Scuba diving in and around the Ifaty lagoon

How and where we dive

The bay of Ranobe (Ifaty lagoon).

It is quite a wide bay, between the Manombolo and Fiherenana rivers mouths, with an over 40 km long coral reef, a big lagoon with 2 main passes (south and north), many small ones (be akio, fausse passe de Songoritelo...), mangroves at each end.

It offers a big number of dive sites with many different surroundings : inner lagoon - massif des roses (roses clump), jardin de corail (coral garden)-, in the pass - grotte Juliette ( Juliette cave), Akio (sharks), Cathedral..., and outer lagoon - Bevato, Tortuga, Snapper point...

On the boat getting ready for diving
Let's go !

How do we dive

We usually dive in the morning, as afternoons can be pretty windy here. But if it is not, we dive in the afternoon too. We go for one or two dives, then with a surfance interval on board. We can go for one diver - as we are not taxi-brousse and don't need a full boat to get started (we wouldn't dive in days!) - and no more than four. Pharmacy, water and oxygen are always on board.

First immersion at Roses Garden
Discovery of the underwater world

Your first immersion

Your discovery of scuba-diving will take place in a roses garden, marine protected area in the Ranobe bay. First we'll introduce you to some scubadiving principles, breathing, equalizing, buoyancy. We'll explain how we'll process, then you'll enter the water to learn the gear, and find the right breathing, and this part will last until you're totally comfortable with underwater breathing. Only then we'll go down along the rope (one diver, one instructor) for a 45 minutes dive, 6 meters deep, and the discovery of a really diversified and numerous fauna...

A few dive sites at random

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : Gaterins
Mariann et les poissons de verre


Safari - Tsiandamba - Outer lagoon - 23m -

Gaterins in pictures

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : Bevato
Le gros malabar de Bevato, gueule rouge,


Ifaty - Outer lagoon - 25m -

Three hundred meters off the reef, we go down to sand at 25 meters, at the bottom of a wall, where begins a long coral platter. Really rich and dense site. You can see over a short distance a big variety of species. Blue triggers and surgeons schools; java and honeycomb morays, longfin bannerfishes, parrotfishes, glassfishes, lobsters, octopus, morays and humphead wrasses, jacks, sometimes an eagle ray or a turtle...

Bevato in pictures

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : Akio
Immersion dans les carpes rouges...


Ifaty - South pass - 30m -

We get into water right off the reef, then drift in a strong incoming current to the lagoon. A funny trip across the south pass, where we can meet jacks, baracudas, eagle rays, groupers and humphead wrasses...

This dive was famous for the numerous gray reef sharks that used to get fresh oxygen in the south pass. They have been fished for fins since...

Akio in pictures

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : Cathédrale
Crabe porcelaine


Ifaty - North pass - 18m -

Right in the middle of the north pass, the coral fell down in canyons, arches, bridges, caves, holes... in which live a lot of snappers; and in a huge cuvette where schools of 'lutjans bossus' (Lutjanus gibbus) draw changing and fascinating shapes. While we go from chapell to crypt, an inquiring humphead wrasse follows us, above the voult. A grouper, as motionless as a gisant, hidden under rock, watches us. The relief and the fishes you see give to the dive -rare, for the north pass is not an easy one ; we should have the best sea and tide conditions- a really specific atmosphere.

Cathédrale in pictures

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : Tortuga
Les gaterins mouchetés de Tortuga


Ifaty - Outer lagoon - 23m -

Off the lagoon, right south of the south pass, a reef, between 27 and 17 meters, striped by two wide canyons. When we first dove there, we saw a lot of turtles. We still see turtles there, but no so many, not so often. Well, the name still there. You can find beautifull samples of the local fauna and flora, especially two really big javanese morays, blackspotted rays, batfishes, snappers, big lobsters, leaf fishes...

Tortuga in pictures


Ifaty - Outer lagoon - 27m -

This is quite a nice stroll around a big rock where we find the usual coral fauna. Butterfly, longbanner, leaf, stone, angel, devil, lion fishes, triggers, morays, a lot of nudibranchs. Many species of groupers. A small arch with snappers and sweet lips...

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : Vatosoa
Anémone magnifique et montipore feuillu


Ifaty - Inner lagoon - 10m -

Close to Vatobe, three really beautiful gardens with almost the whole range of coral species you can find in the lagoon

We hope we can create a preserved area there.

Vatosoa in pictures

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : Grotte Juliette

Grotte Juliette

Ifaty - South pass - 23m -

The dive begins inner lagoon. We drift along the north wall of the south pass : big coral and schools of fish (snappers,...). Then we go down to the Juliette cave, where a big moray called Juliette used to live (of course with Romeo, another big moray), and where live now, among glassfishes, a big grouper. The dive goes on amidst canyons and rocks : humphead wrasses, groupers, sting rays, eagle rays, jackfishes... and ends up far outer lagoon.

Grotte Juliette in pictures

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : Avaratse
Deux plongeurs Avaratse


Ifaty - Outer lagoon - 23m -

On the northern slope, off three wide false pass. Canyons, arches, walls.. Rays, trevallies, groupers, batfishes... Hammerhead sharks at dawn? Not an easy dive because of the false passes and the poor visibilty.

Avaratse in pictures

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : L'Espagnole
un p'tit détartrage, svp!


Ifaty - Outer lagoon - 20m -

South of the north pass, outer reef slope. Nice coral and a lot of nudibranches...

L'Espagnole in pictures


Ifaty - Outer lagoon - 16m -

On the outer slope of the reef, waves dig canyons where live nice madrepora tables and the usual around fauna. In one of these canyons, we'll find snappers and sweetlips, in another one, batfishes...

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : Snappers Point
Ver plat, nature morte

Snappers Point

Ifaty - Outer lagoon - 23m -

Off the reef, in between north and south pass. We go down to the anchor at 22m, on sand, and around a big and boring rock. Then, all of a sudden, yellow clouds surround us ; snappers, and many others... Most of the time, three big groupers are awaiting while a school of batfishes cross the background... Small hanging humphead wrasses. On the top of the rock, many morays, leaf fishes, porcupinefishes...

Snappers Point in pictures

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : Sir John
Crabe de corail

Sir John

Ifaty - Outer lagoon - 25m -

This big reef is located not far away from 'Petites Roses', close to the north pass. Clouds of blue triggers and surgeons. An south african diver found it out and called it 'surgeon'. Sorry, we understood 'Sir John'. We keep with 'Sir John', as a tribute to the old man who first dove there with us. Many coral patches of various sizes and shapes, with sweetlips and groupers. And humphead wrasses, turtles, morays and so on...

Sir John in pictures

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : Jardin de Corail
Mamila arabe et corail de feu

Jardin de Corail

Ifaty - Inner lagoon - 16m -

A nice stroll along the reef and amidst small coral reefs, inner lagoon. You can see the usual fauna, stone fishes, snappers, sweetlips... plus a lot of garden eels and splendid glassfishes colonies. The coral has been bleached by El Nino in 1998, but there are still many miraculous masterpieces of colour and shape.

Jardin de Corail in pictures

Atimoo Madagascar Dive site : Massif des Roses
Danseuse espagnole, pulpeuse

Massif des Roses

Ifaty - Inner lagoon - 6m -

A magnificent small coral reef, mostly roses (Montipora); a merry fauna full of love, crocodile fishes, clowns, longfin bannerfishes, butterflies, morays, lion fishes and so on... Not a deep dive (6 meters) in the lagoon, that is perfect for the first immersions and the bubble makers, and for more experienced divers too, for the big number of species we find here.

Since the first of june 2007, the 'Massif des Roses' is a protected area, after an agreement between local authorities and fishermen, thanks to the reef doctors, and with the support of the main diving centres of Mangily-Ifaty. Hoping the hotels and others tourist operators will join soon!

Massif des Roses in pictures

- the diving rates -