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.

Snorkeling at Tsarabanjina, Nosy Be
In Nosy Be archipelago, Tsarabanjina Island and its surroundings boast well-preserved sea life.

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.

Sainte-Marie Island coral reefs, Madagascar
The coral reefs around Ile Sainte Marie are some of the most beautiful in Madagascar.

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.

When to go snorkeling Madagascar?

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.

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Tsarabanjina
Tsarabanjina is a tiny island of the Mitsio archipelago, located some 40 miles north of Nosy Be, off the northwestern coast of Madagascar. The island is private, and managed by the Constance Tsarabanjina, an intimate...

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