Designed by Lesley Carstens and Sylvio Rech of North Island fame and owned by the prestigious Time and Tide, remote and ultra-stylish Miavana has taken luxury to an entirely new level in Madagascar. The area's remoteness has a wild, pristine feel about it and offers a myriad wonderful nature-based experiences. As such, Miavana is the perfect hideout for the most discerning of travellers, from honeymoon couples, to multigenerational family parties.
The fourteen ultra-comfortable one, two and three-bedroom villas or 'guest sanctuaries' are all enormous (minimum 450 square meters), providing a wonderful castaway luxury experience. The villas are set along a fine, white-sand beach on untouched Nosy Anakao, which is part of a group of five small, reef-ringed islands off the remote north-eastern Malagasy coast. Their interiors have been designed so as to reflect the shades of dazzling Indian Ocean waters offshore, from pale blue to aquamarine and turquoise. The villas all have butler service.
Apart from luxuriating in style, guests can partake in a range of land and water-based activities. These include jet-skiing, helicopter flips, forest walks to seek some the world's rarest primates such as Golden-crowned (Tattersall's) and the all-black Perrier's sifakas and (time of year depending), there is wonderful Whale watching to be enjoyed. In season, you can also observe thousands of nesting seabirds, as well as nesting marine turtles. Scuba diving and snorkelling on vibrant coral reefs here, is exceptional, starting close to your doorstep. Miavana also arranges fly and deep-sea fishing (tag and release).
The helicopter excursions deserve special mention here, for it is on these trips that guests have the opportunity to experience some extraordinary locations which have long had Madagascar feature on the international tourist map. For starters, you can arrange a helicopter trip to the otherworldly Ankarana National Park, to see the famed 'tsingy' limestone pinnacle-fields; caves and lots of rare wildlife. Wildlife gourmets, would want to make the helicopter excursions to discreet locations in remote northern Madagascar to make that eye-to-brain connection with critically endangered Perrier's black sifaka (Andrafiamena) and its relative, Golden-crowned sifaka (Daraina). When there's whale-watching to be had, the helicopter pilot will fly guests as low as possible over the whales, a wonderful experience! The helicopter excursions take about 4 hours each and are weather dependent. The occasions are made that much more special by, for example, stopping on a mountaintop for either a picnic or sundowners - guests love this.
The lodge has quadbikes and some excellent speedboats. There is great waterskying, paddleboarding and kayaking. For kids, there's plenty on offer. They love the 'survivor courses' with the resident guides, who take children on educational exursions to the forest, where for instance, they can discover the world's smallest and largest chameleons. There's also the 'bubble-makers' course, a mini version of a scuba diving course. Here, kids older than 12 can do their practical at Miavana and dive to a maximum depth of 2 meters. If doing this, we recommend finishing PADI theory before travelling to Miavana, to save on time.
Guest can enjoy in-villa Spa treatments.
Part of the Miavana's rates are comprised of a conservation levy, used to fund - among other elements - the environmental team's activities including training, wildlife monitoring (turtle nest monitoring and protection; seabird monitoring, Crowned lemur conservation and translocation) as well as reforestation. To date, 80,000 saplings have been planted. The Time and Tide Foundation strives to create employment in resident communities and to procure as much produce as is possible, from resident farmers. (Currently the staff numbers 103 people, principally from the region). Solar and wind power is utilised.
When to visit:
There is no 'best time' to visit Miavana. Rates are static through the year. Broadly speaking, November to April is the 'summer' season, with warm water (26 degrees C); and some light rains. (Please note that we do not recommend clients visit Madagascar in February, as traditionally that is when cyclonic weather can occur, so, strong wind and heavy rain). May to October is the 'winter' season, with cooler weather (28 - 34 degrees C on average); in August - September the cooling 'varatraza' winds create ideal conditions for kite-surfing, which the lodge also offers. It is during this time when whale-watching; seeing turtles and observing thousands upon thousands of nesting seabirds (mostly terns) is possible.
For guests utilising scheduled international flights to/from Madagascar, one option is using the once-weekly SA Airlink flight from Johannesburg to Nosy Be, which has an international airport. From Nosy Be Airport, helicopter transfer time to Miavana is about 60 minutes. Alternatively, it is also possible to fly to Madagascar's northernmost airport, Diego Suarez, from where helicopter transfers take about 30 minutes.