Nosy Be, Madagascar

April 15, 2023

We stayed in port a few extra hours last night due to a medical emergency on board, but we still made it to Nosy Be on time. Nosy Be is an island off the northwest coast of Madagascar and is the largest and busiest tourist resort. Nosy Be means “ big island” in the Malagasy language. The French colonized the island from 1840 founding an outpost named Hell-Ville (from French Admiral de Hell).

Here are a few photos from our approach to our tendering spot.

Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island. The population of Nosy Be is about 110,000.

The Insignia lounge, where we go to wait for either tender tickets or our tour tickets, was as busy as I have ever seen it, and our tour was one of the last to be called, about 45 minutes late. It is complicated on a tendering day because there are only a limited number of seats in the lifeboats (used for tendering) and the destinations team needs to also coordinate with the tour companies on shore to be sure they are ready for us.

Happily, our tour was picked up in the boat we would take to get to our destination, the Lokobe Natural Reserve. That meant that we didn’t have to take the tender ashore to get in another boat. There were three guides on the boat with us and they split us into three groups when we arrived at the reserve. Out guide was Marcellin, and there were also local people on shore that helped with guiding us on our hike through the rain forest.

The tour description didn’t say that there would be a “wet” landing onto the beach before hiking through the forest, so we had to take off our shoes and socks to wade through the water. I do have the right water shoes but they were on the ship. Then, there was another small water channel which we had to go onto a smaller boat to cross. The group after us was very crowded on that small boat and we thought it might tip over. I don’t know if anyone got a video, but I did get this picture.

It was good that we had guides because many of the creatures we saw were very well camouflaged. We saw chameleons, lemurs and snakes and we probably missed as many as we saw!

The lemurs stayed in the trees. When we were here 8 years ago, we went to a lemur area where we could feed them and they came right on your shoulders. This was a natural reserve and rain forest so the lemurs stayed well away from us. There are about 20 species of lemur. They are less active during the day. Their diet consists of mostly fruit.

We saw many chameleons. The birds are the main threat for them so they have many methods of avoiding detection. Their colors change to blend in with their surroundings and they may look like the bark of a tree with the head pointing down like the one we saw. Their eyes rotate 360 degrees in their heads so they are good at detection, but with their eyes wide open, it is easier for birds to see them. If they point down, the birds cannot easily see their eyes! Some were so small that we would have missed them entirely.

The snakes here are mostly nocturnal. There are more than 80 species of snakes here but none are poisonous. Marcellin said that the only really dangerous ones are sea snakes and we won’t be doing any swimming!

The ones we saw were this black snake and this boa constrictor. The black one was not moving but when it heard us, the boa moved slowly. Boas can reach 22 feet long. I have these pictures of the snakes but we couldn’t see how long the boa really was.

The lemurs were up in the trees so you don’t see them well in my pictures – mostly you just see the tails. I did get this shot of one in a tree trunk.

There is a tree that has sap like a sort of rubber that they can use on their boats. We saw many of the wooden canoe like boats and also the sailboats on our trip to Lokota.

The dried sap

The hike was challenging at times, pretty muddy (it’s a rain forest after all), but we did well and learned so much about Madagascar and its beauty.

At the end of the hike, we arrived at a different beach where local women welcomed us with singing and dancing. They gave anyone who tipped them a necklace made of flowers. And we always tip them.

There were also lots of adorable children. The facepainting that the women do is a tradition. Some just use the white powder to protect from the sun and others are more ornate.

The local people prepared some fruit and snacks for us and there was beer and soft drinks. They had the type of tablecloths that I bought last time along with many craft items.

We added to our mask collection with this one featuring lemurs and chameleons.

Laundry day

On our way back from the tour we saw this downpour under one of the large clouds.

And back at the ship We saw this entrepreneur selling fruit to our friends before they got out of the tender.

It was a hot and steamy humid day so we had a very late lunch when we returned (3:30) and relaxed in our room in the late afternoon. We watched “A Man Called Otto”. I had read the book it was based on – “A Man Called Ove” and enjoyed it. We both liked the movie and the lead performance by Tom Hanks.

We had a snack for dinner and I went to the evening show which was Panos Karan, an amazing pianist, who played classical music from around the world. We both attended his first show. He ended this one with the entire “Rhapsody in Blue.” Really wonderful.

This entry was posted in Africa, April, Excursions, World Cruise #4. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Nosy Be, Madagascar

  1. Violet Archer says:

    Rainforest tours are tours we never miss. So much to see and explore around the world. What wonderful experience. Thanks for this reminder.


  2. Don says:

    So many adventures!! It’s like a lifetime in 180 days!! Can’t wait to hear more this summer!!


  3. dempcoaching says:

    Hi Pat I am so pleased that you had such a full day and so so many sights. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures.

    All my best!



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