A glorious archipelago of 115 islands, Seychelles is a tropical paradise in the heart of the Indian Ocean. This unspoiled and natural island escape lies just over 900 miles east of the African coastline and almost on the equator. Home to wild jungles and peaceful marine sanctuaries, the islands are perfect for adventure and relaxation in equal measure.
A Seychelles holiday begins on Mahé, the largest of the islands and home to the capital of Seychelles, Victoria. Mahé is also where you’ll find the international airport and cruise ship port. There’s plenty to explore in Mahé. Beautiful, powdery beaches are one of the biggest attractions of Seychelles and Mahé arguably has some of the best. Anse Intendance is a secluded surfer’s delight on the south coast of the island. As well as the big swells that attract the surfing crowd, the gorgeous scenery is beloved by beachcombers and sunbathers alike.
Culture and history
Moving to the north of the island, the delightful village of Baie Lazare is a combination of historical fascination and natural beauty. The village is home to the St Francis of Assisi church, a neo-gothic building which has its origins in the 19th century. The gorgeous church draws large nymbers of tourists each year, who then stay around the village to experience the dazzling white beaches of Petite Anse and Anse Soleil.
Exotic and wild
Animal lovers can visit the century-old botanical gardens of Mahé in Victoria. Experience the exotic plants that thrive in the lush climate of Seychelles. The gardens are also home to some amazing species of animal such as flying foxes and giant tortoises. “It’s like a small forest,” commented one reviewer while another noted that the gardens are a “great way to experience the natural beauty of the island.”
For those that like their wildlife a touch wilder, the island of La Digue is home to lush jungles, shady woodlands and thriving marshlands. It’s this diverse environment that has encouraged the wildlife that now roams protected through the famous Veuve Nature Reserve. Conservation is very important here, and species on the brink of extinction such as the black paradise flycatcher have made their home on the reserve. There are only around 100 of these birds in the world today, so spotting one is a true once in a lifetime experience.
From Island to Island
The journey to La Digue is a boat trip from the larger island of Praslin. Praslin is a perfect hub on which to stay, due to the catamarans which regularly travel out to the other islands in the archipelago. Praslin is also home to some amazing natural sights, such as Vallée de Mai National Park which is a prehistoric forest containing some of the rarest palm trees in the world. Tours around the forest are popular with tourists. One traveller said, “Our guide, Myrah, made it a highly entertaining experience. She was very knowledgeable and gave detailed and fun explanations about the biology and history of the Coco de Mer and other species on the island.”
When night falls in Praslin
Praslin might offer natural beauty throughout the day, but the island really comes alive at night. Clubs such as Jungle are the perfect place to let loose after a day of soaking up the sun or sightseeing. There’s an entry fee like most clubs, but that includes a free drink, and with theme nights such as Tequila Fridays, lots of fun is on offer. Sometimes famous DJ names can be spotted here, showcasing their talents. Gamblers will enjoy the Casino des Iles, where games, including blackjack and roulette, are run alongside numerous slot machines.
For a quieter evening, there are various spots to enjoy a drink or meal with a great view of many of the island’s stunning beaches. Enjoy cocktails beneath palm trees whilst taking in gorgeous coves on the beaches of Anse Kerlan. Some restaurants here have private dining options, for the most luxurious experience. Perfect for an anniversary treat or other romantic occasions. Many of the restaurants open late, and the relaxed and laid-back atmosphere that infuses the whole of Seychelles is very evident here.
There’s a wide variety of restaurants all over Seychelles but there’s one thing on almost every menu: seafood. The pride of the islands, the amazing seafood dishes here are influenced by Creole style and include specials such as coconut fish curry, shark chutney and grilled kordonnyen, a local fish. Beach barbecues are common and as well as spicy sausages and whole, chargrilled fish, you’ll find tender saffron rice, refreshing green papaya salad as well as a range of fresh fruits such as avocado and pineapple. To wash the delicious meals down, there’s the local SeyBrew beer, delectable wines or for an extra kick, Buka, Seychelle’s answer to grog.
Exotic taste isn’t just about the food. There’s just as much extravagance and variety in the accommodation in Seychelles too. The islands are famous for their luxury resorts. Large hotel chains have made their way here in recent years, and blend seamlessly into the landscape as the complexes nestle amongst wooded slopes and palm trees. A truly high-class way to discover the islands is by staying on a yacht, which allows the freedom to travel from island to island. Staying on the ocean allows you to get a panoramic view of the islands which is not possible by other means.
For luxury, without the high price tag, there are many options to consider. Accommodation on Seychelles ranges from all-inclusive to self-catering and a variety of options in between. Small, family run hotels offer a warm welcome and a family atmosphere. For an even greater insight into Seychellois life, stay at a guesthouse and have the place to yourself. Many guesthouses are a few minutes’ walk from one of the secluded beaches and some even have restaurants or other eateries attached.
Seychelles is a truly exotic destination, with something for everyone and a surprising range of options for every budget. These islands have achieved the perfect balance between natural beauty and tourism, and they’re the ideal setting to make some amazing holiday and unique memories.