The Maldives islands are home to some of the very best scuba diving in the world. Even if you’re not a diver, snorkelling in the warm waters offers wonderful opportunities to spot a wide variety of marine life. Some resorts have their own diving schools, whilst others have their own reefs and you may even see whale sharks.
Beautiful beaches, rich culture and fantastic food
At first glance, Mauritius looks like a close relative of the Caribbean Islands. This island, 1,200 miles from the east coast of Africa, is hemmed by 330 kilometres of immaculate white beaches. The south and west coasts are characterised by huge stretches of sand. Take to the waters, meanwhile, and you’ll spot pods of dolphins playing. The east coast is defined by white-coral beaches that wouldn’t look out of place in Aruba, while in the north, shallow bays give themselves over to watersports like wind and kite-surfing. But don’t let first impressions fool you. This lozenge of land has a DNA that’s unlike anywhere else on earth.
Wildlife: the 800-metre-high mountains and forests in the interior are home to some of the world’s rarest animals
Reefs: the island is ring-fenced by one of the largest unbroken barrier reefs in the world so the scuba diving opportunities are on a par with the Maldives
Culture: the island’s time under French rule has added chateaus to its architectural assets, including the Chateaux de Labourdonnais in northern Mauritius
Food: proximity to Madagascar has resulted in tasty creole cooking
Scenery: jungle-clad interior, botanic gardens, craggy mountains, national park, white sandy beaches
Weather: warm all year round. Between November and May daily temperatures are in the high 20s and low 30s. The rest of the year the mercury hovers around 24˚C. There’s a wet season in Mauritius, but it’s nowhere near as pronounced as in other countries. The months of January to March experience a bit of rain, but showers tend to be short, sharp and heavier inland than on the coast.
Golf: a great selection of golf courses which all have Indian Ocean views and tropical garden backdrops. Tee off at Belle Mare Plage Hotel’s The Legend course – home of the Mauritius Open – or sail across to Le Touessrok’s world-famous 18 holes, set on the island of Ile aux Cerfs
Nature: check out super-sized water lilies at Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens: these gardens have been around since the mid-1700s, making them the oldest in the southern hemisphere. Plus explore the Black River Gorges, Mauritius’ only national park, so it’s a must-do for nature fans
Walking: the jungle-coated interior is ideal hiking territory. Opt for an easy trail through one of the national parks, or scale up one of the island’s craggy mountains. Standing tall at 828 metres, Black River Peak is the highest, but Le Pouce is also a good shout – it offers up photo-worthy views of Port Louis and the islands floating off the north coast.