Beautiful islands of the world

From the low-lying coral atolls of the Maldives, spectacular granite formations of the Seychelles and varied dramatic landscapes of Mauritius and Madagascar, the Indian Ocean offers idyllic islands for every taste.

Seychelles

The granite boulders of the Seychelles

The granite boulders of the Seychelles

Granite boulders strewn across pristine white sand beaches and verdant, mountainous interiors boasting unique endemic flora and fauna epitomise the islands of the Seychelles’ archipelago.

The coast of Constance Lémuria, Praslin Island, Seychelles

The coast of Constance Lémuria, Praslin Island, Seychelles

Mauritius

The 'underwater waterfall' of Mauritius

The ‘underwater waterfall’ of Mauritius

A friendly smile and a warm welcome is most people’s first impression of this beautiful island of long sandy beaches, rolling plantations and stunning mountainous landscapes.

An aerial view of Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

An aerial view of Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

Madagascar

The dramatic Tsingys of Madagascar

The dramatic Tsingys of Madagascar

The fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar offers visitors a variety of landscapes from arid desert to rich rainforest with unique wildlife and breathtaking scenery to discover.

Robinson Crusoe seclusion at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Robinson Crusoe seclusion at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Maldives

The vibrant coral atolls of the Maldives

The vibrant coral atolls of the Maldives

A series of white sand coral atolls scattered across the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives offers a sense of peaceful isolation where you can experience the tranquillity of private islands and high end luxury hotels.

Island luxury at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

Island luxury at Constance Halaveli, Maldives

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Discover the stunning landscapes of Madagascar

Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island covering an area of 587,041km2 with a diverse range of startling, stunning landscapes.

From the forested mountains of the north, the rainforest of the east coast, the steppe landscape of the centre to the dry desert of the south with its famous baobabs, Madagascar is an island with many different faces.

The tsingys of Bermaraha

The eerie, otherworldly landscape of Bermaraha with its jagged topography of limestone needles (tsingys) is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The tsingys of Bermaraha

The tsingys of Bermaraha

A protected UNESCO World Heritage Site

A protected UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Royal Hill of Ambohimanga

A sacred spot for the Malagasy people for over 500 years, the royal city was the religious capital, seat of royal dynasties and the royal burial ground for kings from the 16th to the 19th century.

Ifaty

The collective name given to the picturesque fishing villages of Ifaty-Mangily and Madio Rano on the southwest coast. Behind the villages lies the arid spiny forest of the Reniala Nature Reserve.

Ifaty

Ifaty

The Avenue of the Baobabs

A truly spectacular site the avenue of baobas lines the dirt road between Morondava and Belon’I Tsiribihina in western Madagascar. The trees are around 30 metres tall and more than 800 years old.

The Avenue of the Baobabs

The Avenue of the Baobabs

A baobab sunset

A baobab sunset

Tsarabanjina

The small private island of Tsarabanjina, home to the laidback luxury of the Constance Tsarabanjina resort, is an islet of the Mitsio Archipelago off the northwest of Madagascar. White sand beaches and clear blue water surround an interior of tropical forests. The island is home to the tomb of the Sakalava kings of the Mitsio islands still honoured by locals today.

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

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Madagascar uncovered

Madagascar offers visitors a world of adventure and discovery with its unique wildlife and stunning, diverse scenery.

The unique lemurs of Madagascar

The unique lemurs of Madagascar

Here are 5 things you may not know about this beautiful, mysterious island.

1. Lemurs are protected as they are considered reincarnations of ancestors

The Malagasy people are guided by fady or taboos passed down from generation to generation. One such fady protects the country’s lemurs as it is believed they are reincarnations of ancestors.

Read more about Wildlife of Madagascar.

2. The Malagasy word for eating is literally translated as ‘to eat rice’

Rice is the core staple at the heart of Malagasy cuisine so the Malagasy word mihinam-bary which means ‘to eat’ is literally translated as ‘to eat rice’. The culinary influences of settlers from Africa, Middle East, Asia and Europe have combined to form a national cuisine of rich flavours and warm spices with curries and dishes based around fish or ‘zebu’, a kind of African cattle.

Discover 5 unusual foods of Madagascar.

3. The first settlers of Madagascar were from Indonesia

Settlers from the Sunda Islands of Indonesia arrived on Madagascar by canoe around 350BC. They were joined 500 years later by settlers from Africa and then more from Asia and Europe, each bringing their own culture and cuisine which over time have combined to form the completely unique Malagasy culture and people.

Read more about the rich culture of Madagascar

Baobab Trees: a stunning and diverse landscape

Baobab Trees: a stunning and diverse landscape

4. Washing black pots in the rivers of Andringitra National Park is forbidden

Often described as one of Madagascar’s most scenic national parks with areas of deep valley rainforest, mountains and highland forest, Andringitra is also a sacred region where the washing of black pots or mourning clothes is forbidden.

Read about Top 5 walks in Madagascar

5. Prior to colonisation Madagascar was ruled by a queen

Queen Ranavalona III (1883-1897) followed in the footsteps of Queen Ranavalona I (1828-1861) in attempting to ward off foreign influence but in 1897 she was deposed by French colonialists. Visitors can explore the royal palace at Ambohimanga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and see the queen’s quarters.

See more: Madagascar in photos

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Madagascar in photos

Take a glimpse into a castaway world of secluded beaches, laidback Malagasy charm, rare wildlife and oceans teeming with colourful marine life.

Follow the diverse island coast

Follow the diverse island coast of Madascar

Soak up the Madagascan sun

Soak up the Madagascan sun

Traditional Malagasy transport

Traditional Malagasy transport

Experiences words can't describe

Experiences words can’t describe

Embrace the laid back charm of Madagascar

Embrace the laid back  Malagasy charm

Teeming with wildlife: the green chameleon

Teeming with wildlife: the green chameleon

The ring tailed lemur

The ring tailed lemur

The "Organ pipes' rock formation

The magnificent ‘organ pipes’ rock formation

The beautiful coastline of Constance Tsarabanjina

The beautiful coastline of Constance Tsarabanjina

The extraordinary avenue of baobabs

The extraordinary avenue of baobabs

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Sunday Telegraph recommends escaping World Cup fever in Tsarabanjina

Escape the World Cup at Constance Tsarabanjina

Escape the World Cup at Constance Tsarabanjina

James Ellis advises The Sunday Telegraph readers looking to avoid the World Cup this summer to visit Constance Tsarabanjina.

In his article, ‘Escaping Wayne Rooney,’ Ellis recommends 10 holiday locations where guests can truly get away from it all including the private island of Tsarabanjina off the coast of Madagascar.

Ellis describes, ‘It is a WiFi, television-free zone; instead you have private verandas with hammocks, sugar-white beaches lapped by gin-blue waters and activities such as snorkelling, diving, sailing and waterskiing.’

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Spotlight on Constance Tsarabanjina: Madagascar

It may only be a small, remote island off the northwest shore of Madagascar but Constance Tsarabanjina has become a by-word for barefoot chic among those seeking authentic Crusoe seclusion with a dash of luxury.

The castaway island of Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

The castaway island of Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

With perfect white sand beaches encircled by vibrant coral reefs, an interior of richly bio-diverse hills and forests, and just 25 palm-thatched villas spread over two beaches, Constance Tsarabanjina has all the ingredients for an idyllic holiday hideaway.

What the papers say

This perfect mixture of authentic castaway charm blended with discreet modern luxury has proved a popular combination.

Accolades in recent months have included awards from Tatler for Best Barefoot Adventure 2014, Harper’s Bazaar – who declared it best for a secluded honeymoon – and Condé Nast Traveller whose reviewer Jenny Zarins, described it:

‘This is a no-shoes, no-news, hang-loose place. The air-conditioned thatched bandas, newly revamped by the island’s owners, Constance Hotels and Resorts, have all the basics – hot showers, capacious wardrobes, fridges with cold drinks – as well as outdoor banquettes and hammocks for afternoon snoozes, and fragrant coconut oil to drench sunburnt skin.’

From desert island to exclusive resort

Before 1990 Tsarabanjina was completely uninhabited. The island was then only known to neighbouring islanders as the location of the tombs of their Sakalava kings (the tombs still exist today, a protected spot on the east of the island where Mitsio islanders come to bring offerings).

But in 1990 things began to change for Tsarabanjina when South African adventurer Richard Walker came to the island and fell in love with the place.

In a bid to protect the stunning unspoilt beauty of the island, Walker bought it and built a small resort of 8 bungalows so others could share the unique experience of Tsarabanjina.

A multi-million pound renovation

In 2006 he passed the mantel of protector of his beloved island on to us at Constance and in 2013 we undertook the delicate process of renovating the resort while carefully retaining its authentic castaway appeal and environmental considerations.

Beach Villas draped in Malagasy charm

Beach Villas draped in Malagasy charm

The first decision we made as part of the multi-million pound makeover was to ensure that in rebuilding the 25 beach villas to include modern luxuries such as air conditioning and spacious bathrooms, they still retained their rustic Malagasy charm.

We worked with architects who understood local Malagasy design and the importance of using sustainable local materials from the mainland.

We then employed local tradespeople with a tradition of Malagasy construction techniques and local craftsmen specialising in traditional weaving, art and sculpture to create items to decorate the villas.

In supporting the local Malagasy trades we are upholding traditions in building and crafts that have been handed down from generation to generation.

A boutique hotel with laidback Malagasy charm

The result – simple, stylish rosewood villas with traditional palm-thatching, large comfortable terraces, decorated with Madagascan art and sculptures inspired by the island itself.

In keeping with the laidback vibe of the island, each villa has its own private hammock slung by the trees surrounding the villa and its own sandy path leading down to the beach.

While the idyllic setting of crystal waters and lush, verdant interior have always been an important part of Tsarabanjina’s appeal, we believe that the special charm of the place comes from its people too.

At Tsarabanjina there is no dress code, shoes can be kicked off on arrival and put away for the duration of your holiday and the service is friendly and relaxed.

Time for a digital detox

Guests tired of the hustle and bustle of modern life can seize the opportunity on Tsarabanjina to undergo a digital detox.

With WiFi only available in the main building you can leave your phones and modern technology in your suitcase and begin to move at the slower pace of island life.

Creating unique, fresh dishes for all our guests

Creating unique, fresh dishes for all our guests

Traditional Malagasy cuisine

Even dining is a laidback island affair with seafood caught by local fishermen and delivered by fishing boat to the shore in front of Tsarabanjina’s only restaurant.

The fishermen of Mitsio, the only other inhabited island in the Mitsio Archipelago, still fish the same way their ancestors have for many generations.

Using hollowed out wooden boats called pirogues, they cast their nets over the water and only when they’re satisfied with their catch do they travel the 3 or 4 hours to Tsarabanjina to hand over their catch to our chefs.

Our local chefs create a unique menu based around what the fishermen have caught together with the fresh fruit and vegetables they were able to find that day in the market at Nosy Be.

Using local herbs and spices to create dishes of warm curries, grilled fish and other delicious treats, our chefs understand the delicate blend of Southeast Asian, African, European and Chinese flavours which go into creating sumptuous Madagascan cuisine.

Explore the underwater ocean life

Guests are even encouraged to try their hand at fishing the local waters themselves from a traditional pirogue. In true island style, whatever you catch can then be handed over to the chefs to prepare Malagasy-style for your dinner that night.

Those searching for a little more high-octane excitement can pit their wits against the giant sports fish that call the waters around Tsarabanjina home.

Marlins, giant trevally, yellowfin and dogtooth tuna, wahoos and sailfish can all be caught in our waters making the area a Mecca for sports fishermen.

The other ocean pastime which continues to bring visitors to our shores is the opportunity to dive in waters still largely unexplored by scuba divers. One of the last accessible places where you can discover virgin reefs rarely dived before, sponge gardens few but you have ever seen.

The waters around Tsarabanjina offer a rich variety of dive sites for scuba divers of all levels from beginners exploring the house reef to more experienced divers swimming through the tunnels at the Tétons.

The unique bird life of Madagascar

The unique bird life of Madagascar

The rich biodiversity of Madagascar

Of course nature lovers have always been drawn to the appeal of Madagascar with its famously unique biodiversity, a trait Tsarabanjina shares with the mainland.

Walk around the island and you’ll discover Madagascar’s famous Traveller’s Palm, the Pachypodium and a wide variety of birds including the dazzling fody bird, the beautiful long-tailed Madagscan flycatcher (the emblem of the island) and fish eagles. Biologists even claim to have found the world’s smallest chameleon species on Tsarabanjina.

Our staff share our passion for the island and are happy to give guided nature walks with an explanation of the local flora and fauna to interested guests.

Bird enthusiasts can take a boat ride to the neighbouring Quatre Frère, a series of rocks in the ocean which are home to a rich colony of seabirds including northern gannets, frigate birds and white-tailed tropic birds.

Don’t forget to take your snorkel and discover the plethora of marine life living in the reefs below the waves.

A dash of luxury Crusoe wouldn’t have had

Of course we wouldn’t be a favourite exclusive retreat without a little hint of luxury but on Tsarabanjina luxury is delivered in unique laidback style. So our massage room is a rustic beach villa with a stunning outdoor shower hewn into the rock of the island itself.

Or if you prefer you can have a massage on the beach as you watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean.

The question of how the tiny island of Tsarabanjina became one of the world’s most desirable hotels is difficult to answer. It has a lot to do with the beauty of the island itself, a little to do with the luxury we were able to add, but most of all, it’s down to the spirit of the island itself, a spirit of laidback charm, slow island living and warm welcomes.

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