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If you’re coming all the way to Africa for a safari, it may be worth looking into a few blissful days’ break on one of our island paradises. Some choose to unwind on an island before hitting the dawn game drives, while others prefer relaxing after late nights in the boma.

Africa’s islands have warm water, excellent diving, top-notch accommodation, and a great mix of authentic local culture and up-to-the-minute mod cons. But because there are so many options, we’ve created this list to help you choose the island that best suits your vacation plans.

The Seychelles

Public islands: Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette & La Digue

MahéPraslin, Silhouette and La Digue are the Seychelles‘ public islands, and Mahé is home to the capital, Victoria. Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, famously went to the Seychelles in the 1950s to cure his writing block and find fresh inspiration. If it worked for him, it’ll work for you.

Weather:  An all-year destination but the monsoon winds from about December to March can bring seaweed and rain.
Getting there:  There are direct flights from Johannesburg in South Africa and Nairobi in Kenya, making them easy to combine with a Kruger or Masai Mara safari.
Beaches:  All are public with long stretches of white sand. Water is not tidal so swimming is safe.
Snorkelling & diving:  Generally straight off the beach.
Non-motorised water sports:  Plenty such as pedalos, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.
Motorised water sports:  There are none at all – jetskis, speedboats and so on are banned to preserve the peacefulness of the islands.
Accommodation:  Mostly medium-sized hotels and resorts on bed-and-breakfast or half-board basis. Many global hotel chains have a presence here and all-inclusive packages can be arranged.
Best for:  Honeymooners, couples and small families. Some resorts are family-friendly for older children.
Our best tours:  Find out more about holiday and honeymoon ideas in the Seychelles.

The Seychelles

Private Islands: Fregate, North, Denis & Cousine

Frégate Private Island, Seychelles

Frégate, Denis, North and Cousine are private islands within the Seychelles archipelago and offer unparalleled privacy and exclusivity. Kate Middleton and Prince William reportedly honeymooned on North Island.

Weather:  Like their public counterparts, the Seychelles’ private islands are a year-round destination but the monsoon winds from about December to March can bring seaweed and light rain.
Getting there:  Like the Seychelles ‘public’ islands, there are direct flights from Johannesburg in South Africa and Nairobi in Kenya to Mahe, making them easy to combine with a Kruger or Masai Mara safari.
Beaches:  All are completely private with long stretches of white sand. Water is not tidal so swimming is safe.
Snorkeling & diving:  Straight off the beach and very rewarding.
Non-motorised water sports:  Once again, plenty such as pedalos, sea kayaks and stand-up paddle boarding.
Motorises water sports:  There are none at all to maintain the tranquility and help preserve the Seychelles’ marine wildlife.
Accommodation:  Very intimate, small and premium boutique hotels, as well as luxurious villas and beach lodges on a fully inclusive basis.
Best for:  Honeymooners, couples and adventurers. There are virtually no kids’ clubs or child-friendly activities so consider other islands if you’re travelling with children or teenagers.
Our best tours:  These are sublime options for a once-in-a-lifetime getaway to the Seychelles private islands.

Mahe Island, Seychelles
Gorgeous ocean views await you from every part of the island. Each private villa has its own swimming pool and private deck. Couples and honeymooners will love the bespoke pampering spa treatments, bath menus and private dining options. Round Island forms part of the greater Sainte Anne Marine Park, and is rich in flora and fauna. Acres of white sandy beaches are yours to explore. Enjoy an early morning bubble bath while the sun rises in the sky, turning the blue sea a brilliant shade of turquoise. Beautiful views of the Marine Park await you from every window.

Enchanted Island Resort

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Boat excursions Fishing Kayaking Scuba diving
Private Islands, Seychelles
Aerial view of Denis Private Island and the surrounding crystal clear water. Spend the day lounging at the pool Comfortable sun loungers line the swimming pool looking out to the azure sea. Lines of palms welcome you to Denis Private Island Lodge. Denis Private Island main building. Comfortable lobby lounge. Enjoy exceptional scuba diving off the coast of Denis Private Island.

Denis Private Island Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Beach activities Bird watching Canoeing Day tours
Private Islands, Seychelles
Enjoy beach dining at the Four Degrees Restaurant. The luxurious Eforea Spa surrounded by lush palms and greenery. The pool deck of a Deluxe Beachfront Villa. Romantic dinners at Hilton Seychelles Labriz. Enjoy refreshing dips in the swimming pool. Pristine palm-lined beaches. Relax on the deck of your beachfront villa.

Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Beach activities Biking Day tours Fishing

Mauritius

LUX* Bella Mare Hotel, Mauritius

Mauritius has long been Southern Africa’s playground: when South Africa and Botswana are waking up to frosty mornings in June and July during peak safari season, this sizable island is basking in the sunshine.

Weather:  Mostly a year-round destination. January to March can be rainy, and June to August can be windy on the east coast.
Getting there:  Direct medium-haul flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban in South Africa, making Mauritius easy to combine with Cape Town holiday or a Phinda safari. There are also direct flights from London Gatwick and Dubai.
Beaches:  Most are sandy with occasional small coves. Water is not tidal with shallow waves so swimming is safe.
Snorkelling & diving:  Good for beginners. There are two marine reserves.
Non-motorised water sports:  Plenty such as pedalos, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.
Motorised water sports:  Plenty including waterskiing, jetskiing, parasailing and snorkelling from the reef.
Accommodation:  Mostly very large resorts with a handful of boutique hotels. Most are on a bed-and-breakfast basis but some are fully inclusive. Many hotel chains have a presence here.
Best for:  Families with young children as there are many kids’ club and most resorts offer childminding services. Active honeymooners or couples will enjoy hiking and the plethora of water sports available.
Our best tours:  These are ideal if you are travelling with your kids!

Mauritius, Mauritius
Aerial view of Constance Prince Maurice. Crystal clear beach view. Indulge in a spa experience. Stand up paddle boarding on the calm Indian Ocean waters. Set sail. Kids club. Beach facing swimming pool.

Constance Prince Maurice

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Deep sea fishing Fly fishing Golf Kayaking
Mauritius, Mauritius
Palm trees & tropical gardens provide a lush setting for some of the hotel's suites.
Enjoy a couple's massage in the shade of a poolside gazebo.
Accommodation opening onto sprawling, shaded lawns may suit families with energetic children!
If you're after beachfront luxury, it doesn't get easier than at LUX* Le Morne.
LUX* Le Morne has prime position on the island's tranquil Le Morne Penninsula.
There are a number of room types to suit all tastes but air conditioning & overhead fans are standard to all.
LUX* Le Morne is a great choice for couples who want the quieter atmophere of a smaller resort.

LUX* Le Morne

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Beach activities Biking Boat excursions Deep sea fishing
East coast, Mauritius
The stylish Cafe Lux serves a variety of drinks, coffees and cocktails.
LUX Belle Mare is situated on arguably one of the best beaches in Mauritius - the views are quite remarkable!
LUX Belle Mare has its very own vintage food truck, bringing the cocktails and snacks to you!
The airy suites are stylish and modern, with bright white walls, shutters, floors and linens bringing a sense of tranquility to the space.
Laze around the oversized swimming pool, cocktail in hand, as you enjoy the balmy summer weather.
The resort has access to a spectacular white-sand beach and miles of natural forest.
The evenings make for a truly romantic setting as you make your way to the restaurant for dinner.

LUX* Belle Mare

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Beach activities Biking Boat excursions Day tours

Zanzibar

Zanzibar lies off the Tanzanian coast and is known as the Spice Island because of its exotic array of turmeric, clove, cardamom, lemongrass and nutmeg plantations. Stone Town is a World Heritage Site: lookout for heavy carved doors peppered with brass studs to allow them to allegedly withstand the elephants that once roamed the island.

Weather: Mostly a year-round destination but some resorts do close during the April-May rainy season.
Getting there: Direct flights from Nairobi and Johannesburg, making Zanzibar an easy add-on for Mara and Kruger safaris. There are also flights from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania; many hikers who’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro head to Zanzibar afterwards to celebrate and recuperate.
Beaches: Most are short stretches of white sand with small coves and coral or rock in certain places. The water can be very tidal so take care when swimming and bear in mind that not all beaches are suitable for water sports.
Snorkelling & diving: Mostly taking place off the reef from a boat, there is good visibility and excellent options for beginners. There are very few places where you can do both straight off the beach.
Non-motorised water sports: Plenty such as kiteboarding, sailing and kayaking. Traditional dhows still go out daily and are a fantastic way to toast the sunset.
Motorised water sports: Largely limited to boats for diving and snorkelling.
Accommodation: There are boutique hotels in Stone Town and fairly large beach lodges along the coast. Mnemba and Pemba Islands offer the most exclusive and private accommodation. Generally, rates are calculated on half-board or full-board, and more and more global hotel chains now have a presence here.
Best for:  Honeymooners, couples and adventurers who want a good dose of culture. Some resorts have small kids’ clubs but Zanzibar is mostly geared toward adults.
Our best tours: Active and romantic Zanzibar honeymoon ideas.

Zanzibar, Tanzania
Exterior view. Matemwe Beach House is perfect for families or groups. The communal area is made for relaxation. The plunge pool. Bathroom interiors. Room interior. The upper-level bathroom.

Matemwe Beach House

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Animal interactive experience Animal rehabilitation experience Beach activities Beach within walking distance
Zanzibar, Tanzania
Romantic dining. Relax at the main lodge. The pool gets lit up at night. Rooms are spacious and comfortable. Each spacious suite features an en suite bathroom. The luxury bedroom. Stylish bathrooms.

Matemwe Retreat

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Animal interactive experience Animal rehabilitation experience Beach activities Beach within walking distance
Zanzibar, Tanzania
Your luxury suite at Matemwe Lodge. Enjoy uninterrupted views from the luxury room. Breakfast at the main lodge. Matemwe Lodge guest area. Main deck area. Spacious suites. Spacious bathrooms.

Matemwe Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Animal interactive experience Animal rehabilitation experience Beach activities Beach within walking distance

Mozambique

Bazaruto archipelago

Azura Benguerra, Mozambique

Although technically a group of islands, Bazaruto is also the name of the archipelago’s largest island while Benguerra is another idyllic isle here. Mozambique may be somewhat off the beaten track for safari goers but it’s actually a very easy addition to a Kruger, Phinda or South African holiday.

Weather: Mostly a year-round destination but avoid the cyclone season between January and March.
Getting there: Direct flights from Johannesburg and the Kruger National Park in South Africa to Vilanculos. Transfers to the island will be by boat or helicopter.
Beaches: Expect very long sandy beaches. Although the water is tidal, swimming is considered to be safe as the waves are not large.
Snorkelling & diving: Very rewarding for experienced divers – there is good visibility but currents can be strong and water choppy at the reef.
Non-motorised water sports: Laidback but limited to swimming, dhow trips and kayaking in estuaries.
Motorised water sports: Largely limited to boats for diving and snorkelling.
Accommodation: There are small lodges with excellent privacy on a full-board or fully inclusive basis.
Best for: Honeymooners, couples and adventurers. There are no kids’ clubs on Bazaruto.
Our best tours: Be inspired by our Bazaruto island vacation ideas.

Water activities at Azura Benguerra, Mozambique

Mozambique

Quirimbas archipelago

Medjumbe Private Island, Mozambique

The Quirimbas consist of 27 coral islands that wind their way up Mozambique’s north coast. Strangely, there is also a Pemba Island here, which is not to be confused with the one in Zanzibar.

Weather: Mostly a year-round destination but it can be windy and rainy between January and March.
Getting there: Direct flights from Johannesburg and the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Transfers to your island will be by boat or helicopter.
Beaches: Sandy beaches but not as long as those in Bazaruto and some consist only of coves. Although the water is tidal, swimming is considered to be safe.
Snorkelling & diving: Excellent for both beginners and experienced divers: there is very good visibility, good specific sightings and you can start from the beach if you’re staying on Quilalea private island.
Non-motorised water sports: Laidback but limited to swimming, dhow trips and kayaking in estuaries. Fantastic windsurfing and sailing conditions on Medjumbe Private Island.
Motorised water sports: Largely limited to boats for diving and snorkelling.
Accommodation: There are small lodges with excellent privacy on a full-board or fully inclusive basis.
Best for: Honeymooners, couples and adventurers. There are no kids’ clubs on Bazaruto.
Our best tours: Browse our picture-perfect Quirimbas itineraries.

No matter which African island you choose, you can expect sunshine, friendly people and warm water. If you want to spoil yourself and not lift a finger, consider the Seychelles, especially ‘hopping’ from private island to private island. Divers should head straight to the Quirimbas while families will find everything they want – kids’ activities, water sports, hiking, golf, tennis and nightlife – on Mauritius. To reminisce about your East Africa safari, the fragrant breezes of sultry Zanzibar await…

Africa’s islands truly have something for everyone: be sure to tell your Africa Safari Expert if you prefer a major resort with plenty of amenities or tucked-away beach hut with no-one else in sight!

Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
Sunset at Benguerra Island. The beach villa. Romantic dinners on the beach. Wine cellar. Kayaking. Luxury beach villa interior. Luxury beach villa.

Azura Benguerra

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Cultural visits Day tours Deep sea fishing
Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
Nature-lovers can explore the island's tidal pools which attract rare birds, waders and migrants.
Water-based activities include sailing trips, paddle-boating, snorkelling, scuba diving, water-skiing and more.
Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa lines the shores of the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Mozambique.
The resort is set on a small private island and offers beach chic accommodation at the water's edge.
The main lounge boasts spectacular views of the aquamarine ocean, and is ideal for relaxing with friends and family.
Each villa has sea views as well as a private plunge pool.
Have the pleasure of watching the sunset every evening over the dazzling horizon

Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Dhow cruises Fishing Kayaking Sailing
Mozambique, Mozambique
White Pearl Resorts Ponta Mamoli is situated on a pristine stretch of private beach on Mozambique's south-east coastline.
There are also a number of comfortable day beds next to the swimming pool - ideal for an afternoon snooze.
The airy interiors have a natural emphasis: repurposed driftwood, wicker, wood and glass all feature.
Each sumptuous suite is beautifully decored, with a variety of textures, colours and finishings.
The lovely white-washed interiors are airy and capture the essence of the ocean - calm and relaxing.
Your time is your own; enjoy a refreshing cocktail next to the pool or head out on a horseback ride.
With views like this, who would want to go anywhere else?

White Pearl Resort

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Beach activities Beach within walking distance Children's activities Cultural visits
Written By

Angela

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