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Laid back atmosphere, barefoot intimate retreat, eco-friendly, and unspoilt Island surrounded by azure water

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Tsarabanjina is a beautiful little island lying off the north coast of Madagascar. It is a perfect place to unwind and relax knowing that you are far away from any hustle and bustle and a lovely place to spend a few days to over a week, simply being – resting, relaxing, swimming, and dining on gorgeous island food.

But you can also fill your days and be kept busy doing a range of water sports and snorkelling as well as diving.   This is a place that can be described as part Robinson Crusoe, part lodge, part very small resort and a perfect getaway destination with luxuries. Its is laid back and chic at the same time, in a simple setting with no crowds.

What makes Tsarabanjina stand out is that it ‘fits’ in with Madagascar cultures and its styles, yet it is up market enough with the standard that it has. There are no ‘goldtaps and multiple bathrooms’ here, it’s simple chic yet super comfortable, white powder sands and a perfect getaway with azure blue water and private bungalows fenced by tropical plants.

 

Madagascar

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Where is Tsarabanjina Private Island located?

Lying off the north west coast of Madagascar lies the Mitsio Archipelago which is a group of around 11 islands ranging in size and one of them is Tsarabanjina. It is about 55 kilometres from Nosy be, the largest island nearer the coast.

Nosy be is a very interesting island and a lot more established with small farms growing ylang ylang, vanilla, pepper and sugar cane. It has several boutique hotels, some more scattered and to the west of the island and others nearer the main hub and town which is called Hellville.    

Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata,) is a small tropical tree from which essential oils are extracted from its flowers and is used in many of the most beautiful perfumes in the world.  Hellville and the island are worth a visit for a day – perhaps on your way to Tsarabanjina as one can find beautiful baskets and embroidered tablecloths here. Mont Passot provides views down over fertile fields and plantations and volcanic lakes.

How do you get to Tsarabanjina Private Island?  

There are daily flights from Antananarivo (Tana) to Nosy be, and some flights from Diego Suarez on the very northern tip of the mainland. Ethiopian Airways also operates some flights from Addis to Nosy be and then onto Tana.  

From the local airport on Nosy be, you have a choice of transfers to Tsarabanjina – either be driven to the main harbour in Hellville and take the motorboat to the island or travel by helicopter, landing on the helipad on Tsarabanjina Island.  Tsarabanjina is one of the most remote islands in the Mitsio Archipelago.

What sort of accommodation is available Tsarabanjina Private Island? 

There are three exquisite beaches here and the 25 bungalows are split between the ‘North’ and ‘South’ Beaches, whilst the third beach lies on the east side of the island and is deserted.  You can access it by a walk over the small volcanic hill on one side of the island.  Here you will also find the tomb of the Sakalava kings of the Mitsio islands and is therefore a sacred place.  Sometimes fishermen visit offering gifts to them such as money, honey, and rum.

The Tsarabanjina rooms/bungalows are thatched and lie right on the edge of the beach, so you simply step out of your room and onto white powdery sand.  The rooms have wooden walls and are a good size yet no huge and all have a small private terrace with two deck chairs to lounge in whilst enjoying the view. 

Depending which rooms, you have – north or south beach, the rooms are either air-conditioned throughout or just the bedroom. However, all rooms also have a fan, minibar, safe and kimonos as well as ensuite bathrooms with shower, basin, and separate loo. The bungalows are surrounded by lush forest including palm trees and badamier trees.

All meals are served in the main restaurant lying between north and south beaches, and breakfast and lunch here are both buffet-style and dinner is three courses. Because of the location, the menu mostly consists of seafood, but of course dietary requirements can be catered for (they just need to be advised pre travel,).  Guest can also request a romantic meal such as a seafood platter to be served on the beach at extra cost.

Guests can stay at Tsarabanjina on an all-inclusive package will start at lunch time and will finish after Lunch on day of departure and includes a variety of premium branded spirits, wines, and international beers, as well as mineral water, soft drinks, and fresh drinks too.  There is also (as expected for a tropical island a range of cocktails and signature drinks to choose from. If you do not want to venture far, there is a minibar in your room.

The all-inclusive package also includes:

  • Afternoon tea
  • A Sunset cruise (subject to 7 nights minimum stay)
  • Snorkelling equipment for each guest.
  • All indoor games, all non-motorized water-sports.
  • Complimentary snacks and water available during the boat transfer.
  • Free Wi-Fi at the Main Building and Reception desk.
  • Coffee and Tea facilities in all Bungalows
  • Free Laundry

What activities are available at Tsarabanjina Private Island? 

At Tsarabanjina there is a PADI diving facility, so those interested in diving are requested to bring their padi certificate with them. There are also many water sports to get involved with such as water skiing and windsurfing, and deep-sea fishing.  There are also guided nature walks. 

Once a week the manager or a member of staff also give a presentation about the preservation of the fragile coral and seabed around the islands.

With regards to PADI dive centre, they offer open water, Advanced open water, and speciality diver courses and of course other PADI courses.  

There is also a small boutique and dive boutique for those who cannot resist! And if you would like to have a special beach dinner then this can be arranged at an extra cost too.

Kayaks are available and for extra adventure a Malagasy pirogue!  Snorkelling here is a must- do activity, and masks, flippers and snorkel are available for your stay and to discover the corals and fish in this natural aquarium.  There is beach volleyball and catamaran sailing – with with or without coaching.  For those wishing for something little more sedentary have a game of Pétanque (Game of Bowls). There is no gym - go swimming or take an aqua gyn class in the mornings! And there is also stand-up paddle boarding.

Another super excursion is to discover the coral reefs of Mitsio and arrange a visit to the Four Brothers Islands with its fabulous birds- frigate birds, northern gannets and white-tailed tropic birds.

They can also arrange excursions further away such as Nosy Komba, the lemur island and to Nosy Mitsio (La Grande Mitsio) which is known for its large basalt columns, also called the Organ Pipes. It is popular with divers.

Wildlife that one may see around Tsarabanjina includes dolphin, turtles, whale (from June through October but the odd one does pass by out of season), and birdlife includes white eye, white-throated rail, greater frigate bird, pomarine skua, Madagascar turtle dove, green sunbird, fishing eagle, white-tailed tropic bird, Caspian terns and vasa parrot. 

The largely undiscovered waters that surround the island are teeming with marine life in coral reefs and beautiful sponge gardens and for those who snorkel and scuba dive there is the possibility of seeing turtle, jack fish, crocodile fish, scorpion fish, baraccuda and kingfish, grey and white-tip sharks, giant moray and sting ray amongst others. Madagascar anemonefish, bluespotted wrasse, Painted frogfish, blotched podge, white-spotted puffer and flounder included.

Whilst snorkelling/diving one can see octopus, ray’s, lobster and clownfish.

Does Tsarabanjina Private Island cater for families with young children?

Whilst Tsarabanjina is perfect for couples of any age and honeymoon couples, families are also welcome here, and will accommodate children over 4 years old.

Because of the remoteness of the island as well as the open sea literally on your doorstep we would suggest that slightly older children would be best to visit here. There are no baby-sitting services.

When is the best time to visit Tsarabanjina Private Island?

Tsarabanjina and the Nosy be and Mitsio Islands can be visited almost all through the year and there is little contrast in temperatures and sea temperatures across the year. 

The highest temperatures are around 29’ C and the lowest around 23’ C in July. Water temperatures range between 24-29’C so they are very pleasant all year round. The months where one can expect some rain would be late December, January, and February, though with climate change, this can vary.

How does Tsarabanjina protect and nurture the local environment and communities?

Tsarabanjina takes sustainability seriously across the board whether that is with regards to the environment and the lodges impact or with the communities and staff.  Whilst following local and regulatory practises in 2013 they also started several eco measures and adopted sustainable and green practises.

They are part of The Green Globe Certification.  This included making sure that all staff are educated and trained in environmental impact and preservation as well as working in harmony with local communities and understanding them.

Staff are encouraged to get involved with green actions and make suggestions too and at the same time all international employees are made aware of the local culture and how to work together for the health of the lodge, its environment, and its success.

The lodge uses low energy appliances and keeps in mind water saving practises. They favour eco-friendly designs and eco-labelled products.

With regards the marine life conservation, they buy sustainably harvested seafood and locally grown food products and encourage a clean-up of the marine and coastal environment.

 

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