The jewel colours of the Indian Ocean, sapphire, emerald, azure, lap at the coral white beaches that ring these islands, as dry palm leaves rustle in the soft breeze. This is the setting for an Indian Ocean paradise.
All of these Indian Ocean Islands ooze romance from their flaming sunsets, vibrant cocktails and sultry suntanned skin; just as all these islands are suitable for families if your children can be entertained by endless sand, surf, swimming and sunny days.
All of these islands are accessible enough from the African mainland to combine the two destinations, and all have their own unique yet distinctly African qualities.
Each of these Indian Ocean islands also provides island retreats, coastal lodges and beach resorts to rival your tropical fantasies. Laid-back luxury, a touch of island glamour and tropical indulgence are complemented by fresh tropical cuisine, friendly and sincere service and top class spa pampering found in some of nature’s most beautiful settings.
Best for a post-safari beach break: Mozambique Islands
There are very few untouched corners left in the world but off the coast of northern Mozambique is a cluster of 27 African islands that few people have heard of, the Quirimbas Archipelago.
These flat, coral islands have wide sandy beaches bleached white by the African sun; perfect for sun bathing, shell collecting, elaborate picnics and moonlit barbeques.
The Quirimbas islands are perfectly positioned off the coast of Africa for relaxing after the excitement of an African wildlife safari. Fly from the wild areas of East Africa or South Africa to these remote offshore islands.
Continue your safari under the water by exploring some of the wildest, untouched dive sites you have ever encountered and swap the big game of Africa’s interior for incredible big game fishing.
Best for family beach holidays: Mauritius
Mauritius is a small Indian Ocean island on the other side of Madagascar that features green mountain peaks, glittering waterfalls, fields upon field of waving sugar cane and a ring of postcard perfect sandy beaches.
The soft tropical air of Mauritius smells of frangipani and coconut oil; the local people are possibly some of the nicest people on earth and there is so much to do it’s sometimes easier to just flop under a thatched beach umbrella than decide what to try next.
This relatively small island truly offers something for everyone. It’s a favourite with honeymooners for total beach relaxation; stressed out urbanites love the don’t-need-to-lift-a-finger pampering service; but Mauritius really excels at keeping every family member happy on a Mauritius family holiday.
Nearly all beach resorts in Mauritius add entertaining kids clubs and often teen clubs to the already child-friendly mix of enormous swimming pools, long sandy beaches, safe swimming in warm sea water and endless watersports from water-skiing to kayaking. This just means that the adults get to try the scuba diving, deep sea fishing or a visit to the spa without worrying about the kids having a good time.
What with the several restaurants to choose from and evening entertainment there is little need for the family to leave the resort, although if you are so inclined, Mauritius can be much more than a beach holiday.
Best for romance: Seychelles
There is something remarkably primeval about the Seychelles Archipelago. With steep slopes covered in lush tropical vegetation, enormous granite boulders that defy imagination, giant tortoises, egg-laying turtles and some of the most dazzlingly beautiful beaches in the world, it is no surprise that the Seychelles Archipelago is considered one of the most romantic destinations on earth.
With over 115 individual islands to choose from, many of them uninhabited, it is quite possible to find your own private patch of sandy, palm tree-littered beach paradise. If you stay on one of the Seychelles private island lodges you won’t need to go further than a few steps from your bed to find your private spot.
Seychelles accommodation is known for its incredibly elegant décor, romantic locations , breathtaking Ocean views, and indulgent spa treatments in exotic locations.
Best for fascinating culture: East African Islands
There are a number of fascinating islands full of character and characters off the East coast of Africa near Tanzania and Kenya. The best known of these is Zanzibar which is closely associated with the smaller islands, Pemba, Mafia, Mnemba and Chumbe. Lamu Island off Kenya’s coast is becoming better known as the world finds out about the old town World Heritage Site that has remained unchanged for centuries and its pristine beaches.
Besides its ring of beaches and excellent dive sites, Zanzibar is known for its own World Heritage Site, Stone Town. The old town is a treasure trove of history, Arabic and colonial architecture, those elaborately carved doors, a labyrinth of alleyways and spice shops.