With gorgeous villas dotted along a pearl-white coastline fringed by nodding palm trees, Miavana Island Sanctuary is a masterpiece of barefoot luxury. Situated off the north-east coast of Madagascar, Nosy Ankao is the largest of five pristine islands that form a reef-protected archipelago. The island is part of a protected marine area of about 37 000 acres and only accessible by helicopter. Miavana offers sensational views over the endless Indian Ocean, with direct beach access from every luxury villa.
Guests are privy to a host of water activities like kayaking, paddle boarding, kite surfing and fishing. Boat excursions to see dolphins, manta rays and whales are also on offer. Or take the plunge and head underwater for scuba diving or snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters.
Explore the beautiful island on foot or by bicycle, watch turtles lay their eggs (best between December and February), or watch as the hatchlings scamper their way across the beach to make it to the ocean safely between December to April. If you are visiting between June and August, you will have the rare chance to watch terns nest on a nearby deserted island, the biggest nesting site in the Indian Ocean. Every year, between 40 000 and 90 000 of these seabirds come to nest here.
Hop in a helicopter for a half-day escape to Madagascar’s Ankarana Reserve or Montagne d’Ambre (Amber Mountain) National Park, home to the second smallest species of chameleon on Earth, seven species of lemur, about 77 recorded species of birds, and the cat-like fosa – Madagascar’s only predator.