The old port of Antsiranana sits on one of the most beautiful bays in Madagascar, if not the world. The town is also known as Diego Suarez, the surnames of two marauding Portuguese captains who landed there in 1506 and sold several of the local inhabitants into slavery.

Unless you're traveling by yacht, the city is best reached by air, as it's 470 mi/755 km northeast of Antananarivo. The road to Antsiranana is open only July-October.

One night in the city itself is usually adequate, but add three more days if you're visiting the nearby reserves of Montagne d'Ambre and Ankarana.

It is also possible to spend a few days relaxing at Ramena, a lovely beach resort 12 mi/20km from the city center.

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