Discover the beauty of each gem in this mine of treasures.
Why you have to Visit the Islands of the Indian Ocean more than once in a lifetime.
Named after the Indian subcontinent, the Indian Ocean in Sanskrit translates to “the mine of gems”, and a mine of gems it is. In 2016, researchers in the UK discovered 6 new animal species home to this major ocean including the hairy chested “Hoff” crab. The extraordinary Ocean is the third largest in the world, covering 174,355,576 acres of the earth’s surface not to mention being the youngest of the main oceanic divisions. This resourceful natural beauty is not only home to a rich abundance of other-worldly marine friends, it’s also home to a varied collection of characterful islands that’ll take a lifetime to fully explore. Some cling onto the coastlines of continents, whilst others are solitary far from any land - each gem has its own charm.
The Indian Ocean is a fountainhead of life - having given birth to some of the world’s earliest civilisations. Thanks to its warm nutrient rich waters life continues to flourish in its wake, although its capacity to destruct is also a grim reality. When to visit revolves around monsoon conditions, although in the Southern Hemisphere conditions can be milder, and despite the rain wet season in some islands are bestowed with marvels worth seeing. Neighbouring Asia, West Africa, Australia and the Southern Ocean, the Indian Ocean has witnessed some of history’s most influential voyages and discoveries.
This charismatic stretch of sea is renown for its envious beach holidays for a reason. With more than enough islands to pick and choose from be prepared to have a completely different cultural experience in each, accompanied by blissful views drenched in the sun’s rays. What’s a sure thing no matter which island you venture to, is absolute tranquility: barefoot walks along white sandy beaches and the sound of warm waves lapping at your feet. From private villas overlooking breathtaking views in the Maldives to swimming with wild dolphins in Mauritius it’s impossible not to return for more.
The Maldives are not only perfect for an escorted whisk-away honeymoon. Made up of 1,192 coral islands, 80 of which host exclusive resorts, the diverse tropical nation is for living “the sunny side of life”. Picture island hopping, whiling away the endless sunny days with a spot of exploration here and there and returning to your private villa perched above a lagoon or nestled in the seclusion of rich vegetation.
Borrowing from the Sri Lankans, Indians, North Africans and Arabs, the Maldivian culture is a unique blend of customs. Known to be nimble craftspeople, you can take home with you a piece of artwork handmade by a local craftsperson in the form of a Thundu Kunaa traditional mat or Jehun lacquer work. The busy capital city Malé houses some insights into the Maldivian’s unique culture which can be enjoyed in the national museum, the local market, the fish market, and independence square.
Whether you’re a couple or a family, the privacy of the Maldives transports you to a world that’s completely your own. With so much diversity you’ll never bore of the innumerable white beaches and crystal clear water - island hopping is a superb way to get a taste of each wonderful sandy pocket in the Maldives.
COST OF A PINT
Wale Shark Spotting
Experience the limit in what seems like the boundary between earth and heaven - the Seychelles is a cluster of 115 granite and coral islands which inhabit the western Indian Ocean. 41 of these jewels form the Inner Islands, which make up the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on earth. It’s no wonder that the Seychelles is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The distinctly shaped Coco-de-mer nut thrives in the fabled Vallée de Mai on ancient island Praslin, and the world’s largest raised coral atoll can be experienced in its full splendour at the Aldabra Group Islands.
The colourful islands are giving with their great variation. From thick forests to cultural wonders, the warm turquoise ocean remains a spitting image of the cloudless sky no matter which beach you are enjoying your day on. With a riveting culture speckled with folklore, the Seychelles embraces stripped back island living, but not at the cost of creature comforts. There are abodes for all personalities and all budgets, from intimate luxury haven in North Island Resort to being at one with nature in tropical sanctuary at Cerf Island.
If the countless secluded beaches and inviting warm water are not enough, then private yachts, cruises, national parks and nature reserves are sure to leave you and loved ones with cherished memories, and an urge to return!
COST OF A PINT
Aldabra - Largest Raised Coral Atoll
Sri Lanka is the place to adventure for a simply pure experience that satisfies the action seekers and the mindful alike. The heart of this South Asian nation is of course its tea and spice enthusiast people, famous for their friendly faces and warm hospitality. It’s hard to guess which is a Sri Lankan’s true love: spicy food, or aromatic tea. That’s not surprising, given it’s a country which produces unparalleled tea and spices. With the demise of the three decade long civil war, the country is rapidly rising and its once untouched natural beauties await avid ramblers. 1600kms of idyllic coastline bestowed with a palm trim, endless pristine beaches, cultural heritage, and unforgettable experiences are all at hand in Sri Lanka.
Once known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean or Ceylon, Sri Lanka is an island that gifts its guests with magical experiences. It is a place where the spirit of Buddhism is very much felt, its customs time-honoured by a culture dating back over 2,500 years, and a history that can be traced back to the birth of time. Within the petite island nation lies a melting pot of different ethnicities and religions, 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 500,000 acres of teeming tea estates, and 350 majestic waterfalls - Sri Lanka is bursting with unpretentious riches.
Discover sights left by one of the oldest civilisations in the world - Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Digamadulla were spectacular settlements that raised intricate temples and palaces from stone, but have now become part of the jungle’s mystical landscape. Above - hike and bike through paddy fields, windy mountain roads and rural villages in the highlands and roam fragrant tea gardens. Below - go diving and take a dip with exotic marine life and rummage sea wrecks in Galle harbour, Kalitiya and Ampara.
An assortment of culture, relaxation, and natural beauty, the many facets of Sri Lanka’s magnetic spell will keep you coming back.
Sri Lanka Facts
Sri Lankan Rupee
COST OF A PINT
Ceylon Tea Trail
Once home of the extinct Dodo bird, Mauritius is a hub of life, history, and natural wonders. Situated east of Madagascar, the distinct island nation is protected from the boundless sea by the planet’s third largest coral reef which almost encircles the whole island. Being of volcanic origin, the island has a characteristic central plateau raised 400 metres above see level. With rapid rivers, luscious tropical forests, and gleaming sandy stretches, a discovery awaits at every step in Mauritius.
The coexistence of different traditions and long-lived customs in Mauritius are reminiscent of the Europeans, Indians, Chinese, and Africans who in the last 400 years have inhabited its shores. Before Mauritius gained independence in 1968, it had been colonised by the Dutch, French, and British whose traces can still be spotted in the rich cultural terrain of the island - the most obvious being the official language which is English. Temples can be found next to churches and the many religious festivals of different communities are celebrated year round. Mauritius’ out of the ordinary cuisine is testament to its diverse culture, although the most early form of Mauritian culture can be traced back to Sega - traditional folkloric music.
In the north, Grand Baie has come to be a tourist hotspot. The paradisal stretch is a departing point for parties embarking on an excursion to the northern islets where diving in exceptional water in Gunner’s Coin and relaxing near Flat Island and Gabriel Island is a dream come true.
At Grand Baie tucked away you will find La Cuvette, a restful hidden beach. Wonder off the main road, and you will discover small local boutiques. Another point of interest in the north is quaint village, Cap Malheureux. Sitting on the northernmost part of the island, it is where British Commander-in-Chief John Abercromby and his troops arrived during their second attack in 1810. The historic landmark is famous for its red-roofed church, and invaluable fishing community. In the dynamic north you can cycle, sail, and kite surf to your heart’s content in the undisturbed beauty of sun and sea.
Sheltered from constant winds, visitors can revel in the dry south and south west’s luxurious stays, and lagoons still enough for an afternoon dip or water sports. Flic en Flac is the place to chill with locals and enjoy vibrant nightlife, and the One Eye at Le Morne is famed for its status as an ultimate surf spot. The West is the best place to swim alongside wild dolphins all year round, and for those lucky visitors who are arriving in September a chance to spot whales is on the cards. Those that prefer to not get wet - rest assured. Casela and Gros Cailloux are nature parks fit for family fun.
A glimpse of Mauritius’ wildest landscapes can be caught in the south where sugar cane fields and a mountainous landscape prevails. The glorious Rochester Falls in the Savanne district takes you through a sugar refinery making for an extraordinary visit. On the other end of the spectrum, the island’s bustling capital Port Louis accommodates many a cultural sight. A few of the many highlights include Central Market, Port Louis Theatre, and The Champ de Mars which is the oldest race course in the Southern Hemisphere. Here, exciting horse races commence on weekends - a favoured family activity for locals.
All that Mauritius has to offer cannot be experienced within merely one trip - from its remarkable history to its undisturbed landscape, the island has a unique appeal for every kind of traveller whether you like to journey solo or in numbers.
COST OF A PINT
Swimming with wild dolphins in Tamarin Bay