Mozambique vs. Mauritius. Where is best for an Indian Island beach holiday?

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Mauritius and Mozambique are completely different Indian Ocean destinations.
When planning a client’s trip recently, I was asked to succinctly describe these differences in a bid to help them decide.

Mozambique

Mozambique is a country on Africa’s East Coast just north of South Africa and south of Tanzania. It has the continent’s longest coastline and borders the warm Indian Ocean. The recommended destination, in my opinion, is in the protected Bazaruto archipelago, with a stay on Benguerra Island. A strip of pure white sand and coastal vegetation, with only four intimate resorts. Here you find an active island community, the area’s tallest sand dune, tidal-influenced waters and activities that range from traditional dhow sailing, private island picnics, excellent snorkelling and scuba diving, visits to the other islands in the archipelago, dining with toes in the sand and butler service.

Benguerra island is across from the mainland and the town of Vilanculos, and you can see the shoreline and traditional fishermen out sailing. This is an exclusive destination to relax, see the positive impact of a marine protected area (turtles and rays are easily spotted), and learn a bit about the interesting history of this nation and its friendly welcoming Portuguese (and English) speaking people.

Lodges that I have stayed at recently and love are Azura Benguerra, Bahia Mar in Vilanculos and Travessia Lodge – 3 hours south of Vilanculos. I love them all.

** Logistically, the flight from Johannesburg to Mozambique, Vilanculos is only 1 hrs 45 minutes, where clients are met and flown by helicopter to the resort. (About an 8-minute very scenic flight).

Read more on Mozambique here.

Mauritius

Mauritius is an Indian Ocean island nation that stands alone to the east of Madagascar and Reunion Island. Known for its resort-style luxury hotels, beaches, lagoons and reefs, it also has an interesting mountainous interior that includes the Black River Gorges National Park with rainforests, hiking trails and wildlife like the flying fox. The capital Port Louis has sites such as the historic Eureka plantation house (where you can have lunch) and the 18th-century Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens with its giant waterlilies. There’s a traditional market and some shopping at the little waterfront, although Grand Baie is where most ex-pats seem to find themselves.

As the island has a large Indian community, other attractions include Lord Shiva and Grand Bassin Hindu Temple. Rum is popular, and there are numerous distilleries to visit, with Rhumerie de Chamarel Restaurant & Rum Distillery one of the more impressive. At the resort, there’s a spa, water activities and a beautiful beach. Exploration from there can be arranged with a guide (at an additional cost) and usually involves a 45-60 minute drive on either side. This is a destination that extends beyond the luxury of the hotel to inner island exploration that will bring the history of the island’s nature and their mind culture to life. Languages spoken are largely English and French.

I’ve stayed at the One&Only Le Saint Géran which has its own private bay and exceeds expectations.

** Logistically the flight from Johannesburg to Mauritius, Port Louis. is just under 5 hours. From the capital, the transfer to your hotel (One&Only) is about 45 minutes.

Read more on Mauritius here.

Additional Notes

My advice would therefore be that if they’d love a few days relaxing on the beach in warm weather with some gentle activities and excellent marine life with easy logistics, then Mozambique is best. It’s exclusive, with limited numbers on the island, and very much still feels like Africa. Should they prefer to visit a whole new standalone destination with an established range of activities from hiking to culture and restaurants, and are happy to take the long flight and arrange a guide for their stay, then Mauritius is good. It is busier though, with resorts larger. I can help with selecting what I consider to be the best-suited accommodation option in each destination.

If you’d like to visit either, I can definitely assist with arrangements – mail me.

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