Africa's appeal reaches from the mainland across the Indian Ocean to the expansive of Madagascar and the petite Mauritius. If you're seeking shipwreck diving, beachside luxury, eclectic cultural experiences and challenging outdoor adventures, look no further than these ideal island destinations.
Across the channel from Mozambique in Africa's southeast, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world and quite a sizable offshore nation – the population isn't much below Australia's, even though Madagascar is one 13th the size. Madagascar's is a nature-lover's paradise, with around 90 per cent of all plant and animal life on the island not found anywhere else in the world, making it a certified biodiversity hotspot.
Visit the Tsingy de Bemaraha Reserve in the country's central west (around four hours from the capital ‘Tana') to see the serrated limestone pinnacles, tsingy. Hike, climb or crawl among the slate-grey peaks, trying to catch a glimpse of the iconic lemur and the world's smallest chameleon along the way. From one extreme to the next, further south you will find the Avenue of the Baobabs where around 25 baobab trees reach up to 30 metres high.
Living in Madagascar's eastern shadow, Mauritius may have shaken off its former title Ile de France but you don't have to travel far to feel the French influence. In this honeymoon haven you will find Africa's most prosperous city (the capital Port Louis), more spectacular beaches than one island should justifiably contain and the luscious Black River Gorges National Park.
Mauritius is highly developed and tourist-friendly with plentiful beachfront shopping and dining and underwater activity in Blue-Bay, Grand Bay and Flic en Flac, while water sports enthusiasts congregate in Ile aux Cerfs. If you prefer the dense green to the deep blue, take to the Moka Mountains for an unbeatable view of glamorous Port Louis.