Waking up at Miavana is synonymous with arising in paradise. My first day on the island of Nosy Ankao had been a whirlwind and a dream, but it was just the beginning of my Malagasy adventures.
Despite the extreme humidity and lack of air-conditioning, I slept like an absolute log. The ventilation system that surrounds the beds worked like an absolute charm, I wasn’t exactly cool, but I was certainly more than comfortable.
After showering and caffeinating, it was time for a quick but indulgent brekkie. Perfectly poached eggs perched upon a bed of lightly smashed avocado were served alongside a plate of creamy cheeses and a carafe of freshly squeezed orange juice.
No sooner than I had finished devouring every morsel that I could, it was time for the mission of the morning – finding a family of crown lemurs.
Nosy Ankao is home to a wide array of wildlife, but it should be noted that these lemurs are not naturally occurring on the island. They were relocated from mainland Madagascar to the island as a small part of a greater conservation effort. The small family have done extremely well since arriving on the island, so much so that on the day I left Nosy Ankao, new lemurs had just arrived.
The island is home to a huge amount of dense jungle, so finding the lemurs doesn’t just happen by accident. The original arrivals don tracking devices around their necks, helping the trackers and wildlife carers to keep track of them. These devices aren’t exactly brand new technology, so there is still a fair bit of effort that goes into tracking them down, but when you find them, it is worth all the effort.
I soon found out that this family isn’t just surviving – it is thriving – something which is evidenced by a certain big eyed bush baby! This new addition has brought so much promise and positivity to the program, and the staff at Miavana are hopeful that one day, Nosy Ankao could be a safe haven and home for many many more of these gorgeous creatures.
My encounter with the lemurs was short lived – these guys are much harder to keep up with than you’d think, especially when in such dense jungle – but it was oh-so special.
I have no idea how, but by the time I arrived back to my villa it was already time to eat again! Honestly, with all this eating I don’t know how I had time for anything else!
I was not even close to being hungry, but when this lobster salad and incredible fettuccine were set down in front of me, well, it’s like I just developed some sort of second stomach – everything was far too delicious to waste.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on this dessert slash work of art!
I spent the hottest part of the day floating around in my pool, soaking up some vitamin D and applying sunscreen with unparallelled zeal.
That afternoon, once the heat had started to dissipate, this reprieve was used to explore a little more of the island itself – by quad bike no less. Time + Tide Miavana is certainly the only hotel on Nosy Ankao, but it is certainly not a private island. There is a small population of Malagasy people who call this island home, and what a beautiful home it is!
Nosy Ankao boasts two churches, two villages, a gorgeous lighthouse and even a school and clinic which are funded by Miavana.
For me, the highlight was the primary school. It is small, but the Madagascar inspired murals that adorn it really do add some character.
We arrived to the lighthouse in time to crack open a cold drink and watch the sky turn to a shade of atomic tangerine. However, I wanted to see the sunset from my villa, so after soaking up the stunning panoramic views, we hopped back on our quad and zoomed back to the resort.
This was a decision that I ended up being very happy with!
That evening, I was treated to yet another ridiculously great meal. All courses were amazing, but this Thai inspired soup was truly a dish to remember.
After a restful nights slumber, I got up early to head down to the central pavillion and take some photographs of the area without anybody else around.
I also decided to make the most of this alone time and fly the drone, which resulted in one of my favourite ever drone shots!
Capturing this perfectly timed diving shot was pure luck – you just gotta love when all the elements of a photograph come together with relative ease.
Once I had (narrowly) avoided an accidental roof landing (blame Droney Boi’s wonky GPS – not me) and finished my morning dip, I arrived back to my villa to find a fresh coconut and delightfully cheesy omelette waiting for me.
This was bliss.
Pure, undeniable and utter bliss.
After brekkie, it was time to go on my first dive since I had been in the Comoros. I felt a little rusty at first, but it didn’t take long to feel right back into it. Not only was the nearby reef absolutely phenomenal (think bommies the size of double storey houses, endless fishies and coral in very healthy condition) but the water was also so warm that it rendered a wetsuit totally unneeded. I ended up diving in just a bikini and thin t-shirt (more for sun protection that anything else) and it honestly felt like I was diving in a bathtub! Even at depths of around 18m I still stayed perfectly comfortable – it was amazing.
We spotted a lot on our dive, but the highlights were a pod of dolphins, a fast moving eagle ray and a gorgeous turtle who at one point swam within a few inches of me!
After our dive, it was time for a quick belly-filling before going in search of another unique Malagasy creature – the chameleon!
Luckily for me, it didn’t take long at all to find this handsome fella!
It was so fricking cool to watch his colours change, to see his strange two-toed feet navigate the branches and to witness his eyes move in every single direction imaginable.
Chameleons are awesome, and seeing this one really put the cherry on top of what had already been an amazing few days. Honestly, at this point of the trip, with just one night left on the island, I thought the awesomeness of my time at Miavana would start to wind down – but if anything, it just ramped up.
Getting to Time + Tide Miavana: Flights to the capital of Antananarivo can be booked via Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines), Johannesburg (SAA), Mauritius (Air Mauritius), Moroni (Air Madagascar), Paris (Air France), Nairobi (Kenya Airways) and Istanbul (Turkish Airlines). From Tana you will fly with Tsaradia to either Nosy Be or Diego Suarez where you will then fly via private helicopter to Nosy Ankao
Time + Tide Miavana: For more information about visiting Time + Tide Miavana, click here
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 lenses and a DJI Mavic Pro Drone
Remember: Bring the most heavy duty deet-filled insect repellent if you visit during the more humid seasons, the mosquitoes in Madagascar are fierce!
Disclaimer: I stayed with Time + Tide Miavana on a complimentary basis, however, this post was not commissioned or sponsored and all thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest, unbiased and in no way influenced by the Time + Tide brand, their management or affiliates.