About Ile St Marie

About Ile St Marie

About Ile St Marie

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Legendary pirates such as William Kidd, John Avery, Captain Misson, Robert Culliford, Nathaniel North, Thomas Tew, John Plantain, George Taylor, John England and Olivier Levasseur frequented the island and a number of them established a base on Ile aux Forbans (island of pirates), a small island located in the bay des Forbans.
Today all that is left of the once thriving pirate population are a number of historical buildings, a few shipwrecks along the shore, the pirate cemetery (pictured on the right) and some descendents among the local population.
The largest and most developed settlement is Ambodifotatra which sports banking facilities (including credit cards), a hospital for emergency medical treatment and a number of shops (where you can buy anything ranging from imported chocolates to a coal-stove).
Pirate Cemetery on St Marie
Oldest church in Madagascar
Ambodifotatra.
Whale watching
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Ile Sainte Marie is a tropical island just off the east coast of northern Madagascar. Once a haven for pirates and vagabonds, it is now a treasure island for those seeking palm-lined beaches, coral reefs and relaxation.
The island (known as "Nosy Boraha" in Malagasy), is about 57km long and 7km at its widest point. It lies about 8km off Madagascar's coast and can be reached by airplane (Air Madagascar), boat or ferry.
Apart from offering some of the best scuba and snorkeling sites in the world, Sainte Marie is also a prime spot for whale watching. Large groups of Humpback whales migrate from the cold Antarctic to the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean where they breed. Around August these whales can be seen daily as they frolic and play in the channel between Sainte Marie and Madagascar.
Discover the island by bicycle or rent a motorbike if you want to save energy (ask our staff at Hotel La Petite Traversee for information.)
 
Visit the oldest Christian church in Madagascar at the Baie des Forbans (built in 1837), and then continue to the pirate cemetery a little further towards the village of St Joseph.
 
Thursday, and to a lesser extend Tuesday, is market-day in Ambodifotatra and this should not be missed if you love fresh produce or regard yourself as a bargain-hunter.
 
    
There is a military fort dating back to 1753 east of Lalana Sylvain Roux. Although visitors are not allowed inside (it is used as a military garrison), you can take some nice photos after obtaining permission from the guards.
 
Try to spot some of the famousHumpback-whales which come to breed in the area around August. To get a better look at them, book a whale watching cruise (enquire at Hotel La Petite Traversee).
 
Go snorkeling or paddling at the Ambodiatafana grottos or around the mystical Ille aux Sable (sand islands) to the south-east of Sainte Marie.
 
Explore the island's rich natural biodiversity by foot - there are numerous hiking trials to choose from. Or you can visit the Endemika Zoo on the southern part of the island. It is well-kept and hosts several species of lemurs, chameleons and other endemic animals.
 
Rent a boat from one of the hotels or join Mad X-Perience for an adventurousdeep sea fishing safari.
Go scuba-diving and explore the incredible marine life at leisure ( ask our staff at Hotel La Petite Traversee )  If you're not staying at La Petite Traversee, hop onto a lakana on the southern tip of Sainte Marie for a visit to true Eden - Ile Aux Nattes
 
 Banking facilities (including credit cards), a hospital for emergency medical treatment and a few shops are found in Ambodifotatra