Sea kayaking on Sainte Marie Island

Trip description

Sainte Marie Island has everything to please; superb beaches, a turquoise lagoon, wooded hills and rice fields, few vehicles and a well-maintained network, a welcoming population that eats its fill. This spit of land, 10 km from the east coast of the mainland, is undoubtedly a small paradise that can be discovered in the most beautiful way, by sea. The east coast of Madagascar, particularly the island of Sainte Marie and the bay of Antongil have served as a hideout for pirates who have plundered the Indian Ocean. The Ilot des forbans and its pirate cemetery bear witness to this, with graves engraved with crossed shins and moving epitaphs. The Dutch, then the English and finally the French colonised this island as early as 1550, as it was ideally situated on the route to India. We will sail around the island, focusing on the east coast and its magnificent coral reef. A real raid to discover a generous nature, punctuated by meetings with the population. 

A complete trip "off the beaten track".

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8 days

From : €1,090*

Day 1: Sainte Marie Island - Ambodifotatara - Ile aux nattes

Day 2: Island of Mats

Day 3: Island of Mats - East Lagoon

Day 4: Lagoon to the north

Day 5: Excursion to the lagoon

Day 6: Ampanihy, mangrove and lagoon

Day 7: East lagoon, back to the south

Day 8: Saint Mary's

Day 1 : Sainte Marie Island - Ambodifotatara - Ile aux nattes

photo 2 ©Mada Expeditions

Reception either at the airport or at Ambodifotatra, for those who come by boat from the big island. From there, a "tuk-tuk" ride takes you to the beachfront, south of Nosy Boraha (Malagasy) to reach the "île aux nattes" which will serve as a starting point and initiation to sea kayaking. This rounded island of 5 km by 3.5 km is a kind of postcard of tropical Eden. With a fringe of white sand, lush as hell, no electricity and no motor vehicles, the place really is like an original paradise. A paradise that is certainly quite populated: next to several villages, a few hotels occupy its shores. After settling in at the hotel-bungalows, you will discover your kayak and its handling in the wonderful lagoon studded with corrallian concretions.                                                                                                                         
Type of accommodation: charming hotel in TPL and QAD rooms

Boat trip: 3h00

tuk-tuk: 0h30

sea kayak: 1h30

Day 2 : Island of Mats

photo 3 ©Mada Expeditions

Two days to discover the lagoon and learn how to handle a sea kayak. Progression by paddle and sail... here everything is calm, beauty and pleasure. Snorkeling is compulsory during the kayak break. The supervision of this activity is ensured by Luc BABIN, a French guide speaking Malagasy and his assistant Jolistin who is currently the only local expert of sea kayaking in Mada. The fleet is made up of 5 two-seater dismountable boats of the KLEPPER brand (THE reference), which makes it possible to navigate in flotilla to guarantee the safety of each one. Knowing how to swim is an imperative condition and a swimming test will be organised on site. Each participant will be required to wear a high performance safety waistcoat. The morning is dedicated to sea kayaking, the afternoon to visit the island of mats, to meet its inhabitants and to familiarize yourself with the Malagasy atmosphere.

Type of accommodation: in rustic bungalows DBL and TWN with shared toilets and showers.

Sea kayaking : 4h30

Day 3 : Island of Mats - East Lagoon

photo 4 ©Mada Expeditions

Breakfast at the hotel. Departure of the kayak trip along the eastern side of the island. The first stage will take us to the very beautiful hotel in Boraha village, refined and very characteristic for its superb pontoon leading to an aperitif terrace on stilts. This day of sailing will be decisive in getting our squadron of sailing kayaks into a comfortable rhythm. A snorkeling stop is planned at the most suitable place to dive in the tropical aquarium, before the picnic break. The lagoon becomes very wide on this part of the island, and we sail on a sea that is sometimes emerald coloured and sometimes turquoise blue, passing here and there fishermen in pirogues.

Type of accommodation: charming hotel in TPL and QAD rooms

Sea kayaking: 4h30

Day 4 : Lagoon to the north

photo 5 ©Mada Expeditions

Breakfast at the hotel. This day of navigation will allow us to reach the extreme north of the protected lagoon of Sainte Marie Island by skirting the peninsula of Ampanihy, after having zigzagged between the stakes of the seaweed cultivation fields and crossed the fishermen in pirogues. We leave our kayaks at the exit of the lagoon because the sea is not navigable afterwards ... and after having entrusted our boats under good guard, we finish the stage by a beach hike to reach the improbable hotel whose bungalows are posed on the dune, facing the sea. Here, we feel far, far, far away...

Type of accommodation: charming hotel in DBL and TWN rooms

Sea kayaking: 5h30

Walking: 1 hour

Day 5 : Excursion to the lagoon

photo 6 ©Mada Expeditions

Breakfast at the hotel. The morning starts with a walk on the beach to reach our boats. Then we sail against the wind, which means we have to manoeuvre our sails in the lagoon to reach the tip of the Ampanihy peninsula, which allows us to enter the mangrove and sail to the pontoon hidden in the mangrove trees, which opens the way to a local hostel, whose rustic authenticity you will appreciate! This is a stage for meeting and sharing with the most isolated inhabitants of this part of the island.

Type of accommodation: in rustic bungalows with sanitary facilities and outdoor showers.

Sea kayaking: 4h30

Walking: 1 hour

Day 6 : Ampanihy, mangrove and lagoon

photo 7 ©Mada Expeditions

Breakfast at the hostel, take time to talk, share and meet these kind-hearted people. Here, you fill up on wild honey to bring you luck and the cook blows you away with her recipe for stuffed crabs. On the other hand, the place is rustic and the drinks "not cold"... so it's time to sail south to the beautiful hotel in Boraha village. We will take advantage of the late afternoon to visit the humpback whale study centre. Sainte Marie is well known for the observation, study and protection of these large marine mammals.

Type of accommodation: charming hotel in TPL and QAD rooms.

Sea kayaking: 4h30

Day 7 : East lagoon, back to the south

photo 8 ©Mada Expeditions

This last stage of navigation will lead us to Ambodifotatra, the "capital" of the island. The hotel staff carries the kayaks to a mangrove that crosses the island in width and allows us to reach the west coast through an aquatic labyrinth under the mangrove branches. The small town is still dominated by the old India Company fort which cannot be visited because it is a military barracks. A tunnel linked the fort to the Ile aux Forban in the centre of the bay. The Catholic church dates from 1837, the oldest in Madagascar. A visit to the pirate cemetery offers an opportunity to dive into Malagasy history. The kayak tour ends here and the afternoon is spent shopping at the craftsmen in the small town of Ambodifotatra. 

Type of accommodation: in DBL and TWN rooms

Sea kayaking: 2h30

Day 8 : Saint Mary's

photo 9 ©Mada Expeditions

Our services end after your transfer to the port or airport depending on the return transport you have chosen.

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