I knew we had chosen the right place when the owner/manager greeted us in shorts and bare feet. No snooty welcome drinks and wet towels here! Although when I think back, I think there were actually welcome drinks and wet towels. But with a different vibe…
Nosy Be is a mixed bag in terms of reputation. It’s one of the few destinations in Madagascar that receives direct flights from Europe , rather than requiring travelers to pass through the capital Antananarivo. So it has a reputation as a mixed bag of mega-resorts with scripted activities, as well as a popular destination for older men seeking younger female company.
But with a little research, you can find a place like Anjiamarango Beach Resort, where Philippe meets you with bare feet, and you get a lovely ocean-facing, stand-alone cabin with huge sliding glass doors and shady trees that are just perfect to hang a hammock (I know, because I did). A half mile of pretty much private beach, and a snorkle-worthy reef about half a mile out and a shallow, open-water-swimable bay.
Pretty much the entire island is reachable within about 45 minutes. The resort will arrange outings according to your preference – we went on a snorkeling trip off one of the small islands that surround the main island of Nosy Be. We spotted lots of happy fish, several octopi, and a creepy, meter-long wormlike creature.
We also took a day trip to the peninsula that hosts the Lokobe Strict Reserve, a protected area which has several lemur species which occur nowhere else in the world. But some of the most interesting creatures were the tiny ones we found near the resort. Such as these weird flying antlike bugs all lined up on a stick at the top of a well…
We went out walking one night and heard a loud racket coming from just off the road – it sounded like birds, not really what we expected frogs to sound like. But with patience, flashlights, and wet feet, we finally managed to isolate the source of the sounds.
There were also the usual nighttime suspects. It’s not all about lemurs and chameleons out here.
During the day, we wandered along the tidal pools and discovered pools containing hundreds of these odd, starfish-like creatures living in the rocks and cracks between them. It was one of those rare times when I was truly stumped about what sort of animal we were seeing. Later, we identified them as brittle stars – Wikipedia tells us there are 2,000 species of them but the majority live in very deep waters.
Finally, we enjoyed just hanging around our own beach – snorkeling, kayaking, and flying the drone at sunset. Here’s a sampler of the footage I captured with the drone.