HOP THE ISLANDS
Nothing puts you in touch with adventure and the grand diversity of the Seychelles 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 (www.birdislandseychelles.com) and Denis Islands (www.denisisland.com) to the north are flat coral island outposts offering wild nature at its finest while Frégate (www.fregate.com) to the east and the Outer Islands of Desroches and Alphonse (www.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 which is a delicious fusion of old French kitchen and Indian and Chinese culinary traditions that produces such masterpieces as freshly baked fish basted with garlic, ginger and chillies; coconut curries; terrines and fruits used as vegetables in a variety of piquant satinis.
HIT THE WATER
With limpid, warm turquoise waters and a climate of perpetual summer, Seychelles is ideal for water sports.
Mahé Island’s Beau Vallon bay is where to enjoy paragliding, water skiing, jet skiing, banana rides and wind-surfing. (Beau Vallon Water Sports.) Surfing is still a niche activity and kite-surfing is catching on but, for these, you will need to bring your own kit.
The islands’ water sport centres and hotels can hire you snorkelling equipment and sometimes canoes for that individual sortie into the big blue but watch for signage indicating strong currents or other hazards.
Operators offer deep-sea fishing in waters offering one of the most varied catches on the planet including marlin, sailfish, tuna, jobfish, dorado and barracuda. A local company with a good reputation in the fishing world is A1 (www.A1fishing Seychelles.com) as their considerable number of trophies bears witness to.
Land-based and boat-based dive centres can introduce you to some of the best diving on the planet on both granite and coral reefs. Marine life abounds in the form of dolphins, rays, turtle, coral reef fish and, if you’re lucky, even the mighty whale shark. A very experienced and reliable dive operation which can be found in Anse Boileau on Mahé is Dive Resort Seychelles. (facebook/Dive Resort Seychelles.)
BLAZING THE TURQUOISE TRAIL
A new activity that blends beautifully with the stunning Seychelles backdrop is horse riding, now available thanks to Mahé Island’s Torquoise Horse Trails.
The turquoise team operate a neatly-arranged, professionally-operated stables on Mahé’s west coast with a string of gorgeous Appaloosa horses. Damien, the owner, combines the delight of riding beautiful horses with treks into the lushly vegetated countryside along little-used paths, especially carved out to make the most of the surrounds and to introduce you to the very best of Seychelles’ natural beauty as you ride flanked by pristine forest and the mighty Indian Ocean.
With an eco-friendly philosophy featuring bit-less bridles and the best American saddles and only riding on the beach at low tide to avoid nesting turtles, Turquoise Trails is an exciting ‘green’ addition to the adventure scene.
Services include riding lessons, countryside treks, riding on glorious Grand Anse beach, romantic picnics for couples in picturesque settings complete with Champagne and canapes, wedding celebrations and photoshoots, and even swimming with a horse in the ocean.
ZIP LINING & ROCK CLIMBING
With years of adventure sports experience behind them SMAC Adventures has established a rock climbing, zipline and abseiling facility within the Ephelia resort on Mahe’s north west coast.
Built to International standards and certified by an international firm of structural engineers, the team has created a series of 80 and 120m aerial ziplines suspended both within and above a beautiful, pristine forest canopy, allowing the adventurer the opportunity to sail through the vegetation almost within touching distance on an exhilarating ride.
The ride is an adrenaline rush as you speed through the emerald panoply at high speed catching glimpses of the ocean as you descend, as if on hidden wings.
They also provide a rock climbing experience on an 18-metre granite cliff face in a controlled, safe environment which allows you to have a feel of mountaineering but without the danger. Bookings can be made via the Ephelia Resort.
SAILING & CRUSING
With a near-perfect climate and islands well outside the cyclone belt, the Seychelles archipelago leaves little to be desired when it comes to sailing and cruising.
Seychelles’ extraordinary marine scene offers breath-taking panoramas, easy sailing distances and great moorings in many a secluded bay. Sailing and cruising can be enjoyed from a state-of-the-art fleet of single hulls and catamarans which you can hire either skippered or bare-boat, choosing to stay within the area of the Inner Islands or setting your sails for adventure among the more remote Outer Islands to be greeted by reef islands, sand cays, sapphire lagoons and teeming wildlife. Sunsail are experienced operators in Seychelles since many years and know the ropes. (www.sunsail.com.)
The big advantage of sailing the Seychelles archipelago is that it is a year-round activity although sailors should bear in mind that the south east trades which blow from May to September bring with them somewhat stronger winds and rougher seas. Another plus is that the waters around the islands are still relatively uncongested and, very often, the only sails you may see will be your own.
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.