If you have thought about your first time visit to Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives or other Indian Ocean islands; you probably have asked yourself - when is it the right time to go?
The islands are year-round destinations with warm tropical climate. The busiest months in the Indian Ocean Islands are certainly December and January. However this does not necessarily make this the only suitable time for a visit. June to September is the winter season (that’s if you insist on referring to sunny days as winter) and is less busy.So what exactly is the best time to visit?
Each period has some advantages and disadvantages. Therefore the answer depends on you and what you want to do during your holiday.
During the winter period (from July to September), the temperature is much cooler (not colder, but cooler) and it rains less. The cooler weather during this period and less humidity makes this the best time to engage in many of the inland activities offered on the islands such as hiking and quad biking.
Graph showing maximum temperatures per month
You don’t like the rain: It’s generally dry in winter! January to April (summer) is the wet season for most Indian Ocean Islands.
You want to save some money: Holiday packages are usually cheaper in winter as it is low season.
You don’t like the heat and humidity: Winters are warm, but not usually hot, and generally not humid.
You like to windsurf: July and August are the best months for windsurfing.
You want to experience the island culture: The off seasons is the best time to avoid the tourist crowds and mingle with the locals.
You want to have more of the beach to yourself? Winter is the low season and has fewer crowds.
If you love diving, the clearest waters are between December and March.
Feel like surfing? - You will find the best waves between June and August.
For fishing, you are better off travelling between October & April
You want a really hot summer, with longer days at the beach? - October to Easter is ideal for swimming in the ocean.
Climate summary our top Indian Ocean Islands
With an average temperature of 31°C and an average minimum temperature of 26°C there are only small variations in daily temperature throughout the year. The hottest month on average is April and the coolest December.
Like all the islands, this is a year-round destination, the water temperature can go up to 28°C and the wind blows quiet steady from the easterly direction. Summer (November to April) - 23ºC to 33ºC with the wettest months being from December to March. Winter (May to October) - 17ºC to 23ºC.
Mozambique has a tropical climate with year-round sunny skies, so whenever you choose to travel you can look forward to a bit of sunshine. The best time to travel is during the cooler months from May to October.
The temperatures on the coast vary between 18 and 32°C. Summer, from November to April is hot and humid with temperatures averaging 30°C. At higher altitudes the temperate varies between 15 and 24°C. Winter, from May to October, is the cool season with temperatures averaging 20°C.
During the north-west trade winds that visit between October and March, the sea is generally calm and the weather warm and humid. During January and February the islands receive their life-giving rains, rejuvenating the rivers and streams and teasing the vibrant foliage into rainbows of colour. May and September bring drier, cooler weather, and livelier seas – particularly on the south-eastern coasts – and winds of 10-20 knots
The coolest months are June through October, when the temperature averages 26°C. This can soar to well over 30°C in the hot season from December to March. During November (the ‘short rains’) and between April and June (‘long rains’), rainfall is higher. Rain comes short, sharp showers in the morning or afternoon, followed by the return of the sunshine.
So whatever island and travel period you choose, you will always find something to do in the Indian Ocean Islands.
By Dumi Khumalo, Thompsons Holidays