When to travel to the Indian Ocean Islands

The best time to visit the Indian ocean

The Indian Ocean Islands are a year-round destination and a great way to end your visit to Africa. During summer, some islands experience a short rainy season. Bazaruto (Mozambique), Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles experience mostly exceptional weather year-round, with the exception of the wet months of January, February and March. Zanzibar experiences their rains from mid-March to May.

Seychelles

Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands scattered across the deep blue Indian Ocean. The islands have a tropical climate with year-round temperatures of about 30°C (86°Fahrenheit) during the day. Due to the islands’ proximity to the equator, the temperature, over the course of the year, varies by only one or two degrees.

The Seychelles are a perfect holiday destination at any time of the year with temperatures ranging between 24°C to 31°C (75 – 88°F). From May to September temperatures are around 28 °C (82°F). The bulk of the rain falls between December and February in brief, heavy showers that are followed by tropical sunshine. From October to April temperatures usually do not exceed 32 °C (90°F).

The weather on the islands is heavily influenced by the trade winds; warmer, wetter airstreams blow from October to April and then from May to September slightly stronger and drier winds, which are great for sailing, but the seas can get choppy. December and January are by far the wettest months. July and August sees the Seychelles at its driest. The best months for diving and snorkeling are April/May and October/November when water temperatures can reach 29ºC (84°F) and visibility regularly reaches over 30 metres.

Peak months are December, January, July and August.


Mauritius

Located 20 degrees south of the equator, Mauritius boasts a typical tropical climate, and is generally considered a year-round destination. Like the other tropical islands, it enjoys wet and dry seasons. The summer months are from December to April and the temperatures range between 25°C and 33°C ( °Fon the coast. Summer can be hot and humid with December to February being the hottest months. Summer is the cyclone season, but these rarely impact the island. January to March, are however, the wettest months.

Summer, especially December through March  is the best time for scuba diving and for deep-sea fishing.

The winter months, May to September, are cooler and drier. The lowest temperatures occur in August with noticeably cooler nights.

Winter (June to August) is the best season for surfing.

The best time to visit for cooler, drier weather is from May to December. That said, in July and August, the winds on the east coast can be quite strong. The generally regarded best periods are between the months of April and June and September and December.
Something to also bear in mind is that Mauritius has a micro-climate – it could be raining in one place and five-minutes away, it could be bright sunshine. The northern and the western parts of the island are warmer and drier than the eastern and the southern regions.
Peak season is Christmas, New Year and the month of August.

 

Peak season is Christmas, New Year and the month of August.


Mozambique

The Mozambique coastline stretches for almost 2 000km and has a tropical ocean current running north to south along its length for the whole year.

The whole country broadly follows a southern African weather pattern, with summer rains falling largely between December and March. Rainfall is generally in brief, but vigorous downpours after which the sun comes out again. This does vary a little between the north and south of the country, with the rains starting earlier and lasting a few weeks longer in the north than the south. Humidity can be uncomfortably high during this period. As the country lies in the rain-shadow of Madagascar, Mozambique a relatively low annual rainfall, and is protected from the tropical storms and the occasional cyclone.

Note that January and February is cyclone season in southern Mozambique and there is every chance of a great deal of torrential rain

Around April or May the rains subside, the sun comes out and the humidity drops. June to October (winter) is the dry, cooler season, with often perfect tropical weather – clear skies, plentiful sunshine and almost no rain. This is the best time for most people to visit Mozambique. June, July and August are Mozambique’s coolest months. Daytime temperature can exceed 30°C (86 Fahrenheit). September and October remains dry as daytime temperatures climb, although nights are considerably cooler.

November is a less predictable month of transition – days are sunny and hot, but rainfall is not unusual.

Peak season is June to September and Christmas & New Year.


Zanzibar

Just south of the equator, Zanzibar’s weather pattern follows that of Tanzania very closely, although it tends to be a little more humid, and occasional rain in the dry season, is less uncommon than in the heart of the mainland.

Generally the main wet season, or the ‘long rains,’ occur during March, April and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm – which can be heavy on any of the islands. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low to mid thirties (86°F plus).

June to October offers dry weather with cooler temperatures, and this period is often regarded as the best time to visit Zanzibar. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but fine, clear skies and sunny weather is the norm.

During November and December there’s another rainy season, the ‘short rains.’ These are much lighter than the main rains and less reliable. If it has rained during the short rains, then it normally dries up during January and February, which is Tanzania’s ‘short dry season,’ before the ‘long rains’ in March.

Zanzibar’s sea breezes have a cooling effect on a typical tropical climate which is generally hot and somewhat humid throughout the year.

Diving is best in July and August as well as February and March.
Many travellers will combine Zanzibar’s beaches with a safari to northern Tanzania which offers spectacular wildlife opportunities and wonderful lodges.

Peak season is December, January and June to September.

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