11 things you didn’t know about the Indian Ocean

Famed for  its idyllic beaches, crystal clear waters and year round sunshine, here are 11 facts you might not know about the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Ocean is the third largest body of water in the world, consisting of 57 island groups

The Indian Ocean is the third largest body of water in the world, consisting of 57 island groups

1. Around 36 species of whales and dolphins call the waters of the Indian Ocean home.

2. The country of the Maldives is 99% water.

3. The infamous pirate Olivier Le Vasseur is thought to have died leaving treasure worth €100,000 buried in the Seychelles.

4. The national snack of Madagascar is Koba, a patty of rice, banana and peanuts.

5. The legendary dodo was only ever found on the island of Mauritius. Despite becoming extinct less than 80 years after its discovery, it still remains on the country’s coat of arms.

6. The Indian Ocean is the third largest body of water in the world accounting for 20% of the earth’s surface. It consists of 57 island groups, borders 16 African countries, 18 Asian countries and Australia.

7. The Maldives is made up of 1,190 coral islands making up 26 major atolls (the word ‘atoll’ comes from the Dhivehi – the Indo-Aryan language spoken in Maldives – it is the only word in English to derive from Dhivehi).

8. Madagascar is home to more than 250,000 different species of flora and fauna, over 70% of which are found nowhere else on earth.

9. The capital of the Seychelles, Victoria, is the smallest capital city in the world.

10. Mauritius is surrounded by more than 150km of idyllic white-sand beaches.

11. The giant tortoises of the Seychelles can live well over one hundred years. Jonathan, a giant tortoise who currently lives on Saint Helena, is thought to have been born in 1832.

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Top dive spots in the world: Madagascar

Take a look at the unspoilt waters off Madagascar teeming with rich marine life and with the added bonus of being largely unexplored by modern divers.

Diving in Madagascar

Diving in Madagascar

Barracudas in the Indian Ocean

Barracudas in the Indian Ocean

The Scorpion Fish

The Scorpion Fish

The incredible stingray

The incredible stingray

A symbiotic relationship

A symbiotic relationship

The majestic turtles of the Indian Ocean

The majestic turtles of the Indian Ocean

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‘Paradise indeed’: House & Garden recommends Constance Tsarabanjina

House & Garden magazine describes Constance Tsarabanjina as the perfect ‘pampered introduction’ to the unique island of Madagascar.

Home & Garden Magazine rates Constance Tsarabanjina

Home & Garden Magazine rates Constance Tsarabanjina

Teresa Levonian Cole started her exploration of Madagascar with a stay at Tsarabanjina where she experienced the rich biodiversity of the tiny island resort.

During her stay Teresa tried her hand at deep-sea fishing (landing a sailfish which was then prepared and cooked for her by the hotel chefs), snorkelling and bird watching around the stunning basalt rocks of the Four Brothers diving site.

Teresa describes, ‘I was at Tsarabanjina, a private, barefoot island resort of just 25 beachfront wooden bungalows… Tsarabanjina, with its forested volcanic slopes, ringed by white sands and turquoise waters that teem with fish edible and decorative, is a paradise indeed.’

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A guide to fishing in Madagascar

The remote ocean to the northwest of Madagascar with its combinations of reefs, banks and drop-offs is a haven for large numbers of pelagic and reef fish.

Fishing in Madagascar

Fishing in Madagascar

Whether you dream of saltwater fly fishing for a Marlin, trolling for Dogtooth Tuna or trying your hand at the traditional Malagasy net casting, the waters of Madagascar are an angler’s paradise.

Fishing is good almost all year round (with the exception of February and March) but April to July is the peak season when many more Sailfish and Marlin pass through the waters.

Big game fishing

Pit your wits against the giant game fish in the clear, calm waters of Madagascar and you could find yourself pulling any of the big prize fish – Marlin, Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado, Wahoo – from the waves.

Read more about big game fishing in Madagascar.

Fly fishing

Catch of the day

Catch of the day

Fly fishing is possible from a boat, with some operators specialising in catching billfish such as Marlin and Sailfish on fly or alternatively from standing on a reef. Reef fish include GTs, snappers and grouper.

Traditional Malagasy net casting

On the private island of Constance Tsarabanjina to the northwest of Madagascar you can try your hand at traditional net casting from a pirogue (a wooden fishing boat). Fish the way the locals here have for hundreds of years and then bring your catch back to shore and the chefs at Tsarabanjina will prepare and cook it for you.

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When to go whale watching in Madagascar

Every year between June and November more than 7,000 humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic to the waters of Madagascar to breed and calve.

Whale watching in Madagascar

Whale watching in Madagascar

During the mating season the male will put on dramatic displays of physical dominance and acrobatic stunts to vie for the attention of the females making for a truly awe-inspiring experience for spectators.

The government of Madagascar has put in place regulations to ensure that the whales are not disturbed or stressed by boats in the area. As a result most trips are hosted by experienced guides with a wealth of specialist knowledge.

One of the most amazing experiences for visiting whale watchers can be listening to the male’s unique whale song, one of the most complex vocal displays in the animal kingdom, via an on-board hydrophone.

Whale watching at Ile Ste Marie (June to September)

Situated on the Eastern shore of Madagascar this is an ideal place from which to watch the stunning mating rituals and calving of the whales.

Whale watching at Tsarabanjina/Nosy Be (August to November)

The migration through the waters off the North West coast of Madagascar is slightly later but you are still likely to see mothers with their calves and pods of whales showing off their breath-taking acrobatics.

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Condé Nast Traveller describes Tsarabanjina as ‘everyone’s secret favourite’

Lisa Grainger explains the dual charm of Constance Tsarabanjina as both a luxury retreat and natural paradise in her article for the March edition of Condé Nast Traveller magazine.

Condé Nast Traveller describes Tsarabanjina as ‘everyone’s secret favourite’

Condé Nast Traveller describes Tsarabanjina as ‘everyone’s secret favourite’

She writes that the remote Madagascan island location with its hills and forests, two long beaches and only 25 wooden guest beach villas, make this the perfect place for guests to ‘live out their Robinson Crusoe fantasies’.

‘This is a no-shoes, no-news, hang-loose place,’ she says. ‘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.’

While some guests spend their days relaxing in the sun on loungers or hammocks, others choose to get out to explore and experience some of the unique biodiversity of the island.

Grainger spent much of her time on Constance Tsarabanjina ‘fossil-hunting on the island’s fringe of weather-beaten, mineral-rich rocks, luminous with swirls of ochres and rusts, and cut through with black tongues of hardened lava’.

Another favourite pastime was diving the relatively unexplored waters around Tsarabanjina.

The vibrant coral reefs of Constance Tsarabanjina

The vibrant coral reefs of Constance Tsarabanjina

Grainger writes, ‘The underwater scenery is trippy in its theatricality, designed by a god inspired by Jackson Pollock and inhabited by hilariously overdressed creatures.’

Grainger also applauded the ‘simple but delicious’ food available in the restaurant at Tsarabanjina including fresh grilled seafood, handmade pastas and salads as well as drinks infused by the flavours of fresh local fruits.

Relax with the Cristal Package

Our Cristal package contributes to the laid-back vibe at Constance Tsarabanjina - from the moment you arrive you can relax knowing everything is taken care with all meals and a range of super-premium drinks included in the price.

To find out more about Constance Tsarabanjina or to make a booking visit our website: Constance Hotels and Resorts

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