Take off your shoes. Immerse your toes in the sand. Take a dip in sapphire seas.
These are the best beach destinations of 2017 sure to melt away all and any of life's stresses and let you leave the world behind...at least for a while.
Mozambique - Benguerra Island
Why: Diverse landscape, coral reefs, big game fishing.
Benguerra Island is the second largest island located in southern Mozambique's Bazaruto Archipelago, and offers a diverse landscape for adventurers of all types. Turquoise seas give way to 2500kms of golden unspoilt beaches with a rich marine life just past the shore. An incredible dive site that may give you the chance to spot a rare and endangered Dugong - protected inside the Bazaruto National park encompassing the island - as well as stunning coral reefs.
Inland, the diverse island landscape delights with a mixture of forest, savannah, freshwater lakes and a wetland ecosystem supporting a variety of plant and animal sightings. Benguerra Island is also known for being the best big game fishing spot in the world for Marlin and Sailfish. It is tied to a strict "catch and release" policy but the excitement and challenge remains the same.
Recommended accommodation - Benguerra Island Lodge: The epitome of island living. 10 casitas and 2 cabanas make up the accommodation of the lodge making it a perfect escape for small families, newlyweds, or those just looking for a little privacy. Set into the surrounding landscape where the beach meets the forest, your morning swim is only a short stroll away in Benguerra Bay. Pool and spa facilities are available, along with diving, snorkelling, kayaking, fishing, horse riding and more, meaning you'll never have a dull moment.
Seychelles - Mahe Island
Why: Classic Creole culture, idyllic beaches, the markets in capital city, Victoria.
Mahe Island is the largest island in the Seychelles. It has a rich French past before it became a British colony, which is how it stayed for over 100 years until independence was announced in 1976. 86% of the island's population resides in the bustling capital city of Victoria, known for its colourful market and port, where creole is the cuisine of choice.
The mountainous landscape of central Mahe tapers to cliffs that fall into the sea. The highest point, Morne Seychellois at 905m, is located in the Morne Seychellois National Park. Three other National Parks are located on and within the surrounding islands of Mahe, where you can find rare and endangered plant life such as the Jellyfish Tree, various orchids, and the otherworldly and carnivorous Seychelles Pitcher Plant.
Recommended Accommodation - The Banyan Tree: Tucked away in Intendance Bay, The Banyan Tree is a perfect base for your stay on Mahe. Spend your days island hopping and cruising on catamarans over crystal clear turquoise seas, then return to your pool villa by night to indulge with a dining experience under the stars on the beach.
Tanzania - Pemba Island
Why: The best unspoiled reef diving in East Africa, barefoot luxury, relaxation and solitude
Though only 100km from Zanzibar, Pemba Island is a completely different experience. Sparsely populated in comparison, Pemba offers a more remote, exclusive luxury with lush jungle-like surroundings full of spice and fruit trees. Nearby islands Fundu and Funzi showcase stunning white beaches that most have only pictured in their wildest dreams.
Diving is the main draw to Pemba, with some of the best diving in Tanzania if not all of East Africa. The Pemba channel, dipping to 2000m deep at parts, is rich in marine life, including whales and sharks, with bright coral reefs full of visual delight.
Recommended Accommodation - Fundu Lagoon: A resort for the true adventurer, Fundu Lagoon can only be reached by plane or boat. Eighteen canvas and thatched tents make up the accommodation; a few include private plunge pools. The resort itself includes two restaurants, three bars, a pool, spa, dive centre and organised snorkelling trips. Forget about the world for a while in this luscious retreat.
Mauritius - Flic en Flac
Why: 13km of white sand coastline, private and quiet villas, renowned sunsets
The name Flic en Flac, derived from the Old Dutch "fried landt flaak" meaning free flat land, doesn't really give this breathtaking location much credit. 13km of white sandy beaches line the town and surrounding area and can usually be found dotted with locals. Up from the beaches you'll find kms of lush, tropical jungle and the remnants of a sugar plantation which was the primary trade of Flic en Flac in the 70s/80s. Cross the nearby Black River to Tamarin Bay to find a locally renowned spot among surfers and paddle boarders, or stop by the markets to prepare a picnic on the beach. A lagoon by the Flic en Flac beach allows for safe swimming protected by the reef and various water sports on offer.
Recommended Accommodation - Maradiva Villas, Resort & Spa: The only 5 star private villa resort on the West Coast of Mauritius, the Maradiva encompasses all you could need on holiday including a holistic spa and a variety of pool villas all complete with their own private pools. For the adventurous types, regular day trips will take you on quad excursions to swim with dolphins in Tamarin Bay, with the option to explore the depths of the waters on an early morning dive. The Resort covers 27 acres of lush tropical grounds home to many rare and protected species, but don't miss dining on the beach and gazing in awe at the extraordinary sunsets for which the west coast is known.
Maldives - Haa Alif Atoll
Why: Authentic Maldivian cuisine, thriving marine life, luxurious private island feeling
Haa Alif Atoll is the northernmost collection of 43 islands in the Maldives, 14 of which are uninhabited. Each island in the Maldives has its very own resort, so if having your own island - or at least forgetting about the world - is on your life agenda this is the perfect place. The mesmerising azure blue of the Indian Ocean envelops the islands in bliss as you explore one of the world's most exotic locations.
Cultural influences include Arabian, Sinhalese and South Indian allow for a diverse experience and cuisine all its own. Haa Alif Atoll opened to international tourism in 2005, leaving most of the surrounding tropical landscapes of its few resorts unspoiled and natural.
Recommended Accommodation - JA Manafaru: Perfect for honeymooners and families alike, JA Manafaru is reached by a 45 minute speedboat ride from Hanimaadhoo Island. Choose from over-water villas, beach bungalows or 1 or 2 bedroom suites, each with their own private pool. The resort also boasts seven different restaurants so there'll be no doubt of finding something for all tastes. Activities include paddle boarding, a PADI dive centre, spa, wellness pavilion, family entertainment area and so much more. 35 acres of white sandy beaches, lush tropical greenery and dreamy blue waves are enough to melt away life's stresses in seconds.