When to go: a seasonal guide to the Indian Ocean

Whether you dream of winter sunshine or warm summer sun make sure you choose the perfect Indian Ocean destination for the time of year you want to travel.

Guide to the Indian Ocean

Sailing at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

The Indian Ocean is a year-round holiday destination with consistently warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine, and each has its own unique seasonal variations worth bearing in mind.

Consider what you want to do on your paradise holiday – sunbathe, scuba dive, snorkel, surf, windsurf, big game fishing – then all you have to do is pick the island and season that’s right for you.

Mauritius

Lap up the sun in Mauritius from October to April when the island is at its hottest and the days at their longest. This may be the wettest season but rainfall is usually short and sharp, clearing to reveal blue skies and warm seas. This is also the best season for diving and sports fishing as the warm water attracts an abundance of marine life, especially large game fish.

The Mauritius winter which runs from May to September is cooler and drier with temperatures ranging from 20ºC–26ºC perfect for those who prefer gentle sunshine without too much heat. The tranquil weather conditions make this the perfect time of year for activities on and off the water from hiking to water skiing.

Guide to the Indian Ocean

Stroll along the beach at Constance Ephélia, Seychelles

Seychelles

Wet season or dry the Seychelles has plenty of sunshine on offer all year round.

The archipelago is governed by two opposing trade winds each bringing their own unique weather patterns.

If you dream of warm, dry days with no wind then visit during the calm periods when one trade gives way to another, April/May and October/November. At these times the waters are calm and clear making it the optimum time for swimming, snorkelling and diving with visibility reaching up to 30 metres.

December to March is the Seychelles’ summer, which falls under the influence of the gentle north-westerly trade winds. This is the warmest season but also the wettest, although sunshine is still frequent. By February the rainfall begins to reduce.

From May to September the brisker south-easterly trade wind takes over during the Seychelles winter bringing cooler, windier conditions, although temperatures even at this time of year range from 24ºC–28ºC. This is the perfect season for fun on the ocean with sailing, windsurfing or surfing – the Seychelles Sailing Cup takes place in January.

Guide to the Indian Ocean

Relax at Constance Moofushi, Maldives

Maldives

Enjoy year-round warmth in the Maldives with average temperatures consistently between 27ºC and 30ºC.

The Maldives’ climate is divided into two monsoon seasons but don’t be fooled by the name, they don’t necessarily bring rain. In fact, the north-eastern monsoon from December to March is the Maldives’ dry season with low rainfall and lots of sun. The ideal time for sun worshippers to visit, this is also when the beautiful manta rays pass through the waters of the Ari Atoll, a stunning treat for divers and snorkelers.

The wetter south-western monsoon from May to November brings with it slightly windier conditions making it the perfect time for sailing, windsurfing and surfing. It is also a great time for divers to see whale sharks and grey reef sharks and for fishing some of the larger game fish.

April, which falls in the transition between the monsoons, is predominantly dry with hot temperatures and warm clear waters making it the optimum month for a wide range of water sports including diving and snorkelling.

Guide to the Indian Ocean

Diving at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Madagascar

There is so much to do and see in Madagascar all year round that there really is no good or bad time to visit, just different things to see and do.

For those wanting to explore the island’s beautiful interior and extraordinary wildlife the cool, dry winter months from May to September are the ideal time to visit as the roads are good and the conditions are perfect for hiking.

If you’re looking for warm, dry conditions for a relaxing beach holiday then September to December is when the island begins to heat up after the cool, dry winter months but before the increased heat of the rainy season kicks in. Another great month for sunbathers is April as the cyclones of January – March recede but the summer warmth continues.

September to December is also the time on Madagascar when much of the wildlife becomes more active after the winter months. This is the breeding season for many birds as well as many species of lemur.

For divers and snorkelers the months of October to December and April and May are the best with the highest visibility. Those hoping to catch sight of a humpback or sperm whale, however, should visit during July and August.

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