Madagascar: Nosy Lava

After a full day and night of sailing from Nosy Be arrived at Nosy Lava, a small uninhabited island and former prison colony about 80 miles to the south. The island has a really nice reef surrounding it and is hilly on the interior with white sand beaches. It would be a beautiful place to be incarcerated, though I have a fleeting suspicions that Malagasy prison, no matter how beautiful the surroundings, is probably not a place you want to be. In 1991, while the prison was still in business, a couple of inmates escaped, swam out to a sailboat that was anchored on the island, and killed the couple on board. The prison was shut down shortly thereafter.

Other than a small fishing camp with a few boats we were the only ones staying on the island. We had a chill evening on the boat and planned to explore the island the following morning.

We anchored on the other side of island of the prison because of the reef, so we had about a 45 minute hike over a hill, across a stream, and down a beach in order to get to the ruins of the prison. The facility was actually pretty big and sits right on the main beach of the island. It wasn’t in great shape after 25 years of sitting in the Malagasy sun, but it was still standing and was fun to explore.


River we waded across to get to the prison beach


Prison ruins


Prison jetty

We got back to the boats later that afternoon and set sail for Moramba Bay.