We departed Antoremba Lodge on the 19th and headed back by boat to Nosy Be, caught a ride at the wharf, proceeded north east and then caught another boat to Constance Tsarabanjina located on a tiny private island about 70 km from Nosy Be harbour. This is a luxury all-inclusive resort with 24 bungalow style villas spread out over two beaches of white powder sand and surrounded by the most amazingly clear aqua marine waters. As we approached the island we could see a large crowd gathered on the beach, all of them waving their arms to welcome us. They were some of the many staff who work at the resort and the welcome made us and the others with us seem special.
We had six nights in a beautiful beachfront villa surrounded by lush vegetation and a view of the incredible aqua marine water.
We read (through TripAdvisor) that if you didn’t speak Italian or French be prepared to be ignored. We have experienced this in other areas of Madagascar so this concerned us. Now, you need to understand that TripAdvisor can sometimes be helpful, especially if you have hundreds of reviews and they mostly tend to agree with each other but where you have to be careful is when most are positive 4/5 or 5/5 ratings and then you come across the 1/5. Only once several years ago did the 1/5 accurately reflect the place we stayed. This was in Barefoot Quay in Honduras. Otherwise these 1/5 comments usually come from someone who was in a bad mood, stubbed their toe on a rock, had a mosquito bite, didn’t like the food or just had a fight with their wife and then blamed it all on the resort, the staff, etc. etc. etc.
This was the case at Tsarabanjina. One or two bad reviews and you start to worry before you arrive. How wrong they were. It was a mix nationalities and it didn’t matter what language you spoke. Most of the staff spoke english as well as french and italian. They were professional, courteous and friendly and the location was absolutely and undeniably in the top two of the many beaches we have visited around the world. Maybe the top because it’s impossible to rate these things sometimes.
There were a couple things that surprised us though. The first was the shower in our villa. It was indoors and very tiny. At places like these the showers are often outside but nicely connected to the unit and if not outside, generally quite large so this was a surprise. The second surprise was the food. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with a limited choice for breakfast and a little larger choice for lunch and the lunches were good. Dinners were a la carte and offered three choices often two of them were fish which is okay but most times our meals arrived luke warm to cold and were really nothing special. This is not a cheap resort so this was a bit of a let down but aside from these two blips everything else was excellent. We did find ourselves getting bored after day four so five days maximum would be our suggestion unless you spend time on fairly expensive day excursions either visiting other islands and sights or diving some of the beautiful reefs in the area.
On the 25th we reluctantly departed with waves of goodbyes from the staff on the beachside and caught a flight back to Tana for a one night stay before heading off on our next adventure, Ethiopia.