Ile Sainte Marie (Nosy Boraha) is a small tropical island (about 60 km long and 5 km wide) off the east coast of Madagascar. It is a real tropical paradise, with miles of sandy beaches shaded by coconut palms, small bays and coves protected by coral reefs, traditional fishing villages and lush vegetation.
From 1685 the island was a major hideout for pirates in the Indian Ocean, such as Thomas White, William Kidd, Thomas Tew and David Williams, who plundered passing ships in the seas around the coasts of Africa. The Pirates Cemetery at Baie de Forbans is well worth a visit. The island then came under French rule in 1750 and there are a few reminders such as a war monument or the old church in Ambodifotatra.
Ile Sainte Marie, or more accurately the channel between the island and the mainland, is also the best place for whale watching, where during July – September large groups of Humpback whales come to calve and nurse their young.