Our Rating
7.2
Overall

Sambatra Beach Lodge

Madagascar, St Marie and Ile aux Nattes

from 45 per person sharing

Our Rating
7.2
Overall

Sambatra Beach Lodge

Madagascar, St Marie and Ile aux Nattes

from 45 per person sharing

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Our Verdict

Simple and sociable little lodge of just 6 bungalows set in a sensationally beautiful position under a grove of palm trees and literally a couple of paces from the white coral sands lining the best swimming beach along the west coast of Ile aux Nattes!

Our Ratings

7.2
Overall
5.5
Luxury & Style
8.5
Setting
6.0
Activities
9.0
Chill-Out Factor

Our Ratings

7.2
Overall
5.5
Luxury & Style
8.5
Setting
6.0
Activities
9.0
Chill-Out Factor

What's Hot

  • Stunningly beautiful location - as you arrive by boat and see the bungalows and beach bar nestled beneath gorgeous palm trees which line the white sand beach and blindingly blue ocean, you'll find yourself pinching yourself to check that it isn't all a dream!
  • Vincent, the infectiously enthusiastic and friendly young South African owner, has created a wonderfully relaxed and laid-back ambience here that will be especially attractive to young travellers
  • Chill out at the beach bar with a cold beer or exotic island cocktail served up by the unfailingly friendly barman Jackson before cooling off by plunging into the inviting water just metres away!
  • The beach at Sambatra definitely offers the best swimming along the island's west coast - and if you're keen on snorkelling, then the fringing reef that lies just offshore is an easy swim away
  • Great base to soak up the island's many and charming attractions - from regular visits from a family of friendly lemurs, whale watching trips (in the winter season), bonfires on the beach under the night skies, to picnics on pristine sand banks in the middle of the ocean (to name just a few!)


What's Not

  • The very simple accommodation at Sambatra may be just too simple for some travellers - we've always thought it suits a slightly younger traveller willing to rough it a bit (and who also tend to really enjoy the lodge's wonderfully laidback and sociable ambience!)
  • The flights to get to St Marie are unfortunately pretty pricey, but once you're there the costs are exceptionally low compared to other islands - our advice is to go for longer (perhaps 11 to 14 days) because it really isn't that much more expensive than the usual week long package
Sambatra Beach Lodge

Sambatra Beach LodgeAdd in a family of lemurs that visit the lodge regularly, bonfires on the beach under the sensational night skies, easy snorkelling on the reef straight off the lodge’s beach, the chance to go on whale watching excursions or a boat-trip to enjoy a picnic on the pristine sandbanks of Ilot Sables – a stay here will offer up a wealth of truly unforgettable island memories!

Lodge Profile

Simple and sociable little lodge of just 6 bungalows set in a sensationally beautiful position under a grove of palm trees and literally a couple of paces from the white coral sands lining the best swimming beach along the west coast of Ile aux Nattes!

Quick Overview

Rooms
6 Beach Front Bungalows
Distance to Beach
5 metres
Air Conditioning
No
Pool
No
Recommended Stay
7 - 14 days

In the years since we started Barefoot Breaks, we’ve been lucky enough to visit some spectacularly beautiful islands – but if there was one in particular that we would have to pick as our personal favourite, it would have to be the tiny island of Ile aux Nattes off the north-eastern coast of Madagascar. In fact, showing that we put our money where our mouth is, it’s the island where we choose to enjoy our annual family holiday every December!

The reasons for this favourite status are pretty easy to find to be honest. Of course, there are stunning white coral sand beaches fringed with lush palm trees and tropical forest; the warm and crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming whilst an easy swim straight from the beach brings you to the fringing coral reef where you can enjoy happy hours of decent snorkelling. But those are found on loads of other islands too, so what elevates Ile aux Nattes above the rest?

What it really comes down to is the unmatched and very special charm of the place. There’s just enough development in the form of a few small beach lodges and beach bars/restaurants scattered around the island to keep intrepid tourists happy, without the island having come even close to being spoiled by the impacts of mass tourism. There are no roads and hence no cars, just sandy paths along which the villagers stroll or ride their bicycles – instead the main form of transport that you’ll see is the timeless sight of wooden dugout canoes or “pirogues” being poled silently around the island. There’s also no electricity, with lodges relying instead on generators and solar panels for power. The friendly and welcoming local islanders just add to the extremely relaxed and charming ambience that prevails.

The accommodation options on Ile aux Nattes are similarly relaxed and unassuming. The most luxurious option on the island has to be the 2 gorgeous Bijoux Villas – however, these are really best suited to a family or group of friends as they each boast 4 bedrooms en-suite. If you’re looking for something a bit simpler though, then Sambatra Beach Lodge is our choice as the best lodge option on the island.

Sambatra is the dream-become-reality of Vincent, a young and very welcoming and friendly South African guy, who moved over to build and run a lodge and live his tropical island dream. The result of his labours is a real delight! The 6 simple bungalows of Sambatra enjoy a stunning location literally a couple of steps from the soft white sands and crystal-clear waters of what has to be the best swimming beach by far on the island’s west coast (along most of the rest of this stretch of coast, the water is too shallow and there’s also seaweed, making swimming tricky) The beach at Sambatra however is truly gorgeous, and with the bungalows nestled beneath a truly picturesque grove of palm trees, you truly do feel as though you’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon an unspoiled tropical paradise!

Whilst the 6 bungalows are certainly comfortable and neat, don’t get the wrong impression that they offer luxury or designer décor-magazine style touches (and at the very reasonable price you shouldn’t expect them to) and things like air-conditioning aren’t on offer either (remember the island has no electricity, just generators) Solidly constructed with loads of quite attractive raw cement surfaces on show, they also boast interesting features like shutters which open right down to floor level, offering welcoming breezes (if giving up some privacy when open) The bathrooms are similarly simple but clean with nice walk-in showers (with hot water – not always the case at other lodges on the island) Another quite unusual feature is that the very comfortable mattresses have been dropped into a solid cement base.

A stay at Sambatra is really not so much about the rooms though and more about the whole ambience of the place. Vincent, the young and infectiously enthusiastic owner, has created a really relaxed and chilled vibe at the lodge that will be especially welcomed by younger travellers. Meals are usually eaten at a communal table in the sand floored dining area, giving guests plenty of opportunity to socialise and chat about their travels and experiences. Perhaps our favourite spot though has to be the beach bar (it is literally right on the sand at the top of the beach) where the friendly barman Jackson will be happy to mix you an island cocktail whilst you chill out to music (or if you literally need to cool off, you can take the plunge into the clear waters literally 10 metres away!) Add in a family of lemurs that visit the lodge regularly, bonfires on the beach under the sensational night skies, easy snorkelling on the reef straight off the lodge’s beach, the chance to go on whale watching excursions (in the winter months) or a boat-trip to enjoy a picnic on the pristine sandbanks of Ilot Sables – a stay at Sambatra will offer up a wealth of truly unforgettable island memories!

Pricing

per person sharing

More Information

Booking Notes

  • Please note that this website displays 2 different versions of pricing based on where you are viewing it:
  • SOUTH AFRICANS: the package prices you see including flights from Johannesburg, accommodation and transfers are INDICATIVE prices based on mid-season airfares and mid-season room rates - these fluctuate throughout the year as do exchange rates, so please enquire with us for an accurate price based on your specific dates of travel
  • INTERNATIONAL CLIENTS: the prices you see are per person per night prices for accommodation only based on the normal public prices for the property in question - note that in many instances we are able to provide better prices to our clients, so please enquire with us

Child Policy

  • Children of all ages are welcome