is a large region of the island of Madagascar
This northern region is best known for its tropical beaches and islands. It also contains some interesting forest reserves with 'tsingy' rock formations, lemurs and other interesting endemic flora and fauna.
This part of the country can only be connected with the rest of Madagascar by air from the capital Antananarivo
and really needs at least 7-10 nights to make it worthwhile.
Interestingly there are also direct flights from Johannesburg and Europe into the island of Nosy Be, which means you can visit most of this region of Madagascar without the hassle of going through the capital.
The most popular areas are the tropical islands of the Nosy Be
area, which do suffer a little from mass market tourism, but which also contain some really interesting and more remote beach lodges.
The far northern area, centred on the town of Diego Suarez
(Antsiranana), can be connected to the previous area by road, taking in the forest reserves of the Montagne d'Ambre and Ankarana.
In the extreme northeast lies the extremely remote and high end private island lodge of Miavana
A little further down the east coast lies the tropical forest areas around Masoala
, including the largest intact forest of its type in the country and fringing onto beautiful beaches and coral reefs. However this cannot be connected to the above locations, it is instead accessed by shared charter flight from the capital.
Over to the north-west, the city of Mahajanga
remains of less interest to most visitors, although the coastline to the east does contain one of the best coastal lodges in the country, which is also only accessed by shared charter flight from the capital.