SCUBA Travel

Diving in Madagascar

30 June 2016
Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island, hosts one of the world's longest continuous coral reefs1. The country is famous for her unique land animals, but her seas are also full of life not found anywhere else. And she doesn't just have endemic species: around the Madagascar coast are found at least 34 types of whale and dolphin, 5 types of turtle, 56 types of shark, 300 hard corals and 1300 species of bony fish 2.

Madagascar is in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Mozambique. The cyclone season normally runs from January to March at which time most of the dive centres are closed. The best time to go is between May and December, when the visibility can be 30 m or more. High season is in July and August, which are also the coolest months. Average open water sea temperature ranges from 28 oC in January to March, to 23 oC in July and August.3 In the north, though, the water temperature never gets lower than 26 oC in Winter and the average temperature is 28-29 oC for the rest of the months.

Frog Fish - Antennairius
Frog Fish, Antennarius sp, in Madagascar, Photo credit: Madaplouf

Visas are required for entry to Madagascar. 30-day tourist visas may be obtained at the airport on arrival. If obtaining a visa at the airport, you should ensure that an entry stamp is recorded in your passport.

There has been political unrest in Madagascar since 2009, when there was a coup. Elections to return the country to democratic Government have taken place and a new president was sworn in in 2014. Rather than travel independently at the moment, use an established travel firm. Take especial care in the south-east of the country. Having said that, in 2013 there were around 8,000 British visitors alone to Madagascar and most visits are trouble free. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides up-to-date travel advice. It's recommended to take out comprehensive travel and diving insurance before going to Madagascar.

Manta Ray, Madagascar
Manta Ray photographed in Madagascar, Photo credit: Madaplouf

Some good diving in Madagascar is around Noisy Be, but for the best dives take a liveaboard to the Mitsio (north of Noisy Be) or Radames (west of Noisy Be) archipelagoes. The east coast of Madagascar - eg Saint Marie - is on migratory routes for humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) between July and September. Indeed, they are said to give birth there during this time. Whale sharks are frequent in October and November at Nosy Be.

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Madagascar Dive Sites

Around Nosy Be the diving generally takes place in the morning as the wind becomes stronger in the afternoon. Tanikely is a marine park with exceptional marine life.

Recommend a dive site.

"Second only to Mozambique. We dived at end of rainy season (end April) so it'll be even better from May onward"
Lee Donoher, 2012

Diving Madagascar
Diving in Madagascar with blackspotted sweetlips (Plectorhinchus gaterinus) Photo credit: Madaplouf

Nosy Be

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"We did more than 10 different dive sites around Nosy Be. Great variety or coral reefs, interesting marine life and HUGE schools of fish. All dives except Tanikely are pretty deep (20+m) so sufficient surface time is a must. One day had very strong current and 2 dives of the day were more of "hold to something and see what you can". "
Mari Seppä, 22 September 2014

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18 m
Tanikely Marine Reserve

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Nice shallow (max 18m) dive with enough interesting marine life to be interesting to more advanced divers as well. Turtles, leopard shark, big frogfish, angelfish."
Mari Seppä, 22 September 2014

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20 m
South Reef, Nosy Tanikely

Reviews: 4 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Great under 20 m site."
Lee Donoher, 8 May 2012

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North East Reef, Nosy Tanikely

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Coral in amazing condition, especially the HUGE fans, turtle, massive lobsters, too many species of fish to list."
Lee Donoher, 8 May 2012

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Turtle

Nosy Tanikely - Mitsio Wreck

Reviews: 4 Star Rating: Recommended (2)

"The wreck is pretty deep (20-28m), but the amount of life around it is amazing. I have not seen that many scorpionfish in one location ever before. Enough to see for 2 consecutive dives if interested."
Mari Seppä, 22 September 2014
"Awesome wreck dive. Second dive at gorgones has amazing fan coral and bio diversity"
Lee Donoher, 8 May 2012

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Olaf, Nosy Sakatia

Reviews: 4 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Excellant for macro and hard corals"
Jacques, Sakatia Lodge, 21 April 2016

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Greg's Wall

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Big wall with sea fans, cave and pinnacle."
Jeanmart Nicolas, Menabe plongée, 22 April 2016

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Cyclone

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Drop off with very high density of school and great diversity."
Jeanmart Nicolas, Menabe plongée, 22 April 2016

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Castor banc

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"Drop off with.sea fans cave,grey sharks,white tipes sharks,king fishes, barracudas."
Jeanmart Nicolas, Menabe plongée, 22 April 2016

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Madagascar Diving Centres

Recommend a dive operator or list your diving company on this page.

Nosy Be
Madaplouf
Madaplouf logo, Madagascar dive centre

Speak and teach in French, English, Italian, French, Spanish and German. Run by Michele and Jennifer. Organise day trips, introductory dives, and training courses PADI from Open Water Diver to Divemaster and CMAS from 1* to 3*. Also organize cruises to the Mitsio and Radama Archipelagoes on catamarans. Open througout the year.

Madaplouf
Bemoko Beach
Nosy Be
Madagascar
Tel: +261 (0)33 14 248 33 or +261 (0)33 02 096 13
E-mail: [email protected]

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Whale shark in Madagascar
Diving with whale sharks in Madagascar, Photo credit: Madaplouf

Nosy Be
Tropical Diving
Tropical Diving
Centre International de Plongée
Ambatoloaka
Nosy Be
Madagascar
Tel: +261 (0) 32 49 46 251
E-mail: [email protected]

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Nosy Be
Manta Dive Club

Manta Dive Club
Madiro Hotel
Madirokely Plage
Hell Ville
Nosy Be
Madagascar
Tel: 00 261 20 32 07 207 10
E-mail: [email protected]

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Nosy Be
Forever Dive
Madirokely Beach
Nosy Be
Madagascar
Tel: +261 320712565
E-mail: [email protected]

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Nosy Be
Oceane's Dream

Oceane's Dream
BP 173 Ambatoloaka
207 Nosy Be
Madagascar
Tel: 00 261 32 07 127 82
E-mail: [email protected]

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Nosy Be
Sakatia Lodge

Sakatia Lodge
Private Bag 272
Nosy Be
207 Madagascar
Tel: +27 87 351 8360
Fax: +27 11 252 5477
E-mail: [email protected]

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The only dive center in Madagascar to offer Fluo night diving. Also a macro specialist.

Angel Fish

Mangily Ifaty
Mangily Scuba

Mangily Scuba
Mangily Ifaty
Madagascar
Tel: 034 64 781 76
E-mail: [email protected]
www.ifatyscuba.com

We have drift dives, wall dives, patch reefs! Also we have a population of humpback whales that migrate Mozambique channel.
Anne Furr, Mangily Scuba

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Mangily Ifaty
ATIMOO plongée

ATIMOO plongée
Mangily Ifaty
BP 214 Toliari 601
Madagascar
Tel: +261 32 04 529 17
E-mail: [email protected]

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Ampasilava-Andavadoaka
Laguna Blu / Manta Diving Center

Laguna Blu/ Manta diving Center
C/0 Hotel Laguna Blu Resort
Ampasilava-Andavadoaka
Madagascar
Tel: 00 816 21 01 20 75
E-mail: [email protected]

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Diego Suarez
Aquaroc Madagascar

Aquaroc Madagascar
BP 595 201
Diego Suarez
Madagascar
Tel:00 261 20 82 210 20
E-mail: [email protected]

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Menabe Plongee

Liveaboard and safari diving.

Menabe Plongee
Ambatoloaka
Nosy be. Bp 409 Hellville
Madagascar
Tel: 00261 (0)326024416
E-mail: [email protected]

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St Marie
Il Balenotterde

Il Balenotterde
Port de Barachois Ambodifotatra
St Marie
Madagascar
Tel: 00 261 20 57 400 48

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St Marie
Diving Mahery Be

Diving Mahery Be
Andapanangoy
St Marie
Madagascar
Tel: 00 261 20 57 401 48

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St Marie
Maningory

Maningory
Andapanangoy
Ile aux Nattes
St Marie
Madagascar
Tel: 00 261 20 57 402 20

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Tulear
Alizee Dive in

Alizee Dive in
C/o Hotel Safari
Vezo Anakao Tulear
Madagascar
Tel: 00 261 20 94 413 81

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Tulear
Nautilus Deep Sea Club

Deep Sea Club
BP 159
Ifaty Tulear
Madagascar
Tel: (+261) 32 04 848 81
[email protected]

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Tulear
Fifi Diving

Bamboo Club
BP 47
Tulear
Madagascar
Tel: 00261 94 427 17
[email protected]

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Tulear
Club Nautique

Club Nautique
C/o Hotel les Dunes
Les Dunes
Ifaty Tulear
Madagascar
Tel: 00 261 20 94 339 00

Club Nautique
C/o Hotel Lakana Vezo
Lakana Vezo
Ifaty Tulear
Madagascar
Tel: 00 261 20 94 339 00

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Semicircle angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus) in Madagascar
Semicircle angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus) in Madagascar, Photo credit: Madaplouf

Recommend a dive operator...


Accommodation

Nosy Be
Aviavy Hotel
"Aviavy Hotel was at the beach where the daily dives leave. Rooms are comfortable with A/C, reasonable prices and very good food if too tired to wonder elsewhere."
, Finland, 22 September 2014

Further Information

Madagascar
by Hilary Bradt; Bradt Travel Guides, Paperback, 448 pages, 2014.
From the Nosy Be archipelago to the coastal town of Fort Dauphin via the capital Antananarivo, Bradt's Madagascar covers all the national parks and protected areas.
A Diver's Guide to Reef Life
by Andrea Ferrari and Antonella Ferrari; Nautilus, Paperback, 128 pages.
Includes 1200 concise descriptions accompanied by detailed photographs. Covers Indo-Pacific, Red Sea and the Caribbean.
Madagascar Sheet Map
Good quality map of Madagascar.

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Please send us your comments on Madagascar. Do you want to recommend a diving centre or dive site? Let us know. Have a question - try our Diving Board. If you own a dive centre get yourself added.

     
   
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References and sources
1. WWF
2. Wildlife Conservation Society
3. Surf-forecast.com

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