Time + Tide Miavana

Forming part of our active safaris story, we chatted with the team at Time + Tide Miavana in Madagascar to find out more about their blue safari offering for bush- and beach-lovers. Find out more about this destination, what you can do there, and what makes it special below.

Guests bask in the opulence of isolation and remoteness, feeling like you are the only guests on the island
Underwater image of a shoal of fish swimming through blue water off the shore at Time + Tide Miavana, Nosy Ankao, Madagascar

What do you love most about Nosy Ankao?
There are too many things to list! I note the highlights: the variety of nature and activities; the incredible beaches unblemished by footprints; the clean air; watching whales breach in front of the villas; the nesting terns, the giant turtles; the kitesurfing; the museum; and the people. 

What activities do you recommend at Miavana for blue safari-goers?
Any activity you can dream of - within reason! I recommend visiting the nesting terns followed by a private picnic on your very own Robinson Crusoe Island; a helicopter flight to Ambre Mountain or elsewhere to see the incredible Tsingy Rouge, lemurs and vast un-explored and largely un-mapped limestone caves; fishing off the beach, drifting on a fishing SUP or from the fleet of boats;  

Trail-running, kite-surfing between islands, stand-up-paddling, water-skiing, or sea-kayaking as far as you wish to go are all on offer.  

Island tours by foot or by quad motorbike; sharing a beer with our friends in the village or challenging them at football/volleyball game, have a pizza with your feet in the sand, followed by a bottle of champagne on a mountain top or watching the sunset from the lighthouse or your private plunge pool would be my favourite recommendations.

What makes it a special place for blue safaris?
It is a nature wonderland and truly unique in activities – made accessible by boat or helicopter. Madagascar boasts the highest concentration of whale sharks, variety of biodiversity and endemic species anywhere in the world. Guests bask in the opulence of isolation and remoteness, feeling like you are the only guests on the island. Many of the wonders you will see here have not been explored by tourists before. 

Man’s legs and flippers with a shoal of fish in blue water while snorkelling at Time + Tide Miavana, Nosy Ankao, Madagascar

Tell us the story of how you ended up in Madagascar. What drew you there? What has made your passion for these places so enduring?
I was approached about the opportunity and left a successful career for the challenge and an opportunity to work with Time + Tide. This is an incredible corner of the world, a lifetime adventure - cliché but true.  Working on Nosy Ankao is an experience that will shape my one-year old son for the rest of his life and give us the challenges and opportunities afforded to very few people in this world – creating incredible adventures for guests and much more. 

The sun is setting. Tea, G&T, or beer? What is the first place that comes to mind where you would love to drink it in Madagascar? Why there?
A personalised G&T, prepared by our famous sommelier in front of your villa, with your feet in the sand, sitting around a roaring fire.  As you look out to sea, I challenge you to find even a hint of a light in any direction.

Your flippers/fishing rod/paddle must have stories to tell of your adventures over the years. What is the most memorable experience you - and your gear - have shared?
Madagascar is an adventure playground and we have the ability to create packages with resources parked on the island.  Imagine: a sea kayak adventure or kitesurfing safari, camping on remote islands, followed by support boats if needed; picking up a motorbike trail riding through the mountains to be met by a bottle of champagne next to your helicopter for an extraction!

And the funniest/quirkiest experience you have had? 
Watching my son take his first steps on the beach – stumbling as he chased hatchling turtles to the sea – plunging head first into the crystal-clear water assuming his flippers would of course appear.

Sunset view through silhouetted palm leaves overlooking a family standing and fishing off a sandbank with palms behind them
As you look out to sea, I challenge you to find even a hint of a light in any direction
A beach with palms and the sea and clouds lit with colour at sunset at Time + Tide Miavana, Nosy Ankao, Madagascar

What wildlife/marine life is Madagascar known for? Is there anything in particular people travel to see? What do you recommend guests to the area should be on the lookout for?
The largest and the smallest chameleons of the world are on Nosy Ankao. The Malagasy Giant Chameleon, measuring 70 cm when fully grown, holds the title of the world’s largest chameleon, whereas the Stump-Tailed Chameleon with only 2.5 cm for an adult is the smallest chameleon and also the smallest reptile in the world. Both of these species live in the litters and the trees of Nosy Ankao. During the warm and wet months of the rainy seasons, the Malagasy Ground Boa is a common sighting and, throughout the year, the Mahafaly Racer, a type of grass snake, are also very active (to name but a few). The forest has also been proven to be rich enough to sustain several groups of lemur. Thus, five Crowned Lemurs have been successfully relocated in our forest as part of conservation programme and this is just the beginning.

  25 species of forest and shore birds have made Nosy Ankao their home, where one can always be thrilled by the beauty of the Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher, the camouflage of the Madagascar Nightjar, or the colours of the Madagascar Malachite Kingfisher and, on Manamapaho, one of the nearby islands, 38 000 pairs of Sooty Terns have made it their nesting ground every year crossing thousands of kilometres of sea. This is Madagascar’s largest seabird colony.  

While the forest is abounding with wildlife, our white, sandy beaches receive the visits of mother turtles with special packages to deposit in our sand. During the rainy seasons, the endangered Hawksbill Turtles come to lay eggs on our beaches where they were born decades ago. Another species, the Green Turtles, don’t wait for a specific season. They come to nest all year round. The baby turtles will mostly hatch under cover of darkness as a natural instinct to avoid predation by birds, but the Ghost Crabs patrol the sandy beach day and night.

Helicopter cockpit in the air overlooking river channels and coastal bush with Time + Tide Miavana, Nosy Ankao, Madagascar

Spring low tide is a perfect time to walk on the exposed flats where we can observe how shallow sea creatures avoid being exposed when the water retreats – here and there, heavily-armoured Shield Crabs will bury themselves in the sand in unmatched speed as soon as they think you’ve seen them, enormous Sea Slugs and Nudibranchs protected by their camouflage still graze on their favourite seagrass, while Pin Cushion Sea Stars wait patiently for the tides to return.

The reefs of the archipelago are incredibly rich in life and diversity with roughly 175 species of marine fish described. Merely a few metres off the beach on Nosy Ankao, one can set off on his proper adventure of finding Nemo, Doris, Moorish Idols, Surgeonfish, Butterfly Fish, or the beautiful Coran Angelfish. Giant trevallies, mighty predators that seem to have been designed by the best marine engineers, patrol the reef while Saddleback Groupers lay in wait in crevices between the corals.

Madagascar may not be home to land giants, but every year for at least four months of the year, marine megafaunas are playing in our waters. They are Humpback Whales. They swim 5000 km from the cold waters of Antarctica to spend the winter in our warm, shallow, and predator-free waters. They come here to breed, to give birth, or simply on vacation, living off the fat that they have accumulated during their feeding times in the polar waters.

 What time of year is best for game-viewing, snorkelling, and the above activities? When is the rainy season? When is it unbearably hot? What is the average summer high and winter low temperatures?
We have two very distinct seasons: Nov – April/May is our summer with warm water (approx. 26+ degrees centigrade) and warm/hot days with some possibility of rain which is generally overnight It’s great for diving, fishing, snorkelling, turtle-watching, and general terrestrial walks for lemurs and other species on Nosy Ankao or the mainland (at an extra cost)

Palm-lined beach and lodge with underwater view of clear, blue water with fish swimming in a circle at Time + Tide, Miavana

June – Oct is our winter. The days are still warm, but the water is slightly cooler (22 degrees centigrade) and there is a prevailing trade wind from the south east This is excellent for guests looking to spot Humpback Whales, Manta Rays, tens of thousands of Nesting Terns on one of our nearby islands (great for a boat ride and picnic lunch), and do kite-surfing or general terrestrial walks for lemurs and other species on Nosy Ankao or the mainland (at an extra cost) Diving and deep-sea fishing are limited at this time of the year

Is there one thing in this area visitors shouldn’t miss?
All of the above!

Apart from Madagascar, where else do you love to go on safari?
The best safaris are across the Time + Tide safari camps in Zambia! Time + Tide search for the best wildlife opportunities and then build their camps – probably defying any logic in construction and logistical costs but unmatched in their wildlife and beauty.

Based on your experience, what are the 5 essentials you recommend clients should bring on a blue safari?
A set of binoculars (or borrow ours!), a camera, a good book, a friend, and a sense of adventure!

Is a blue safari for everyone? Are there any recommended fitness levels? 
Everyone. We have had grandparents with their ten-year old grandchildren, honeymooners, and everything between.  Indulge in your villa with personal butler service or challenge us to the most extreme adventures.  There is magic for everyone.

Anything else to add?
Come touch the earth…

Aerial view of the sea, beach, palms, pool, and deck at Time + Tide Miavana, Nosy Ankao, Madagascar
A lemur gripping a branch – one of the species to see on a blue safari at Time + Tide Miavana, Nosy Ankao, Madagascar

Contact us for more information on going on safari with Time + Tide:

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