Africa is home to a myriad of different experiences and idyllic surroundings that ensure you will never want to go home. If you are looking to go somewhere different for your summer vacation, take a look at these gorgeous options.
Pemba Island, Tanzania
Tanzania’s hidden gem, Pemba Island, is about 100 kilometres outside Zanzibar and has abundant healthy coral reefs, mangroves, lagoons and fish, which makes it heaven for diving fanatics and beach lovers. Its natural surroundings have earned it the nickname ‘the Green Island’.
A 30-minute flight from Stone Town airport in Zanzibar will get you to the island. Historically, the island was a major spice producer and provided the Omani sultanate with money for trade and military dominance over the surrounding areas. The island is still a major spice producer in the Zanzibar archipelago, and it depends more on agriculture than on tourism.
Pemba’s terrain is hilly and fertile, with abundant fruit and spice trees, and its beaches remain unspoiled. The island is a true gem because it gets far fewer visitors than Zanzibar, which makes it the perfect getaway from congested holiday sites and the best way to experience a true island holiday.
The island portrays the idyllic African village, with traditionally designed square mud houses with thatched roofs, ox-drawn carts stacked high with a variety of fruit, villagers who speak mainly Swahili and a small population of 350 000 people. Main attractions include the island’s main town of Chake Chake, Vumawimbi Beach and Makoba Beach.
Réunion Island is described as the best-kept island paradise in the warm Indian Ocean. It boasts the remarkable active Piton de la Fournaise volcano and a multitude of hiking trails that offer some dazzling natural sights. Enjoy the tranquil beaches with crystal-blue waters or choose one of the aquatic activities at the island’s rivers and lakes. You definitely can’t miss out on island’s Creole, African, Indian, Chinese and French cultural and festivities.
São Tomé and Principe
São Tomé and Principe is Africa’s smallest state, situated in the Gulf of Guinea in western Africa. This is a perfect beach holiday for a couple or for a group of friends wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of crowded beaches. The island is blessed with beautiful, serene beaches, where you can enjoy fishing and go diving with the island’s main diving agency, Club Maxel. The best sites for diving are Îlheu das Rolas, which is situated south of the Sao Tome Island, and Îlha da Santana. Whale-watching is quite popular on the island between July and September, mainly at Îlha das Cabras and Lagoa Azul. Avid hikers will enjoy trekking through tropical jungle to reach the top of Pico de São Tomé, which is the island’s highest point above sea level at 2 024 metres, and the island’s old volcano.
The 115-island country with the smallest population of any African state, the Republic of Seychelles in the Indian Ocean is perfect for a romantic getaway. The Outer Islands of Seychelles are the less visited of the island-country, offering pristine beaches, lonely rock outcrops and untouched habitats for many species of wildlife. The Outer Island groups, namely Alphonse and Desroches, currently offer luxurious lodges for accommodation, as well as idyllic and untouched spots for fishing, sailing and diving.
The best and most interesting facet of the Seychelles is their multi-ethnic population comprised of peoples from all four corners of the Earth. Every nation is represented on the island, including freed slaves, European settlers, political exiles, adventurers, traders of Arab and Persian origin, as well as Chinese and Indians. Creole (a lilting, French-based patois), English and French are widely spoken in the Republic, and knowing a few phrases will help you to interact with the locals.