Indian Ocean Islands

The Indian Ocean Islands are out of this world – an indisputable paradise on earth with luxurious resorts beside thousands of sun-kissed beaches leading to deliciously inviting turquoise seas. Africans, Indians, Europeans, and pirates have all settled here – even the now extinct dodo made its home in this timeless, tropical paradise.

Mauritius, Réunion, and the Seychelles lie adrift in the West Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa. Mauritius and Réunion are part of the Mascarene islands – volcanic islands dating back eight million years. The Seychelles, however, is an archipelago of granite islands and coral atolls.

The Western Indian Ocean was colonised by the Portuguese, French, and English from the seventeenth century who milked it for its slavery based plantations. Today, Mauritius and the Seychelles are republics but Réunion has chosen to remain an overseas department of France.


Mauritius was first explored by the Portuguese in 1511 but it came to be colonised proper by both the French and the British in the eighteenth century. It’s been a republic since 1968. It’s the most visited and easy to access island in the Indian Ocean, offering tropical landscapes far cheaper than the Seychelles or Tahiti.


The Republic of the Seychelles is made up of one hundred and fifteen granite islands and coral atolls. According to local legend, they are diamonds scattered by God ‘to create something marvellous’. They are the only islands in the world that came from the planet’s original continent, formed over 200 million years ago. World famous for its beaches, which feature in glossy magazines and travel brochures, the Seychelles was once a refuge for buccaneering pirates and their buried treasures.


Réunion is located several hundred miles east of Madagascar and 150 miles southwest of Mauritius. Although only around 30 miles wide and 50 miles long, it is known as the ‘island of adventure’ because of its great hike-able mountains and a smouldering volcano, as well as splendid beaches to its credit. It holds the world record for the most rain in a single day – but it shouldn’t put you off because, in the main, the sun shines here.

Read More