhere; very common in Nosy Sakatia seagrass beds
Common on many spots; frequently sighted in Nosy Be area, especially at Nosy Sakatia and Tsarabanjina
On most of reef spots; common at Tsarabanjina
On all spots
On all spots, even a few meters from the beach
On all spots, but can be hard to see
On all reef spots
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