Whether in search of a private island for your next magical hideaway, or a fully-equipped resort for the family beach and diving getaway, why not try the idyllic tropical offerings of these four islands situated in the Indian Ocean.

Typically, the region has two rainfall seasons, the ‘short rains’ that fall between November and early December, and the ‘long rains’ that fall from March through to early June. The most comfortable period to travel is the drier and cooler months of late June through to early November and its best to avoid April and May when the heaviest rains occur.

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In many ways the most unique of the island options, Madagascar offers an incredible diversity of terrain, biodiversity and activities that the others don’t. Its evolutionary history: it broke away from the continental landmass over 100 million years ago, has resulted in a profusion of fascinating animal and plant life that is endemic to the island. It is these creatures, ranging from the lemurs and giant chameleons to the towering baobab trees and a host of colourful bird species that have become the major attraction.

And its large size: it’s the fourth largest island in the world, includes a vast mountain plateau running almost the entire length of the island, the dry desert terrain of the south and dense rainforests to the north and east. And then of course there are the endless unspoilt tropical beaches that ring the island making for great surfing, sailing and diving.

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For many, this exciting tropical destination of Mauritius has become their favourite Indian Ocean play ground. Somewhat more developed than its neighbours, it has a history of peace and prosperity that together with the cosmopolitan population mix brings a calm and comforting familiarity for the international set that return again and again.  

The island is ringed with an endless choice of options from luxurious boutique villa’s to some of the most well-known and affordable large resorts in the region. Pick a spot and spend your time indulging in every type of fun-filled beach and water activity, or simply come for a well deserved stint of blissful relaxation. 

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The smallest of the island destinations is also the least developed and the most secluded, and with over 100 smaller islets in the chain, the Seychelles has some of the most stunningly beautiful private hideaways. Time in this paradise is all about the romance of lazy languid days spent sun-soaking on stunning beaches and taking to the warm azure waters to dive and snorkel at leisure.

More costly than any of its neighbours, there is barefoot luxury galore on the principal islands of Praslin, Mahé and La Dique, and the most exotic of all is the opulent retreat of North Island.

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For centuries the centre of East Africa’s flourishing Swahili civilization, the ancient Zanzibar spoke of Sultans, slavery and dhows, the majestic sailing ships of these warm coastal seas. This rich cultural heritage is now augmented by the modern-day image of the ‘Spice Islands’ as an exotic and vibrant beach and diving holiday paradise.  

Zanzibar offers something for everyone, including an array of extremely affordable options. Take in the historical sights and architectural delights of Stone Town before heading out to an incredible selection of wonderful dive and snorkeling sites and palm-lined beaches along the coastline. And for the more adventurous traveler, there is the more remote option of Pemba, the northernmost island of the archipelago.