Scuba Diving in Madagascar

The Republic of Madagascar is a country that occupies a large island of the same name, located in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa. Madagascar split from the Indian subcontinent around 80 million years ago, allowing native plants and animals to evolve in relative isolation. Madagascar attracts divers with first-class diving, unique oceanic inhabitants and an extensive reef system, where a unique ecosystem has been formed. Off the coast, there are about 250 species of coral, inhabited by sea creatures. Here you will meet cute friendly turtles, giant oceanic manta rays, playful dolphins, as well as be able to watch the humpback whales that come here during the mating season. Here there is also a great chance of meeting the ancient fish coelacanth.

Reasons to Visit

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To meet some of the biggest ocean dwellers. Every year, humpback whales migrate to Madagascar's waters. From July to September, whales come from the Antarctic to breed in Madagascar's warmer waters near Isle Sainte Marie. In November other giants come to the local waters — whale sharks. At any time of the year, you will definitely spot octopuses.
A variety of marine inhabitants, many of whom live at depths of up to 30 meters. Madagascar's coastal waters are home to 34 species of whales and dolphins, 4 species of sea turtles and 250 species of coral. Pristine reefs host flocks of tropical fish, rays, tuna, moray eels, black and blue marlins. Meeting with leopard and reef sharks will add more thrills to your diving.
Madagascar has the largest reef system in the western Indian Ocean. The luxurious coral gardens are spread more than 400 km around the island. Fragile trees of stony and soft coral Rosario Bank formed lush thickets. Crowns of trees shelter sea turtles and eels. Among this splendour, you can also meet stingrays, marine angelfish and whale sharks.
Caves and labyrinths of local reefs are waiting for those who like to wander in underwater tunnels. The steep walls of the reef go down to a depth of 40 meters. Diving here is scary, but exciting. Some of the reefs are cut by numerous caves and rocks. Black coral trees, which are found in only a few places on the planet are the local highlight.
Madagascar's waters are bursting with life. Nosy Be is an island in the northwest of the republic with an amazing variety of marine life. The Gorgonians Bank territory is inhabited by huge gorgonians and octopuses, as well as crocodilefish. If you are attracted to underwater corridors and tunnels, you should definitely visit the reef 5m Bank. At the Grand Bank reef you can meet reef sharks, bright royal angelfish and schools of barracudas.

Diving Destinations in Madagascar

The archipelago Nosy Be, which is located in the southwest of the country, is widely known and very popular among divers. The variety of underwater inhabitants and virgin reefs give indescribable emotions while diving. Sainte Marie Island, also known as Nosy Boraha, located on the East coast, gives you an opportunity to meet humpback whales. The island of Nosy Tanikely offers 30-meter depth, excellent visibility and reefs that host many bright fish.

Memo Notes
Currency MGA - Malagasy Ariary
Languages English
Timezone UTC +3
Phone code 261
Emergency Help 21170
Electricity

Type C - 127 V, 220 V, 50 Hz

Type D - 127 V, 220 V, 50 Hz

Type E - 127 V, 220 V, 50 Hz

Type J - 127 V, 220 V, 50 Hz

Type K - 127 V, 220 V, 50 Hz

Dive Shops in Madagascar

"Aqua diving" dive shop at Nosy Be offers equipment rental services, diving tours, as well as training with the issuance of a certificate. You can also visit dive shops "Coral diving club", "Madaplouf diving" and "Tropical diving".

Сlimate & Seasonality
Spring

Spring in Madagascar is dry, especially in September. In November it starts raining. The air temperature varies between +25... +31 °C, water temperature is +20... +25 °C. The tourist season ends.

Summer

In the summer months (December-February) it is better not to go to the island because of heavy rains. The air warms up to +24 C, while the water in the raging ocean up to + 30 C. In the south of Madagascar it is sunny and hot, but the eastern part of the island can offer you a meeting with sharks.

Autumn

In autumn big waves appear in the ocean. Plankton attracts predators, so diving becomes unsafe. In March, it rains in the east, while in the center and northwest they are on the wane. The air warms up to +26 ˚С, and the water in the ocean-to + 26... +33 ˚С.

Winter

Winter (June to August) is the dry season in the central and northwest region. At night it gets cold, dropping to +10 °C. In the east it rains and in the north the varatraza wind blows. The air warms up to + 21 ˚С, and the water in the ocean — to + 28 ˚С. Summer is the time to watch whales.

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The Best Dive Sites

Castor Shole is known for its fantastical landform. At a depth of 40 meters you will see unusual grottoes and fascinating tunnels, as well as black underwater coral trees. Near the island of Nosy Be a 4 cave complex is located. This place attracts divers with calm waters without currents.

Health & Safety

Special vaccinations are not required, but it is recommended to vaccinate against typhoid, hepatitis and tuberculosis, and to vaccinate children against rotavirus.
The level of medical services on the island is average and provided on a paid basis, so you should get international medical insurance. There is a lack of drugs for fever and gastrointestinal diseases, as well as antibiotics. Do not swim in fresh water.
The level of crime is low, but do not take large sums of cash, and watch your valuables. Women should go out accompanied by relatives or friends.

Dangerous Marine Life

In the local waters near Madagascar you can find jellyfish, sea anemones, sea urchins and starfish that can "burn" or prick you if you touch them. It may result a slight burning sensation on the skin as well as heart failure. To avoid sharp poisonous sea urchin spines, watch your step. You should also beware of sharks.

Eat & Drinks

Traditional Madagascar cuisine consists mostly of rice that is served with hot pepper, vegetables, seafood and local spices. Locals like romazava – a traditional stew with fried beef, tomatoes and spices and ravitoto – beef fillet with cassava leaves and coconut. Seafood – crabs, oysters and shrimp, occupy an important place in the local residents menu.
If you want to try local alcohol, choose the rum "Dzama" and "Cazeneuve". Pink, white and red wines are also produced here. Drinking water should be boiled before use or buy bottled water.