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 Diving & snorkeling in Madagascar

by Tijana

Madagascar is not the most famous destination for travelers, but it deserves a line on your list!  In addition, for diving, Madagascar deserves to be on the lists The Best Diving Destinations in the World!

In addition, for diving, Madagascar deserves to be on the lists The Best Diving Destinations in the World!

Best time to dive in Madagascar

Scuba diving in Madagascar is excellent all year round. However, it is possible that some periods are not as good as others, like during the cyclone season from December to March. Sometimes divers have to cancel the boat trips for a few days, but this is extremely rare. 

Diving spots on Nosy Be and the surrounding islands

Off the northwest coast of Madagascar, the island of Nosy Be is still a jewel forgotten by the modern world. The tropical waters offer dozens of pristine coral reefs and hide a wide variety of marine life incomparable in its beauty and diversity. Diving in Nosy Be reveals a fantastic biodiversity that has been saved from mass tourism.

Nosy Tanikely: The most beautiful marine reserve in the country  

Like an enormous aquarium, the marine waters of Nosy Tanikely represent an important biotope reserve. Since fishing is prohibited there, beginners in diving have no difficulty in observing the marine life. It is also the perfect place for family snorkeling in Madagascar. You can find many kinds of colorful fish, green turtles, blue spotted stingrays in a beautiful coral field.

Nosy Tanikely certainly makes Nosy Be’s reputation for its enormous aquarium, but the archipelago also has other locations as interesting as wrecks, whale sharks and manta rays.

Old fishing boats that sank off Nosy Be have been turned into artificial reefs. Nicknamed “4 Wrecks”, the spot is one of the best dive sites in the archipelago. It is at a depth of about 30 meters. There you will meet groupers, large stingrays, and guitar rays, barracudas, and much more. Visibility is fantastic on average, and you can have excellent dives if you like wrecks and schools of fish.

Manta Point is also a must. It is the largest concentration of manta rays in Madagascar. At a depth of around 30 meters, this sandy plateau is home to manta rays, tuna, groupers, whale sharks, soft and hard corals, and many other species.

Note that the best time to travel is from March to December.

Diving spots on the island of Sainte Marie

The island of Sainte Marie, which is about 7 km from the northeast coast of Madagascar, is a true sanctuary for humpback whales. They organize every year between July and October boat trips to observe them.

For diving enthusiasts, there are many spots on the island, some of which have been archaeologically excavated and are therefore not open to the public. These sites are mostly pirate shipwrecks, as the Sainte Marie was the pirates’ refuge before the 18th century. If you want to visit wrecks like the Coconut Grove or the Leopard, turn to one of the local dive centers.

The best places open to the public are La Grotte, Pointe Albrand, the Atoll of the Sand Islands and the Merou Wall.

The lagoon of the island of Sainte-Marie is of course preserved. It is home to many intact coral gardens that are inhabited by coral fish, sea turtles, rays, pelagic fish, but also by large marine mammals such as dolphins and humpback whales.

To practice this activity in the best conditions, here is a proposal for a stay in Sainte-Marie.

Diving spots in Ifaty / Mangily and Salary

We can also discover the underwater depths of the southwest coast of Madagascar with a holiday on the island, first in Mangily Ifaty and now further north in Salary. Life there comprises great dives, amazing encounters, strong moments that we share on the water, underwater and on land, stopovers in Vezo villages or in stylish accommodations offering beautiful view with conviviality, always in magnificent landscapes of lagoons, Dunes, coral reefs, burning skies, … sea.

Courses for divers

Madagascar is a great destination for learning to dive. In fact, diving centers usually offer a full range of international certifications such as PADIThe training takes place in peace and in beautiful surroundings; the trainers take a lot more time than in Europe. My guests have only had pleasant experiences so far.

Then there are locations for divers of all levels, with or without specialization. However, if you want to complete your scuba diving education, most of the specialization courses are offered in Madagascar.

Snorkeling and fishing in Madagascar

Madagascar not only offers an incredible opportunity for diving but also snorkeling. You can snorkel from many of the country’s beaches as the reefs along the islands’ shores are shallow.

Underwater fauna: fish and corals

Madagascar is a typical travel destination in the Indian Ocean and benefits from great biodiversity. There are 34 different types of whales and dolphins and 5 types of sea turtles. In addition, there are around 56 species of sharks around the islands. There are 300 different hard corals and many types of soft corals that home to around 1300 species of fish!

Diving safety

If you are planning to travel to Madagascar, I advise you to invest in good travel insurance that also covers diving. You never know what can happen, and good insurance can get you out of inconvenient situations. I recommend this travel insurance because it offers worldwide coverage, and it covers many high-risk sports such as diving.

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