The Indian Ocean’s island states and archipelagos are a wonderland of delicate natural wonders waiting to be discovered by families.
The volcanic island of Mauritius is well known for its lavish family-friendly resorts and rich cultural blend. It’s sister island of La Réunion providing a much more rugged, adventure holiday.
The necklace of tiny islands that make up the Maldives is increasingly opening up to families in search of coral reefs and five-star overwater villas.
The Seychelles is a magical archipelago, whilst Madagascar is a vast country, roughly the size of France with 5% of all known animal and plant species, waiting to be explored by intrepid families.
With its dramatic interior, over 150km of white beaches and warm temperatures all year round, the island of Mauritius barely needs an introduction these days. This is the place where kids can safari in miniature, explore vast national parks, learn every imaginable water sport and discover that history is just as much fun as playing. Secluded beachfront luxury is easy to find here, but there are charming and inexpensive guesthouses, small hotels and good value self-catering all over the island too. So, considering it looks and behaves like heaven, Mauritius can also work a budget.Take me to Mauritius
Across 26 coral atolls, the Maldives has 80 island resorts entirely dedicated to holidays. Whether you want to laze by the Indian Ocean while your kids are entertained like minor-royalty or you prefer to get into the water with them and swim, sail, dive and discover, the Maldives can do. From beach huts to luxury apartments, there’s a huge choice of accommodation at every resort. And, with one or two exceptions, most islands couldn’t be more welcoming to families.Take me to the Maldives
Sometimes called simply, ‘earth’s most beautiful archipelago’, the Seychelles sit in the Indian Ocean, 1770km off the east coast of Africa. Several of the islands are uninhabited or protected environments and even those where visitors are welcome seem so calm and cared for, it’s hard to believe tourism exists at all. Part eco-holiday and mostly paradise, Mahé is the largest of the Seychelles and even 5-star resorts here have a relaxed, barefoot attitude, treat kids like much-loved family and pack the day with new experiences.Take me to the Seychelles
The world’s fourth largest island, one of the rarest natural environments on earth and star of three DreamWorks’ movies, and counting, Madagascar is amazing. The ring tailed lemurs may not be superstar DJs, but they’re in evidence and doing better than ever in a country where much of the landscape is now designated ‘Strict National Park’. Eco-tourism is the mainstay of Madagascar, conservation projects are plentiful and kids won’t notice the lack of penguins in the jungle, when there’s so much else to see. Places to stay range from luxury hotels to forest lodges and if you need a guideline, look for sustainable tourism awards.
Safe family travel in Africa comes down to common sense. Parts of the continent are now malaria-free but it’s still wise to take the usual precautions. Your GP will be able to give you current advice on vaccinations. And, before you book any African holiday, visit gov.uk for current information on the status of your destination.Take me to Madagascar
Tucked off the west coast of Mauritius, Reunion is one of the Indian Ocean’s best kept secrets. It’s a bio-diversity hotspot, green and mountainous, trimmed with stunning beaches and significantly quieter and less expensive than its better known neighbours. This is a hugely popular holiday island for French families in summer and winter. But that doesn’t make Reunion busy, it just means the choice of accommodation is excellent whether you want a five-star beach hotel or a family-run bed and breakfast in the lively capital, Saint-Denis.La Réunion