The Indian Ocean Islands, off the east coast of Africa, are a paradise on earth. With superb resorts, sun-kissed beaches, and sparkling turquoise seas - countless Africans, Indians, Europeans, and even pirates, have all settled in this timeless, tropical location.
From horse racing to hedgehog hunting and swimming with whale sharks, to the sheer indulgence of 6-star luxury hotels, traveller Ian Wright samples slow-paced island life at its best with a whole lot of action thrown in!
Ian starts his trip in the Republic of Mauritius and the capital city Port-Louis, where he samples some delicious local fare at a street market and learns all about the Dodo in the place where these now extinct, flightless birds once made their home. Then it’s off to the Champ de Mars, the second oldest racecourse in the world, for 'a flutter' on the horses.
Next stop is the Flacq region, where Ian stops off at the 6-star Touessrok Hotel to enjoy his racecourse winnings and indulge in a spot of pampering at one of the most luxurious hotels in the whole of the Indian Ocean. Never one to miss a trend, Ian discovers a lot of couples get married in Mauritius, and… just happens to bump into a couple who not only plan to hold their wedding ceremony 20 feet under the sea, but also invite Ian to be their best man!
Leaving the underwater world behind, and the newly-weds to enjoy their honeymoon, Ian decides to get back to nature and go in for a spot of hedgehog hunting. He gets to tuck into his first tasty mouthful of a local delicacy called ‘tang’, otherwise known as hedgehog meat. He also makes the acquaintance of a 90-year old giant tortoise, not to mention a whole bunch of hungry crocodiles. And, as if that wasn’t adventurous enough, he heads to Reunion, the ‘Island of Adventure’ and takes to the hills to try his hand at canyoneering - an extreme adventure sport which involves abseiling, sliding, jumping, swimming and climbing down waterfalls and steep canyons. Then it’s time for a visit to one of the most active volcanoes on earth, Piton de la Fournaise.
The next island Ian visits is Mahe in the Seychelles where big game fishing is big business. He sets off into the ocean with a group of locals in search of the perfect catch - they return to dry land, triumphant. After all the exuberance of the trip thus far, Ian makes off for for the tranquillity of idyllic La Digue, the most photographed beach in the world.
What could be better than sitting on a beautiful beach, we ask ourselves? Owning one? Or maybe owning a whole tropical island, just like Yorkshire man, Brendon, who gives us a guided tour of the one he bought over 30 years ago for only US$14,000. A bargain.
Last stop on the trip is another underwater adventure when Ian helps the local Marine Conservation Society seek out and tag whale sharks. Now under the watchful eye of a team of volunteers and marine biologists, these enormous animals are an endangered species. Ian spends a contented few hours splashing around with his new best friend, a seven metre long whale shark.
Whatever you’re looking for, whether it's amazing marine life, spouting volcanoes, extreme adventure sports, luxurious relaxation, or picture postcard beaches - it’s all to be found in the Indian Ocean Islands. A real paradise on Earth.