Deep-chill on these 3 dream islands

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Are you managing to tick those boxes on your travel bucket list for 2018? If not, here are some island destinations worth dreaming of and saving for.

Chumbe Island, Zanzibar

Coral cities spread beneath you in terraces, fish clump together on their patios and dog-sized crayfish lurk in alleys. The water is warm and clear, about three metres deep, and you can dip down to inspect anemones, mushroom coral, clams and sea cucumbers, and hear whale song if you’re lucky. Guides explain what you’re seeing – somewhat like an underwater safari.

On land, the tropical dry forest grows on a bedrock of fossilised coral. Rare Aders’ duikers flit between shadows and coconut crabs crawl across the ground in the moonlight. Both day-trippers and overnight guests are assigned one of seven eco-cabins, a short stroll from the beach. For those who stay on, a magical three-course dinner is served below the lighthouse. – Teagan Cunniffe

Do it Day trips cost R1,100 per person, staying overnight is R3,550 per person. chumbeisland.com

Príncipe, West Africa

Príncipe Island in the Gulf of Guinea, nestled in the curve where Africa bulges out westwards, just above the Equator, measures only 20 by 12 kilometres and is home to 6 000 people and two outrageously beautiful hotels. It will cost you to get there but engender no regrets.

I arrived in an old twin-prop Dornier from Douala, Cameroon, and got whisked off to Bom Bom Island, a resort owned by SA tech entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. There are no tourist shops. It’s quiet. People walk. They cook on open fires and fish from dugout canoes. The sea is warm, the beaches have no footprints and the volcanic peaks of this magical Lost World are wreathed in clouds. – Don Pinnock

Do it Bom Bom bungalows from R2,765 per person sharing. bombomprincipe.com. Roça Sundy around R3,400 for two. hotelrocasundy.com (Both hotels will organise your flights.)

Find more images of Príncipe Island in the September issue of Getaway magazine.

St Helena, South Atlantic

The ‘Island at the End of the World’ is now a little closer. For years, St Helena was only accessible via a five-day voyage from Cape Town on a mail ship. In October 2017 the island’s airport finally welcomed its first planeful of tourists. And the six-hour flight from Joburg or Cape Town (via Windhoek) is just one reason to visit now.

Hikers will discover a string of ‘postbox walks’. Divers can see hawksbill turtles, whale sharks and humpback whales. And that’s just the start – it’s a place of primordial forests and blacksand beaches, sunken ships and peculiar creatures, vintage cars and bygone treasures and quirky characters. – Tyson Jopson

Do it Return flights from Joburg are around R14,000 per person (a bit more from Cape Town). flyairlink.com. Stay at B&Bs and guest houses run by locals, or the new Mantis St Helena Hotel. sthelenatourism.com