For many people, N’Gouja is the most beautiful beach in Mayotte. This large beach of golden sand, fringed by baobabs and lush vegetation, opens on to calm waters and a particularly rich and well-preserved reef. It is known as an exceptional site for observing sea turtles (the vast majority are green sea turtles, but there are also hawksbill sea turtles), which come to feed on the seagrass and lay their eggs on the beach.

How to get there?

N’Gouja beach is at the southern tip of the island, between the bays of Kani and Mzouazia. By car, from Mamoudzou and the north, the shortest route is to follow the signs for Chirongui and then for Mzouazia (CCD4). From the main road on the hills above, a path leads down to a cul-de-sac at a car park just behind the beach. There is no public transport, but shared taxis and hitch-hiking will get you where you want to go.

View of N'Gouja Bay snorkeling area, Mayotte

Water entrance

You can enter the water anywhere along the beach, but at low tide, and to protect the seagrass, pass across the old jetty, opposite the access from the car park. On the beach, make sure you don’t tread on turtle nests (there are usually signs pointing them out). You can explore a wider area than what is shown on the map, of course, but be careful not to enter the total protection area to the far left of the beach as you are facing the ocean (information on site).

N'Gouja Beach snorkeling map, Mayotte

Exploration

The area to explore covers a wide area between the beach and the reef drop-off some 200 meters away. From the beach, you will cross a few dozen yards of seagrass (↕4-8ft/1-2m), and then the seabed is covered with coral (↕4-10ft/1-3m) as far as the reef drop-off (↕30ft/10m).

Snorkeling with green sea turtles at N'Gouja Bay, Mayotte

At high tide, the turtles feed on the seagrass, sometimes only a few meters from the beach. Despite the shallowness of the water, the turtles can be easily approached and observed (respect the observation rules). At low tide, the sea draws back from the seagrass and the turtles move towards the reef, along the drop-off. Here the turtles are more timid, but the water (which is clearer than at the beach) and the large amount of coral and fish make it an ideal setting for photos.

While turtle-watching is the star attraction at N’Gouja beach, the other riches of the site should not be overlooked. Along a strip of ten or so meters along the reef drop-off (↕6-20ft/2-6m), the seabed is exceptional: hundreds of damselfish hidden in the colonies of acropora, clownfish in their anemone, shoals of surgeonfish, angelfish – the spectacle is endless.

N'Gouja coral reef drop off, Mayotte

Restaurants & accommodation

The only accommodation and restaurant available close to the site is Le Jardin Maoré*** hotel, which overlooks the beach.

Species you may spot while snorkeling N’Gouja
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Green sea turtle Chelonia mydas  
Hawksbill sea turtle Eretmochelys imbricata  
Madagascar clownfish Amphiprion latifasciatus  
Powder blue tang Acanthurus leucosternon  
Yellowfin surgeonfish Acanthurus xanthopterus  
Blackwedged butterflyfish Chaetodon falcula  
Orbicular batfish Platax orbicularis  
Sixbar wrasse Thalassoma hardwicke  
Green Chromis Chromis viridis  
Sulphur damsel Pomacentrus sulfureus  
Black-sided hawkfish Paracirrhites forsteri  
Melon butterflyfish Chaetodon trifasciatus  
Giant clam Tridacna sp.  
Live sharksucker Echeneis naucrates  
  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaParc naturel marin de Mayotte
  • Maximum depth10ft/3m on the reef flat, 30ft/10m on the reef drop-off
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersCrown-of-thorns starfish
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

Sea turtle watching in N'Gouja

snorkeling-turtle

Sea turtles are a familiar sight in Mayotte, and especially at N’Gouja Beach. In order to be a responsible snorkeler, be sure to respect the following rules when observing them:

  1. Do not attempt to touch or ride sea turtles
  2. Stay at a distance (6 to 10ft) from sea turtles
  3. Do not chase a turtle swimming away
  4. Avoid sudden movement and allow sea turtles plenty of space when they come up to the surface to breathe

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

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.