We compare the most glamorous islands in the Indian Ocean
The Seychelles and Mauritius are island countries in the Indian Ocean. Along with the Maldives, they’re the most glamorous destinations in the region. It’s hard to choose between the two as they are both so idyllic and they both have different charms.
Mark Twain said that heaven was probably based on Mauritius. Both destinations are ideal for a beach vacation and they’re impossibly romantic. Overall, Mauritius boasts a wider array of activities to choose from and a more diverse selection of hotels. The hotels in Mauritius are also slightly less expensive. However, if you’re looking for a remote tropical paradise, then Seychelles has the edge.
The resorts on Mauritius are concentrated on one island, whereas Seychelles is comprised of 115 islands, so the resorts are more spread out. You can experience Robinson Crusoe seclusion in Seychelles whilst still having access to luxury amenities, and that’s what makes it such a unique destination. Mauritius is more touristy and more developed, but still a tropical paradise.
Hotels And Resorts
Located on the island of Praslin just a 15-minute plane ride from Mahé, Raffles is a great option. You can stay in a garden villa nestled in the lush tropical vegetation of the island. Raffles has been named the leading resort in the Indian Ocean three times. The island of Praslin itself was once a haven for pirates. Today it’s more of a haven for wildlife and luxury travel.
Supposing you’d like to stay on the larger Mahé island, Banyan Tree on the south-western coastline is our preferred choice. Nestled among the Takamaka trees, it offers uninterrupted Indian Ocean Views. The Banyan Tree can also organise a number of excursions, including Creole tours and wildlife tours.
For ultimate luxury then we’d recommend North Island – a luxury private island with just 11 villas.
Mauritius has a wider array of hotel options and many are geared towards romance. It’s one of the most popular honeymoon destinations. Sugar Beach is one of the top luxury resorts in Mauritius. It’s a sprawling hotel located in the peaceful Flic-en-Flac bay. It’s surrounded by manicured lawns and boasts panoramic ocean views. Overall, Mauritius’ hotels are better if you’d like a larger resort with more dining options and activities. Whereas Seychelles has many small boutique properties if you’d prefer a rustic retreat without the crowds.
Wildlife And Landscapes
Seychelles definitely wins when it comes to wildlife. It’s home to some of the world’s rarest species. The geology of the islands is unique. Most islands chains are composed of volcanic rock, whereas Seychelles are the world’s only oceanic islands to be formed of granite. By some measures, they are the world’s most ancient islands. They were formed from the granite fragments of an ancient supercontinent.
The topography of Seychelles is very unique. Consequently, the flora and fauna are different from those you’d find on a volcanic island. These include Aldabra Giant Tortoises and ultra-rare species of bird, such as the Seychelles magpie-robin. Take a trip to Fregate Island where you’ll see thousands of giant Aldabra tortoises roaming freely. You can dive with a local ecologist and discover the varied marine life surrounding the island. You can also go for a day tour of Aldabra, the world’s largest coral atoll. The annual number of visitors to Aldabra is capped and the atoll is uninhabited. It’s a pristine natural environment and a designated World Heritage Site. On Praslin Island you’ll find the beautiful Anse Lazio beach and it’s definitely worth visiting early in the morning when you can often have the whole stretch of sand to yourself.
When the Dutch arrived in Mauritius they believed they’d discovered the Garden Of Eden. Who knows, maybe in some indefinable way they had. It’s covered in lichens and ferns you won’t see anywhere else, not to mention mango groves and thick woodlands. The dodo once roamed Mauritius, but the arrival of European colonialists didn’t bode well for Mauritius’ delicate ecosystem. The dodo is now a byword for extinction. Nonetheless, you’ll still find exotic creatures in Mauritius, including pink pigeons and ginger fruit bats. Curiously, some of Seychelles’ giant tortoises were reintroduced to Mauritius in an ingenious scheme concocted by Charles Darwin.
Seychelles may well be home to the world’s most beautiful beaches. No one has the definitive answer, but it’s a toss-up between French Polynesia, the Maldives and Seychelles. The beaches in Seychelles have the softest sands, flawless blue water and they’re surrounded by dense forests. Anse Source d’Argent may be the most famous beach in Seychelles. It’s one of the most photographed beaches in the world for a reason: it’s the picture-postcard image of a perfect beach.
Mauritius has many excellent beaches, especially on the north of the island. Belle Mare Plage in the east is also worth checking out. It’s something of a stomping ground for glamorous people. Le Morne beach is slightly more remote and less crowded but worth the trek. Overall, both Mauritius and Seychelles have world-class beaches, but Seychelles does slightly have the edge.
Neither country is exactly a gay haven, but they are safe destinations for gay travellers. You just need to be discreet. Public displays of affection may be ill-advised, but you get down to business when you’re back at your luxury resort. There are no reports of LGBT+ travellers being harassed in Mauritius. It’s home to a young and mostly tolerant population. Discrimination against LGBT+ is prohibited by law. But weirdly, “sodomy” is still technically illegal. This antiquated law is more of a historical hangover than an active law.
The Seychelles abolished its own version of the same law in 2016. The state does not yet recognise same-sex marriage. It’s one of the few African countries to have laws in place that outlaw anti-LGBT+ discrimination in the workplace. It’s nonetheless a socially conservative country, so a degree of discretion is advised when in public.
Overall, both countries are among the most welcoming in the region to LGBT+ people. Neither quite has the edge when it comes to gay rights. You just need to be respectful and discreet when in public – the same applies to both gay and straight couples.
Which Is More Expensive – Mauritius Or Seychelles?
Both are luxury destinations. You can find decent four and even three-star options in Mauritus, whereas Seychelles’ non-luxury accommodation tends to be more, shall we say, rustic? There are many world-class hotels and resorts to choose from in both countries and it’s worth indulging in the very best. None the less, Mauritius is definitely more friendly to your wallet.