A day on Nosy Be

We generally prefer individual excursions on our cruises. They give us the important experiences that are needed to get to know a cruise destination intensively and to describe it authentically. On the volcanic island of Nosy Be in Madagascar, we break away from our usual habits and embark on an organized excursion.

Nosy Be - Kokoa-Travel excursion team

Nosy Be - Kokoa-Travel excursion team

Shore excursion to Lokobe National Park

The 740 hectare protected area is located in the southeast of the island. The area of ​​the Lokobe Reserve includes the last remnants of the original Sambirano jungle. In 1927, the area was placed under protection for the first time while still under French administration. This evergreen, tropical rainforest is a refuge for many animals, such as the few black lemurs that only occur in the Lokobe Reserve. For nature conservation reasons, only a small part of the reserve is accessible to visitors.

Nosy Be-Ampasipohy

Nosy Be - Cabins in Ampapsipohy 

Welcome to Andoany

The day on Nosy Be begins with disembarkation in the island's capital Andoany, the former French Hell-Ville. The port of our destination for the day is not intended for ships the size of our floating hotel. That's why we have to tender. Together with other ship guests, we then leave the port city in minibuses towards the west coast of the island.

Nosy Be - Andoany - waiting boats

Nosy Be - Andoany - in the center 

The city, which has around 50.000 inhabitants, presents itself to us with a morbid charm as we drive past. There is nothing worth seeing in the city area that the guides would have to specifically draw our attention to.

Nosy Be - Andoany - Main Street

Nosy Be - Andoany - Main Street 

Instead, on Nosy Be and the small neighboring islands there are unique, beautiful beaches worth seeing with inviting diving and snorkeling opportunities. No holidaymaker on Nosy Be even needs a modern 18-hole golf course.

Anyone who visits Nosy Be will especially enjoy the wonderful and varied tropical landscape.

Ylang-ylang plantations

Our first stop is a ylang-ylang plantation. Nosy Be is nicknamed “Island of Fragrances”. The name is associated with the strongly scented flowers of the ylang-ylang trees. Ylang-ylang oil is extracted from the flowers and is used in the production of perfumes, soaps and food. The fast-growing trees reach heights of up to 25 meters.

Nosy Be - Ylang-Ylang trees

Nosy Be - Ylang-Ylang flowers 

The trip ends soon after at the Bay of Ambatozavavy.

Nosy Be - low tide in Ambatozavavy

Pirogues take us to Ampapsipohy

Traditional pirogues await us there, which will take us to the Ampasipohy base camp in about an hour. It is low tide and we are required to walk a long distance across the open seabed before we reach the boats. We can rest assured, the paddles provided are only used to bring the boats into deeper water. Afterwards, several pirogues are hooked up behind a motorboat and towed near the shore towards the base camp.

Nosy Be - watercourse at low tide
Nosy Be - Ambatozavavy - Walk to the pirogue
Nosy Be - Ambatozavavy - waiting pirogues
Nosy Be - Ambatozavavy - waiting pirogues

The camp turns out to be a small settlement with permanent buildings and a shelter used as an open-air restaurant. Clean sanitary facilities are also available.

Nosy Be - first impression of Ampapsipohy

Nosy Be - first impression of Ampapsipohy

Nosy Be - Cabins in Ampapsipohy 

On foot through dense jungle

We leave the village in small groups and follow the trails leading into the dense jungle of the nature reserve. It takes around two hours over hill and dale, even small streams are no obstacle. – And we actually see the promised animals. There are the nocturnal lemurs that rest at a safe height during the day and watch us troublemakers, satiated, lazy boas that have made themselves comfortable on forks of branches and a number of chameleons.

Nosy Be - Lokobe Reserve - resting boa

We confess that without the guides accompanying us we would not have seen any of the animals. However, you won't miss even a mini chameleon about two centimeters tall, not to mention the larger ones.

Nosy Be - Lokobe Reserve - Chameleon

Nosy Be - Lokobe Reserve - Chameleon

Nosy Be - Lokobe Reserve - Pygmy Chameleon 

Rustic lunch in Ampasipohy

The excursion ends where it began: at the Ampasipohy base camp. A rustic lunch of typical local dishes will be served in the shelter, which everyone can enjoy. The women of the village try to bring home-made handicrafts to visitors and the village youth marvel at the many tourists. It's not every day that so many people come to Ampapsipohy

Nosy Be - Ampapsipohy's Youth

It's time to go back. The tide has now set in. Our boatmen have brought their pirogues to the beach; the long way across the sea floor is unnecessary. The minibuses await us again in Ambatozavavy. They bring us back to the ship at a brisk ride.

Nosy Be - Farewell to Ampapsipohy

Nosy Be - Ambatozavavy at high tide 


The seven-hour excursion charged our onboard account with almost 100 euros per person. The investment was profitable; we experienced a lot of interesting things. However, there is another way: fellow travelers talked about how they were able to do an almost identical trip on their own.

Nosy Be - Lonely house on the Lokobe reserve

At 19:00pm our ship weighs anchor to join us Antsiranana to head to the second destination in Madagascar.

Update March 2024 

Excursions & Activities Nosy Be - GetYourGuide