SMALL COUNTRIES, BIG TOURISM
As luck or nature would have it, the smallest countries in Africa are also the most beautiful and have a robust and growing tourism economy. Looking for holiday destinations to add to your bucket list? We suggest you add these island countries as a must-visit.
Seychelles is an archipelago of 155 islands with an additional 7 reclaimed islands in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa and occupies an area of 451 square kilometers. 44 islands known as the inner islands hold 98% of Seychelle’s population with many of the other islands dedicated as nature reserves mainly staying uninhabited. The Seychelles International Airport was opened in 1971 and elevated the sleepy islands into a buzzing tourist destination and agricultural hub. The Mahe Island is the largest in the Seychelles and the most common tourist destination as it boasts all the five-star hotels you would expect together with impeccable white sandy beaches. It is also home to the Morne Seychellois National Park and a couple of Marine Parks giving you the best of both worlds in nature.
SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE
Floating in the Gulf of Guinea, São Tomé And Príncipe (STP) contains two islands with a combined area of 964 square kilometers and are located about 250 and 225 km off the coast of Gabon in Central Africa. It is a great destination for ecotourists because of its well conserved rainforest covering 90% of the islands with numerous plant and bird species, and also boasts of a rich, gripping history with Portuguese and European settlers dating back to the 1400s. Hailed to having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, you will be spoilt for choice as to which corner of the island you shall spend your vacation. The Roca (plantation) reserves also make for great tourist attractions with a lot of the original architecture being preserved. These plantations predominantly grew coffee, cocoa and cane and date as far back as the 1500s.
The honeymoon island of Mauritius is located in the Indian Ocean of the coast of east Africa and covers an area of 2,040 square kilometers. It is part of the Mascarene Islands archipelago which also consist of Rodrigues and Reunion (a French overseas department). Two outer islands called Adalega and St Brandon also make up the Republic of Mauritius. Mark Twain once wrote that ‘Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius’. This rings true as this impeccable island is the definition of paradise to many. Boasting of all the leading five to seven-star holiday resorts, Mauritius has stood out as a global honeymoon destination and also has lots to offer everyone else. If you are looking to relax on its powder white beaches staring into its sapphire waters, or if you are into water activities such as deep-sea diving, snorkeling and excursions (on and off land), there is something for everyone in this island paradise.
Comoros is an archipelago of three main islands and numerous smaller islands and sits on the south east coast of Africa between Madagascar and Mozambique occupying a combined area of 2,235 square kilometers. This French speaking nation boats of a rich cultural history and historic coastal towns to boot. The volcanic islands that form a large part of the archipelago have been renamed the ‘perfume islands’ because of their fragrant plant life. These islands have a similar plant and animal life to Madagascar and make for great in-land excursions and ecotourism. That does not go to say that their beaches are less than perfect. Like all other African islands, the beach waters of the Comoros Islands are as pristine as can be, with the historic charm of fishermen and old dhows.
The Island nation of Cape Verde is an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands west of Senegal in the Atlantic Ocean and covers 4,033 square kilometers. Dating back to the 15th century, Cape Verde has always been an important commercial center across various shipping routes; from the era of slave trade to today’s modern transatlantic trade routes. These trade islands had not relied on tourism much in the past, but this has been growing over the last decade, mostly as the under-discovered island paradise. The entrance of major resorts and two international airports in the last ten years have also played a major role. Cape Verde has a lot to offer tourists including island hopping, ocean sport activities, and cultural tours.
Wherever you land, #HappyVacaying