The Caribbean and Mediterranean have some serious rivalry when it is necessary to romantic island holidays because Africa genuinely has it all.
From an archipelago that is 115 islands strong to a volcanic wonder waiting to be hiked and biked, an Indian Ocean island holiday off of Africa’s coastline is bound to set the spring back in your step, leave sand on your toes, and a sun-kissed blush on your cheek. There are plenty to choose from, so we’ve compiled a list of our favourite romantic island vacations 😛 TAGEND
Quirumbus& Bazaruto Archipelagos, Mozambique
First on the list are the archipelagos off the coast of Mozambique, both offering the quintessential island experience but each with their own touch of charm.
The threatened dugong may very well be the unofficial emblem of the Bazaruto Archipelago. Africa’s largest population of this rare, manatee-like animal lives in the warm Indian Ocean waters surrounding the archipelago’s main island alongside dolphins, humpback whales, manta rays, and whale sharks. And the treasures of the deep don’t stop there. This collecting of islands is superb for both a family vacation and a couples retreat.
After flying under the radar for far too long, the Quirimbas Archipelago is rapidly turning into one of the most sought-after island destinations this side of the continent. More remote and( if possible) more romantic than the Bazaruto Archipelago, this is the place for honeymoon hideaways. In Quirimbas, you’ll be met by the unspoilt beauty of powder-white beaches, palm trees, and turquoise water- minus the swarms of tourists.
Hop from one island to the next on a lazy dhow cruise or–if you’re feeling adventurous–go scuba diving or snorkelling among the coral reefs. The warm waters are home to turtles, dolphins, and whales. If game fishing is your sport, venture further out to sea in search of bonefish, marlin, mackerel, sailfish, and dogtooth tuna.
A picturesque chain of atolls in the Indian Ocean attains up the minute Republic of Maldives. Male, its capital, is often touted as one of the most densely populated cities in the world- hardly surprising considering its diminutive size! This pint-sized hub is the thrumming core of the Maldivian island nation and acts as the gateway to utopian island resorts and paradise getaways.
The original inhabitants of the island were an ancient fishing activities who settled on the nearby riverbanks. In the centuries that followed, the island was exposed to Buddhism, Islam, and was , among other things, a British protectorate and trading partner with the Portuguese. Its colourful history is reflected in the numerous mosques dotted around the island, in the Sultan’s Park and National Museum, and the nearby mausoleum of Muhammad Thakurufaanu.
Male’s narrow streets and vibrantly painted homes are best explored on foot considering the island’s sizing. However, there are roving taxis to be found. Affordable and frequent ferries operate between neighbouring islands including Hulhule, where the airport is located, and Villingili, an island known for its pristine beach and excellent diving and snorkelling.
We like to call the next one on the list the Hawaii of the Indian Ocean. With Reunion Island‘s dramatic scenery, verdant mountain peaks that touch the clouds, and one of the most active volcanoes in the world to match, it’s not hard to see why.
This landmass is significantly dwarfed by its much larger neighbour, Madagascar, while its volcano, Piton de la Fournaise, is perched on the south-east corner of the island where daredevils, outdoorsmen, and those generally intrigued, can hike into its caldera- when it isn’t erupting, that is. Otherwise, visitors will have to be satisfied with the splendidly fiery showing from a distance. The remainder of the island is made up of streaming waterfalls, lush forests, mountainous landscapes, and contrasting beaches of white and black sand.
Neat streets lined with bistros, boulangeries, and brasseries, alongside trendy waterfront coffeehouse, will have travellers to Reunion island’s capital, Saint-Denis, mistaking their locating for a town somewhere in France. Yet beneath this small coastal city’s ostensibly French veneer, there is an undeniably creole core. Full of museums, colonial and religious builds, and a host of other epicurean delights, a visit to Saint-Denis should be part of every Reunion itinerary.
Mauritius is often lauded as one of the most advanced and established island nations in Africa. With a thriving economy and business sector, superb transportation systems, and a great place a short flight away from Johannesburg, this is a great place to holiday if you’re in search of an island vacay with first-world amenities. As with most of Mauritius, it is a place of beautiful beaches and several excellent resorts.
The island is also dotted with tropical vegetation and a booming social scene. Take the plunge amid the rays and barracudas that call the surrounding water home, or head out to the big blue to hook a marlin or tuna. Championship golf courses are also found on the island, offering an intricate challenge for even the most seasoned golfer.
If that isn’t quite your beaker of pina colada, there are other ways to enjoy the island and its water containing prolific sea life. Hop on to one of the many glass-bottomed boats that depart daily for tours around, or float across to neighbouring islands, such as Ile des Deux Cocos which comes complete with its own mysterious shipwreck.
Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania
A land of spices, warm water, pearly beaches, and rich marine life- it’s no surprise that the Zanzibar Archipelago is a tourist destination. The main island, Unguja, is a place where worlds collide in the capital. One small creek separates the historical Stone Town( formerly the capital of the Zanzibar Sultanate) from the developed Ng’ambo, a settlement for African slaves in the mid-1 800 s and now home to developed office and apartment blocks.
Acknowledged as the historical and cultural core of the capital, Stone Town’s waterfront is dotted with architectural and traditional pleasures, from the Old Fort and House of Wonders–the former containing local marketplaces and an arena for small presents while the latter’s terraced walls house a museum of Swahili and Zanzibar culture.
The stunning white walls and turquoise stuccos that adorn the balconies of the Old Dispensary are a visual pleasure, while at night the seducing Forodhani Gardens tempt visitors with its market of ethnic seafood.
The smaller satellite islands surrounding Zanzibar island offer a more secluded and less developed alternative to their larger neighbour. On Mafia Island and Pemba Island, guests can dive with whale sharks, snorkel among colorful coral reef and maintain a keen eye out for the endearing pygmy hippo while cruising through mangrove forests.
In some places, rainforests of long-limbed succulents home leaping lemurs, while stout baobabs sport trunks branded with red-and-yellow vortices. Elsewhere, powder-white sand dissolve into cerulean waters, hiding tropical obstacle reefs. This kaleidoscope of nature kinds the fabric of Madagascar.
With 250 islands, 450 km of the barrier reef, and around 5,000 km of coastline, the tropical island’s shores prove hard to resist. Divers are spoiled for option- from underwater cathedrals to rusted shipwrecks- and share the deep waters with rays, whale sharks, and reef sharks.
Snorkel among curious fish, colourful coral, and graceful turtles. Those keen to keep their heads above water can watch the humpback whales breach, join a local fisher on a pirogue trip-up, or simply recline in their hammock.
Isalo National Park covers 81,500 ha of Jurassic sandstone massif and is home to ringtail, brown, and sifaka lemurs, as well as sacred Bara burial sites. Delve into the island’s history, from the pirate cemetery strewn with palms, to the twelve sacred hills of Antananarivo. Madagascar is a culture melting pot of intricate beliefs and ancestral rites as well as ethnic spices and exotic cuisines.
Far off the coast of East Africa, a chain of islands are the glittering pearls encrusting the necklace that is the Seychellois Archipelago. 115 islands and islets make up this small Indian Ocean island nation, home to some of the best beaches in the world.
This is the tropical paradise you thought only existed in movies. Spend your days discovering atolls and their beautiful beaches, and the larger islands blooming with colorful bougainvillaeas, frangipane trees, hibiscuses and palm trees. The crystal-clear water of the Saint Anne Marine Park are comprised of six small islands surrounded by an abundance of sea life whose delicate ecosystem is fiercely protected and a sight to behold.
Read more: blog.rhinoafrica.com