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.

Snorkeling at îlot de Sable Blanc du Nord

How to get there?

The Ilot de Sable Blanc du Nord (“northern white-sand islet”) is located 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 boat tours in Mayotte, and you will have no trouble finding guides or fishermen to take you. The tours to Northern Sable Blanc Islet generally also include a stop at Ilots Choizil.

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 Mtsamboro island on the left when you get into the water.

Northern White Sand Islet snorkeling map, Mayotte

Exploration

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.

Coral at Ilot de Sable Blanc du Nord, Mayotte

Unlike the spots accessible from the coast, there are generally no problems of underwater 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.

Giant clam in Mayotte

Restaurants and accommodation

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

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  
  • Level required Intermediary
  • Protected areaParc naturel marin de Mayotte
  • Maximum depth20ft/6m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersCrown-of-thorns starfish
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsTour price
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.