Nosy Be means "The Big Island". With these 280 km² it offers different sites to discover that it would be difficult to combine in one article, so here is the first of many articles on the discovery of the interior of Nosy Be.
Located on the southwestern tip, Hell-city is the capital of Nosy BeWith these 40 000 inhabitants it centralises almost 50% of the local population and residents, if you arrive by the Grande Terre (Madagascar), you arrive naturally by the main port where taxis are always there to take you to your hotel. To reach the port, read our article « Coming to Nosy Be by road, possible or not? "
Discovery of Hell-city
Hell-Ville was built in 1841 so it is an old colonial town with an architecture of the time that is pleasant to discover. I recommend this discovery local Tuk-tuk to the center of the city and then continue on foot quietly.
The visit of Hell-city is to begin in its center and preferably in the morning, on the market place. A place where you can easily spend 2 hours, of course with a visit to the market with these vegetables, fruits and fish, all in a local atmosphere (bright) but also the surrounding places:
- Going up the main street a few dozen to put back on the right, on the sidewalk: a wooden table, 2 benches, 1 thermos. Take time to stop and taste the Cola Tea, the "tea" NosyBean history to see life doing it, there is always something to see in Hell-city.
- Continuing a little higher, discover the Maki garment shop, no need to go back further, they are mainly sellers of materials and extensions of the city.
- Going down from Maki to the market, on the right a big descent is waiting for you. I rarely see tourists go down and yet the Malagasy market is down, the whole street offers the utility and downstairs awaits the vegetable market, the same as above but less "harmonized" and more noisy, if you want to discover the real Nosy Be, it is by the!
Now let's go down to the harbor on foot, but rather than take the main street that offers nothing outside the tourist shops, take the road that runs along the market. So you go, once past the Casa Mofo and continuing a little, arriving in the old Hell-city, more noise, no one. Buildings abandoned and continuing, a view of the ocean and Tanikely waiting for you when you arrive at the height of schools.
Past schools, you are at "Camp Vert" where are the various administrative offices, continuing down you will arrive at the port but a stop is possible at the reopened tennis center since 2017 which is just before the embroidery salespersons which you will find on the right going down, a little before the famous guns.
The main port is modern, just redone in 2015 so unless you are interested in the centenary view, I invite you to continue the road to the left when you arrive at the port gate to the old port of Andavakotoko. At this moment, you can imagine life at the time by observing the old dhow beached (not all of course). Several local bars run along the harbor to reach the Ambodivoanio stadium, where cultural events such as the Pentecost Donia Festival and the Somarôho Festival are held in August.
The road continues until Lokobe Park going through the village of Marodoka. Lokobe deserves a full day but depending on the time you can go to visit Marodoka and find a restaurant for lunch. This little tour of Hell-city was meant to show you the historical / friendly sides, but you also have many souvenir shops and restaurants to discover.
Route Hell City Ambatoloaka
Thesacred tree of Mahatsinjo: An ancient tree named "Bânian". A tree that thanks to these lianas looks like a drilled with an area of 1000 m². The sacred tree is on the road of the city Seimad, the entrance is 2000 ariary per person. Since this is a sacred place, you will be asked to put on ceremonial clothes called Salovana, a set of traditional fabrics worn by Sakalava women and men. You can buy them at the market, otherwise you can always get them on the spot.
On the road to Diego Hely, in Andrakarôka, the waterfall Androandroatra is the only waterfall in Nosy Be. Located on a private property, with paid access, the Cascade would be a place of worship (holy land). People bathe there to get lucky from their ancestors. If you see naked people on the scene, do you say it's completely normal.