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