Antsiranana, located in the far north of Madagascar, known as Diego Suarez until 1975 and still called Diego Suarez by many, is the capital of the northernmost province of Madagascar.
It has one of the most beautiful deep-water ports in the world, complete with a Sugar Loaf mountain (Nosy Lonja). French colonial style city is a perfect place to spend at least 7 days and always visit different places.
The Diego-Suarez population is dominated by the Antakarana ethnic group, followed by Comorians, Indians, Antandroy, Yemenis and Somalis, then finally Merina and Europeans.
History of Antsiranana
At the beginning of the 16th century, a Portuguese squadron of 13 ships crisscrossed the Indian Ocean; One of these ships went adrift, and its captain, Diego Diaz, was therefore the first European to discover the Big Island on August 10, 1500.
In February 1506, Admiral Herman Suarez recognized the place and so Antomabokala, former capital of Ankarana, acquired its name of Diego Suarez, which comes from the contraction of the first name of the captain and the name of the Admiral. In 1635, the bay was mentioned for the first time under this name by the French pilot Berthelot, author of an oriental map of Africa and Madagascar.
In 1824, the bay was explored by the English hydrographer Owen, then in 1833, Captain Bigeault, commandant of La Nièvre, traveled the North East coast to carry out hydrographic surveys.
But this harbor, which is perfectly situated on the route to India, does not fail to interest the European nations and by the Franco-Malagasy treaty of December 17, 1885, France is authorized to occupy Diego Suarez.
What to see in Diego Suarez
Located in the second largest bay in the world, with over 150 km of coastline, Diego-Suarez is a destination that promises to be unforgettable! A huge bay that opens onto the Indian Ocean, the region offers a remarkable biodiversity.
For beach lovers, with its mostly intact landscapes, less than 20 km away we find the beach of Ramena (18 km), an easily accessible seaside resort where a huge white sand beach invites you to relax on the colored blue waters. Here is also the opportunity to embark on a beautiful open sea excursion to explore the numerous islets and scuba diving in the Emerald Sea and the Island of Suarez.
Further east of Ramena, the beach of Orangea, where it is possible to discover the remains of an old French military camp. Half an hour on foot, in the Orangea Reserve, do not miss the Cap Miné lighthouse where a breathtaking view awaits you where the Indian Ocean enters the Bay of Antsiranana!
Do not miss also The Three Bays (Pegeon, Dunes and Sakalava from north to south), where you can enjoy an incredible day by some of the most deserted and beautiful beaches of Madagascar. To mention the bay of Sakalava, known as one of the best place in the work for Kitesurf.
Other places to visit are the Reserve of the French Mountain (400mt.) to admire the Bay of Antsiranana from above and the excursion to Suarez Island in the Emerald Sea, a heavenly place.
From Antsiranana you can visit the Amber Mountain National Park and the Red Tsingy Rossi (at sunset) on the same day.
Other great excursion are Nosy Hara and the Ankarana National Park.