Easy island escapes for South Africans to try

2017-01-08 08:31
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A tropical island escape is well within reach for South Africans wanting to plan the perfect beach break. 

Considering that a large portion of our beautiful country is lapped by the Indian Ocean, there are a few obvious choices, but we've thrown in one or two further afield  - Check out these suggestions. 


1. MAURITIUS:

About the island:

This island is hot and sticky during peak season for obvious Indian-Ocean reasons,  but South Africans can make the most of this island any time of the year since it is so close (A four-hour flight from Joburg) and especially so during the off-peak from May through to September.

Its coastline is spiced-up with gorgeous resorts all the way from the north to the south, while its interior is an adventure playground. It’s quite possible to go exploring from one end of the island to the other in less than three to four hours depending on your pace.

You might not know this but, there is a strong expat community here, so don’t be too surprised when you happen to spot Woolies, Spur or the likes.

Mauritius is also a big golfing destination and extremely family-friendly if you pick the right spot – but also a firm favourite for romantic escapes.

Things you need to know:

- South Africans qualify for a 90-day stay, visa free.

- Time-zone wo-hours ahead of South Africa

- A number of airlines service Mauritius from SA , including Air Mauritus and SAA - Search flights here

SEE: Solo travelling the Indian Ocean islands

Resort prettiness in Mauritius.

A photo posted by Selene Brophy (@selenebrophy) on


What to do:

For the first few days you will undoubtedly want to do nothing other than soak in the sun on the ridiculously beautiful beaches or in the sublime infinity pool that seems to be a standard with most Mauritius resorts. Once you get over that, there is a lot of adventuring to do.

Check out Chamarel, home to two natural wonders: the Chamarel falls and the coloured ‘earths'. 

For some insight into the history of this island that was first colonised by the French and then the British, head to Le Morne Peninsula. Right now it is home to some seriously impressive resorts but it is also a place of sad remembrance as the name suggests, since escaped slaves jumped to their deaths at the site of soldiers, fearing they’d be captured. 

Nature lovers can indulge in Black River Gorges National Park, to explore a world of volcanic lakes, thick forests and wild monkeys in the island's only official national park.

Where to Stay: 

Click here to search Mauritius accommodation

2. REUNION:

About the island:

In the middle of the Indian Ocean lies the Island of Reunion, like a modern day Atlantis, just waiting to be discovered. A striking first impression even before you hit its tiny runway, this island has an underlying energy that becomes palpable the more you walk, hike or canyon along its creased curves and igneous-rimmed caldera. Reunion is quite possibly unlike anything you have ever encountered before and there are many ways to find your way around this place.

Things you need to know:

- Reunion two hours ahead of SA.

- You can get there via Air Austrel - Search flights here

- South Africans do not require a visa to visit Reunion.

SEE: Taking risks on Reunion Island

Speaking of smouldering... Sega dancers. #gotoreunion

A photo posted by Selene Brophy (@selenebrophy) on


What to do:

Visit the crater of one of the world’s most active Volcanoes at Piton de Fournaise, Experience what can best be described as a lost civilisation by hiking to Cirque de Mafate. A by far the best and most unusual experience of the island would be to canyon along Bassin la mer and Bassin la Paix, Saint Benoit or to go caving inside the a Lava Tunnel at Grand Brulé, Sainte Rose

READ: Reunion - an eruption of unusual landscapes

If there is one person to be stuck in a lava tube with, it would be @katiseekatido #gotoreunion #smashpredictable

A photo posted by Selene Brophy (@selenebrophy) on

Where to Stay: 

Click here to search for accommodation in Reunion

3.  MOZAMBIQUE

Mozambique is a top spots to visit for folks wanting to enjoy a spectacular island holiday as just off its coast lies a number of islands offering beauty, superb weather, sunshine and enough food and drink to sate any appetite. Journey to the far north of the Mozambican coastline and you’ll discover the Quirimbas archipelago, a set of islands barely touched by people. Twelve major islands are surrounded by a host of smaller isles and sand bars, a large portion of which is protected land.  

You can expect anything from rural island life here to the more established experience along the Bazaruto Archipelago further to the south.

SEE: Mozambique: Budget-friendly escapes for South Africans

Things you need to know: 

- There is no time difference

- Various charter companies fly directly from Lanseria, while Airlink flies directly from OR Tambo - Search flights here

-  South Africans are allowed a 90-day visa-free stay.
 


Massinga Beach Lodge

A photo posted by nadia (@nadia_safaria) on

SEE: Mozambique - A paradise on our doorstep



What to do:

While it’s obvious that this is the place to make the most of all water activities such as kayaking or windsurfing, while you’re at it you may as well ride a horse across this magical island, they also have sandboarding for those who need a bit more adventure

Castello do Mar

A photo posted by Traveller24_SA (@traveller24_sa) on

Where to stay: 

Click here to search for accommodation in Mozambique

4. ZANZIBAR:

About the island:

Whether it’s your first or second honeymoon or you just want a family island escape of note, this archipelago of islands off the coast of Tanzania will allow you to discover an intense contentment for living, unlike anywhere else. The two bigger islands (Pemba and Unguja) dominate the landscape with many smaller islands dotted around them. The biggest one of the lot, Unguja is generally what people refer to when they say they’ve been to Zanzibar.

Things you need to know:

- Tanzania is one hour ahead of South Africa

- 90-day stay, visa free for South Africans.

- Mango flies twice-weekly from Johannesburg to Zanzibar on a Tuesdays and Saturdays, while Fastjet also offers flights three times a week via Dar es Salaam - Search flights here

What to do: 

Have a sensory assault in Stone Town. This world heritage site is part of Zanzibar’s capital city, Zanzibar City. It features a maze of alleys where vendors sell, well, everything. It also happens to be the place where Legendary Queen singer Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara) was also spent the first eight years of his life here.  

Spice tours also come highly recommended as Zanzibar was an important stop in the space trade centuries ago. Don’t miss out on the big tortoises either.  It always seem as though big tortoises are hiding on these tropical islands? Giant Aldabra tortoises can be found on Prisoner’s Island, a 45 minute boat trip from Stone Town harbour.  The island itself has a rich history (no prisoners actually lived there for one) and the tortoises are delightful.    


Exploring Stone Town today??#africa #zanzibar #stonetown #vacation #view #instaplace

A photo posted by Karianne Johansen (@kariannejoh) on

Where to stay:

Click here to search for accommodation in Zanzibar

5. MALDIVES:

About the island: 

The Maldives is a nation made up of 1 190 coral islands spread along a thin strip 754 kilometers long and 118 kilometers wide, therefore travel is done primarily by sea. There is no bad time to visit the Maldives - only good times and better times.

May to November are considered the best months to go for two reasons: The place is quiet and that is when you'll get the best prices. There might be some monsoon rain and wind but that doesn't have to keep you indoors. You can still swim and scuba, do yoga in a beach studio, attend a cooking class or learn how to make a decent martini at the beach bar. 

The wind also brings decent surfing waves, plus it is the most active time on the reefs making it the best possible time for snorkelling and scuba diving.

December to April is peak season - higher rates and more company. If you have the money and you are serious about working on your tan, book your trip during those five months. It is also slightly less humid then.  

Things you need to know:

- South Africans qualify for a 90-day stay, visa free.

- Three-hours ahead of South Africa

- A number of carriers fly to Maldives from South Africa including Qatar, Etihad, Turkish Airlinesand Cathay Pacific. From Male, you will be taken by seaplane to Constance resorts, or by speedboat, if you are staying somewhere closer.  - Search flights here

SEE:  Thinking Of Visiting The Maldives? Here’s Why You Should...


What to do: 

Scuba, snorkel, yoga, kayaking, cooking classes, spa treatments, beach walks, personal training, swimming, SUPing or just chilling – there is so much (or so little) to do in the Maldives!

SEE: Maldives Top 5 activities: It is impossible to get bored in the Maldives


Where to Stay: 

Click here to search accommodation in the Maldives


 What to read next on Traveller24:

- Mozambique: Budget-friendly escapes for South Africans


-Maldives Top 5 activities: It is impossible to get bored in the Maldives

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