While having your holiday in Nosy Be, a day trip to Nosy Iranja is definitely recommended as is a visit to the Millot Plantation in Ambanja. It is truly a piece of heaven on earth that is impossible to forget.
Madagascar offers some of the world’s most incredible unspoiled landscapes and I must say that among the things I have done in the country, the Emerald Sea boat trip and the Nosy Iranja boat trip are certainly at the top of my list, even though I’m not such a big sea lover. The beaches here are truly stunning, the water is crystal clear, the sunsets are amazingly colourful, and the nature is breathtaking, striking beyond anything I’ve ever seen before.
What is Nosy Iranja?
The gorgeous island of Nosy Iranja is known as the 8th most beautiful island in the world; it is indeed guaranteed to amaze any kind of traveller. The Nosy Iranja island, actually, is formed by two small islets (small Iranja→ Nosy Iranja Kely and big Iranja→ Nosy Iranja Be) connected by a long white sandbar about 2 kilometres in length, which you can walk on during the low tide hours. The bigger one is about 2000 square meters and it is inhabited. Meanwhile the smaller one, only about 100 square meters, is completely deserted.
Nosy Iranja is a popular sailing day trip destination from Nosy Be.
How to reach Nosy Iranja from Nosy Be
Being an island, the only way to reach this beautiful piece of Heaven is by boat. You can hire a private boat or can join a group tour.
I was based in Madirokely, and everyone along the coastal area here organizes boat trips to Nosy Iranja. Yes, I say everyone because each time I set my foot out of my hotel plenty of men approached offering boat trips to Nosy Iranja. Since I had already pre-booked this group excursion with the hotel I was staying at, I didn’t want to deepen the topic more.
How much did I pay for my trip from Nosy Be to Nosy Iranja?
For my day trip from Nosy Be to Nosy Iranja, I paid 130.000 Ari Ari which is about 25.00 Euros (per person). It included the boat sailing, snorkeling, swimming, and a delicious lunch on the bigger island. As I said first, I did this excursion with the hotel I was staying at, and it may be that prices are cheaper if you buy straight from the locals along the beach.
Well, when you buy this trip, this is what you have to make sure of: what it includes. Sometimes you may find a cheaper price, but maybe it doesn’t include some of the activities.
How long does it take to sail from Nosy Be to Nosy Iranja?
The distance from Nosy Be to Nosy Iranja is 40 KM and the crossing by speed boats will take around 1 hour if done without a stop. I had a very good helmsman who stopped several times to show dolphins and turtles. Yes, during this trip there are opportunities to see dolphins, flying fish, and whale sharks if you time it right.
For this reason, your trip to Nosy Iranja can last up to two hours.
A special mention: food
The lunch which was included in my excursion was prepared by the staff members of the boat; we had fish and some seafood. I never had such fresh fish! Guys caught it right on the seashore while we all were enjoying the sea bathing.
They had arranged a small hut by the beachside where they cooked and served food to us. It was a kind of Robinson Crusoe atmosphere but well organized. I mean nothing was left to a chance; our organizer took really good care of everything.
The food was delicious. They used only a few ingredients, but everything I had was so tasty that once I got back to Nosy Be, I went straight to Hell Ville Market to buy the spices they used. I wanted so much to take them home!
If you are going to take a day trip to Nosy Iranja, I suggest that you buy the package which includes lunch. You will love everything about this unique experience.
Nosy Iranja boat trip: itinerary
- 8:00 AM: Departure via speedboat.
- 10:00 AM: Arrival at Nosy Iranja. They will give you a couple of hours to wander around during which you can decide if having a swim, doing some snorkelling, walking from the big island to the small island, or climbing to the hill top of the big island to get an amazing panoramic view of the entire island and the beach. I personally used this time to go swimming and to walk from one island to another.
- 12:00 PM: Lunch. They serve grilled fresh fish and seafood accompanied with white rice. There is no shortage of vegetables of course.
- 2.00 PM: another couple of hours are given to wander around. I went to visit their small village and to see the local vendors. It is very picturesque. I recommend it.
- 4:00 PM: departure. Back to Nosy Be.
As you see, there is not enough time to do everything. I missed the walk uphill that I so wanted to do. I wished I could stay more but the given time was not enough at all. I’m making this point just to let you know that you should decide what to do. In short, you need to prioritize your things to do in Nosy Iranja. It is a very rushed trip.
Some handy tips for Nosy Iranja
- Don’t forget your sunblock creams or else you will get burned during the boat trip
- Mosquito repellents are necessary, especially if you are staying overnight there.
- The sunset at Nosy Iranja is absolutely stunning.
- Hiking up the hill is said to be amazing. Sadly, I didn’t have enough time to try it.
- If you are returning back to Nosy Be late evening, know that heavy seas can give troubles during the sailings.
- Plastic items are taken to the island by tourists only. Please take it back with you when leaving because the indigenous don’t know what to do with it and they just throw it in the sea.
- A torch (flashlight) could be helpful when staying overnight.
- Spending the night is Nosy Iranja is highly recommended. Expensive? Probably yes! But I believe it is definitely well worth it. There are some accommodations along the beach on the bigger island and I really wanted to spend a night in Nosy Iranja, but I couldn’t since I had a flight back home the next day.
- Nosy Iranja is one of the best places for snorkelling and swimming with marine sea life.
- During low tide, you can walk out very far into the sea.
- December and March are monsoon season, so there can be heavy rain.
- Don’t visit Nosy Iranja at the end of your vacation in Madagascar because if you want to return you will still have time.
- If you are buying this day trip excursion from Nosy Be, know that hotel transfer to and from the port is always included.
Going on a day trip to Nosy Iranja is one of the best things you could ever do in Nosy Be! Words are not enough to explain the beauty of this place. Nosy Iranja and Emerald Sea in Madagascar are so unique that you need to see them to believe they exist. Those are the most special places I ever had the privilege to visit. A real heaven on earth.
The white beaches and the crystal waters and the incredible nature all around will blind your eyes. It will exceed all your expectations.
And now, are you ready to give yourself a day in paradise?