Islands scattered in the Indian Ocean are a true example of beauty and perfection. Maldives, the Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, the Comoros, these are among the most exotic and beautiful islands in the world. In spite of their diversity and distinctive characteristics, all islands have warm and turquoise waters, abundant marine life and splendid white beaches.
The Seychelles boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, not to mention calm and clear waters, granite rocks and coral reefs, perfect for water sports, a number of well developed tourist facilities and night spots to enjoy.
We must not forget the sophisticated tourist resorts of Mauritius, its friendly and hospitable people; sparkling white beaches and fantastic underwater world of Maldives; wildlife and nature reserves of Madagascar, its forests and exotic plants; amazing underwater scenery of the Comoros Islands, all providing an ultimate vacation and a perfect setting for sailing, swimming, fishing and diving.
The Seychelles is an archipelago of more than a hundred islands located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, about 1600 km off the east coast of Africa, northeast of Madagascar. Ideal climate and warm crystal waters provide an ideal location for both cruising and sailing vacations. The Seychelles is a luxury tropical destination with attractive environment; splendid beaches and crystal-clear waters, a range of intense colours and flavours. Pristine natural environment and lush tropical scenery make these islands unique and exceptional.
This archipelago which consists of coral and granite islands is considered to be a real tropical paradise on Earth. It can be divided in two distinct island groups.
The Inner Islands, mainly granite, are located around the main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. This island group provides great sailing opportunities, including safe anchorages and lush vegetation on the island of Mahé, its wonderful beaches, coconut palms and excellent views of the surrounding islands and coral reefs; then hotels, shops, restaurants and various attractions of Praslin, a great start off point towards the neighboring islands; and finally silver-sand beaches, coves and pink granite rocks of La Digue, a perfect location to enjoy tranquil vacations.
The Outer Islands comprise the group of low-lying coral islands extending towards the coast of Africa. The Amirantes is a sparkling chain of coral isles and a perfect location for snorkeling and diving. Alphonse is another great island for sailing opportunities, diving and fishing as well. Farquhar is located on a shallow bank of sand and coral, forming a low lying atoll. Aldabra which consists of three atolls is the largest raised coral atoll in the world.
The Seychelles consists of colourful islands of different cultures, races and religions, of distinct traditions and customs expressed through cuisine, art, architecture and music. There’s a great diversity to be explored and enjoyed; each island with different history, geography and nature.
The islands enjoy a tropical climate, a warm climate without large variations in temperatures (between 24 and 32 degrees) which makes the Seychelles an ideal tourist destination throughout the year. The weather conditions are suitable for various water sport activities; sailing and snorkeling all year round, diving in April and May or from September to November, then surfing, fishing, hiking and horse riding. There is something for everyone, from modern resorts offering various sport activities and entertainment to quiet and calm places for relaxation.
A short distance between the islands allows for island hopping opportunities. Daily excursions between the islands will provide a great adventure, interesting and exceptional. Visitors can enjoy a variety of events all year round, including fishing and sailing competitions, cultural events and festivals.
Mauritius is a small islands situated in the Indian Ocean. This tourist paradise is of volcanic origin and is surrounded by coral reefs, except for the coast in the south.
The west coast with turquoise waters is the most beautiful area of the island, where you can enjoy various activities. The east coast provides the spectacular mountain scenery from the warm sea. Ile aux Cerfs, a striking tropical island on the east coast of Mauritius, invites you to relax and enjoy a tranquil vacation in stunning environment of white sand beaches and crystal waters. It’s a perfect ground for water sports activities. The north coast of the island is the most tourist oriented area, with transparent sea surface, beautiful lagoons, hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. Grand Bay is the most popular beach resort in the area with Trou aux Biches nearby, as a leisure paradise for everyone. Ilot Gabriel is another beautiful playground, located to the north of Mauritius. The island offers safe waters and wonderful beaches. Lagoons of tropical charm and stretches of beaches provide an ideal setting for sailing, windsurfing and water skiing throughout the island of Mauritius and its surrounding isles. Mauritius is a land of colours and fragrances from rich botanical gardens in Pamplemousses and tropical fruit trees. Various colours of the island are the result of erosion of the volcanic ash.
Mauritius provides many colourful and interesting sites, all within easy reach. Trou aux Cerfs is one of the main tourist attractions and the most stunning volcanic form with an extensive view of the island. The Black River Gorges National Park provides a perfect break from the beaches. Here you can spot some endemic species of plants and birds. Tamarin, apart from being a nice public beach, is an ideal setting for surfing activity. Port Louis then, a bustling urban centre and the capital of Mairitius would be ideal for daily excursions. The town of Mahebourg is the major commercial centre with a nice bay nearby to relax and absorb the sun and surroundings. The island of Rodrigues has a lot to offer to its visitors; nice beaches, great diving opportunities, unspoiled nature, various activities including hiking and bird watching. Among various island attractions we must also mention colourful markets, Hindu temple, fishing villages and Dutch ruins.
The climate varies from region to region. However, most areas benefit from hot and humid tropical climate all year round. The temperatures vary from 22°C in winter to 34°C in summer. Tropical rains occur in summer, the hot season from December to April. The warm season runs from May to November.
Madagascar is a nature paradise located in the Indian Ocean, about 250 miles off the east coast of Africa.
Madagascar can be divided into six regions with different characteristics.
The North region is divided from the rest by a mountain range and it includes beautiful scenery of secluded coves, quiet lagoons, promontories and grasslands. This region boasts many highlights, including the charming towns of Diego Suarez, Antalaha, Sambava and small coastal villages. Nosy Be Island offers beautiful beaches and magnificent setting for diving in the warm waters. The whole area has a long dry season which lasts from April to December and is followed by intense rainfalls.
The West is a region with spectacular views and remnants of a dry forest. The region is hot and dry throughout the year. The cosmopolitan Majunga and Morondava became pretty popular holiday destinations with lovely surroundings; beaches, caves, marine wonders, colourful landscapes.
The High Plateau is a beautiful, fertile countryside with a temperate climate all year round. Do not miss Antasibe Mantadia National Park with incredible fauna, located near Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. Of other attractions, we must mention the historical and cultural centre of Fianarantsoa and Antsirabe, a lovely town with mineral springs and temperate climate.
The East Coast boasts unique flora and fauna. Sainte Marie Island, located 15 miles off the coast, has become a sought-after holiday destination with endless beaches, coconut palms and coral reefs. Major attractions include the small towns of Mananara, Maroantsetra and Tamtave. This region is exposed to trade winds and is wet for most of the year.
The Southeast Rain Forest is the most appealing region of unique interest, with lush forests, granite rock formations, exotic flora and fauna, wonderful views and picturesque places such as Ambalavao, Taolagnaro, Manakara and Mananjury.
The Southwest Dry Forest is a vast and diverse area with exotic plants, striking views and endless beaches with sand dunes. Toliara is a modern and attractive town with beautiful surroundings. A rich marine life and white sand beaches provide an excellent setting for water sports activities.
Madagascar offers a wonderful playground for diving, snorkeling and whale watching. The whole island boasts an amazing variety of landscapes, beautiful natural environment, rich flora and fauna, endemic species and a number of diverse attractions. Though different in many aspects, all regions abound in wildlife and nature reserves.
Two seasons prevail in the area; the wet season from November to March and the dry season from April to October. The climate of the island is sunny, warm and pleasant most of the year.
Maldives is a world known tropical holiday destination which includes many beautiful coral islands forming an archipelago of 26 atolls. The protective coral reef which surrounds the islands is home to various species and forms of marine life. Crystal clear lagoons, underwater beauty and white sandy beaches are a trademark of this magnificent archipelago.
The islands are small and low-lying, rarely reaching above two meters. Only 200 islands are populated, while 88 islands are set aside for the development of tourist resorts. The archipelago is a true paradise for water sports activities; sailing, swimming, snorkeling, diving, surfing and fishing. Most tourist resorts are located around the capital of Male and offer exclusive holidays. Each island has its own resort, unique beauty and concept. Some offer a holiday in true Maldivian style; thatched roof and sand underfoot, while some resorts have modern concepts.
Cruising is the best way to explore these marvelous islands and to appreciate their unique beauty, be it a relaxing cruise or a diving safari. Apart from water sports activities, cruising includes visits to local villages and desert islands.
Among the most popular luxury resorts we must mention Angsana Resort and Spa, surrounded by white beaches and clear waters; Baros Holiday Island, a place of relaxation and tranquility; Kurumba Village, the perfect choice for both business and pleasure holidays; Royal Island Resort and Spa, surrounded by a spectacular marine life. Many resorts offer relaxation and privacy for couples. These are the true honeymoon destinations: Banyan Tree, a secluded coral atoll; Bathala Island Resort, for many, the best spot for diving and leisure; Coco Palm Resort and Spa, a lush tropical paradise with white beaches and a beautiful lagoon; Cocoa Island Resort, a great getaway for couples. Surrounded by famous diving spots, Biyadhoo Island makes the perfect setting for water sports activities; then Club Rannalhi, an active resort for all diving enthusiasts; Ellaidhoo Resort with modern facilities and natural charm. Families can enjoy the beauty of Bandos island Resort, a contemporary resort with a variety of activities; then Fihaalohi, Filitheyo, Kuramathi Village and many other tropical resorts.
Tropical climate prevail, with warm temperatures and minor variations in daily temperatures throughout the year. However, there is a considerable variation of monthly rainfall amounts. The weather is determined by monsoons. The southwest monsoon from May to September brings more rainfall, rough seas and strong winds. The northeast monsoon from December to April brings lower humidity and a small amount of rain.
The Comoro Islands
The Comoro Islands consist of four islands of volcanic origin, located in the western Indian Ocean, less than 200 miles off the east coast of Africa. Moroni, on Grande Comore, is the capital of the Comoros.
The archipelago includes following islands, still known by their French names: Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mahoré (Mayotte), Mwali (Mohéli) and Nzwani (Anjouan). Formerly the French colony, all islands are now independent, except for Mayotte. The islands are a true paradise for vacationers, and each provides great opportunities for water sports activities. Their main attraction is wonderful underwater scenery. The islands are located on the route between East Africa and Mauritius, which is convenient for all yachtsmen.
Grande Comore, the youngest of the islands, is the largest and most important one. Moroni is an old port and a charming place with old, narrow streets, broad squares and modern government buildings. The island’s attractions include beautiful mosques, such as Vendredi Mosque which provides an attractive view; then Mount Karthala as the highest point of the island; sulfur springs at Lac Salé; the town of Mitsamiouli, known for the best dancers and good diving facilities, and many other attractions.
Anjouan is famous for its waterfalls and lush vegetation. One must not miss Mutsamudu, a town of unique style, with mosques, a citadel and old houses with carved doors. Bimbini area is well known for the most beautiful beaches.
Mayotte, geologically the oldest of the islands, is surrounded by a coral reef, providing therefore an excellent setting for scuba-diving. Visitors can enjoy exploring the beautiful lagoon, relax on the beautiful beaches, hop to the nearby islet of Pamanzi, visit the town of Dzaoudzi or an old mosque at Tsingoni, and other sites.
Mohéli is the smallest of the Comoros and least developed, wild and scarcely inhabited. Still, it is a charming island with magnificent forests and a variety of crops. Chissioua Ouénéfou, a small island off the south coast of Mohéli, is part of a marine reserve and home to green sea turtles.
The Comoro Islands abound in diving sites which provide a truly unique experience. These include Hahaya Wall, Black Coral Cave, Coelacanth and Banc Vailheu.
Two climatic seasons prevail in the area; hot and rainy season from November to April, with temperatures ranging from 27°C to 35°C, and cool, dry season from May to October, with the average temperature of 24°C. The islands are influenced by the northwest monsoon which may bring high winds and cyclones from December to April.