Nosy Be

The island of perfumes

AIn the 17th century the English officer, Robert Hunt, had surprised himself by dreaming of a future of cornucopia for the island he had named Assada, and where lived only the guardians of the herds of some wren the great land. He already saw plantations of sugar cane everywhere and, once the island developed and the fruitful trade, the possibility of feeding 100,000 people! Over time Assada has become Nosy Be, and the cane has actually settled over time.

Paradise beach of Nosy Be, Masagascar

Nosy Be, “the island of perfumes” with, a soon as arrival at Fascene airport, the exhilarating scents of cinnamon, sugar cane, vanilla, frangipani, and especially the flowers of ylang ylang. A tree at the tortured mine, because its growth is purposely blocked for the happiness of the elegant people of the whole world. It blooms throughout the year, but especially from November to March with night rains. 500 hectares produce 800 tons of flowers and 20 tons of essential oil per year, a good hundred kilos of flowers carefully handpicked to get 2.5 kilos of ylang ylang essential oil! In the felted universe of perfumery, jasmine and rose are permanently at the highest, ylang ylang has for him the magic of its origins that smell the islands and distant seas...

Paradise beach of Nosy Be, Masagascar

Here all roads lead to the sea, or come. Even from the 300 m of the Mont Passot, it does not fail to remind its omnipresence and its proximity by offering a panorama reaching Mitsio archipelago in the North and the Radama Islands in the South. Seen from this belvedere, the sunsets over the waters of the Mozambique Channel are legendary, it is even advisable to stay after the disappearance of "the eye of the day" to follow the ultimate changes in luminosity. The pages of the magazines will speak with unfazed inspiration of the beaches lined with coconut trees and fishing villages, the solitude of the bays and the coves, as many paintings by Gauguin frozen in their beauty that only animates the silent race of dhows and canoes.

Because the sea is also and above all the call of the sea, and in Nosy Be the passionate of the fishing will never lack arguments to talk about their passion. Palangrotte, line fishing, or large trail, according to the chosen technique or the month of the year, the catch will be abundant of the angoho to the king mackerel or the yellow tuna or again the black marlin , the barracuda, the swordfish sailboat or the jobfish ... The sea can also be seen "from below" because the waters of Nosy Be and its islands have diving spots among the most beautiful of Madagascar: Greg Wall in the islands Radama, the Petit Castor Bench at Mitsio, The Black Coral in the Northwest of Sakatia, Nosy Kivingy between Nosy Be and Nosy Iranja, the Zaïda wreck laying expressly 2 miles from Ambatoloaka, and many others. Finally, the sea is the tranquil sailing of an island with a name that sings to another, called Nosy Komba, Nosy Faly, Nosy Tanikely or Nosy Mamoko. Out of time, far of the World...

Sunset in Nosy Be, Masagascar

Nosy Be is not, however, a planet apart, as it is also one of the cradles of Sakalava history and culture predominant all over the west coast. A visit to the traditional sites makes it possible to better know the origin, the identity, the ancestral religion "Tromba" of this ethnic group. One could cite the Sacred Tree, an important place of prayer. It is under this variety of Ficus that Buddha would have had his illumination. Mahabo Manangarivo, which houses the remains of Queen Binao and her brother Amada I. The remains of the fortified city of Mahilaka or those of Ambanoro today invaded by the banyans. The Sacred Lakes, the eternal abode of the spirit of the ancient rulers Sakalava and Antakarana.

Text: Thompson Andriamanoro
Photos Pierre-Yves Babelon
Thanks to Madavoile, Nosy Be Hôtel, Vanila Hôtel

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