Ilot de Sable Blanc du Nord

Have you ever dreamt of visiting a tiny island bathed by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean? Then head north-west of the lagoon of Mayotte, where this white sand islet emerges at low tide. Surrounded by a superb coral reef, it will bring you wonderful snorkeling adventures in a paradisical setting.
How to get there?

The Ilot de Sable Blanc du Nord (Northern white-sand islet) is in the Mayotte lagoon, to the north-west of the island, a few hundred yards from Mtsamboro island. Please note that there are two Ilots de Sable Blanc in Mayotte, and the second (Ilot de Sable Blanc du Sud) is in the south-east of the lagoon, facing Saziley. This is one of the most popular excursions in Mayotte, and you will have no trouble finding guides or fishermen to take you. The excursions to Northern Sable Blanc Islet generally also include a stop at the Choizil Islets. If you are organising your own trip, find out about tide times.

Water entrance

It is easy to enter the water from the islet where you land. The area to be explored stretches to the north of the island, and you should see the Mtsamboro island on the left when you get into the water.

Aerial view


In the upper part of the reef, the water is not very deep (↕3-10ft/1-3m) and the quality of the coral beds is excellent. The hard coral of the acropora type (branching and table coral) dominate the underwater landscape. You can look for giant clams (numerous at this spot) and small octopus hiding in the coral. At the reef drop-off (↕10-20ft/3-6m), the coral drops down to the sandy sea bed. Along the reef, colonies of hundreds of dazzling orange anthias make a beautiful spectacle. You will need to dive down a little to take photos of them. Sergeant major fish (several species) and parrotfish, butterflyfish and longnose butterflyfish continually criss-cross the reef. Move along the reef, but without drifting too far away from the island.

Snorkeling Report Northern Sable Blanc Islet
The Northern Sable Blanc Islet

Unlike the spots accessible from the coast, there are generally no problems of visibility at this spot. Avoid the reef to the south of the island, where the sea is very often turbulent. Also watch out for boats, which can arrive in numbers at certain times of day. Follow the instructions of your tour guide, who can advise you on what to do depending on the conditions.

Restaurants and accommodation

No food or water is available for purchase on the islands. The tour organisers generally provide meals and drinks – ask them for more details.

Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.

Spot’s weather forecasts (°C)

Spot tips

  • Type of spot
  • Level of difficulty
    Intermediary level
  • Maximum depth
    20ft (6m)
  • Water entrance
    Easy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential Dangers
    Crown-of-thorns starfish
  • Lifeguard
  • Visitor numbers
  • Access costs
    Excursion price (approx. €40 pp.)
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Public toilets & showers

Spot map

Spot photos

Underwater spot photos

Species you may spot while snorkeling Ilot de Sable Blanc du Nord

Common name Scientific name Abundance Fishbase Wikipedia
Sulphur damsel
Pomacentrus sulfureus
Scissortail sergeant
Abudefduf sexfasciatus
Indo-Pacific sergeant
Abudefduf vaigiensis
Bluespine unicornfish
Naso unicornis
Yellowfin surgeonfish
Acanthurus xanthopterus
Green birdmouth wrasse
Gomphosus caeruleus
Black-sided hawkfish
Paracirrhites forsteri
Giant clam
Tridacna sp.
Acanthaster pourpre
Acanthaster planci
Yellow longnose butterflyfish
Forcipiger flavissimus
Melon butterflyfish
Chaetodon trifasciatus
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You encountered a specie at this spot that is not listed here?