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Mauritius vs Seychelles - Which is Best?

If you're planning a paradise island holiday then you've probably got palm-fringed beaches and warm turquoise water in mind. You'll want beachfront accommodation, off-the-boat seafood and opportunities to both relax and explore.

Good news: the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and the Seychelles have all the makings of a classic tropical island vacation, but each is quite different from the other. Mauritius is a single island, ringed by reefs and beaches; the Seychelles Archipelago comprises 115 islands - some large and developed, others tiny and deserted. Many are marine reserves and several are privately owned.

Naturally, both destinations specialise in African beach holidays but which is best for you? Well, we've made choosing Mauritius or the Seychelles a little simpler: it depends on who you are...

THE SOLITARY TYPE

With fewer visitors spread out over many islands, it's the Seychelles that offers more exclusivity and privacy. A hotel with more than 25 beds is described as 'large' in the Seychelles and the archipelago is justly famous for its deserted beaches and private islands - fewer than 200 000 people visit a year.

Mauritius attracts four times the number of annual visitors. There is exclusive accommodation of course but Mauritius is mostly about got-it-all resorts, exotic live entertainment, 18-hole golf courses and water sports. If you want to escape the crowds, head for the Seychelles.

Mauritius vs Seychelles - get the real island feel with sandy white beaches
Get the real island feel with peaceful, white sandy beaches in the Seychelles
Mauritius vs Seychelles - large scale resorts are popular in Mauritius
Large scale resorts offering a variety of activities are popular in Mauritius

THE ENERGETIC TYPE

If you want to jet-ski after breakfast, windsurf before lunch and have waterskiing booked for the afternoon, then Mauritius is the place to go - just about every hotel and resort is packed with activities. Non-motorised water sports and snorkelling equipment are normally free; you'll need to pay extra for waterskiing, scuba diving, parasailing and jet-skis. Additionally, many resorts have tennis courts, gyms and golf courses, and you can even hire a jeep and explore Mauritius on your own.

This isn't to say there's nothing to do in the Seychelles. Although all motorised sports are banned in Seychelles for conservation reasons, the diving and snorkelling is fantastic. The Inner Islands rest on an easy-to-access shallow plateau and the pristine Outer Islands offer experienced divers barely explored reefs. The Seychelles is also home to world class big-game and salt-water fly-fishing plus activities like windsurfing and sailing.

Read more about an Africa diving holiday

THE ROMANTIC

Whether you're on honeymoon or celebrating a special anniversary, passion in paradise is what these islands do best: expect ocean-edge dinners, sensual accommodation, pampering spas and personalised service in either the Seychelles or Mauritius.

However, there's no mistaking the greater privacy and exclusivity of the Seychelles as well as its superior natural beauty. Its beaches often make it into top beaches of the world surveys while guests on one of the archipelago's private islands enjoy an azure corner of the Indian Ocean all to themselves.

Read more about a Seychelles honeymoon

Mauritius vs Seychelles - experience superb diving & snorkelling
Experience superb diving & snorkelling in the Seychelles
Mauritius vs Seychelles - island holidays are perfect for families
Island holidays are perfect for families
Mauritius vs Seychelles - home to logger & leatherhead turtles
Turtles on Cousine Island in the Seychelles

THE NATURE LOVER

Long associated with the fate of the extinct Dodo, Mauritius has had great success with recent conservation efforts but they have not pursued the eco-tourist as consistently as the Seychelles has.

With a long tradition of conservation behind it, the Seychelles is home to several marine parks as well as forest and mountain reserves. Swim with the plankton-eating whale shark - the world's largest fish - in the protected waters of the Seychelles; visit Cousine Island, its entire 27 hectares a designated bird and turtle nature reserve; and head for far flung Aldabra Island where a 150 000-strong colony of giant tortoises can be found.

FAMILIES

Mauritius is the perfect family beach holiday destination. Sunny, safe, smooth-running and with an apparently never-ending list of activities, it really does caters for every member of the family. Moreover, most of Mauritius' hotels and resorts offer professional kids clubs to take care of and entertain children of all ages so parents can have a holiday too.

When going to the Seychelles it's usually best to leave the children behind. With a few exceptions, there are no kids clubs to keep them entertained and the emphasis is on a refined tranquillity - no waterskiing, no tube rides and no jet-skis. And when it comes to families with toddlers and babies, there's no debate when it comes to Mauritius vs the Seychelles - head for the former.

Read more about a Mauritius family holiday

EXCLUSIVE LUXURY

Mauritius has always been known for its world-class hotels and the island is home to several astonishingly decadent resorts but the Seychelles has caught up and in many ways overshot Mauritius in terms of exclusive luxury accommodation.

Resorts in the Seychelles tend to be smaller and the lodgings more luxurious. Private islands such as Frégate, Denis and North Island are completely exclusive to their guests while sole-use beachfront villas across the archipelago offer the ultimate in private living.

Mauritius vs Seychelles - large scale resorts are popular in Mauritius
Luxury island resorts cater for any type of traveller, including the very young

 

Our Favourite Mauritius Hotels and Resorts:

  • 20 Degrees Sud: escape the crowds at the smallest boutique hotel in Mauritius: owner-run, close to the action at Grand Baie and full of culinary surprises!    
  • Le Prince Maurice: families with children will love this multi-activity resort, set on the east coast - there's also a spa, golf and watersports.
  • Paradis Hotel & Golf Club: one of the best family and couples resorts on Mauritius, Paradis has an idyllic location and an exceptional range of activities including golf.

View all our recommended Mauritius accommodation

Our Favourite Seychelles Hotels and Resorts:

  • Four Seasons Resort Seychelles: enjoy a classic, activity-packed Seychelles holiday on Mahe Island at this dazzling villa resort, as good for families as it is for couples.
  • Denis Private Island: discerning travellers will love thesimple exclusivity of their private villas, set on "Garden of Eden" Denis Island.
  • Hilton Seychelles Labriz: set close to Mahe on Silhouette Island, this villa resort offers a wide range of accommodation, activities & restaurants plus a kids club.

View our recommended Seychelles accommodation

 

Written by Dominic Chadbon. Connect with him on Google+.

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