Your sailing Itinerary
Every sailing trip is different, tailor made to your own available time and interests. How about having a marine biologist or other suitably educated person onboard to accompany your family on outings and providing informative conversation? The length of your trip can also be adjusted by adding other interesting off-the-beaten track places such as the Radama Islands in the south or the Mitsio Islands in the north.
There is a minimum booking period of five nights, and these will literally fly by! You can then add on a forest and or desert area to visit on the mainland, thereby experiencing different eco systems and scenery across Madagascar.
For example, Nosy Lava is the Alcatraz or Devils Island of Madagascar, and all these locations provide exciting day outings. There is also great snorkeling and diving with amazing beaches en route. The other aspect we like about sailing in and around Madagascar waters, is that the boat can operate in remote areas and so your journey has a real Robinson Crusoe type feel about.
Many different options are possible such as the following sample itinerary
Fly to Nosy be and after boarding the Luna Moon, set sail to the famous Lokobe Nature Reserve for a walk through the forest. Lokobe is home to chameleons, lemurs, and reptiles. Afterwards enjoy sundowners on the aft deck while listening to lemur calls and a first restful night on the waves.
The following day, start the day with a morning swim in the crystal-clear waters before breakfast is served and then head off for the incredible Marine National Park of Tanikely and tiny island which has some of the best snorkelling and diving in Madagascar. After, enjoy fresh sea food, salads and traditional rice which is usually prepared over a fire on the beach under wild fig trees before joining Luna Moon for the journey across the bay to the enchanting island of Momoko.
The next day explore Momoko Island, which is small and still ruled by a queen. The entire village on the Momoko relies on subsistence farming and fishing. There is a 100-year-old tortoise here and a very friendly lemur family. All meals are served onboard with the vessel staying at anchor overnight.
On day 4 set sail to Russia Bay which has an interesting history that began with pirates using the area for safe anchorage in the late 1600. In 1905 a Russian warship entered the bay during the Russo - Japanese war with instruction to attack Japanese shipping. Essentially the sailors enjoyed Madagascar so much they gave up on the war and settled there. Their graves and remnants of their vessel can still be seen, and you can visit the site as well as some of the many secluded swimming beaches. Why not have a picnic under the coconut trees followed by a walk through the various plantations.
On Day 5 set sail for one of Madagascar’s most famous and photographed islands - Nosy Iranja. The lighthouse on the island was designed by Gustave Eiffel and built in France in 1909. What Nosy Iranja is noted for is its lovely soft white beaches and its hatching turtles – often seen on the western side of the island.
After Nosy Iranja, sail north to Sakatia Island, which is close to the main island of Nosy Be. Here you can explore the western side to Nosy Be by 4x4 or quad bike, get involved in a forest project planting saplings or spreading seeds on reclaimed land. I also recommend visiting the sacred lakes.
Your last night will see you sailing to Nosy Komba island for close encounters with lemurs and one of the largest most diverse local markets in the area. There is so much to see and do on this island – from visiting a reptile park for those interested in Madagascar’s unique biodiversity to visiting one of the shops and its locally brewed rum (its rather potent!), visit a plantation, and try some fine snorkelling too.
If you want to stay for a few more days, there is an excellent Padi dive school on Nosy Komba and the master will lead you to exceptional dive spots. All diving and other marine excursion such as whale shark diving can be included in your stay on the magical Luna Moon.
Where is Luna Moon based?
Luna Moon generally sails between South Africa and Madagascar where she is based most of the year. The schooner can also sail to the Seychelles and Zanzibari Islands such as Mafia Island depending on your interests.
What sort of accommodation is available on-board Luna Moon?
The accommodation onboard the Luna Moon consists of six very well-appointed cabins of varying sizes and perfect for that get away with your family or a group of friends and can cater for up to eleven traveller’s’. The boat is hired on a daily cost which is generally accepted at eight guests on board. However more (up the maximum of eleven), or fewer guests can easily be accommodated.
What other activities are available during your stay on board?
For guests that are certified scuba divers they can arrange diving equipment onboard or can facilitate dive excursions through the PADI dive school that the Luna Moon owns on Nosy Komba. They can also include dive training and could furthermore provide a Dive Master to accompany guests if so required.
Does cater for families with young children?
Families are welcomed and from 12 years and above. Each day is choreographed to suit everyone, and activities are planned accordingly. Please note that children on board are the responsibility of the parents alone. Some families prefer to just sail and snorkel, whilst others like to explore the mainland and small fishing villages, and the children can even catch their lunch on a fishing expedition, which the chef will prepare for them on their return.
When is the best time to sail on Luna Moon?
The best time to visit Madagascar is between April to December, however it also depends what activities you would like to do such as kite surfing and snorkelling and diving as to the best location for the activity.
How does Luna Moon protect and nurture the local environment?
A vital part of Luna Moon is her association to the Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute (MRCI). The programmes run by MRCI are diverse and include sailing courses in this classic tall ship and as an internationally recognised sail training academy, students can log valuable sea miles and experience, as well as programmes for those wishing to gain leadership skills and do volunteer work on the islands – either community led, marine aimed or environmental recovery.
Guests simply sailing on board the Luna Moon can also get involved and assist with seed ball throwing, planting saplings, helping in a school, working alongside the marine experts as they plant new coral etc.