The Indian Ocean lies among Africa, Asia and Oceania, and is home to plenty of islands. Blessed with warm tropical climates, pristine white sand beaches and crystal-clear water, throughout the year it is always a good time to visit.
The options are endless. You can feel the warm breeze brush your skin as you explore secluded islands by boat; you can trek through verdant tropical countrysides breathing in the warm tropical fresh air; you can explore the ocean floor as you dive in your own virtual aquarium or master its surface as you surf the glassy waves above. In short, the Indian Ocean is a paradise of discovery.
Hop into the embrace of local festivals
There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the local culture and lifestyle than taking part in a vibrant local festival, especially during the low season, celebrating with local people.
- Kiteival (Generally in July)
This is the Annual Kite surfing festival when all levels of kite surfers will gather on the beach to compete and a variety of entertainment and celebrations will also take place.
- Ganesh Chaturthi (Generally in Sep)
The birth of the Hindu God of wisdom. On This Day, Mauritian Hindus transported the Statue of Ganesha to the beach and submerged his head in the water before sunset.
When: Jan – Jun，Oct – Nov
- Fete Afrique (Generally in May)
This festival is held across the whole nation aiming to celebrate the country’s African ties. The activities include live music from international bands, dance and all varieties of wonderful cuisine.
- Festival Kreol (October)
This vibrant festival involves plenty of elements of Creole life including art, dance, music, literature and food. It is held in the nation’s capital Victoria.
When: May – Aug
- Independence Day (July)
Parades, live performances, traditional dancing, feasting and partying take place across the islands of Maldives to celebrate the day in 1965 when the nation became independent.
- Eid-ul Al’h’aa (Varies)
This three-day celebration at the end of Ramadan includes feasts and traditional dancing on most of the islands, venture to the capital Malé for a vibrant parade of people dancing, beating drums and singing.
Diving and Snorkeling on Mahé
When: Jan – Jun，Oct – Nov
Mahé is the most extensive of the granite islands in Seychelles. There are lots of beaches, coves and shallow lagoons scattered along its coastline, which make Mahé the perfect place for diving and snorkelling.
Mahé has a profusion of generally well-preserved coral and remarkable underwater life. Three National Parks (Sainte-Anne, Baie Ternay and Port Launay), accessible by boat, protect part of the reefs of the island. Here, snorkelers can get up-close to manta rays, sea turtles, angelfish and many more.
Many countries have diving spots with ‘Shark’ in their name, but at Shark Point in the Mahé, you really will have the opportunity to encounter the real thing. In this case, the white tips swim around, sometimes floating in the ocean freely.
Take a diving trip to Turtle Rock, where you will find a large diving area with it’s regular visitors of white tip sharks, nurse sharks, barracudas and stonefish.
Snorkelling is possible all the year-round, with average water temperatures of 82°F/28°C. There are two low seasons here, but as the wind is essential in snorkelling, you should remember that the prevailing wind is north-westerly from October to March and south-easterly from April to September (choose the most protected sites).
We recommend that if you visit Mahé in the low season, consider taking a spacious mountain villa with a private pool to really indulge your treasure island fantasies. Surrounded by stunning vistas and thick tropical jungle, the Banyan Tree will offer you an unmatched stay.
A family vacation in Black River Gorges Park
Mauritius island is a volcanic island, surrounded by coral reefs, the island landscape is varied.
- Black River Gorges Park
Located to the south of the island, Mauritius‘ only national park is home to several rare native species such as the Mauritius Kestrel, Echo Parakeet and the wonderfully bright, Pink Pigeon. All members of the family will appreciate this park’s rich natural wonders.
Black River Gorges Park was declared a reserve in 1994 when scientists discovered more than 300 species of flowering plants, nine endemic birds and a population of more than 4,000 giant fruit bats. Subsequently, you may also be fortunate enough to encounter wild boars, macaques and rare deer which also roam these ancient woods.
There are a number of labyrinthine paths crisscrossing the park, like shoelaces scattered in every direction. If you and your family are keen to explore the beauty of this park, we would suggest that you contact the visitor centre in advance to ask about hiring rangers to guide you on your way.
This hotel is about 18 km from Black River Gorges National Park. Here, beautiful villas are scattered throughout tropical gardens, creating the feel of a private village.
At its heart is a 19th-century colonial mansion. Before dinner, play sports and games on the beach with your family, and in the evening, choose from a dozen restaurants that offer a variety of flavours. It’s Beach Club includes traditional Mauritian fishing, snorkelling and paddleboarding.
Remember to take advantage of complimentary access to the outstanding 18-hole tournament golf course. (best pack your clubs then…)
A Journey through time beginning in Port Louis
Port Louis, on the northwest coast of Mauritius, is not only the political, cultural and economic centre of the country but Mauritius’ largest seaport. Port Louis can be said to be a city where East meets West, where French romance, African wildness, British elegance, Indian mystery and Chinese cuisine combined here, to make an unmissable, intoxicating mix of cultural and historical treasures.
The central market is the soul of Port Louis, and is the original ecological “museum” of local life and cultural traditions. Here, Mauritian vanilla-flavoured Black Tea, dodo-shaped handicrafts, Indian spices, colourful fruit and vegetables, and spicy appetizers filled with curry or sweet-and-sour spices are all available in an authentic, local and relaxed setting. The central market itself is surrounded by palm trees and statues and walking here is like taking a stroll back in time to a city, under the rare ancient trees with local children playing around the ornate astrolabe.
This is the oldest racetrack in the Southern Hemisphere is the Champ de Mars Racecourse.
Here horse racing takes place during the low season months from March to December. You can feel your heartbeat racing as fast as the horses as you join in the fun with the local Mauritians betting a few rupees on “a dead cert”.
Aficionados of beer, we simply must recommend the Lambic experience. This is a speciality bar in the city, which features a huge variety of craft beers. Don’t forget to try Phonix Beer, an award-winning local Beer that refreshes your body and mind (allegedly…)
We recommend you read Le Chercheur d’Or, a novel set on the island of Mauritius, written by J. M. G. Le Clézio to really get you into the Mauritius vibe:
“as far back as I can remember,
I have listened to the sea:
to the sound of it mingling with the wind in the filao needles,
the wind that never stopped blowing,
even when one left the shore behind and crossed the sugarcane fields.
It is the sound that cradled my childhood.”
Luxury holiday in the Maldives
When: May – Aug
Here, the world’s most ultra-luxury, overwater resorts compete to offer unmatched levels of mind-blowing service and accommodation to live out the most demanding of desert island fantasies. Simply stunning properties combined with pristine white-sand beaches, picturesque palms, the warm blue water, and an underwater world which rivals anything that Disney Pixar’s artists could ever create, make the Maldives the ultimate travel destination for the discerning travellers.
The Maldives is sunny all year round, with average temperatures of 23ºC-31ºC; also, it attracts the travelling crowd almost all year round. We recommend you visit during the low season months because statistically, although there is a higher amount of rainfall overall, there is still a huge amount of sunshine to be enjoyed and the costs can be as much as halved.
Typically, the rain season runs from May to October, peaking around June. We have been for 2 weeks at the end of June and had hardly any rain…
- Recommending a luxury hotel: Six Senses Laamu
It is the only hotel on Olhuveli Island in the untouched Laamu Atoll, meaning a minimum of other tourists and a maximum of flawless milk-white sand. At Six Senses Laamu, you can watch movies in the jungle, go active with a variety of watersports and diving options or…just relax in one of the finest surroundings you could ever hope to enjoy.
When: May – Aug
Maldivian cuisine combines Arabic, Indian, Sri Lankan and oriental flavours. Here, you can enjoy a huge variety of cuisines and food from freshly caught seafood and fragrant curries to pureed soups that literally melt in your mouth.
- Mas Huni
Fish for breakfast is not uncommon here, as many locals indeed do, and they call it Mas Huni. This dish is a mixture of fresh smoked tuna, onion, coconut and Chili. Plenty of nutrients to keep you refuelled and immuno-boosted…well, until lunchtime at least…
Yes, thanks to the high quality of the surrounding waters, fish is still a staple here. The most common fish here is tuna, the Maldives is the home of four kinds of tuna. It is most frequently served in soups, a velvety broth, along with fresh chillies, onion, curry leaves, smoked or boiled. But it is also served lightly grilled or indeed as sashimi.
Coconut is naturally another staple ingredient here in the Maldives. It’s commonly used as frying oil and grated on top of dishes like tuna curry. Also, it’s a perfect option for cooling you down when those warm sunny days of relaxing on the beach make you too thirsty.
Entering the underwater restaurant ‘Ozen’ by Atmosphere for dinner will certainly make your visit to the Maldives memorable. It located at 6meters under a Blue Lagoon. Here, you can enjoy the exotic seafood cuisine, while watching the abundance of marine life around you. It is literally a feast for both the eyes and mouth and it’s also a wonderful irony that when you are at Ozen you will simultaneously be at your lowest point below sea level whilst it being the high point of your trip…! (we just love that!)