Which is the very best vacation island, Mauritius or Zanzibar? It is a common query on the minds of South African travellers looking for a seashore escape on a tropical Indian Ocean island. However they’re each so totally different. So the brief reply to the query is: it relies upon.
It’s all right down to your preferences, so we’ve damaged it down to assist make the choice a bit simpler.
Mauritius: Should you’re in Johannesburg, there are every day direct flights to Mauritius on a number of airways together with Air Mauritius and FlySafair. Direct flights are additionally out there from Cape City on Tuesdays and Sundays. You’ll have to join through Johannesburg if you’re travelling from Durban. Direct flights are about 4 hours.
Zanzibar: Should you’re travelling from Johannesburg, there are every day direct flights to Zanzibar with FlySafair. Connecting flights to Zanzibar depart every day from Cape City and Durban. Direct flights are about 4 hours.
*Observe: flight schedules can range all year long as a consequence of seasonality.
The winner: Zanzibar by a small margin, as flights from Johannesburg are barely cheaper (you possibly can rating roughly R1,000 per particular person if you happen to examine FlySafair).
The visa state of affairs
Mauritius: The island has been visa-free for South Africans since earlier than the Dodo disappeared.
Zanzibar: The islands and the Tanzanian motherland are visa-free for South Africans.
The winner: It’s a draw. Each are visa-free for 90 days.
The vaccination state of affairs
Other than the standard routine and beneficial vaccinations, you’ll not want any jabs to go to Mauritius or Zanzibar.
The winner: One other draw!
Mauritius has been within the tourism recreation for a very long time, so boutique spa resorts and unique luxurious resorts all providing a really Western expertise are the norm. However, though many of the lodging in Mauritius leans towards the upper finish, it additionally has an incredible assortment of self-catering villas and bungalows for smaller budgets and a extra easygoing island expertise.
Zanzibar lodging is a mixture of old-world Arabic decadence and classy island luxurious. It is possible for you to to seek out seashore lodges, wellness retreats, 5-star resorts, humble chalets, impartial resorts, and even a floating houseboat mattress and breakfast. And though the service isn’t at all times on par with Westernised luxurious resorts, the lodging provides historical past and the type of allure you gained’t discover wherever else.
The winner: Mauritius in order for you luxurious, Zanzibar in order for you character.
Mauritius seashores are famously lovely and have an incredible vacation vibe. You may anticipate yachts and paddleboarders floating by, households hanging out below palm bushes, and other people strolling alongside having fun with the heat of paradise. Additionally it is a preferred honeymoon spot, so anticipate starry-eyed lovers having fun with candle-lit dinners so as to add an additional contact of paradise environment.
Zanzibar seashores are simply as beautiful, however you usually tend to discover white-sailed dhows perched on the shores and native fishermen bringing of their catch. Seashores are usually fairly filled with crowds and native hawkers promoting crafts and coconuts. After all, there are additionally many seashores the place the sand is disturbed solely by the tide and fringe of tropical bushes if you happen to’re keen to cough up a couple of additional Rands. The encircling islands, Pemba and Mafia, are even higher for a non-public escape and residing out your castaway dream.
The winner: Mauritius in order for you tranquillity, Zanzibar if you happen to benefit from the hustle and bustle.
The food and drinks
Mauritius is a multicultural island that has been influenced by the flavours of Asia, Europe, and Africa. It is possible for you to to attempt distinctive dishes comparable to palm tree hearts and chilli salt fruit, but in addition acquainted dishes comparable to curry and dim sum. Additionally it is well-known for its Creole delicacies and avenue meals scene, so the eating choices are plentiful. Who doesn’t need to have the ability to style the world in a single vacation?
Zanzibar prides itself on its recent seafood and unique spices. Though Zanzibar is certainly a paradise for seafood lovers, the distinct Indian and African influences will fulfill spice lovers. However there are additionally native dishes comparable to Zanzibar pizza and urojo that are in contrast to something you’ve gotten ever tried earlier than, and an incredible expertise if you’re feeling a bit adventurous together with your dinner plans.
The winner: Mauritius if you happen to’re searching for all kinds, Zanzibar if you happen to’re after seafood.
Mauritius is tremendous organised and undoubtedly the place to be if you happen to love water sports activities or are focused on attempting them out for the primary time. You’ll discover the standard windsurfing, scuba diving, paddle boating, kayaking, and snorkelling, but in addition uncommon additions comparable to glass-bottom boat rides, undersea walks, aquagym, and water polo. On land, you possibly can fill your days with golf, biking journeys, yoga lessons, and buying. And Mauritius additionally has a number of bars and golf equipment if you happen to get pleasure from drinks and dancing after dinner.
Zanzibar is certainly extra centered on rustic leisure than Mauritius, although one can find a couple of superb actions. You may take excursions of the spice orchards, one thing very distinctive to this a part of the world. Equally so is a visit to Stone City, the traditional coronary heart of Zanzibar which stands frozen in time. Except for these, there’s the standard kite browsing, scuba diving, and snorkelling.
Tip. You probably have time and wish to take advantage of out of your journey to East Africa, pair a trip to Zanzibar with a visit to the mainland. The Serengeti and Kilimanjaro are properly value the additional effort.
The winner: Mauritius wins fingers down for the sheer range and quantity of actions, however Zanzibar is an effective name if you happen to’re simply planning on lazing round and enjoyable.
Mauritius is a superb vacation vacation spot if you’re travelling with youngsters. Many resorts in Mauritius have nice youngsters’ services and supply babysitting companies. Most resorts have devoted youngsters’ golf equipment, swimming pools, and age-appropriate actions to maintain them entertained.
Zanzibar is extra appropriate if you’re travelling alone, with buddies, or simply together with your companion. There are usually not as many family-friendly resorts, although in fact, one can find sure stays which are geared up to take care of youngsters. There are usually not as many actions which are fitted to children, although some kiddos could be glad to tag alongside on historical past excursions or play on the seashore whereas the mother and father do their water actions.
The winner: Mauritius.
Additionally learn: Suggestions for Flying With Youngsters
Mauritius attracts a lot of worldwide vacationers, so usually the costs replicate the demand. There’s an abundance of luxurious all-inclusive Mauritius vacation packages out there (extra so than low-budget stays and backpackers) and flight costs can ramp up, particularly in peak season. Travelling to Mauritius will be costly, however it’s undoubtedly attainable to expertise a dreamy honeymoon or tropical escape if you happen to plan it proper.
Zanzibar is significantly much less developed so discovering low-cost flights, lodging, and cost-effective Zanzibar vacation packages is far simpler. Flights can usually be discovered for about R7,500 pp return from Joburg and packages together with lodging, flights and meals for about R30,000 pps. The overall value of residing can also be significantly cheaper. Nonetheless, Zanzibar is certainly not a rundown island vacation spot – it additionally has numerous unique seashore resorts and resorts that can supply an unique personal island expertise and cost you accordingly.
The winner: Zanzibar.
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The decision: Once more, it actually will depend on what you need and anticipate.
Mauritius is sugar and spice and all the pieces good. There are fewer alternatives for exploring past the island, however Mauritius is the place that conjures up desires of trying to find waterfalls, ingesting cocktails, and golden afternoons frolicking on the seashore. And it does for a motive. It’s a heavenly place with an abundance of actions and world-class resorts that make it a preferred vacation spot amongst individuals wanting an easy vacation of leisure and luxurious.
Zanzibar could also be much less developed and a bit tough across the edges, however it’s liked for its tradition, attention-grabbing experiences, and ornate structure. It’s extensively standard with individuals wanting a extra rugged and genuine expertise. Zanzibar additionally offers you the choice of exploring the opposite two fundamental islands that make up the archipelago and the mainland. A visit to Zanzibar will make for unforgettable throwback tales.
Each are superior, however for various causes. So if you are able to do each in your lifetime, even higher!
Featured picture courtesy of @benedetta.lecci through Instagram