Madagascar is a land of unbelievable mystery, excitement, and adventure, both on land and under the water. Madagascar is located just off the east coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean. If you’re a nature lover, then Madagascar should certainly be on your bucket list.
Nosy Be, also known as ‘The Perfume Island’ is located off the northwest coast of Madagascar. Nosy Be is where most of the top diving sites can be found, however, there are quite a few smaller islands found nearby, which also have an amazing collection of dive sites for all levels of diver.
These small islands include Nosy Komba, Nosy Sakatia, Nosy Tanikely, Nosy Miitsio and Nosy Iranja, which are all home to incredibly diverse marine life including Manta Rays, Marine Turtles, and Stingrays. If you’re looking for some incredible diving experiences with Whale Sharks, then the time to visit Madagascar is between the months of November through December. However, if you’re planning a trip and want to get the best out of what Madagascar has to offer, under the surface, the best time to visit is between April and August. Around this time, the visibility is excellent, being over 30m. However, if you do find the visibility has dropped around this time, it is usually due to a huge Plankton bloom, which in itself attracts plenty of large predators.
The waters surrounding Madagascar are home to one of the world’s longest, continuous coral reefs. Not only is this country renowned for its incredible land animals, but also the many marine species endemic to the area. In Madagascar, you’ll find 5 out of the 7 species of marine turtle, over 56 types of sharks, over 34 types of whales and dolphins, 1300 types of bony fish and over 300 species of hard coral. These waters are just teaming with life and should not be missed.
Diving in Madagascar can also be experienced via a liveaboard, with the best locations being within the Mitsio (north of Nosy Be) and Radames (west of Nosy Be) archipelagos. In addition, the east coast of Madagascar, for example, Saint Marie, is known as one of the migratory routes for Humpback Whales throughout the months of July to September. They have also been known to give birth around this time, making it an awesome experience for divers.
Top 5 Dive Sites Madagascar
Located within the Madagascan Marine Park, Nosy Tanikely is a great first dive to introduce you into the waters around Madagascar. It’s perfect for newbies and advanced divers alike. Home to stunning marine life, corals, and fauna, this enchanting dive consists of drop-offs and shallow, flat reefs with great visibility. The colors are spectacular, you’ll find Stingray, Barracudas, Tuna, Moray Eels, Groupers, Lion Fish, Frogfish, Brain Corals, Hard and Soft Corals, large Gorgonian Fans, Tube Sponges, Triggerfish, Turtles, Blue Spotted Stingrays and so much more. This dive site is perfect for all those budding naturists out there.
The Four Brothers is an awe-inspiring dive site, which consists of 4 large, silver-coloured, basalt rock domes that reach an impressive 90m and penetrate the crystal clear blue surrounding waters. Located southwest of the Mitsio Islands (an archipelago to the north of Nosy Be), this dive site boasts impressive overhangs, stunning rock formations, and caves, which provide shelter for many seabirds. Under the surface, you’ll find underwater cliffs that range from 4-20m at the sea floor. Home to a number of incredible species including; Blue Spotted Rays, Lobsters, Unicorn Fish, Crocodile Fish and many other species, this is a great dive for all levels of diver. If you find yourself on a romantic trip to this location, the best time to go is around sunset as the views are spectacular.
The Gran Banc Exterior (The Big Outside Bank)
This incredible open dive site is home to a large drop off and part of the large, continuous barrier reef. If you are a shark-a-holic, then this is the dive site for you. The maximum depth for this dive site is around 20m and is home to Tuna, Grouper, Soft Coral, Hard Coral, Table Coral, large Puffer Fish, White Tip Reef Sharks, Whale Sharks, and Hammerheads.
Nearly every diver wants to spend time with these magnificent creatures, and at Manta Point you can do just that. This ‘cleaning station’ provides a spectacular show for divers. Home to special cleaner fish and juvenile reef fish, the sandy seabed at this location is peppered with blocks of coral that are thriving with these hungry mouths, just waiting for these majestic giants to come past. Not only will you find Manta Rays, you’ll also find Devil Rays, Tuna, Grouper, Triggerfish, Whale Sharks, Vase Sponge, Crocodile Fish as well as hard and soft corals.
Gorgonian Fan Forest
If you’re in Madagascar, you MUST NOT MISS THIS DIVE. At some points, this dive feels a little eerie, however swimming amongst a forest of giant Gorgonian Fans is an experience like none-other. It is an out-of-this-world experience, almost like you’re moving through an artist’s painting, totally serial but incredible. As you move through this underwater forest you’ll see large Turtles, Blue-Spotted Rays, and Crocodile Fish. If you’re lucky, keep an eye out for Seahorses that cling onto the branches of the fans.
There are so many incredible dive sites throughout the waters of Madagascar, too many to include in our list, so if you have one that has not made it on our post, make sure you tell us about it in the comments below.