The Best Islands in Africa and the Middle East in 2017
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.
The other two winners on the list — Madagascar and Mauritius — also offer exotic scenery and wildlife. Deep-sea-fishing aficionados flock to Mauritius to reel in marlin, while landlubbers content themselves on beaches where tortoises can outnumber the people. Villages welcome visitors with restaurants and shopping, and history lovers can visit buildings from the 17th century. Whether you want to immerse yourself in the island’s culture or pretend you are the first to discover it, Mauritius makes room for it all, with spectacular places from which to base your adventures thanks to five-star resorts such the Four Seasons.
Located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa, Madagascar can claim biodiversity seldom found elsewhere. It’s the world’s 47th-largest country and fourth-largest island, and it makes the most of its 227,000 square miles. Rain forests are abundant with animals and rare orchids; the island boasts more than 100 species of lemurs, 285 endemic birds, and, should you be able to tear yourself away from this paradise, unparalleled diving off the heralded beaches.
As for the glories of the Seychelles — where Six Senses, which won for best hotel brand in the world, has an outpost — read on.
The Seychelles are hardly undiscovered. Kate Middleton and Prince William celebrated their honeymoon here, on the exclusive North Island, and there are now several five-star resorts, including the Four Seasons — another T+L World’s Best winner. But this is the rare archipelago where you can find the kind of luxury that attracts celebrities and romantic royals, and still feel that you are the first to discover uninhabited beaches and nature trails. As one reader wrote, “It is like you are in the Garden of Eden.” And if you’re craving a vibrant scene, check out the island of Mahé’s many cultural attractions and restaurants, which serve dishes that combine flavors from African, French, Chinese, and Indian cuisines.