The islands that God used as the blueprint for Heaven


1 Volcanoes trekExplore Worldwide (tel: 01252 760 000) offers a 15-day hiking tour of the volcanic isles of Mauritius and Reunion. As well as clambering up volcanic peaks, the trip includes exploring the melting pot of colonial cultures on the islands and their fantastic beaches. The next trip departs 7 May and costs £1,295 per person, based on two people sharing a room and including flights, transfers between the two islands, accommodation and some meals.

1 Volcanoes trekExplore Worldwide (tel: 01252 760 000) offers a 15-day hiking tour of the volcanic isles of Mauritius and Reunion. As well as clambering up volcanic peaks, the trip includes exploring the melting pot of colonial cultures on the islands and their fantastic beaches. The next trip departs 7 May and costs £1,295 per person, based on two people sharing a room and including flights, transfers between the two islands, accommodation and some meals.

2 Heaven on earthSee for yourself whether Mark Twain was right in his belief that "God created Mauritius and then copied it in heaven." Beautiful white beaches fringed by palm trees, and a variety of activities on and offshore, such as snorkelling, sailing, tennis and boules, are promised by Valtur UK (tel: 0870 036 3666). The cost for a 14-night stay starts from £1,459, for departures before 7 July, based on two sharing and including flights, transfers, accommodation, all meals and sporting facilities, except golf. Departing weekly from May.

3 GolfImprove your game and tee off against a dramatic volcanic backdrop in Mauritius with British Airways Holidays (tel: 0870 24 24 249). At the Belle Mare Plage resort guests have free access to the 18-hole Championship Course and a nine-hole course, and receive two hours free tuition during their seven-day stay. Prices start from £995 per person, based on two people sharing a room and including flights, transfers and half-board accommodation.

4 BirdwatchingThe aptly named Bird Island in the Seychelles is the focal point for a 14-night island-hopping birdwatching tour organised by Island Holidays (tel: 0800 253 534). The area's abundant wildlife includes the Black Parrot and a colony of over a million sooty terns. Departing 17 September, the price is £2,775 per person based on two sharing and including flights, inter-island transport, accommodation and all meals.

5 Island-hoppingFor those intent on relaxation rather than activity, the Seychelles also have much to offer.Elite Vacations (tel: 020 8864 4431) caters for visitors wanting to make the most of the beautiful beaches and luxurious hotels with its 'Treasure Trove' package. Planes, helicopters and boats are used to ensure that guests sample the delights of four islands over 15 days. Prices per person start at £1,970, based on two sharing and including flights, inter-island transport, hotel accommodation and some meals.

6 Natural wondersDiscover the World (tel: 01737 218 800) offers a 15-day trip for budding naturalists in the Seychelles. This unique tropical archipelago has over 200 species of indigenous plants and its wildlife includes colourful frogs, geckos and flying foxes. Highlights include a search for two birds found nowhere else in the world, the Seychelles scops owl and Seychelles white-eye, on Mahe, and a visit to the World Heritage Site of Vallée de Mai on Praslin which is home to 4,000 coco-de-mer palms, some over 800 years old. The next trip departs 4 June and costs from £2,499 per person, based on two sharing and including flights, transfers, accommodation and some meals, all boat trips and island excursions.

7 DivingAquatours (tel: 020 8398 0505) runs a week-long diving trip on board the Kiswani, a luxury motor cruiser out of Pemba, off the coast of Tanzania. This provides an ideal vantage-point for experienced divers to explore the bountiful Indian Ocean, waters renowned for hammerhead sharks and minke whales. The price per person is £650 and includes transfer from Mombasa and berth with full board, but excludes flights.

8 Deep-sea fishingSilhouette Travel (tel: 020 8255 1738) can arrange deep-sea fishing trips in the Seychelles. Desroches is a coralline island 250km south of Mahe. The largest of the Amirantes group it's one of the best places for deep-sea fishing. Reputed for its marine life, the island holds the 1996 record for a 610lb blue marlin Makaira indica.There is only one lodge on the island, with 20 luxury suites, and the cost for five nights starts at £1,350 per person including full-board accommodation and flights. A full-day fishing excursion costs £475 including soft drinks and food.

9 Maldives cruiseThe exotic - exploring uninhabited islands and admiring traditional Maldivian dances - and the luxurious are combined aboard the elegant Island Explorer (www.unisurf.com). A seven-day tour of this Indian Ocean archipelago can be booked with Maldive Travel (tel: 020 7352 2246). The cost until the end of April (after which it falls considerably) is £1,185 per person, based on two sharing a cabin and including flights, transfers and full-board accommodation.

10 Luxury MaldivesThe tropical island of Vabbinfaru in the Maldives is a beautiful palm-covered island less than an hour by speedboat from the capital, Mahe. With Scott Dunn World (tel: 020 8672 1234) you can spend seven nights at the luxury Banyan Tree Maldives, 48 conical villas set along the beach front and in the lush gardens behind. Relax in the spa or, if you're feeling slightly more energetic, try your hand at scuba diving, snorkelling, water-skiing, sailing and fishing. The cost is from £1,580 per person based on two people sharing and including full-board accommodation, transfers and flights.

11 Flora and faunaWildlife enthusiasts will be overawed by the amount and variety of Madagascar's flora and fauna, the centrepiece of an expedition arranged by Explore Worldwide (tel: 01252 760 000). Over the 19-day tour the habitat of the lemur, fruit bat and land tortoise will be explored, along with that of the exotic plants of the area. The next trip departs 12 April and costs £1,940 per person based on two people sharing and including flights, accommodation and some meals.

12 Conservation MadagascarEveryone's heard of the lemur, but there's another, rarer predator that's been virtually ignored until now. The fossa resembles a small, lanky puma and is one of the most ferocious animals on the planet. Earthwatch (tel: 01865 318831) has a 12-day trip to Madagascar working in the dry, deciduous forest of the Ranomafana National Park with the founder of the Carnivore Conservation and Research Trust, assessing the size and density of the fossa population. Departing on 10 June, the cost is £1,150 per person based on two people sharing and including tented accommodation and food on the project, but excluding flights.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?