If you and your family are waterbabies, then Africa’s magnificent lakes and sultry Indian Ocean should be on your all-time bucket list. Offering exciting destinations that are somewhat off the beaten track, the sheer diversity of both the topography and creatures of these underwater worlds has to be experienced to be believed.
I’ve rounded up three of the best bucket list ideas for those of you who, like me, are happiest in a 'cozzie' (or bathing suit) with the lick of salt water on your skin…
#1 Diving in Perfect Visibility
Divers demand two things: as much visibility as possible and as much to see as possible (we won’t deny that warm water may come a close third!). Both the Seychelles and the Quirimbas Archipelago off the remote northern coast of Mozambique deliver all three in abundance.
How to do it? The 8-day Stunning Seychelles' Praslin and Mahe Islands starts off on Praslin Island, a luxurious family-owned hotel that borders one of the Seychelles' five marine parks, and ends of on the beach's of Mahe.
Azura @ Quilalea is an exclusive beach resort set on a beautiful private island in Mozambique's Quirimbas Archipelago, offering some of the best snorkelling and diving that Africa has to offer.
#2 Sunset Dhow Cruise
They’re the stuff of fairytales these ancient sea-faring dhows. Their distinctive silhoettes have dotted the horizon along Africa's eastern seaboard for centuries, ferrying countless merchants, sailors, fishermen and the odd pirate or two. Today, dhows – with their wide bellies and tall sails that look like the dorsal fin on a marlin – are still very much in use off the coasts of Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Mozambique. Totally eco-friendly because they rely solely on wind power and human elbow grease, boat and captain form an almost tangible bond, each responding instantly to the other’s touch and movement. A sunset cruise on a dhow is one of the most romantic things you can ever do at sea – the sun streaking the horizon vivid tangerine, a warm breeze picking up the tropical scents like vanilla and cloves from nearby islands…
How to do it? The 7-day Luxury Benguerra Island Holiday is a good place to start. A remote island tucked in the Bazaruto Archipelago off Mozambique, Benguerra is easiest to reach by helicopter. Then swap the hi-tech for the lo-fi – dhow cruises here will have you gliding over crystal-clear water as you pass beaches of golden sand that are almost totally deserted.
#3 Motorized and non-motorized watersports
Most resorts in the Indian Ocean - particularly those in Mauritius and the Seychelles - offer both motorized and non-motorized watersports, but all of which offer varying levels of adrenalin! From grappling with a SUP board and kayaking across a lagoon, to the high-speeds offered by waterskiing and motorboating, there is really something for everyone. Those who have some skill will enjoy windsurfing, sailing a hobie-cat or wakeboarding, while those wanting to sit back and relax can enjoy a glass-bottomed boat trip or paddle boating.
How to do it? Most resorts in Mauritius offer a variety of both motorized and non-motorized watersports, while in the Seychelles you'll find an absence of motorized activities, so rather stick to snorkelling or scuba diving in the archipelago.
What are you waiting for? Come dive, snorkel, sail and swim with us!