Mauritius vs Seychelles vs Maldives - Which is Best?

If you're planning a tropical island holiday, then you've probably got palm-fringed beaches and warm turquoise water in mind. Throw in beachfront accommodation, delicious seafood, and opportunities to relax and explore, and you have a beach getaway that’s hard to beat.

The Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, the Seychelles and the Maldives have all the makings of a classic tropical island vacation, but each offers its visitors surprisingly different experiences. While Mauritius is a single island ringed by reefs and beaches, the tiny coral islands of the Maldives have just one resort each. The Seychelles Archipelago rests somewhere in between these two, with some large and developed islands as well as other tiny, deserted oases.

Since 1998, we’ve tailor-made incredible African trips for thousands of travellers from across the globe. We believe there’s no better way to crown your African safari than with some well-deserved R&R in a tropical paradise like Mauritius, the Seychelles or the Maldives. And these sensational islands are easy to add on to any safari itinerary!

Naturally, each island destination specialises in luxurious beach holidays, but which one is best for you? We’ve broken down the nitty-gritty of these sensational islands to help you decide:

Mauritius

Mauritius

Located off the south-east coast of Africa, Mauritius is the twinkling crown jewel in the Indian Ocean. While sandy beaches, warm waters (averaging around 23°C / 73°F) and glorious Mauritius weather all come standard on the island, this diverse destination offers something for everyone.

Traveller Types: Best For…

Active Travellers & Adventure Seekers

Mauritius is mostly about got-it-all resorts, exotic live entertainment, 18-hole golf courses and water sports. If you want to jet-ski after breakfast, windsurf before lunch and have water skiing booked for the afternoon, then this is the place to go – just about every hotel and resort is packed with activities to enjoy the amazing Mauritius weather to the fullest. Non-motorised water sports and snorkelling equipment are normally free, but you'll need to pay for water skiing, scuba diving, parasailing and jet skiing. Additionally, many resorts have tennis courts, gyms and golf courses, and you can even hire a 4x4 to go exploring.

Long associated with the fate of the extinct dodo bird, Mauritius has had great success with modern conservation efforts. And there are plenty of mountains, forests and waterfalls to explore – not to mention the famed Seven Coloured Earth Dunes at Chamarel.

Families

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

Couples & Honeymooners

Mauritius has always been known for its world-class hotels and the island is home to several astonishingly decadent resorts and Michelin-starred chefs. The island is also second-to-none in its fantastic hospitality ethos that includes big smiles and highly trained staff. Whether honeymooners or long-time loves, Mauritius is always a favourite for romantic travellers.

Best Time to Go

Although the Mauritius weather is fantastic year-round, the best time to go to Mauritius is from May to December, when it’s cool, dry and sunny. We don’t recommend visiting Mauritius during its wet cyclone season from January to March.

Combines Best With…

Mauritius is a short haul (just over four hours) from South Africa, with regular flights from the Kruger National Park, Johannesburg, Cape Town and tropical Durban. O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg is the gateway to most of Africa and connects easily with other Southern African safari heavyweights like Botswana, Namibia, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Highlights:

  • See the Big 5 on safari in the Kruger National Park.
  • Visit Cape Town and the iconic Table Mountain.
  • Experience the world’s best aquatic safaris in the Okavango Delta.
  • Encounter the biggest waterfall on Earth, Victoria Falls.
Considering a Safari + Mauritius Holiday?
The Seychelles

The Seychelles

With only granite boulders or the occasional cluster of palm trees breaking the never-ending beaches, the islands of the Seychelles archipelago are hard to beat as a tropical beach holiday destination. Its postcard-perfect beaches are among the world’s finest, augmented by award-winning resorts and super-stylish villas to offer you the chance to live out your tropical island fantasy.

Traveller Types: Best For…

Scuba divers, Snorkellers & Nature Lovers

All motorised sports are banned in Seychelles for conservation reasons, which means the diving and snorkelling conditions are 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.

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

Honeymooners & Exclusivity Seekers

With fewer visitors spread out over many islands, the Seychelles is hard to beat when it comes to exclusivity and privacy. A hotel with more than 25 beds is described as 'large' in the Seychelles and the archipelago is justifiably famous for its deserted beaches and private islands – fewer than 200 000 people visit a year. Resorts in the Seychelles tend to be smaller and the lodgings more luxurious.

The Seychelles’ beaches are regularly voted among the most beautiful in the world. On private islands such as Denis, North (where Prince William and Kate Middleton chose to spend their honeymoon) and Desroches, you can enjoy your own azure corner of the Indian Ocean while a low-key private butler anticipates your every need. These islands are completely exclusive to their guests while sole-use beachfront villas across the archipelago offer the ultimate in private living.

Best Time to Go

The Seychelles weather is generally warm and beach-perfect all year round. December to April are the hottest months, with the wettest being January and February – although the rains are generally short, tropical downpours followed by sunshine.

Diving is excellent all year round, but if you dream of crystal-clear conditions, the best time to visit the Seychelles is April to May and October to November.

Combines Best With…

Seychelles International Airport is served by several direct flights from destinations like South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania. Which makes combining your Seychelles holiday with a safari in the Kruger National Park, Masai Mara or Serengeti a piece of cake.

Highlights:

  • Witness the Great Wildebeest Migration.
  • Go on a hot-air balloon safari in the Masai Mara.
  • See the Big 5 in the incredible Ngorongoro Crater.
  • Climb Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro.
Considering a Safari + Seychelles Holiday?
The Maldives

The Maldives

Formed by hundreds of small islands set on 26 coral atolls, The Republic of Maldives is a small island nation located south of India and Sri Lanka. Its iconic blue waters, thriving coral reefs and powder white beaches make the Maldives an ultimate beach holiday destination.

Traveller Types: Best For…

Scuba Divers & Snorkellers

Because the islands of the Maldives are small and otherwise uninhabited, activities are limited to what is offered by your resort – and these are largely focused on exploring the ocean. Scuba diving and snorkelling conditions in the Maldives are some of the best in the world and the vast number of deserted islands in the archipelago make it an attractive place to go island hopping.

Most of the sight-seeing in the Maldives is done underwater. Dazzling lagoons and large reefs are the archipelago’s natural drawcard and almost all the islands have access to good snorkelling and diving.

Couples & Honeymooners

The Maldives has come a long way in the last 40 years – from a few thatched huts, no electricity or central bank to a premier island destination offering a good variety of inclusive resorts, boutique hotels and shipwreck-chic beach villas. Nowadays, it’s known for over-the-top and opulent venues like underwater restaurants and spas, tree-top pods and overwater villas.

Best Time to Go

The Maldives are hot and sunny all year round, but the best time to visit is between November and April. The wet monsoon season runs from May to October.

Combines Best With…

There are flights to the Maldives from East African safari destinations like Kenya and Tanzania, so chat with your African Safari Expert for itineraries that combine the Masai Mara or Serengeti.

Considering a Safari + Maldives Holiday?

Ready to Plan Your Perfect Bush-&-Beach Holiday?

Get in touch with one of our Africa Safari Experts to help tailor-make a trip that suits your travel wishes and budget: