For every type of traveller, we would recommend Zanzibar over Mauritius as a beach destination for a few reasons which we will expand on below.
Ok, so Mauritius is classically the family destination for families. However, we think you can have just as much of a family adventure without spending a premium on lengthy flights in Zanzibar. Here’s why!
Mauritius accommodation options, although with glamour and all the amenities you could wish for, are generally pretty soulless. Mauritius is a place of big hotels and we really prefer the little boutique options which Zanzibar does so very well. If big hotels are what you are after though, then Zanzibar has this too! Although there is a lot of bad accommodation on Zanzibar which can trick tourists, we often visit and re-visit, so have a handful of our favourite beach hotels in a huge array of different styles.
If you are looking to safari as well as stay on a beautiful beach, then Zanzibar is a mere 45 minute flight from it’s nearest park, the Selous Game Reserve. It is also easy to connect with the rest of Tanzania, including the stars of the country, Ngorongoro and the Serengeti, as well as Kenya’s famous Masai Mara. Even if you are not looking for safari time, if you are looking to go to Mauritius, you will be inundated with “dead” nights in between lengthy flights. If you go to Zanzibar however, you can arrive into Dar es Salaam off your international flight, and be lazing on a Zanzibar beach within only a few hours…
Ok, so Zanzibar is not quiet in regards to tourists, but Mauritius is BUSY. There are some good stretches of beach in Mauritius, but if they are good, they will be seriously busy! Mauritius even has some artificial beaches, which really demonstrates how it is not home to the Indian Ocean stretches of paradise which many imagine it as. Zanzibar, although tidal, has some pockets of seriously beautiful beaches which are not saturated with tourists.
Off Zanzibar there are some incredible diving spots – some of the best diving in the world happens of Zanzibar’s neighbour, Pemba Island. The snorkelling is also incredible with it’s beautiful coral reefs which surround it. Mauritius isn’t really a diving destination, so if this is your primary interest then definitely head to Zanzibar for some relaxation and either stay there for great diving, or head to the surrounding islands for some world class underwater scenes.
Mauritius is an array of 5* hotels, and when you look at flights too, this can add up to a very costly holiday. Although there are cheaper options in Mauritius, these options are nothing in comparison to what you can get for your money in Zanzibar; our favourite little boutique hotel haven. The flights are so cheap and easy, we even get some clients tempted by a beach-safari-beach combination.