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Île Sainte-Marie

Nosy Buraha , formerly  Île Sainte-Marie , is an island in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Madagascar.
Around 1506, Portuguese navigators discovered the island on Assumption Day while escaping a shipwreck, and named the place in honor of the Virgin: “Santa-Maria”.
Very elongated in shape, it measures 49 km long and 5 km wide, with a south-south-west / north-north-east orientation. To the south, Île aux Nattes (2.5 km by 1.5 km) is separated from Île Sainte-Marie by an arm of the sea about 200 m wide. A lagoon surrounds these two islands.
At the turn of the 17-18 centuries, there were several large pirate bases in Madagascar, some of which even flourished until the formation of some statehood. For example, the progressive for those times Libertalia in the bay of Diego Suarez. The life of these settlements was short, but bright, rich and eventful. Pirate, in general …
One of the first pirates to settle on the island of Nosy Buraha was Adam Buldridge, who fled Jamaica. He quickly settled down, made friends with the natives and controlled the local sea routes. From piracy, he gradually moved to mediation and was engaged in the supply of food from the aborigines to other pirates and trade with American ships, which bought pirated booty and resold it in America.
The island is located in the vicinity of remarkable inlets and bays, some were the haunts of pirates in the South Seas, the activities of pirates and buccaneers experienced a growth in the period between 1620 and 1680.
there are two world famous beach resorts – Nosy Be and Nosy Buraja, Nat near Sainte Marie. Nosy Nat is separated from Nosy-Burakh by a narrow strait, which is crossed on pies with balance weights for 2 thousand Ariari per person in one direction.
Tourist destination, Sainte-Marie Island is known for its authentic and preserved character, its groups of humpback whales, its paradisiacal beaches, its romantic history and the welcome of its inhabitants. There are more than forty accommodation sites which are mostly small hotel units of ten to twenty bungalows.

Access : Coordinates: -16.916667, 49.9 / Île Sainte-Marie can be reached by plane or by boat. Air Madagascar flies almost daily from the capital Antananarivo, mostly with a stopover in the provincial capital Toamasina to Sainte Marie to the airport Sainte Marie Airport near Ankarena and back.

Highlights :

  •  Pirate Cemetery on Île Sainte-Marie  :For about 100 years, the island of San Marie served as a “wintering place” for pirates in seasons when weather conditions were not favorable for sea robbery .About 30 tombstones have survived to this day , some of which contain carved skulls and crossbones – an international symbol of piracy.
  •  the Residence which houses the Queen Betty Museum as well as traditional objects from the life of the Saint-Mariens, whale bones, pieces from archaeological excavations carried out in 2015 in the Bay of Forbans.
  •  The Church of Saint Mary (L’église de Sainte-Marie), located near Ambodifotatra, built in 1857, is the oldest church in Madagascar.
  •  Ile Sainte Marie beach : A beach on the coast of Ile Sainte-Marie of the same name. It is located in the northeast of Madagascar and washed by the Indian Ocean.The width of the beach is 5-10 km, the length is 50 km , the place is popular with tourists of different ages.
  •  The main village is Ambodifotatra, about 10 km south of the island , Many hotels dot the island, mainly between the airport and Ambodifotatra.
  •  The former Fort of the French East India Company, where you can see Louis XV’s badge. / The funerary stele of F.F.J. Albrand (1795-1826) / The ossuary monument to the murdered Franco-English traders in 1845 in Toamasina.
  •  The island is in the vicinity of remarkable coves and bays. The famous bays of Antogily and Tataingo were haunts of pirates of the South Seas, the activity of buccaneers and pirates growing there during the classical period between 1620 and 1680.
  •  From the southwestern tip of the island, passing through the village of Ravoraha near the small airport and to the village of Vohilava, there is a long beach of white sand and coconut palms that hosts charming hotels.
  •  The island has many nicknames including that of “the garden island”. Due to a constant micro-climate throughout the year, Sainte-Marie has a remarkable vegetal luxuriance.
  •  whale sanctuary : Large groups of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) migrate from Antarctica to the St. Mary’s Channel, ideal breeding ground.
  •  Forbans Island, a circular shaped island / the north part is an impressive natural swimming pool, with a waterfall, big pool, and enormous basalt rocks.
  •  Ambodiatafana Natural Pool : North of Sainte Marie Island three basins formed by rock barriers. They form the natural pools of Ambodiatafana. Natural swimming pools, protected from the strong Indian Ocean waves.
  •  The Antanandava waterfall : Before reaching the natural pools, you can see the Antanandava waterfall from the road. / Ampanihy Bay : Found on the eastern coast of Île Sainte-Marie in Madagascar.Accessible preferably by 4×4.
  •  Sand islands : On a coral base covered with sand in a magnificent lagoon off the island of Sainte-Marie you can find three islets of white sand, Nosy Rinditra, Nosy Andromba and Nosy Alanana , magnificent coral reefs surrounded by sands.They are located 4 km east of the eastern coast of the island of Sainte-Marie, between the level of the Sainte Marie airport and the village of Vohilava.

Activities : sightseeing / photo opportunities / trekking / Nosy Buraha is ideal for Whale watching – Whale Safari / Enjoy island life on Nosy Boraha / diving , wrecks of several pirate ships can still be viewed from the shallow waters of the Bay of Forbans. / fishing.

Go next : Nosy Nato ,On the western and southern sides of the island there are gorgeous white beaches. / Mahajanga is the largest commercial port town on Madagascar’s west coast, Diego-Suarez: a beautiful coastal city.






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