Indian Ocean Facts for Kids

Top Ten Facts about the Indian Ocean

Here are our Top Ten Indian Ocean Facts for Kids with lots of useful info for school projects, general knowledge and for your travels, of course! What you definitely should know about the Atlantic Ocean...

1. Location: Where is the Indian Ocean?

The Indian Ocean is located between Africa and Austral-Asia and the Southern Ocean.

Below you can see a world map showing the Indian Ocean: 

Simply click the + and - signs on the left of the map and zoom into the map to see more about the bordering countries and to locate some of the islands, cities and ports we mention in the text below. 

Indian Ocean Island: Mauritius

There are many islands in the Indian Oceans, among the most well-known are:

  • Mauritius
  • Seychelles
  • Reunion (France)
  • Madagascar
  • The Comores (Spain)
  • Maldives (Portugal)
  • Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon

2. Name: Why 'Indian' ocean? 

The name originates from the location around the Indian penisula. The Indian Ocean is actually the youngest of the major oceans.

3. Size: How big is the Indian Ocean? 

The Indian Ocean is the world’s third largest ocean and covers 20% of the Earth’s surface, after the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. In size the Indian Ocean is comparable with roughly 5.5 times the size of the USA.

4.    Width: The greatest width of the ocean is between western Australia and eastern coast of Africa: 1,000km or 620miles.

5. Depth: How deep is the Indian Ocean? 

The lowest point is in the Java Trench which is about 7,258 metres (23,812ft.) deep. The average depth is about 3,890 metres (12,762 ft.).

Maldives by shutterstockMaldives

6. Temperature: How warm are the waters of the Indian Ocean?

The temperatures of the Indian Ocean depend on the location and on the ocean's currents. The nearer to the Equator the warm the water tends to be. The temperature of 28 degrees Celsius/82 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is reached in coastal regions near the equator. 

On average the Indian Ocean has a minimum temperature of around 22 degrees Celsius/71 degree Fahrenheit. However in the southern regions, nearer to the polar regions the temperatures drop drastically below 40 degrees latitude south.

More Indian Ocean Facts

7. Important Waterways: Suez Canal in Egypt, the Strait of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia are the two most well known waterways in the Indian Ocean.

Indian Ocean Waterways: Suez Canal

The man-made Suez Canal connects to the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea. An extension of this artificial waterway was inaugurated in 2015 as you can see on the map below.

8. Indian Ocean Seaports:  Among the major seaports of the Indian Ocean, remember these major ports:

  • Singapore has the busiest container port on the Indian Ocean.
  • Mumbai and Chennai ports in India
  • Aden (Yemen)
  • Jakarta (Indonesia)
  • Mombasa (Kenya)
  • Durban (South Africa), the largest and busiest port in Africa
Singapore by night

Did you know? The Northern Indian Ocean also is the most important transport route for oil as it connects the oil-rich countries of the Middle East Each with Asia. Every day tankers are carrying a cargo of 17 million barrels of crude oil from the Persian Gulf on its waters. 40% of the world's offshore oil production comes from the Indian Ocean, mainly from oilfields of Indonesia and the Persian Gulf.

9. Indian Ocean Facts: Some big coastal cities situated along the Indian Ocean are:

  • Mumbai (India)
  • Colombo (Sri Lanka)
  • Singapore (Singapore)
  • Perth (Australia)
  • Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania)
  • Durban (South Africa)

10. Indian Ocean Sealife: The Indian Ocean provides home to many endangered sea species such as turtles, seals and dugongs (also called sea cows). 

Dugong or Sea Cow

Picture Credits for Indian Ocean Facts Page: own images and

Read more on the Indian Ocean in the CIA World Fact Book

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