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With its white sand and a forest populated by lemurs, the small island of Tanikely is one of the jewels of Madagascar. Turned into a National Park ten years ago, the island is bordered by one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the country, where sea turtles, snappers, anemonefish, barracuda and even starfish live right below the surface of the water. A trip not to be missed by snorkeling enthusiasts who stay at Nosy Be or Nosy Komba!

School of barracuda at Nosy Tanikely
Schools of barracuda find shelter in Nosy Tanikely protected waters.

How to get to the Nosy Tanikely snorkeling spot

Nosy Tanikely is generally visited by day (or half-day) boat tour starting from Nosy Be or Nosy Komba. The boat trip between these two islands and Tanikely takes about 30 minutes. There is an entrance fee to the National Park (MGA 20,000pp.).

Nosy Tanikely snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Nosy Tanikely

You can enter the water from the north or south side of the main beach, according to the area you want to explore (see map).

Nosy Tanikely snorkeling exploration

There are two areas recommend for snorkeling in Tanikely, extending at both sides of the tip of the main beach. The most frequented part (and most appropriate for beginners) is located in the south, in a very calm area between the beach and a rock wall.

Madagascar clownfish at Nosy Tanikely
Madagascar clownfish is pretty easy to see at Nosy Tanikely’s reef.

In the two areas, the coral reef starts close to the beach and stretches for 100 to 200 m. Some areas are covered by long-spined sea urchin, with frightening spines. The reef is rather well preserved, dominated by digitate and branching corals, porous coral pinnacles and mushroom corals.

There are many clams living to the reef. There are also sea anemones in this area, frequented by two species of anemonefish, Madagascar clownfish and skunk clownfish.

Nosy Tanikely became a National Park in 2010 and fishing is strictly prohibited. The seabed is very rich in fish, frequented especially by huge parrotfish, blackspotted rubberlips, and even schools of barracuda.

Among the hundreds of species of colorful fish that can be seen while snorkeling in Tanikely, we can also mention the Moorish idol, the blackeye thicklip wrasse and the yellow boxfish.

Damselfish at Nosy Tanikely
Many species of damselfish inhabit Nosy Tanikely shallows.

In Nosy Tanikely there is also some shallow seagrass beds, which is the best environment for observing green turtles, found pretty frequently around the island. Among the seagrass, look for beautiful red-knobbed starfish, which can reach almost 30 cm.

Restaurants and accommodation near Nosy Tanikely

Tanikely Island is a natural site where no accommodation or restaurants can be found. The day tours from Nosy Be and Nosy Komba generally include lunch. Ask about what is included when you book your trip.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaNosy Tanikely National Park
  • Maximum depth20ft/6m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersLong-spined sea urchins
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsDay or half-day tour + National Park entrance fee (MGA 20,000pp.)
  • Restaurants nearbyNo

MAP Spot

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.