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Cruising off the Coast of Madagascar

When considering cruising destination, Africa doesn't often fall into the most likely category of the world's top places to set sail. But there are fantastic opportunities to enjoy sailing in as far flung a place as Madagascar, the large island located off the eastern coast of Southern Africa.

In February 2013, I set sail with a charter outfit out of Madagascar for what turned out to be an epic journey that I'll never forget.

I made the most of my vacation by visiting many of the surrounding islands, and making friends along the way, not just with my group but with locals as well.

Read a Guide to Nosy B Madagascar

Land is great but when you chose to set sail with The Sailing Collective you will encounter life altering experiences and you will see some of the most remote islands in the world, only reachable by boat.

Nosy Komba, Nosy Tanikely; and Nosy Sakatia, are to name a few, these islands participate in scuba diving adventures in the jewel-like archipelago of Nosy Mitsio. Snorkeling or scuba diving with an astonishing rich undersea life will be like no other adventure in the world. The Sailing Collective does all the work for you, all you have to do it sit back and enjoy as much or as little as you choose.

You can choose, land or sea, or in my case, both. It’s easy to find your own way of exploring the natural wonders of this beautiful land far away from the tourist centers. There are many local tour operators based in Nosy Be who organize trekking, mountain biking, diving, fishing and day cruises in the Nosy Be region. English is spoken, however it helps to speak French or better yet if you can find a Malagasy person that speaks French, English and Malagasy you will have hit the jackpot.

One thing is for sure, a visit to this magical surreal destination will take you back in time, it will recharge your batteries, it will renew you and most certainly it will change the way you think about life, it will make you a better person, and upon returning to your home you will understand the importance of taking a step back in time and you will understand that less can indeed be more.

Moneybikini-girlsA day at sea is always ended properly with a sundowne

Money: Madagascar changed its currency from the Malagasy Franc (FMG) to the Ariary (AR) in 2005. But despite having had a few years to get used to the new currency, many Malagasies still count in FMG (one Ariary is worth five FMG), so it’s essential that you clarify which currency a price is being quoted in, particularly in rural areas.

Inflation is rampant in Madagascar, and the denominations are struggling to keep up. the largest bank note currently available in Ariary is 10,000AR, but with a main course at a restaurant costing about 10,000- 15,000 AR, one would think they would print bigger denominations soon.

Dayyan Ross two of the owner/skippers of the Sailing Collective.Dayyan and Ross, two of the owner/skippers of the Sailing Collective.For travelers, it means that changing just 300 Euros will produced a wad of some 85 notes. It easy to be a Malagasy Millionaire! ATM’s are scattered throughout Madagascar, but ask your driver to find a ‘Human ATM’.

There are people that will exchange your US Dollars or Euros to Ariarys, on the street. I was suspect at first, as I didn’t want to get ripped off, but they are very professional and are more accessible than banks or ATM machines.

Electric: In Madagascar they use european style two prong 240V electricity, if you bring anything electric make sure your device can handle 220V before you plug it in with an adaptor.

To and From

I flew Air France from JFK in NYC to the Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, France. There’s something to be said about free champagne on every flight.

From Paris I flew Air Austral, I landed in Saint Denis Reunion, Reunion Island and then made my way to Nosy Be, Madagascar. Air Austral is welcoming, comfortable and reasonably priced.

Other Useful Information To learn more about Madagascar

That fabulous African sun.That fabulous African sun.

Where to Stay

What’s your pleasure? Land, Sea, or both. I’ve got some great finds. If you decide that a floating vacation is for you The Sailing Collective is the only way to go. For more information about The Sailing Collective or to book your next dream vacation check out there web page, you’ll be glad you did.

I was lucky enough to call the Anjiamarango Beach Resort home away from home for almost a full week. Philippe and Monique Gron were gracious hosts and they went above and beyond to make sure my stay was relaxed and comfortable. My beachfront bungalow at the Anjiamarango was located steps away from the water.

The Anjiamarango is located in the bush, it was great to escape from the realities of the real world, they run a generator for a few hours in the morning and a few hours at night, just enough time to check your email, if you so choose. I found the wifi to be hit and miss, I chose to just un-plug.

The fresh water swimming pool was incredible relaxing and after a long day of exploring it was just what I needed. If you find yourself in Madagascar, I highly recommend the Anjiamarango. There website is in French, however you can use google translate to learn more.  Or you can contact them by email; They speak French, English and Malagasy.   

For more info about Sakatia Lodge or diving on Nosy Sakatia: An oasis with lots of ice and diving galore. Contact my friends, Jacques, Isabella and  Jose’ at Sakatia Lodge to book your dream getaway today:

You can also find them on Facebook

If you want to stay in Hell-Ville, I highly recommend Les Bungalows D’ Ambonara in Nosy Be. It’s the perfect combination of Bungalow meets Luxury, I ran out of time so I didn’t get to stay here, but when and if I ever make it back to Madagascar it’s at the top of my list.

outrigger-canoeThis is not the boat that was sailed on, it's a passing fisherman.The Boats

We chose Dream Yacht Charters because they offered ‘Bareboat’ charters. We crewed the boats ourselves.

Or contact my friend Rudy Larcher, at Madavoile Yacht Charters: They offer Luxury Yachts at affordable prices. 

Note: Next door to both of these yacht clubs is “The Pizza Train” They have no website, nor telephone, just the best dang wood fired pizza in all of Madagascar, made in the caboose of a train. Insiders tip: Order it long before you are hungary, they are not built for speed, but you won’t be disappointed and the beer is cold.

Stuff To Do

For more information about Lokobe Reserve:

Madagascar Tours to be trusted--Voyagetrek

The Sailing Collective

Captain Dayyan Armstrong can be contacted at : or call him at: 603.969.3186

Captain Max Kufner can be contacted at: or call him at: 845 706 2277.

What had started out as a dream for a few sailing buddies has become a reality and has blossomed into what is now officially known as the Sailing Collective. The idea behind the Sailing Collective was to organize a team of young, ambitious sailors to form a high quality unit and to offer affordable sailing vacation destinations in locations around the world.

Dayyan Armstrong thought about destination sailing vacations in early 2011 and, over the course of the year, formed a partnership with Ross Beane, Max Kufner, and Taylor Collins, to create the Sailing Collective.

Their collaborative efforts and business structure supports a team of captains and diverse personalities that allows the customer to receive specialized services. By November of 2011, they presented their first sailing vacation.

Since then, they have organized a number of group sailing vacations and personal sailing trips for customers. They have group sailing vacations organized in the Caribbean throughout the winter season and have expanded to trips to the Mediterranean beginning this summer.

The Sailing Collective can accommodate any size group as well as provide excellent service to those vacationers traveling solo. The team at the Sailing Collective really knows how to make all of your sailing dreams come true.


Jean Miller Spoljaric is a regular contributor to GoNOMAD. She lives in New York state. Read more of her stories on GoNOMAD

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Families sculpt high quality products from battered oil drums in Madagascar. Photo by Chris Beynon
Cruising off the Coast of Madagascar By Jean Miller Spoljaric When considering cruising destination
An outrigger canoe off the coast of Madagascar. photos by Jean M. Spoljaric. Nosy Be, Madagascar
People on the tracks on the last train left running in Madagascar that connects the highland town
Around Madagascar on My Kayak Cape Town's Metrorail
Sudan, driving a land cruiser across Africa, walking across an uncharted mountain range in Madagascar
find baskets from South Africa and Rwanda, textiles from Madagascar, Peru and India, metalwork from
to birdwatching trips in Madagascar, and from Nile cruising and archaeology in Egypt to flying safaris
located just east of Madagascar and international flights are common and coming down in price. Seriously
and southern African countries -- Kenya, Tanzania, the Seychelles, Botswana, Madagascar, Namibia, South
Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Macedonia Madagascar Malaysia Maldives Malta Mauritius Mexico Monaco Mongolia
Tags: storySection: Cruises
Location: Africa,Madagascar
author: Jean M. Spoljaric
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