Stretching from the western shores of Australia to the southern cape of Africa, the Indian Ocean is the world’s third largest body of water. Whether you are looking for a tropical island retreat or immersion in foreign culture, Indian Ocean destinations can offer it. While the climate of each location is greatly affected by westerly winds, the Indian Ocean is the warmest in the world. Newcomers to the area should familiarize themselves with several destinations and seasonal weather patterns.
On the western shore of the Indian subcontinent, Goa mixes the country’s finest beaches with a stranger version of Indian culture than found elsewhere. Goa was a Portuguese colony for 400 years, and it hosts a combination of architecture and events to prove it. Some beaches have been spoiled by over-development, so if you want to avoid the tourist crowds, journeys north as far as Arombol and south toward Palolem will be most rewarding. Mild temperatures between 70-88 degrees Fahrenheit persist from October through March. April and May are the hottest months. The monsoon season of June through September is a favorite of local residents.
Tanzania is an awe-inspiring destination for nature lovers and amateur anthropologists. The number of wildlife reserves and friendly tribes will leave any visitor craving more. Part of Tanzania, the island of Zanzibar is a microcosm of the country and accessible by ferry from Dar es Salam. First-time travelers will enjoy the northern and eastern shores of the island where beaches are interspersed with mangroves and tropical palms. Fishing villages ring the island, and hotels are relatively inexpensive compared to the mainland. Zanzibar offers excellent opportunities for snorkeling the coral reefs, dolphin watching, and even glimpsing ancient sea turtles. June through February are most comfortable in terms of temperature and humidity, but the year-round temperature rarely gets above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. March, April, and May bring extreme humidity.
This island is located southwest of the Indian coast and about 560 miles east of Madagascar. Remnants of the colonial period appear in the cuisine and are combined with Chinese flavors brought by 19th-century migrants. Nature lovers will find plenty to do, including reserve hiking, horseback riding among the volcanic peaks, ziplining, and touring the natural wonders of Ganga Talao temple.
Mauritius features two tourist seasons each year: April-May and September-December. The island is blessed, however, with year-round temperatures and humidity in mild ranges. The primary changes in weather occur geographically with the eastern shores of the island receiving the wetter, westerly winds.
The two countries of the peninsula offer wildly different possibilities for tourists. Yemen is a cultural fortress of Islam. Oman is a better choice for nature enthusiasts. Both offer plenty of medieval architecture, cultural events like camel racing, and outdoor activities. Most of the coastline is composed of rocky cliffs, which makes these destinations great for paragliding, trekking, and diving to the coral reefs and ancient shipwrecks. October to April, excluding the month of Ramadan, offers the best weather for tourism. June through September are the hottest months and uncomfortably humid for visitors.
There is no end to travel destinations along the coasts of the Indian Ocean. Mainland destinations are more subject to the monsoon season, and island destinations tend to be less affected by the wet-dry season changes the further they are located from mainland areas. The cultures and climate make these destinations worthwhile, but it is necessary to research your destination thoroughly beforehand.
Author: Diane Magruder is a hotel and resort reviewer and, while she’s in between destinations, blogs for Le Paradise Mauritius – in particular she suggests checking out .