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 Ambodifototra (Ile Sainte Marie) - Profile

Location

Nosy Boraha, previously known as Île Sainte-Marie (and still popularly known by travellers as such), is a large island off the east coast of Madagascar.

The port and main town of Ambodifototra is located on the sheltered southwest side of the island.

The channel between Nosy Boraha and Madagascar is a popular place for whale watching, as substantial groups of humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic here to breed.

Position 17° 00.22' S, 049° 50.84' E (anchorage)

Clearance

This an official port of entry.

See Madagascar/Formalities for full details of Clearance procedures.

On request, you may be granted a 3 month visa rather than the usual 1 month one when clearing in here, but visa extensions cannot be granted at this port.

Dinghies can be safely tied up in the ferry port at the small wooden dock with a corrugated roof. It's advisable to use a stern anchor for the dinghy.

From the dinghy dock take the road next to the bakery "Choco Pain". The Police (who act as Immigration) are 200m up this road on the right.

Customs and Coast Guard are on Îsle Madame (the fishing harbour). Take the dinghy to the derelict concrete dock in front of the old colonial style building with brown columns. Again, use a stern anchor.

The Customs office is in the first building you come across, like an abandoned hotel. The office is in the west wing, access from the north, outside.

The Coast Guard office is just 20 metres away to the west.

Last updated:  October 2018

Coast Guard/Marine Malagasy
Tel:032-110-5908
Opening hours: 24/7
Officer Edouard
Customs
Opening hours: 08:00-12:30, 14:30-17:00(daily)
Officer Babilas and his assistance Bruno.
Genarmeries/Police
Tel:034-711-7107
Opening hours: 24/7
Police Station (Immigration)
Tel:032-684-4086
Opening hours: 24/7
Officer Adelain is the person to deal with.

Docking

There is a good anchorage in 8.5m with good holding just outside the harbour.

Most yachts anchor in the bay, just north and west of Ile Digue Madame.

Take care of the sumberged steel buoy - see comment below with co-ordinates.

It is possible to land by dinghy in both the Ferry Harbour (at the small wooden jetty with a corrugated roof) and Digue Madame Fisherman Harbour.

The town has most services required; banks, tourist information centre, bakery, hardware stores, pharmacy, fuel station, police station, internet service and markets.

Last updated September 2016.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 06, 2018 10:12 AM

domander says:
Sep 27, 2018 02:34 PM
The 30 day visa into Madagascar is no longer free. As far as we can tell we were treated fairly in all of our dealings with the officials when we cleared into Ambodifotatra.

First we went to the police station who act as Immigration. The 30 day visa cost 115,000 Ariary each person. We paid this to the officer plus 40,000 for a taxi. He took the passports, and one copy of our two copies of the exit zarpe (clearance) from Réunion. We went back at the time he suggested the next day and he returned the passports with the visas attached. I don't know where the copy of the Réunion exit paper went... he said it is no longer required.

We still DID have to go to Îsle Madame (the fishing harbour) to see the Customs office. This is well within walking distance for this old geezer. It is in the first building you come across, like an abandoned hotel. The office is in the west wing, access from the north, outside. There we filled in a crew list/boat info sheet of paper and paid 60,000. We asked him if it was really necessary to visit the Coast Guard office just 20 metres away to the west and while considering it finally said we should.

There at the Coast Guard we paid another 60,000 and filled out another vessel and crew info sheet.

That is what is required to check in when asking for a 30 day visa. I'll come back to post again when we check out domestically on Monday to tell you what we did.

nadireberker
nadireberker says:
Sep 07, 2016 06:37 PM

SY Keyif anchored in 17 0 215S 49 50 819E, close to Ilot Madam, on August 25,2016.
We stayed there for nearly 10 days, during strong southeasterlies. It is good holding, with very little to no swell.
There is a submerged steel buoy at 17 00 1945S 049 50 8482E. Take care, don't hit it!

Immigration, customs and port police formalities are easily finished in a couple of hours. Take the dinghy into the ferry port, and tie to the small wooden dock, you must use a stern anchor. The wooden dock has a corrugated roof, and a wooden door. Nobody touches the dinghy. Walk straight ahead, you will see the patisserie Choco Pain where there is good bread. Take the road next to the Choco Pain and the police are 200 meters on the right.

Customs and port police are on Ilot Madame, take dinghy to the broken down concrete wall in front of the old colonial style building with brown columns. Better to use the stern anchor.

Il Aux Nattes is the most besutiful spot to visit. It is possible to anchor in front of the entrance to the lagoon between Ile Sainte-Marie and Il Aux Nattes, at 17 5 551 S 49 48 553 E in 4 meters, all sand bottom. Slight to moderate swell, not uncomfortable. Take the dinghy ashore and visit Il Aux Nattes. The fishermen warned us to lock the outboard engine at night.

As a final comment, even though it rains often, and is a bit cool sometimes, we think Ile Sainte-Marie, aka Nosy Boraha has been a great introduction to Madagascar, with its friendly people, modest town, beautiful landscape, and the possibility to interact with the community here.

Madagascar
Ambodifototra (Ile Sainte Marie)
Analalava
Antisiranana (Diego Suarez)
Fort Dauphin (Taolagnaro)
Hell-Ville (Nossi-Be)
Mahajanga
Nosy Hara
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