Nosy Boraha (Saint Marie Island)


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Nosy Boraha – rumoured republic of pirates


Mystery wafts about the coconut palm-fringed shorelines, pearly sand beaches, and orchid forest interior of Nosy Boraha – more commonly known throughout history as St Mary’s Island. Once the stomping ground of 17th-century pirates who used the island as a base, Nosy Boraha now offers the quintessential island escape. 

Rumour has it that the island was once home to Libertalia, the legendary utopian pirate republic. While this has never been proven, the island is riddled with unsolved mysteries and pirate folklore. Visitors can stop by the pirate cemetery and muse over hidden treasure, or otherwise cycle every corner of the 50km-long and 7km-wide island. Nosy Boraha’s lush 400-hectare forest is home to lemurs and orchids, while the shoreline is dotted with small villages and resorts. At certain times of the year, humpback whales leave their chilly Antarctic waters and arrive in Nosy Boraha’s waters to breed.

While the island’s bays, inlets, and coral reefs provided pirates with protection from storms centuries ago, they are now superb spots to enjoy diving, snorkelling, sunbathing, and whale watching. Visitors can enjoy sunset cruises in traditional pirogues, cycle from village to village, or quad bike along the island’s sandy tracks.

 

Highlights

  • Small, tranquil island just off Madagascar 
  • Once the playground of pirates and rumoured to be the place where the pirate republic of Libertalia thrived 
  • The island’s 400-hectare forest is home to 3 different species of lemur and an array of orchid species 
  • The July and August months will see humpback whales arriving in the surrounding waters to breed 
  • Whale watch, dive, snorkel, cycle, quad bike, or just relax in this slice of paradise 

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