Nosy Be

  • Province
    Northwest coast
  • Climate
    Warm dry climate
  • Average temperature
  • Elevation
  • Area km²
    312 km2
  • Coordinates
    13° 20′ 0″ S, 48° 15′ 0″ E
  • Established
  • The best time to visit
    All year around
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Nosy Be (also Nossi-bé and Nosse Be) is an island off the northwest coast of Madagascar. Nosy Be is Madagascar’s largest and busiest tourist resort. It has an area of 312 square kilometres (120 sq mi) and its population was officially estimated at 36,636 in 2001. Nosy Be means “big island” in the Malagasy language. The island was called Assada during the early colonial era of the seventeenth century. Nosy Be has been given several nicknames over the centuries, including “Nosy Manitra” (the scented island).


The first of Nosy Be were small bands of Antankarana and Zafinofotsy, before the arrival the Sakalava represent the most numerous ethnic group on the island. These people were joined later by someComorians, Indians or Antandroy.

Nosy Be made first major appearance in Madagascar’s history when King Radama I announced that he intended to conquer the whole west of the red island up to the sea. That plan was eventually achieved when the Sakalava Kingdom of Boina came into his possession in 1837 when Queen Tsiomeko of Boina’s army was defeated.