The islands off East Africa's coast lend themselves to cruising adventures. The important thing to remember is to plan your vacation between May and November when the weather conditions are more favorable. In late summer, which is December to April, the Indian Ocean has frequent tropical storms and cyclones and most charter companies do not operate during this period.
There are several destinations off Africa's East coast which are particularly suitable for cruising. Your choice of destination will depend largely on your interests and of course your budget, as some destinations are more accessible than others.
The Seychelles is a small archipelago of islands that lends itself to a variety of cruise options. Shorter day or sunset cruises can be arranged from the main island of Mahe or across to nearby islands of Praslin and La Digue. Multiday charters to the far islands can be arranged on a variety of vessels. From luxury motor yachts and deep sea fishing cruisers, to catamarans and diving specific live-aboards. A great travel option is to combine a cruise with a few nights at a resort hotel on one of the islands.
The Comores islands, located just south of the Seychelles is a beautiful tropical paradise. Unfortunately as most of the resort hotels are no longer operational, it is largely inaccessible unless you are on a charter yacht. The coral reefs in the Comores are simply amazing and so it is a popular destination for divers. The best option is to charter a yacht from the Seychelles or Madagascar. These cruises do tend to be a little more expensive because of the additional permits required and the longer distances that need to be covered, but are well worth it for the diving.
Set off the North West coast of Madagascar is the Nosy Be Archipelago. Protected by the Madagascar mainland it is a cruising paradise. Densely vegetated islands almost appear to float on the warm tropical waters. Most islands have stretches of sandy white beaches which are perfect for lunch time picnics if you'd like to spend some time on land. Fishing and diving charters are popular and a five or seven night cruise can take you south to Nosy Iranja or to north to the idyllic Mitsio islands. Cruising charters for non-divers are also available and private charters can be arranged for honeymooners.
Off the coast of Kenya and Tanzania are the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. Whilst Zanzibar is a popular beach destination cruising options are limited to sunset trips on local dhows. Pemba however offers two superb cruising vessels. Both luxury sailing yachts can accommodate more than ten people uin private cabins. If you are an enthusiastic diver then this is the best way to access the sites around Pemba. Many of the dive sites are walls and drop-offs so it is advised to have an advanced dive certification Cruises depart from the small town of Shimoni located on the Kenya / Tanzania border and your best access is the city of Mombasa.
Cherelle | May 11, 2009 | Category: Cruise