A complete yacht charter guide that has everything you need to know about your next sailing holidays in Madagascar.
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If you are familiar with the “Treasure Island” and want to look at boat options for your next yacht charter, then skip to:
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Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean, and a new, up and coming favourite sailing destination for those looking for low key exotic vibes, sandy beaches and tropical weather within a close reach of Europe.
It gets better.
A Yacht charter in Madagascar is the ideal choice for outdoors enthusiasts - lemurs, baobabs, rainforest, desert, hiking and diving are just some of the highlights you can expect during a sailing holiday in Madagascar.
Here is the thing.
Madagascar is pure magic. Have the sailing holiday of your dreams, amidst exotic flora, fauna, and stunning vistas, while sailing Madagascar.
It's best to take a Madagascar cruise in the winter, between the months of January and March, when the rain is infrequent and the temperatures are agreeable.
In Madagascar, you will find an average temperature of 85ºF, or 29ºC, year round. During the period between November and March, rainfall is a bit less predictable.
The season can also have an impact on sailing conditions.
You can expect east winds in the morning and westerly winds in the afternoon from October to July.
Between the months of August and September, the wind will be very strong, and during the afternoons it can reach up to 45 knots.
Madagascar yacht charters start from Nosy Be (the island's most famous beach destination).
Plan to fly into Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar.
Then catch a local flight with a regional airline, as Nosy Be is just one hour by plane from the capital.
The airport in Nosy Be is called Nosy Be Fascene and the best way to get to the base is via taxi. Yacht4Less is also able to arrange airport transfers for a stress-free arrival day.
There is also a ferry option from Ankify and Nosy Be between 6 am to 4 pm. Mornings are usually more popular due to the trade winds picking up in the afternoon, so plan accordingly.
Transfer Time Nosy Be Airport to Marina: 20 mins
On day one, you’ll arrive at the base in Nosy Be. With its name meaning “Big Island”, markets for provisioning are plentiful.
Hell-ville has a large market where you can find seafood, meats, and produce in a very authentic environment.
Shampion is also another supermarket where you will find all you need for your trip, and they will accept visa payment.
If you plan to visit local establishments, you’ll need to make sure you have cash on you as debit and credit cards are usually only accepted in larger hubs. The currency in Madagascar is the Malagasy Ariary.
Euros, US dollars, or GBP can easily be exchanged at money changing facilities and banks in Antananarivo, or even within the airport. Yacht4Less recommends exchanging currencies ASAP before you head to more rural destinations.
Be on the lookout for the famous ylang-ylang (e-lang-e-lang) tree growing in Nosy Bee, which is used in the making of essential oils for perfumes, and pay a visit to the distillery which is also a zoo.
Baie des Russes, Nosy Kalakajoro, Baramahamay River are among the highlights of the Madagascar Sailing Itinerary.
For the first day of your Madagascar cruise, we recommend sailing from Nosy Be to Nosy Tanikely, home to one of Madagascar’s most magnificent natural parks. The marine park is the perfect location for scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming, all while exploring beautiful coral reefs. Good to note that fishing is prohibited, and there is no diving allowed at night. Next, head to Mamoko. Here you can fish in the waters, or hike under the rainforest. Keep an eye out for giant tortoises, lemurs, and other wildlife on the island. The land is fruitful and you will also see many mango and coconut trees.
From Mamoko, you’ll head to Baie de Russes. Relax in the peaceful anchorage, while lapping up the history. It is in this bay that a Russian warship anchored in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese war. While anchored, the boat crew realized that they would rather live the island life than fight in a war. The boat remained in the bay until it eventually sunk. The ship’s remnants can still be seen - making for great diving!
On day three, you will sail to Nosy Iranja - home to a hawksbill turtle breeding reserve. Walk the island and see first-hand the turtles laying their eggs or swim in the waters with dolphins, whales and Unicorn fish and Parrotfish! Nosy Iranja is a great place to immerse yourself in nature.
Off to Nosy Kalakajoro! Here you’ll find another preserved natural paradise. Spend the day sunbathing on the deck, or take out a paddleboard or two. Yacht4Less can arrange water sports equipment like kayaks and paddleboards.
At an altitude of 47 meters, Nosy Kalakajoro is the highest island of the Radama islands. Hike the island’s volcanic rock for some nice ocean views, or go ashore and explore the fishing villages that are famous for their hospitality.
On to Nosy Ovy, another Radama Island. Anchor on the East side of the island, in a protected anchorage. Nosy Ovy is often called “Potato Island” and is home to the Mahabo royal tombs. While you’re ashore you can also walk the beaches, keeping an eye out for shells as Nosy Ovy is renown for the shells that wash up on its shores.
Anchor in Nosy Antanimora overnight, and explore the island’s town where you can try authentic food!
On day six you will head to the Baramahamay River for a change of pace. Along the river, you’ll find endless wonders, like white sand beaches and lush greenery. Near the river, there are villages that are home to a number of local craftsmen who specialize in blacksmiths and boat builders. You can also purchase wild honey and fresh fish and crabs. Enjoy a delicious feast to close out your holidays in Madagascar.
Return to the base and disembark. Be sure to take some time to explore Nosy.
Be a little adventurous before you head home from sailing Madagascar!
It depends. For example, the most important ones are the type of boat you will choose and whether you require a professional crew on board (e.g. skipper, hostess or cook). So, as you can see, there are many factors that can shape a price for a boat rental.
Check our full guide about yacht charter cost and how you can save much money in your next sailing holidays.