Indian Ocean Islands
The Indian Ocean is the warmest of the world’s seas. Due to the temperature, it doesn’t support as much marine life as it otherwise might. However, a belt between southern Africa and southwestern Australia is so chilly that icebergs form. Some of the worlds fastest rivers, Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus and Zambezi Rivers keep the water topped up.
The Ninety East Ridge is a 5000km long mountain range that divides the ocean from east to west. Deep in the sea, the Rodrigues Triple Junction is the meeting point of the African, Indian and Antartic continental plates.
Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1497. He was the first European to sail to India, and the far east. From then on, this became a valuable but dangerous trading route between Europe and the East. Navigating the Cape Hope, and Namibia’s Skeleton Coast was a risky challenge for the sailors.
Island nations include Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles. Sri Lanka in the north, is a delightful mix of temples, colonial architecture and wildlife.
The fourth largest island in the world has 5% of the fauna and flora species of the planet. These species are found only on Madagascar. From a wildlife point of view, its essential the wilderness areas are conserved to avoid the fate of the extinct Dodo.
The island has 5000km’s of coastline with turquoise seas lapping the beaches. These seas brought waves of migrants from different parts of the Indian Ocean. An eclectic mix of culture and intriguing traditions is the result.
Unusual animals are the reward for the intrepid explorer. The Indri Indri, a giant lemur, wails like a human baby. A kaleidoscope of chameleons and frogs are signature species found everywhere on the island.
Undoubtedly as unique as the fauna is the flora. Fan-shaped Traveller’s Palms delight the gardeners. Distinctive baobab trees and hundreds of orchids inspire every visitor. Around every corner is something unique found only in Madagascar.
Seychelles, Mauritius and Maldives
The stunning Seychelle Islands are a dreamy combination of pristine deserted beaches and clear blue water. More than 50% of the landmass is protected nature reserves. Consequently, this is a paradise for nesting turtles.
Mauritius is a busier island with more people and more hotels. The interior of the country is almost untouched, however — a volcanic wilderness begging for exploration.
Neither animals or people populate the Maldive Islands in significant numbers. Surely the epitome of perfect tropical islands where life is about relaxing on whiter than white sand.