Known by locals as Nosy Boraha, Ile St Marie is an Island set off the east coast of Madagascar. Slender and only 57-kilometres long, Ile St Marie has long been a popular destination for travellers from all over the world. While the pirates of its past have long gone, there are still a broad array of attractions and activities that make it a favourite spot for tourists. To whet your Island hopping appetite, we’re taking a look at six of the most popular things you can do on the lush and charming Ile St Marie.
Soak up the Sun
Beach-bumming is a must for visitors to Ile St Marie, with its ring of palm-fringed beaches and warm, soft sand. While rain can fall year-round on the Island, there is an unbelievable period where the skies clear from August to late November and it’s nothing but sunny skies, clear blue oceans surrounded by tropical forests you’ve most likely only witnessed in films! Not only is this the perfect time to grab a good book and kick back while you soak up the sun, but you’ll also be able to truly immerse yourself in the beauty for which the Island is renowned.
Hike On Up
If there is one thing that can really be said of Ile St Marie, it’s that it certainly rewards the active traveller who wants to get out and experience a place in a myriad of ways. The best time to visit the Island, for those travellers who double as nature lovers, is between September and December, when the climate is perfect for hiking. Not only is this an incredibly unique way to experience the Island, but it also brings you up close and personal with the diversity of its landscape and the numerous creatures that call it their home.
A love of ours is hiking into the beautiful granite hills. It doesn’t sound like much, but once you get to the top and look over the beautiful green coconut palms, it truly gives you that exotic island feeling. Plus, within these hills lies amazing adventures of long list pirates! If you organise a vacation with the right people, you can organise the locals to share these fascinating stories.
Dive into the Depths
The coral reefs located slightly off shore of Ile St Marie offer the perfect playground for scuba diving and snorkelling. Its waters are rich with tropical fish, moray eels, dolphins, marine turtles, groupers, lobsters and grey sharks. Boasting a unique and beautiful array of ocean wildlife, as well as a couple of fascinating pirate shipwrecks and, in the Soanambo reef, the beautiful black coral, the waters around Ile St Marie provide a memorable diving destination for anyone who loves the ocean.
Watch Whales Frolic
Humpback whales migrate to the waters around the Island from July to September, where they are then often spotted frolicking in the calm ocean waters with their young. Known for their visual displays and aerobatics, Humpback Whales provide excellent entertainment for those who want to relax a while.
Step Back in Time
Ile St Marie is the perfect destination for those fascinated by history. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, it’s said that up to 1000 pirates called the Island their home – including the infamous and widely-feared William Kidd and Thomas Tew. The Island’s safe and secluded bays were regularly frequented by pirate shops returning treasure-laden from their pillaging trips in the East Indies. As a result of this colourful past, Ile St Marie is proud to lay claim to one of the world’s only legitimate pirate cemeteries, which, set atop a hill, features crumbling headstones with worn-away engravings that hint at the Island’s existence as a paradise for shifty sailors.
Fish in the Deep
Those who’ve developed a love for deep sea fishing, are bound to have heard others speak of how Madagascar and its surrounding islands offer some of the best sites in which to cast a line. Some of the species that can be caught, while deep sea fishing off the coast of Ile St Marie, include marlin, sailfish, kingfish, barracuda and dog-toothed tune – all of which present a worthwhile challenge for anyone looking to reel in a big one!
Tours passing through Ile St Marie:
St Marie Beach Package
Featured Lodges to stay at:
Princes Bora Lodge