The Indian Ocean has some of the world's most entrancing islands. Picture azure
blue seas and white sands, hot sunny days, tropical palms and deep-sea fishing and many
people's thoughts will turn to classic holiday scenes
The Indian Ocean has a wide range of geographical and cultural variations. It ranges from Africa to Australia, from Antarctica to India. The
cultures and races that border the Indian Ocean vary enormously: what we see today is an
intriguing mix that has resulted from thousands of years of migration. For example, Madagascar
is commonly regarded as an 'African island' but many of its inhabitants are descended from
sea migrants who came from what is now Indonesia. The Arabs investigated islands as far south
as the Seychelles in the 6th Century but modern inhabitants are mainly African. Mauritius, on the
other hand, is largely populated with people from the Indian sub-continent whose ancestors moved there
as subjects of the British Empire. Further north, the Egyptian coastline offers its own attractions.
The diversity is also seen in the plants and animals found on the islands. many
have unique species, some - such as the Dodo, a large flightless bird native to mauritius -
now extinct because of human intervention.