People and culture

The island’s population is cosmopolitanand multicultural. However, Antakarana and Sakalava are the main ethnicities that live in this region. Stemming from the North of Madagascar, Antakarana the larger group on the island.
The population became multicultural and colorful when Indian foreigners and Europeans, which are called “vazaha”, came to the island.

The royal village

Manongarivo mahabo

A mahabo is a sacred cemetery where lies the royal families’ princes. The central grave of Manongarivo encloses various graves among which those of Binao the Sakalava queen who reigned from 1881 until 1921. The small house on the left side is the Treasure Compartment and contains the deceased person’s personal belongings. The access is very regulated, the outfits and the rites to do beforehand must be respected as much for the local population as for the visitors. It is forbidden to get there on certain days of the week. It is essential to enquire before getting there.

A women’s association

Ravinala association, to preserve Nosy Be’s heritage

Women from the village of Marodoka have establish an association to preserve the Sakalava people’s culture and heritage. They formerly gathered to embroider but eventually diversified their activities when they became aware of their village’s cultural and historical value. They so became commited to proomote the local tradtions and to develop a cultural ecotourism.

Did you know ?

The association’s craftswomen of Nosy Be were known for their meticulous embroidery work and decided to create the Ranivala association in order to sell more of their handmade products. And it did work ! You will find basketries, embroidery and tablecloths of all colors. It really is an ancestral and charming skill to learn more about.


A walk in the heart of the vllage of Marodoka will help you learn more about the culture and Kiswahili traditions as well as the Indian influences from the XVth century.You will find there vestiges from the Sakalava people and Nosy Be's...