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Last updated on September 27, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No food or water is available for purchase on the islands. The tour organizers generally provide meals and drinks – ask them for more details.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Small islets fringed by a vibrant coral reef
Reef drop off and sea turtles
Free shore access
Marine reserve with a vibrant reef drop off and many sea turtles
Free shore access
Sand bank edged by a coral reef
Marine park with vibrant coral reef and sea turtles
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