Nosy be Travel Guide

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Along the north-west coast lies a number of islands, the largest of which is Nosy Be. Marvelous beaches and coral reef in a protected national zone, natural lemur reserve, wonderful fishing, numerous nearby desert islands, all await the lucky traveller.

The unfortunately named Hell-Ville is the largest town and port of Nosy Be (Big Island)  Three-quarters the size of Singapore, Nosy Be has 60,000 inhabitants, half of whom live in Hell-Ville, and the island is apparently the centre of what little tourism exists in Madagascar (only about 150,000 tourists visit the country each year). 

Small boats are available to make the short journey across to the nearby island of Nosy Komba (Lemur Island), where a pretty village sprawls along the northern beach. It is an enchanting spot, and the inhabitants are amiable, especially the ever-present children. Life here is simple, based on fishing, small-scale cultivation, and the rub-off from tourists arriving to see the 5,000 black lemurs that roam the island. At the end of the village, a small tribe of these delightful mammals is so habituated to human contact that they will jump onto one's shoulders to eat bananas out of one's hands. The nearby jungle defines the term "tropical paradise". Fruit trees grow wild all around, with lemons, oranges, bananas, papayas and mangos waiting to be plucked. Coffee bushes, vanilla orchids, pepper plants and other spices abound, chameleons sun themselves on the acacia branches, and birds sing in every tree. Life here feels good.

If you'd like to stay in Nosy Komba you'd better contact the Franciscan Capuchins friars who live there: serge.cap@wanadoo.com.

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May 20, 2005 change by giorgio

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