Nosy Be
Nosy Be ˌnusʲ ˈbe is an island located off the northwest coast of Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

. Nosy Be is Madagascar's largest and busiest tourist
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 resort. It has an area of 312 km2 and its population was officially estimated at 36,636 in 2001.

Nosy Be means "big island" in the Malagasy language
Malagasy language
Malagasy is the national language of Madagascar, a member of the Austronesian family of languages. Most people in Madagascar speak it as a first language as do some people of Malagasy descent elsewhere.-History:...

. 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 inhabitants of Nosy Be were small bands of Antankarana
The Antankarana is an ethnic group of Madagascar that inhabits the northern tip of Madagascar around Antsiranana. Their name means "the people of the tsingy," the limestone rock formations that distinguish their traditional territory...

 and Zafinofotsy, before the arrival of the Sakalava
The Sakalava are an ethnic group of Madagascar numbering approximately 700,000 in population. Their name means "people of the long valleys." They occupy the Western edge of the island from Toliara in the south to Sambirano in the north. The Sakalava denominate a number of smaller ethnic groups...

, who represent the most numerous ethnic group on the island. These people were joined later by some Comorian
Comorian may refer to:* Something of or pertaining to the Comoro Islands, a region of Africa including Comoros* Something or someone of, from, or related to Comoros, a country in the Comoro Islands...

s, India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

ns or Antandroy
The Antandroy are a traditionally nomadic ethnic group of Madagascar inhabiting the arid southern part of the island called Androy roughly located between Amboasary and Beloha and between the ocean and Bekily. Their name means "people of the thorns" in reference to the spiny thickets of endemic...


Nosy Be made its first major appearance in Madagascar's history when King Radama I
Radama I of Madagascar
Radama I "the Great" , the first king of greater Madagascar from 1810 to 1828, united two-thirds of the island under his rule. He had twelve Great Wives, one of them his adopted sister Ranavalona I who would emerge victorious in the struggle for succession after his premature death.-Reign:In 1810,...

 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
Boina Kingdom
The Kingdom of Boina was a traditional state situated in what is now Madagascar.The Kingdom was founded ca. 1690 by King Andriamandisoarivo. It was centered around Boina Bay in north-west Madagascar. Some time after 1832 it was occupied by Imerina and was annexed by Madagascar in 1840...

 came into his possession in 1837 when Queen Tsiomeko of Boina
Tsiomeko of Boina
Tsiomeko was the last Queen and monarch of Boina.Tsiomeko was the daughter of Taratra and a grand-niece of King Andriantsoly, who was driven out of Boina by Hova and whom her father had served as a "souer". She became queen in 1836, at age eight, succeeding Queen Oantitsy, the sister of King...

's army was defeated.


Nosy Be is located about eight kilometers (5 miles) from the coast of Madagascar in the Mozambique Channel
Mozambique Channel
The Mozambique Channel is a portion of the Indian Ocean located between the island nation of Madagascar and southeast Africa, primarily the country of Mozambique. It was a World War II clashpoint during the Battle of Madagascar...

; several smaller islands are located nearby, including Nosy Komba, Nosy Mitsio, Nosy Sakatia, and Nosy Tanikely. The island's main town is Andoany
Andoany, formerly and more commonly known as Hell-Ville , is a city in Diana Region, Madagascar with a population of 30,000. It lies on the island of Nosy Be, of which it is the capital. It is located at ....


The volcanic
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 island has an area of about 312 km² (120.5 sq mi), and reaches its highest peak at Mont Lokobe at 450m (1476 feet); the volcano is of Holocene
The Holocene is a geological epoch which began at the end of the Pleistocene and continues to the present. The Holocene is part of the Quaternary period. Its name comes from the Greek words and , meaning "entirely recent"...

 origin but has not erupted in recorded history. There are eleven volcanic crater lake
Crater lake
A crater lake is a lake that forms in a volcanic crater or caldera, such as a maar; less commonly and with lower association to the term a lake may form in an impact crater caused by a meteorite. Sometimes lakes which form inside calderas are called caldera lakes, but often this distinction is not...

s on the island.

The island is known for having the world's smallest frog (Stumpffia pygmaea
Stumpffia pygmaea
Stumpffia pygmaea is a species of frog in the Microhylidae family. It is endemic to Madagascar, where it is known from only two islands, Nosy Be and Nosy Komba. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, plantations , and heavily degraded former forest. It is threatened...

) and chameleon (Brookesia minima
Brookesia minima
Brookesia minima, , is a diminutive chameleon "often said to be the smallest" or "probably the smallest" of the Chamaeleonidae.-Range:B...

). The Lokobe Reserve
Lokobe Reserve
Lokobe Reserve is a nature reserve in northwestern Madagascar. It is located on southeastern side of Nosy Be, an island off the coast of Madagascar. It is known for its black lemurs and the beautiful Nosy Be Panther Chameleon.-References:***...

 is one of Madagascar's five Strict Nature Reserves (Réserves Naturelles Intégrales). Nosy Be is also home to a specific color of panther chameleon
Panther chameleon
The Panther Chameleon is a species of chameleon. It lives in the eastern and northern parts of Madagascar in a tropical forest biome. Additionally, it has been introduced to Réunion and Mauritius.- Taxonomy :...

 (Furcifer pardalis).

Nosy Be has a tropical climate. It is most humid in summer (December, January, February). The Tsaratanana
Tsaratanana is a town and commune in Madagascar. It belongs to the district of Tsaratanana, which is a part of Betsiboka Region. The population of the commune was estimated to be approximately 18,000 in 2001 commune census....

 massif partially protects the island from the strong north-east winds affecting the region in August or during tropical depressions.


The island constitutes a department within Diana Region
Diana, Madagascar
Diana is a region in Madagascar. The region is the most northerly part of the island. It borders the adjacent regions of Sava to the east and Sofia to the south. It covers an area of 19,266 km2., and had an estimated population of 485,800 in 2004...

 and is organized as the City of Nosy Be (Commune urbaine). Its mayor is Mr. Jaovita.


The island is served by Fascene Airport
Fascene Airport
Fascene Airport is an airport in located on Nosy Be , an island located just off the northwest coast of Madagascar, in the Antsiranana Province.-Airlines and destinations:...

. The airport has direct flights from Europe on Corsairfly
Corsair S.A. trading as Corsairfly, is an airline based in Rungis, France. It is currently the second largest French airline after Air France and operates international scheduled and charter services to 62 European destinations, the French overseas territories, Africa and North America...

, Air Madagascar
Air Madagascar
Société Nationale Malgache de Transports Aériens, Société Anonyme, operating as Air Madagascar, is an airline based in Antananarivo, Madagascar. It is the national airline operating services to Europe, Asia and neighbouring African and Indian Ocean island destinations. It also operates an extensive...

 and Air Italy
Air Italy
Air Italy S.p.A. is an airline based in Gallarate, Italy, operating scheduled services for tour operators within Europe, to Brazil and Kenya, as well as independent short-haul flights...

. Its main city and harbour, Andoany
Andoany, formerly and more commonly known as Hell-Ville , is a city in Diana Region, Madagascar with a population of 30,000. It lies on the island of Nosy Be, of which it is the capital. It is located at ....

 (formerly known as Hellville), can be reached by boat from Ankify
Ankify is a peninsula located in the district of Ambanja, region of Diana, province of Antsiranana in Madagascar.It is located at and faces Nosy Be and Nosy Komba islands. A small harbour allows boardings to these destinations. At its very north end, the village named Doany is bordered by a coral...


See also

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