If you’re interested in a place full of excitement, mystery, and adventure, then Madagascar is the place to go, both on land and in the water. Madagascar diving is done in the Indian Ocean because the country is located right off the coast of Africa. Those who love nature or scuba diving will want to put this location on their bucket list.
Of course, you will find tours and operators to ensure your safety and help you on and off the boats. Some of them might also rent equipment. Instead, though, it is ideal to buy your own items; check out our reviews on the best dive equipment for options.
Primarily, Madagascar is a large island off the Africa coastline, so you’ll find many ideal spots. Options like Nosy Be is one of the most popular, but there are many smaller islands nearby, as well. These can include Nosy Sakatia, Nosy Komba, Nosy Miitsio, and Nosy Tanikely, where you will find a variety of marine life, such as marine turtles, stingrays, and manta rays.
Those who’d like to experience whale sharks in person should visit the island between November and December. However, if you want to experience a lot of underwater wildlife, it’s best to go between April and August. Visibility during this time could be over 30 meters deep.
That said, visibility can also drop drastically during these months. This is, in part, because of a plankton bloom, which can attract many predators.
The waters around Madagascar are home to one of the longest and most continuous coral reefs in the world. Of course, the country is also home to many incredible land-based animals, but the marine species are plentiful and unique.
In Madagascar alone, you will find five out of seven marine turtle species, 56 different sharks, 1300 bony fish types, and more than 34 types of dolphins and whales. You shouldn’t miss these waters that are teeming with so much life.
Many people prefer to experience the incredible diving in Madagascar via a liveaboard. This is often a small ship that has everything you need to live on it during your vacation. It has beds, bedding, storage options, bathrooms, and you may be supplied with food and beverages.
The best locations for liveaboards include the Radames and Miitsio archipelagos. In addition, you may want to consider staying on the east coast of Madagascar because it is one of the migratory routes for the humpback whales, especially from July through September. Sometimes, they will give birth here, which is a fantastic experience for scuba divers.
Madagascar Diving Sites
Here are the top diving sites in Madagascar plus the things you'd expect from each area:
1. Nosy Tanikely
Nosy Tanikely is located inside the Madagascan Marine Park and is a great place for beginners. If you’ve never dived the Madagascar waters, you’ll get introduced to them so that you are better prepared. That said, it’s also suitable for advanced divers.
This location is home to many stunning marine life, fauna, and corals. You’ll find drop-offs, flat reefs, and the best visibility.
Of course, you have a chance to see barracudas, stingrays, groupers, and frogfish. Other options can include Gorgonian fans, triggerfish, and tube sponges.
2. Four Brothers
If you’re looking for a jaw-dropping good time underwater, Four Brothers is the place to be. It features four large basalt rock domes that can go as high as 90 meters and will penetrate the surrounding waters above. It’s located in the southwest of the Miitsio Islands.
You’ll experience stunning rock formations, impressive overhangs, and caves, as well as a variety of seabirds. Underwater, you’ll see inverted cliffs that range from four to 20 meters from the seafloor.
You will also likely see Blue Spotted Rays, Unicorn Fish, lobsters, and many other species. It’s a great place to go regardless of your experience level. Those who want to make it a romantic trip might want to visit at sunset when the view is spectacular.
3. The Gran Banc Exterior
This is an open dive site, which is home to a continuous barrier reef and a large drop-off. If you want to see some sharks, this might be the best place to go. You can only go about 20 meters down, though.
You can also see a variety of marine life, including table coral, grouper, and hard and soft corals. You might also see hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, and pufferfish.
4. Manta Point
Those who want to see something unique will need to consider visiting Manta Point. It’s a cleaning station that features several cleaner fish and reef fish. You’ll also find a sandy seabed full of coral blocks with hungry mouths to feed.
Primarily, people come here to see the crocodile fish, which are majestic giants that swim past often. It’s also possible to see vase sponges, whale sharks, triggerfish, grouper, and tuna.
5. Gorgonian Fan Forest
If you plan to visit Madagascar, you cannot miss this diving location. At points during the excursion, you may feel a little eerie, but you will soon get over the unease when you’re swimming amongst the giant Gorgonian Fans.
This experience is like nothing else you’ve ever had. The out-of-this-world feeling will be doubled and tripled because you’ll feel like you’re moving through a painting. Everything is serial, but it’s also incredible.
You can see blue-spotted rays, large turtles, and even some crocodile fish. Keep your eyes peeled to see seahorses that might cling to the Gorgonian Fan branches!
6. And More!
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list. For example, Saint Marie is the place to go for wreck sites. You’ll also get to see tortoises, lobsters, and a variety of corals.
If you head north from there, you’ll get to the Anivorano Rocks. This is where you’ll find granite rocks housing barracuda and a fishing boat wreckage, which is considered to be an easy dive.
Though most people prefer to stay close to home to make it easier for travel purposes, you might soon tire of the same underwater adventures. When that happens, Madagascar diving should be your next step. You’ll find a variety of dive sites in the area, making it a popular choice for vacationers of any skill level.
If you’re interested in booking reservations, now might be the time to learn more about scuba diving and snorkeling. We offer a variety of product reviews to get you started, as well as advice and tips.