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Africa's Island Destinations

Written by  Lisa Loverro

Africa
The Indian Ocean islands of Africa play host to a number of experiences from culture, history and nature exploration to exciting watersports. It’s where romance meets exotic culture. These islands are best to experience towards the end of an African safari holiday. There are luxury resorts, private island getaways and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Below are just a few of the standout destinations to round off your client’s vacation of a lifetime.

Tropical Escapes
Located, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere, the private island Medjumbe (www.medjumbe.com) is a unique resort and just one of 31 islands that make up the Quirimbas Archipelago, a cluster of islands stretching 200 miles along the coast of Mozambique in Southern Africa. These islands off the African continent may not be household names to many, most being more familiar with the Seychelles or Mauritius, but if you’re looking for seclusion, this is the place.

With 13 palm-thatched chalets that lie scattered along the beach, each with a private plunge pool and indoor/outdoor shower, Medjumbe is accessible from a flight from Pemba, Mozambique.

Undeniably, more recognizable than the Quirimbas Archipelago and Medjumbe are the Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean.  While there are many islands to choose from here, a few of the standouts are Mahe and Praslin, which attract the most tourists. The islands of the Seychelles are known for having some of the best beaches in the world and are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. There are national monuments and nature reserves to visit, with magnificent hiking for the athletic client. On Praslin, Raffles Resort (www.raffles.com/praslin) is one of the top spots to book a room, offering its guests a multitude of water sports and fine dining. There are 86 villas here, all dotted along the powdery white sand beach. On Mahe, the Four Seasons Resort (www.fourseasons.com/seychelles) has 67 luxury villas, some perched on a jungle hilltop while others are down by the beach. It’s everything you would expect from a Four Seasons property and one of the best on the island.

Fifteen miles off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar, known as the spice island, is not only a tropical beach getaway but a culture destination as well. Along with clear turquoise waters, the World Heritage site of the port city, Stone Town, combines a unique mix of Arab, Persian, European and Indian influences. Stone Town is just one of the many attractions here, along with the unspoiled beaches of this coral island with tropical forests. One of the perfect spots for your clients to unwind is Hotel Zanzibar’s Paradise Beach Resort (www.hotelzanzibar.com) located in Uroa, on the east coast of Zanzibar, close to the island’s best attractions. Zanzibar is accessible via an internal flight From Dar es Salaam, the country’s largest city.

Cultural Holiday
The island of Lamu off of Kenya has been influenced by a variety of cultures throughout the years. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lamu reflects historic influence from the Portuguese to the Omanis, and the island serves as an important destination for both the Islamic and Swahili cultures. If your clients are interested in a cultural experience, this is the place for them. It’s accessible via Kenya Airways through Nairobi’s international airport.

While there are many accommodations here, the Forodhani House (www.forodhanihouse.com), is located on Shela Beach and perfect for families or large groups, accommodating up to 13. With its white-arched terraces, they offer understated luxury in a beautiful setting. In addition to the free Wi-Fi (always a plus), there is windsurfing, snorkeling and fishing nearby.

Peponi’s, (www.peponi-lamu.com) also located on Shela Beach, overlooks the Lamu Channel along the 8-mile stretch of beach. The rooms are individually decorated and fine dining is served in a cozy restaurant. Charming and private, the hotel is perfect for a romantic retreat.

Manda Bay, (www.mandabay.com), a boutique hotel on the North Western tip of Manda Island, part of the Lamu archipelago prides itself on “barefoot elegance.”

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