Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is located off the southeast coast of Africa, in the western Indian Ocean. The coral reef stretching over 450km along its southwestern coast (the fifth largest reef in the world), but also the numerous islands and islets scattered along Madagascar shoreline makes it one of the region’s best snorkeling destinations. Whale sharks, clownfish, manta rays and sea turtles are among the underwater fauna you might expect to encounter while snorkeling the island.
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 have commonly seen grazing on the seagrass meadows, while manta rays can be spotted in some specific locations. Madagascar is one of the rare destinations 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 occur almost every day and cyclones sometimes hit the island.
450+ spots have already been featured on Snorkeling Report thanks to people like you. Share your favorite snorkeling spot and help us cover the world map. Your contribution will help the snorkeling community find sites and enjoy the underwater world!
ADD A SPOT
Can be seen almost everywhere; very common in Nosy Sakatia seagrass beds. Frequently spotted in Nosy Tanikely.
Common on many spots; frequently sighted in Nosy Be area, especially at Nosy Sakatia and Tsarabanjina
On most of reef spots; common at Tsarabanjina and Nosy Tanikely.
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
Resort island edged by coral reefs
Level: Resort nearby
Marine park with vibrant coral reef and sea turtles
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Mayotte is the hidden gem of Southwestern Indian Ocean. This small French island is surrounded by a 1,500 square kilometers lagoon, the largest in Indian Ocean. Home to dolphins, whales, manta rays and dugong, it is considered one of the most beautiful snorkeling destination in southwestern Indian O (...)
It is true that Réunion Island, a volcanic and mountainous French island located in southwestern Indian Ocean, may not compete with other tropical destinations in terms of idyllic picture-postcard beaches. Even so, 15 miles of the island’s western and southern coastline are fringed by lagoons shelte (...)
Mahé is the most extensive of the granite islands in the Seychelles. The many beaches, coves and shallow lagoons scattered along its coastline make the main island a great destination for snorkeling, with dozens of spots freely accessible from the shore. Some of Mahé neighboring islands, protected b (...)
Casuarina-fringed beaches, gin-clear sea and blue sky... welcome to Mauritius! Blessed with an extensive lagoon, abundant marine life, and dramatic topography, Mauritius is a good destination for snorkelers of all experience levels. Despite important signs of declining reef health, the island's shor (...)
Dominated by granite boulders of all shapes, seagrass meadows and coral reefs, Praslin underwater landscapes host a wide variety of marine life. Only 7 miles long, Praslin is, however, the second largest of the granite islands in the Seychelles. It offers a dozen decent snorkeling spots, most of the (...)
Some of the most stunning beaches in the world, hawksbill sea turtles laying just under the surface of the Indian Ocean, and, just before your eyes, vibrant coral reefs where angelfish and spotted eagle rays abound… La Digue and its neighboring islands (Félicité, Coco, Grande Soeur…) are full of sur (...)
Denis Island and Bird Island are the northernmost islands in the Seychelles, and the only two coral cays of the granitic bank of the archipelago. On these sanctuaries islands, where tens of thousands of marine birds comes to nest each year, nature reigns. Fringed by coral reefs, Bird and Denis are t (...)
White sand, turquoise blue water, and swaying coconut trees: Zanzibar archipelago, just off the African coast, is a tropical paradise. Its coastline, although overcrowded in some areas, offers good snorkeling, both from the beach and on the surrounding islets. Multicolored starfish, clownfish, butte (...)