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Bay of Antsiranana (Diego Suarez)

Antsiranana, better known under its old French name Diego Suarez, is located at the northernmost tip of Madagascar. The city is situated on a beautiful 250 km² bay with white beaches where the waves of the turquoise-blue Indian Ocean run out. After the bay of Rio de Janeiro, it is the second largest natural bay in the world. Actually it is not only one bay, it is composed of several smaller ones: The bays of Tonnerre, Tsiala, Andovobatofotsy, Antsahazo and Andovobazaha are part of the bay of Antsiranana. The most famous of them is Andovobazaha, because it lies directly in front of Diego Suarez. In the middle of the bay of Andovobazaha lies the “sugar loaf” of Diego, a circular green island of volcanic origin. In Madagascan it is called Saupari Dunghar, which means nothing else. Another bay west of the city of Diego itself is the Cul de Sac Gallois, where a lot of salt is produced.

From Antsiranana and the nearby fishing village of Ramena you can take boat trips through the bay, to small dream beaches in the Emerald Sea or snorkelling trips. Who the city and thus also the bay is named after, one does not know exactly today. Most likely, the Portuguese explorer Diego Suarez gave its name to it in the 16th century. A little later, according to legend, pirates discovered the bay and proclaimed it the home of the legendary pirate republic of Libertalia. After all, it is certain that in the 19th century the English and later the French finally reached the bay of Antsiranana, after which the city and bay became French territory until 1960. Today, Madagascar’s third largest port is located in the bay. It is a destination for travellers and photographers from all over the world.

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