Indian Ocean Islands

The Indian Ocean is the third largest body of water in the world and nestled in its warm waters are a number of spectacular tropical islands. Superb beaches and a fantastic variety of adventure activities and watersports. Visit the Indian Ocean Islands section on our website.

  • Africa Underwater: Our Top 10 Wreck Dives in Africa

    By Matthew Sterne |

    There is something terribly exciting about losing yourself in the crumbling carcass of a shipwreck. Each wreck is tale of storms and scuttled hulls. The treasure found in these skeletons are not gems and gold, but equally special with colourful coral, nudibranchs and vibrant marine life. We’ve adventured along Africa’s coast to find the most beautiful, most interesting shipwrecks. In case you missed the first installment of our Underwater Series - read Africa Underwater: Our Top 5 Reefs in South Africa.

    Here are our Top 10 Wreck-comended Dives in Africa:

    How deep is your love?

    Wreck diving is often subdivided into three types:
    • non-penetration - swimming over and around the wreck.
    • limited penetration - going into an overhead environment, subject to a limit of about 40 metres cumulative linear distance to surface (which really just means the depth plus length of penetration).
    • full penetration - going deeper into the overhead environment in the wreck.

    The Maori

    The Maori is located between Hout Bay and Llandudno, in the Cape Peninsula, about 75 metres offshore. The Maori’s history is a fascinating one - the ship was carrying a cargo of explosives, water piping and crockery from London to New Zealand when it crashed into the rocks in thick fog on 5 August 1909. Though the marine life is not as colourful as on other dives, The Maori is renowned for its historical value and divers can expect to see bits of porcelain and bottles still located in this sunken treasure.

     The Paquita

    Knsyna Heads is a magnificent setting for a scuba diving adventure. The Paquita, a German vessel, sank on the eastern side of the Knysna Heads way back in 1903. Divers exploring the Paquita wreck can go as far as 16 metres below the surface. The wreck remains in excellent condition. Its iron plates still glimmer brightly and its anchors are clearly visible, despite sitting at the bottom of the ocean for over a century. Divers can expect to see the famous Knysna seahorses, nudibranchs, blacktails and an assortment of other fish.


    No, we’re not talking about crabs this time. Scuttling is the act of deliberately sinking a ship by allowing water to flow into the hull. This can be achieved in several ways—valves or hatches can be opened to the sea, or holes may be ripped into the hull with force or explosives. Scuttling is often done to provide an artificial reef for divers and marine life.

    Smitswinkel Bay Wrecks

    The wrecks in Smitswinkel Bay off the Cape Peninsula were scuttled by the navy to form artificial reefs, a sort of haven for divers. And what a haven it is!  You will find the SAS Transvaal and SAS Good Hope - former navy frigates, the Rockeater - a diamond dredger, which lies deep (at 36m) and boasts an abundance of life and colour; and two fishing trawlers - The Princess Elizabeth and The Oratava.  Teeming with fish, nudibranch and coral life, the wrecks are fairly deep, which means that artificial light is needed to see the wonderful colours of the marine life.

    The Produce

    The Produce was travelling from Durban, South Africa, headed south when it struck the Aliwal Shoal in 1974. The old cargo vessel was allegedly thought to be carrying molasses. The Produce is 119m long and lies facing North. The vessel is home to a host of Giant Brindle Bass, which are massive fish about 3m long, and 1.5m wide – spotting one of these giants is a treat in itself. This dive is considered to be the crowning jewel of the Aliwal Shoal dive sites on a good day.

     The Klipfontein

    The Klipfontein shipwrecked off the coast of Mozambique in 1953 after hitting a reef off Zavora beach. With a depth of between 34m and 52m, Klipfontein lies about 6km offshore, roughly halfway between the deep offshore reef system and the red and white sands system. In her prime she was 160m long but split in two on her descent into the depths. Both parts of the wreck offer stunning deep water artificial reef dives. It's definitely worth a dive. [caption id="attachment_15959" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Exploring The Klipfontein[/caption]

    SS Paraportiani

    The SS Parapotiani is a fascinating dive. The 300 ft-long cargo vessel lies in less than 60 feet of water, off the Panza Reef at the southern tip of Pemba Island, Zanzibar. What makes this dive unique is that fact that the ship's stern is still largely intact and her broken superstructure is now embedded in the sand. This is a shallow dive and perfect for novice divers. The skeleton of this vessel is alive with elegant lionfish, colourful anemone and starfish who have made the reef their home.

    Ennerdale wreck

    Ennerdale Wreck lies off the coast of Mahé - the largest island in the Seychelles.  She went down in 1970 when she struck a pair of uncharted granite pinnacles off Mahé island. This is a tricky dive, but worth the challenge and recommended for more advanced divers. With a maximum depth of around 30m, the site is known for its abundance and variety of tropical fish and marine life, just waiting to be explored.

    Djabeda Wreck

    The Djabeda wreck is a Japanese fishing boat, sunk just off the Coin de Mire (Gunner's coin) Island on the north coast of Mauritius in 1998.  The wreck has been only slightly damaged over the years and debris can be seen strewn across the sandy ocean bed. The vessel is approximately 44m long, 10m high and 5m wide and stands upright in a maximum of 34m depth. As part of the dive you will pass some wreck parts, some of which are kept safe by giant morays. Look out for the huge anchor. On the dive you are likely to see an amazing coral garden rich with soft corals, schooling fish, king fish, moray eels, trigger fish, stone fish, lion fish, parrot fish, leaf fish and sea slugs - and if you're lucky barracuda, sting rays and dolphins.

     Stella Maru

    The Stella Maru is a Japanese trawler that was sunk in 1987 by the Mauritius Conservation society to create an artificial reef.  The Stella Maru wreck lies upright on a sand bottom, next to a rocky reef at an average depth of 23 metres. Unlike many other wrecks, the ship lies virtually intact on the ocean floor, offering divers a remarkable, unrivalled sight as they descend toward it. Other attractions are the giant moray eels and the number of bottom-dwelling creatures lying unseen around the wreck or in cervices and recesses in the coral patches surrounding it.


    For those looking for a nighttime dive, The Mitsio off Madagascar’s Nosy Be coastline is the ideal African wreck dive. Down at 25m, the wreck is home to throngs of lion and devil fire fish, arrow crabs and a dazzling honeycomb moray, hiding on the starboard side. It is a colourful, vibrant dive, as the coral growth on the wreck, which sank in 2008, provides a home to a plethora of species and an exceptional diving event. [caption id="attachment_15963" align="aligncenter" width="499"] Spectacular marine life awaits[/caption]
    Start your underwater safari today! Let Rhino Africa tailor-make your African holiday of a lifetime to suit your budget, needs and style. One of our experienced consultants will give you all the inside information to ensure you get the best experience possible. Get your flippers on and contact us today!

  • Rhino Africa's Top 10 Lodges and Hotels in the Indian Ocean Islands

    By Matthew Sterne |

    "I've looked into the eye of this island, and what I saw was beautiful." -- John Locke, ''Lost"

    The oceans scattered upon the Indian Ocean are truly like worlds unto themselves. So far removed from the reality of white-picketed suburbia and the concrete jungle, these paradisical havens offer respite and rejuvenation. [caption id="attachment_15376" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Map of the Indian Ocean Islands[/caption] From Madagascar’s leaping lemurs to Zanzibar’s giant sea turtles each island is unique in culture, ecosystem, and atmosphere. The one thing they have in common is those postcard-perfect beaches! We’ve uncovered the best of the Indian Ocean and are proud to present Rhino Africa’s Top 10 Lodges and Hotels in the Indian Ocean Islands.


    Any country which has the Dodo as its national bird has got to be something special. Mauritius certainly does not disappoint in this regard. As the host of not one, but two world heritage sites, powdery white beaches and just about every other tropical paradise cliché you can imagine, the survivors in Lost would have had a much better time of it if they had crashed on this desert island instead.
    Where? Set in subtropical gardens along Turtle Bay on the northwest coast of Mauritius. The hotel is about an hour's drive from the airport. Why?  This is the ideal place to submerge yourself in the warm northcoast waters and enjoy the watersports. Get to know the local underwater population - scuba, snorkel, water-ski and fish to your heart's content. Read more about The Oberoi here.
    Where? Trou aux Biches is situated in the north of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Why? With a lush green forest at your flanks and the ocean at you door step, it doesn't get more scenic than this. Not only is the lodge a leader in luxury, but it's also eco-friendly. There's a reason Trou aux Biches is the crème de la crème of Mauritius' hideaways. Read more about Trou aux Biches here.
    Where? One and Only Le Saint Geran is situated on the East Coast of Mauritius on the Belle Mare peninsula, about 55km from the international airport further south. Why? There really should be no question about why anyone would want to stay at any of the One and Only resorts. With unfaltering standards and every luxury imaginable, from an 18-hole golf course to divine spa facilities, this is like paradise within paradise. Read more about One and Only Le Saint Geran here.


    You’ve seen the films, you’ve heard of the lemurs, but nothing quite prepares you for the sheer awesomeness of Madagascar. As the fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar is home to 5 percent of the world's plant and animal species, of which 80 percent are endemic to the island. Madagascar is remarkably untouched by the bustling tourist trade, which makes it a unique and mysterious location, perfect for exploration and discovery. Read more about our Madagascan adventures on our blog.
    Where? Anjajavy L'Hotel is nestled on the northwest tip of Madagascar, 120 km north of Majunga, near the fishing village of Anjajavy. It can only be reached by air, an hour flight from Nosy Be or 90 minutes from Antananarivo. Why? No-one ever said finding paradise would be easy. The Anjajavy hotel, is epicurean, exclusive and so far off the beaten track, it's accessible only by air. This tropical eden is thriving with life - dancing lemurs, colour-changing chameleons and rainbow printed birds. Read more about Anjajavy L 'Hotel here. Watch our video on Anjajavy L 'Hotel here.

    The Seychelles

    As the oldest oceanic islands on earth, the Seychelles has not only seen it all, we’d argue that this group of islands has it all. A one-time pirate’s hide-out, the real treasures are the pristine shores and dynamic ecosystem. As an archipelago off the east coast of Africa, the Seychelles is a magical location, boasting one of the world’s tiniest frogs, the largest turtle and a variety of birds not found anywhere else on the planet.
    Where? Desroches Island Resort is an exclusive offering on a private island located 230km south-west of Mahé. It is easily reached from Mahe, with 5 scheduled flights per week, each 35 minutes long. Why? Ian Fleming is said to have named a character in his books after a drink he bought in the Seychelles. This is exactly the kind of place you'd expect the creator of the world's greatest super-spy to frequent. Elegant, suave and dripping with style, Desroches is a luxury destination in every sense of the word. Read more about Desroches Island Resort here
    Where? Sainte Anne Resort & Spa is situated on Sainte Anne’s island, just 10 minutes away by boat from Mahé. Why? There's something undeniably romantic about an island getaway. At Sainte Anne, you'll be experience this first-hand. This is an ideal place for couples and honeymooners looking for that magical place. Read more about Sainte Anne Resort and Spa here.


    We've finally arrived at the Spice Islands, known to you as Zanzibar and to the locals as Unguja. Zanzibar has a diverse and complicated past which has been heavily influenced by the slave trade in the 18th century.  Thankfully, Zanzibar is now more famous for its picturesque beaches and culturally rich capital than for its trade. Whether you choose to explore the mainland or lounge about on the sandy shores of the coastline, Zanzibar is undoubtedly one of Africa’s shiniest gems.
    Where? Baraza is located on the beautiful Bwejuu Beach on the south-east coast of Zanzibar Island, near the village of Bwejuu. Why? As you'd expect from a lodge which means "bench" in Swahili, Baraza is the place to kick back, shrug off your worries and sip on something fruity while the crystal waters of the Indian Ocean sparkle around you. Read more about Baraza here.
    Where? Kilindi is located on the north-west coast of Zanzibar, adjacent to the clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Why? When Bjorn Ulvaeus of Abba sang “You’ll think you’re in paradise”, we’re pretty certain he was talking about Kilindi. After all, the boutique hotel was originally designed for the Scandinavian pop singer. With breezy, minimalist décor and a definite air of luxury, we’ll understand if you want to stay here a few extra days... or years. Read more about Kilindi here.
    Where? Matemwe is just 60 minutes drive from Stone Town, in the north-east part of Zanzibar, off the mainland of Tanzania, East Africa. Why? Matemwe is all about authentic Zanzibar. Experience the world from a gently swaying hammock and dine at the gorgeous open-air restaurant where the produce, like the atmosphere is soaked in local flavour. Read more about Matemwe here.
    Where? Mnemba Island Lodge is situated on an exclusive island just 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) off the north-eastern tip of Zanzibar in the azure Indian Ocean. Why? It's rustic, romantic and right on the beach-front. Need more convincing? How about the fact that the lodge boasts one of the most beautiful diving sites, excellent birdwatching opportunities, all-day snorkelling and private candlelit dinners to end the day. Best summed up, it's a little slice of heaven. Read more about Mnemba Island Lodge here.
    Rhino Africa can tailor-make an African holiday of a lifetime to suit your budget, needs and style. What about combining a beach holiday with an authentic African safari? One of our expert consultants can give you all the inside information to ensure that you get the best experience and the best value for money possible. So contact us today and let’s start planning! Africa awaits.

  • 'Lemurs in the Mist' - We Head To Madagascar

    By Tamlin Wightman |

    Some of the Rhino Africa team recently visited the exotic island of Madagascar. Poor them... The team consisted of three of our travel consultants and our video man. None of them had been to Madagascar before. Now they can't talk about anything else. Their Facebook pages are rife with snaps from Mad. Which is what they nicknamed the island - Mad. That's how much they liked it. They visited Tana, Andasibe/Perinet (Mantadia National Park), Anjajavy and Nosy Be during the trip. This is what they had to say...

    Find out more below and watch the video:


    Antananarivo is the capital and largest city in Madagascar. It's also known by its French colonial shorthand form 'Tana'. There is not a lot to do here but it makes for a very interesting city, and a very beautiful, photogenic one that's ideal for photographers. The city is quite spread out and built around a series of hills with old buildings found on top of them and rice paddies, livestock and brick-makers between. The Malagasy people eat more rice per capita than any of the Asian countries. We went on the Tana city tour and visited the The Rova of Antananarivo, which is the remains of the royal palace that served as the home of the sovereigns of the Kingdom of Imerina in the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as the rulers of the Kingdom of Madagascar in the 19th century. Another place of interest is the Marche Artisanal De La Digue, an arts and crafts market on the outskirts. Expect haggling! The roads are narrow, winding and potholed but orderly, with no chaos or noise. We went to two great restaurants - Cafe de la Gare (Station Cafe) and Ku De Ta. Tana is easily accessible en-route to or from the airport. We stayed at Le Pavillon de l'Emyrne, a beautifully restored guesthouse. [caption id="attachment_12926" align="alignnone" width="550"] Antananarivo in the early morning[/caption]
    • Be sure to draw ariary - the currency - at the airport. One ariary is subdivided into 5 iraimbilanja. It is difficult/ illegal to exchange elsewhere. Euros are more widely accepted than USD. You can pay hotels in €/$ but the exchange rate's not always favourable.
    • Credit cards are not accepted everywhere, but where they are, Visa is normally your best bet.
    • At hotels/lodges, it's advised to tip at the end of your stay rather than every time you sign a bill. At Anjajavy and Vakona it's recommended to leave a tip envelope in a tip box at reception. Recommended amount is $10 (or equivalent) per person per day.
    • Bring your own insect repellent.

    Vakona Lodge & Andasibe-Mantadia National Park

    Lemurs, lemurs, and more lemurs! Andasibe-Mantadia National Park is Madagascar's most accessible rainforest park, famous for the Indri Lemur, a lemur that sings like a whale but looks like a cross between a human and a panda. The park is also known for its other lemur species, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Excellent guides are available. Where we stayed - Vakona Forest Lodge - was amazing, located 15 minutes by car from the main entrance to Andasibe National Park. Accommodation is in 24 spacious bungalows with heaters (important in winter). All bungalows have a mini bar and en suite bathrooms. A magnificent lounge and restaurant, serving delicious meals, are built around a central fireplace. There's a small souvenir shop, board games, snooker table, swimming pool, horse riding, table tennis, TV, a squash court, hikes and a golf driving range!
    TRAVEL TIP: Bring a head torch for night walks to see the nocturnal Lemurs.
    See more photos in our Facebook Album!

    No Roads Lead to Anjajavy...

    Anjajavy is the most remote place we have ever been to. It's a 1.5 hour plane ride from Tana with amazing views. Anjajavy International Airport is basically a banana leaf hut. We were met by Cedric, the General Manager and one of the most passionate people in the world. He LOVES Madagascar and Anjajavy and it shows. We stayed at Anjajavy l'Hôtel. Arriving here feels like walking into paradise; it's very impressive and a Relais & Chateax property. It has the softest, green grass with love birds on it and an infinity pool surrounded with palm trees, which lead down to the beach. There are eight private beaches and simple classy villas with a kids room upstairs. High tea with the lemurs was amazing. They naturally cross the area at 4:30pm every day. There are several activities on offer, such as bike rides, snorkeling, walks, wind surfing and boats trips. The food was excellent considering everything has to be flown in. It's quite pricey but, all in all, an amazing property. Highly recommended.

    Nosy Be

    Nosy Be is the biggest and most popular beach destination on the island of Madagascar. It is located about eight kilometers (5 miles) from the coast of Madagascar in the Mozambique Channel; several smaller islands are located nearby, including Nosy Komba, Nosy Mitsio, Nosy Sakatia, and Nosy Tanikely. The island is known for having the world's smallest frog (Stumpffia pygmaea) and chameleon (Brookesia minima).

    Here we stayed at:

    1. Vanila Hotel
    • There's a fantastic Manager on duty here and a very authentic feeling to the place. The hotel is close to the beach, only a few steps down to the beach. There are garden and ocean facing Rooms and Prestige Suites (each suite with a Jacuzzi). All rooms have a safe, mini bar, TV and aircon. The food is amazing and there's a beautiful Spa as well.
    2.  Amarina Hotel
    • This big beach resort has 58 rooms, all with a safe, mini bar, TV and aircon. They offer buffet meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and there is a diving centre. The hotel is kid friendly with programmes for children. Be aware that there are no English TV channels or anything written in English.
    3. L’Heure Bleue
    • It's situated on the beachfront, but slightly elevated above, with the most amazing views. The furniture in the bedrooms and public areas features some stunning wood work. There are 10 bungalows with private patios and amazing beach views. The luxury rooms are further away and higher up from the beach. They're private with incredible views as well. All rooms have a safe, mini bar, TV and fans. They are busy building another swimming pool and extra luxury rooms with plunge pools.


    There’s no substitute for first-hand knowledge. We’ve compiled three tried and tested itineraries/tours, to give you an idea of what’s possible. You might even want to combine some time in Madagascar visiting the lemurs with a trip to the Kruger National Park to see the Big 5! Contact one of our Madagascar travel experts today and let’s start planning your own, tailor-made Madagascar holiday of a lifetime!

  • Wish You Were Here! - Postcards from the Indian Ocean Islands

    By Craig Harding |

    Look at all the pretty pictures! Sometimes writing about a destination just won’t do it justice. Sure if you’re a master of the pen and your descriptions rival those of the Bard himself, that’s perfect. Unfortunately our esteemed writer and resident master of the written word, Tamlin is currently out of the office. This leaves the task to me and I’m still struggling too, to, two learn the difference, if you get my drift. So instead I’ve put together a visual feast showcasing the Indian Ocean Islands. The Indian Ocean is the third largest body of water in the world and nestled in its warm waters are some of Rhino Africa’s most romantic destinations. Find out more about the Indian Ocean Islands on our website here.

    Discover Madagascar, land of Lemurs and chameleons and find out about travelling to Madagascar on our website. If you’re looking for further reading, David Ryan wrote a great series of posts about his trip to Madagascar, right here on the Rhino Africa Safaris blog.
    Situated in the western waters of the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa, the Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands scattered across the deep blue sea. Find out how you can book your trip to the Seychelles with Rhino Africa Safaris on our website.
    Mention the word Mauritius, and travellers picture a palm-fringed oasis in the Indian Ocean, while those who have been here heave a sigh of contentment. Discover more about this fantastic island getaway on the Rhino Africa website.
    If you're looking for an idyllic honeymoon destination or just want some time out on a secluded and luxurious island retreat, the Maldives is the perfect destination for you, find out all about travel to the Maldives on the Rhino Africa website.
    Other great Indian Ocean Island destinations include the eclectic Zanzibar Island and in Mozambique you'll also find the Bazaruto and Quirimbas Archipelagos. The best thing about all these fantastic island destinations is that they are very easily combined with a safari in the Kruger National Park or elsewhere. Contact Rhino Africa to book your own trip to any one of these fantastic destinations.  

  • Zanzibar: An Island In Pictures

    By Tamlin Wightman |

    Speaking of Zanzibar, explorer David Livingstone once said, "The finest place I have known in all of illusive place where nothing is as it seems. I am mesmerised." (1866) I've ventured to this illusive place, also called Spice Island, a few times in my life and, I must say, Livingstone, I tend to agree with you... it never ceases to beguile. Every corner allures. On this Indian Ocean destination, off the coast of Tanzania about 40 kilometres from Bagamoyoa, you can find yourself, one morning, ambling through potholed side streets past run-down, yet often palatial double/triple/quadruple-storey homes with intricate wooden doors, old forts and majestic photographically-enticing ruins. Various plants and trees tower over the roads, namely gigantic banana trees typical of tropical lands, with vervet monkeys hopping to and from each. Locals pass in traditional Arabic clothing, like hijabs and burquas - both men and women; men often hold hands. By afternoon find yourself in the deep warm blue diving with the ocean's creatures or taking a boat out further to scattered islands. By night, you'll be dining on the beach in the capital Stonetown, scoffing some the best seafood you'll ever taste, and dancing freely to rhythmic African beats from the live beach-bar band, among other tourists and residents shaking their sarong-ed bodies as if no other time but the present existed. Yip, Zanzibar is irresistible. Trying to capture it all, how every one of your senses perceives and is stimulated by this island, ain't easy. Maybe photos will help... Scroll down.

    Useful Phrases

    Welcome to Tanzania! - Karibu Tanzania! Do you speak English? - Unasema Kiingereza? Hello - Jambo! No problem - Hakuna matata! Thank you very much - Asante Sana Elephant - Tembo Cheetah - Duma Lion - Simba
    If you're thinking of travelling here, visit our Facts & Info section and contact us for more information on destinations, tours and accommodation. Our consultants have been to Zanzibar countless times so hit us with your enquiries!

  • David's Madagascar Diary - Nosy Iranja

    By Matthew Sterne |

    Getting to Nosy Iranja is no mean feat, and will take you the better part of a day. That is if Air Madagascar is by some small miracle running on time, but this in itself is part of the charm of this island paradise. Nosy Be might be an island, but it is still a 30 minute transfer from the airport to the port, followed by a 90 minute boat transfer past tropical islands and along Madagascar’s unspoilt northeast coast, with no developments or settlements as far as the eye can see. The day’s travels however are soon forgotten on arrival to the warm azure waters and white sandy beaches of Nosy Iranja. Nosy Iranja is made up of two Islands, linked by a 1.2 km sand bank, which can be crossed at low tide. The smaller island - Iranja Kely – is home to Nosy Iranja Lodge and really is like no place on earth. It is by no means your 5 star game lodge with fancy bathrooms and heated plunge pools; to which we have become accustomed. In fact, both your electricity and water will be rationed, but it is the barefoot luxury we all dream about in a tropical Island. I have had the privilege over the past decade to stay in some exceptional properties across both Africa and the globe. However, never before have I been able to sit on a beach and marvel at three enormous Green Turtles coming up to nest, as each has done for over 25 years on the same beach, under a sky filled with stars from horizon to horizon, and not one light to be seen for 360 degrees. Nosy Iranja or Turtle Island, is the only Indian Ocean Island that is a nesting ground for two of the eight turtle species found in our oceans, namely the Hawksbill and Green Turtle. To witness these incredible animals nest is one thing, to watch a turtle nest burst into life is something quite extraordinary.  During our 5 night stay over Easter, we were witness to four nests hatching and watched in awe as over 250 baby turtles made their way to the sea. The turtles of Nosy Iranja are reason enough to visit this tropical paradise, and while no true wildlife experience can be guaranteed, if you would like to be one of the few individuals on this earth to witness this spectacle, be sure to plan your holiday around either the Green or Hawksbill Turtle nesting and hatching seasons. If the turtles are not enough to keep you entertained, there are plenty more activities on offer. On the adjacent island is a small community, take a scenic walk up to a lookout point where you will find the local school and a lighthouse designed by none other than Mr Eiffel himself. There is an array of free non-motorised activities to enjoy, from kayaking to pedal boats, windsurfing or even taking out the hobby cat. My favourite was without a doubt the snorkeling. While there are organised snorkeling trips to the lighthouse and shark tooth rock, both of which are fantastic, the snorkeling right outside the rooms is equally spectacular. While the corals aren’t plentiful, they are healthy, as is the variety, number and size of the fish. I have never seen so many large Unicorn and Parrot fish in all my years of diving and snorkeling. As someone that has been everywhere from Mozambique to Zanzibar, Mauritius and the Seychelles, I can confidently say the snorkeling at Nosy Iranja is truly superb. Added to the snorkeling, Nosy Iranja has no less than 16 different dive sites, but much to our disappointment diving was unavailable during our stay. If the snorkeling experience was anything to go by, the diving can only be exceptional. The non-motorised activities on offer at the lodge are fantastic. To kayak around the island or enjoy the pedal boats was amazing. Stop en-route for a swim at the beautiful south point or enjoy a snorkel along any of the reefs that surround the island. The kids that were on holiday at Nosy Iranja were certainly having the time of the life without any of the normal risks of speedboat activity. You will also find a number of other excursions at the activities centre, including a day trip to Nosy Komba and Nosy Tanikely. At a cost of €550 if you are less than four people, or €138 per person for four or more people, the experience simply does not warrant the cost, and certainly does not complement the exclusivity that Nosy Iranja offers. But should you elect to go, you firstly need to prepare yourself for a two hour boat transfer both there and back. Depending on the boat used, you might be exposed to full sun, and thus if not prepared you may come back very burnt and bruised from the experience. Having traveled two hours, essentially back past Nosy Be, you will arrive at Nosy Komba, which is basically another curio market with the same trinkets you can get in either Nosy Be or Antananarivo. Your primary reason for visiting Nosy Komba would be to see the few Black Lemurs at a local park, so unless you are desperate for some Lemur interaction, where you will spend no more than 20 minutes with the few Lemurs, together with every other visitor to Nosy Be, the experience really is not worthwhile. From Nosy Komba, you will head to Nosy Tanikely, should you have booked to snorkel in this marine reserve. From my experience, I would caution you against it, because as a Nosy Iranja guest, the snorkeling doesn’t compare to that around Nosy Iranja itself. Nosy Tanikely might be a marine reserve, and the corals are pretty, but the seabed is littered with damaged, broken and dying coral. As Nosy Tanikely is just a short boat trip from Nosy Be – and is Nosy Be’s primary snorkeling spot, you will inevitably share the small beach with the rest of Nosy Be’s visitors that didn’t opt for the excursion to Nosy Komba. The water quality is very poor, and visibility is not good due to the vast amounts of diesel pollutants released by the numerous yachts and boats that frequent this reserve. The rooms at Nosy Iranja are great, although the bathroom amenities are not very comprehensive, so be sure to pack everything you might need. While the rooms might not win any design awards, they are well laid out, neat, clean, and with one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in. You will quickly make yourself at home in one of the 29 rooms at Nosy Iranja that are dotted around the island, providing both sunrise or sunset views, with both family and standard options available. The food and service were wonderful. The staff are very friendly and helpful, although it is somewhat difficult to get by in English, so meals often resulted in a point-and-see lottery, which was always great fun and full of surprises. The food was however excellent, with a strong French influence, but a perfect combination of natural fruits, seafood and meats. Nosy Iranja truly is a magical destination, suitable for everyone from honeymooners to families alike. Whether you chose to add Nosy Iranja to your African safari experience, or make it part of a great Madagascar itinerary, Nosy Iranja is not only a destination in itself, but a truly unique experience. There are two direct flights between Johannesburg and Nosy Be a week – Tuesday and Saturday Contact Us to start planning your tailor-made holiday to Nosy Iranja and be one of the first to still experience this forgotten land, it’s mystical people, magical wildlife and unspoilt islands. Rhino’s Nosy Iranja Tips

    • Try and book your stay to coincide with Turtle season.
    • Leave your shoes at home – all you will need is your sunblock and bathing costume.
    • Pack a head torch with a red light setting if you're planning to go during Turtle season.
    • Pack aqua shoes with good grip for snorkeling and swimming.
    • Pack two prong adapters for French plugs to charge your camera equipment.