Seychelles’ natural beauty has fascinated travellers for centuries. This archipelago of 115 islands, many of which still slumber in their original, pristine state, offers great diversity.
Here’s a look at some of the top reasons to check out Seychelles yourself, or to recommend the destination to clients.
Seychelles provides an unparalleled experience of sun, sea and sand with many strands regularly topping world lists.
One favourite is Anse Lazio on Praslin Island, where sapphire waters and silver sands conspire to present a timeless dreamscape to sun-worshippers. Following close behind is La Digue’s Anse Source D’argent with its dappled turquoise waters and background of granite sentinels. The main island Mahé, has 65 beaches of its own. Topping the list is Anse Intendance with its two-kilometre strand and impressive breakers; Carana beach with its lazy swells; Beau Vallon, which is more touristy and very much the place to see and be seen and south Mahé’s Anse Royale, the locals’ favourite.
Every island has its signature beach and always check the surroundings for a beachside restaurant for that feet-in-the-sand dining experience. seychelles.travel/en/explore/beaches
TYING THE KNOT, ISLAND-STYLE
Prince William and Princess Kate’s choice of Seychelles for their honeymoon catapulted the islands to fame as ultimate honeymoon destination. With such fabled natural beauty, it’s difficult to imagine a more perfect locale for weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries or impromptu romantic breaks.
Seychelles is one place where beauty and year-round tropical warmth ensure that love is always in the air. After you’ve visited the Mission Lodge viewing platform with its fabulous views of west Mahé, (where Queen Elizabeth II once had tea) why not share a scuba dive into our limpid, fish-rich waters or a canoe into the turquoise shallows on your very own adventure à deux?
Don’t forget that Seychelles has some of the best sunsets you can imagine and if you go down to a solitary beach like Mahé’s Grand Anse you can enjoy it with precious few people around and then top it all off with a romantic dinner for two at Del Place’s Restaurant (facebook/Deplace Bar and Restaurant) with its enticing menu and bewitching panorama of an inland lagoon surrounded by a horseshoe of picture-postcard islets. seychelles.travel/en/explore/special-interests/romance
Seychelles is a veritable Noah’s Ark and home to a spectacular array of flora and fauna including some of the world’s rarest species. Don’t miss a trip to one of Seychelles’ UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the incredible Vallée de Mai (sif.sc) on Praslin, where the world heaviest nut, the coco-de-mer, shaped like a woman’s pelvis, grows on ancient palms in a hidden valley.
Back on Mahé, the Botanical Gardens (bcgi.org) on the outskirts of the capital, Victoria, offers a bite-sized experience of Seychelles’ natural world and an impressive collection of endemic palms, the famous cannonball tree, an old orchid garden and the famous coco-de-mer. For nature lovers, there is a network of walks and trails criss-crossing the islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue where it is always advisable to take a guide and avoid the midday sun. Boat trips to island sanctuaries such as Curieuse, Moyenne, (seychelles.travel/en/discover/the-islands/) Aride (arideisland.com) and Cousin (cousinisland.net) are also a must.
DOWN THE GASTRONOMY TRAIL
French cuisine was brought to the islands by the first settlers and later added to by English colonists and influences from immigrants from India and China, making Creole cuisine a melting pot of cultures. Enjoy a diverse Creole menu at Auberge Chez Plume (anseboileau.com) where the specialities are ginger crab and filet au capitaine in passionfruit sauce. You might even wish to try the fruit bat terrine accompanied by a great south African white wine. Top drawer, fine-dining is available at La Grande Maison (Lgmssey.com), a totally refurbished old plantation house with wonderful gardens and an ambiance to match. Here, favourites include freshly cut palm heart salad with truffles and curry leaves; red snapper fillet with green mousseline, basil and combats and tuna and foie gras, all complemented by a selection of fine rums and choice imported wines.
Make sure to try the local fare at a night bazaar and taste freshly grilled fish, cassava chips, boudin or blood sausage, washed down with bacca, a local fermentation. Seychelles also has excellent takeaways where you can find fine, traditional food at attractive prices.
They say God made Seychelles with sailors in mind, and viewing these islands from the ocean in the same way as the early explorers, is difficult to beat. Start with a trip to Praslin or La Digue on the fast catamaran, Cat Cocos (catcocos.com) and enjoy the sublime panoramas and even sightings of dolphins and the odd whale.
Excursions are available from the main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue to surrounding islands for swimming, snorkelling and beach BBQs. For the more adventurous, there are great thrills to be had on deep sea fishing or diving expeditions where you will be amazed by the rich marine life. On one dive, no less than 800 different species were spotted including turtle, several species of ray, grouper, parrot fish, hump-head wrasse and a dizzying array of coral reef fish. Companies such as Silhouette Cruises (seychelles-cruises.com) also offer spectacular sunset cruises with different options to suit your program.
ON THE TOWN
Seychelles’ capital, Victoria, (seychelles.org) is easily walked in half a day. Start with an early morning visit to its traditional market to experience the Seychellois Creole way of life. Here you will find locals doing their weekly shopping for vegetables, fruits, spices, condiments, and of course a wide array of fish, fresh from the sea. Nearby is the impressive Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral. Discover hidden art galleries like the one in Market Street where you can view an array of paintings by local artists and also silk screens, colourful pareos and tropical shirts with island motifs. You will also come across museums (particularly the Museum of Natural History) souvenir shops, retail outlets and a choice of bistros, bars and restaurants to keep you hydrated on your meanderings into this Creole nation’s heart.
REJUVENATE MIND, BODY & SOUL
For those who are looking for the perfect pampering experience, the spas in Seychelles are beautifully crafted to rejuvenate body, mind and soul. Seychelles’ gentle, protective and naturally welcoming environment that has changed so little over so many years, makes it an ideal place in which to relax and rejuvenate amid surroundings of astounding natural beauty.
For today’s weary traveller, fatigued from the stresses and strains of an unrelenting modern lifestyle, the Seychelles spa experience represents a powerful antidote offering soothing treatments designed to melt away the stresses and strains of modern living, energize the weary body and nurture the soul.
Whether nestling in dreamy, mountain-side pavilions overlooking the ocean or occupying the stylish niches of five-star resorts, Seychelles’ spas offer natural elegance and refinement in pristine surroundings promising the ultimate voyage of personal transformation and total recalibration of mind, body and soul.
For holistic treatments and relaxing yoga sessions the Station at Sans Souci is the perfect place to restore balance and energy in the hills of Mahé, surrounded by the natural beauty of tropical forests and tranquillity.
Nothing puts you in touch with adventure and the grand diversity of this archipelago like island hopping. Mahé, Praslin and La Digue are the principal islands, each with their own satellites, but there are many others to enjoy as well. In contrast to the mountainous Inner Islands, Bird (birdislandseychelles.com) and Denis Islands (denisisland.com) to the north are flat coral island outposts offering wild nature at its finest while Frégate (fregate.com) to the east and the Outer Islands of Desroches and Alphonse (alphonse-island.com) are the ultimate remote tropical getaways.
Island hopping around the Seychelles archipelago, especially to the Outer Islands, introduces you to the incredible diversity of these islands. Like members of a family, each island is different and has its own distinct character and story to tell. Seychelles has 41 tall granitic islands and 74 very contrasting low-lying sand cays, reef islands and shimmering atolls. While accommodation ranges from rustic lodges to exclusive hotels, they all enjoy the common denominator of adventure in the form of fishing, world-class swimming, snorkelling and diving, trekking, cruising and nature watching.
A network of air and sea connections places these islands within easy reach, with excursions by local operators offering the chance of day trips to the closer islands where you can enjoy nature walks, swimming, snorkelling and traditional Creole food. For more details see Seychelles.com.