The Seychelles travel guide
2 MINUTE SUMMARY
Step into the Seychelles and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that this tropical island archipelago is just about the beach. Obviously, the crisp white sands of Inner Islands such as La Digue, Praslin, and St Pierre, are indeed stunning; however, explore the remote Outer Islands and it’s an untamed and wilder side to nature that showcases the Seychelles at its sustainable best.
Inner Islands, like Curieuse, Aride, Felicite, Cousin and the Sisters, are easily accessible from the main island of Mahé, and it’s these gorgeous granite creations that often feature on sailing cruises, with secret coves and lush mangrove forests offering onshore adventures alongside barbecues at sunset. Under the ocean lies the final piece of the tropical jigsaw. A mask and snorkel are all that’s required to peer into a profusion of colour as butterfly and parrot fish flit above clam covered coral, and sea turtles swim effortlessly by while their land-lubbing cousins crawl over sand like slowly shifting boulders.
The Seychelles is...
an independent island nation infused with the cultural threads of Africa, Asia, and Creole.
The Seychelles isn't...
going to let mass tourism rewrite its sustainable success story.
The Seychelles map & highlights
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TIME
The Seychelles is made up of 43 Inner Islands and 72 Outer Islands. The more remote Outer Islands are formed from five coral reefs which include the UNESCO site of Aldabra Atoll, the largest raised coral atoll on the planet. A strict environmental policy has helped to protect vast seabird colonies, free roaming giant tortoises and spectacular marine life, with Bird Island and North Island prime examples. Throughout the Seychelles, papaya, mangoes and bananas provide healthy local produce with vibrant wild orchids and endemic coco de mer palms to be found within the rainforests of Praslin and Curieuse, just to the northeast of the main island, Mahé, which is also home to the country’s colonial cluttered capital, Victoria.
Noddies, terns and waders can all be found close to the shore or rising above the coconut plantations of the Seychelles’ northernmost island, with sooty terns, in particular, arriving en masse from mid-March to May. Surrounding reefs support untold marine life with dugongs and hawksbill turtles gliding effortlessly through the waves whilst resident giant tortoises lumber a little more awkwardly onshore.
As Curieuse Island was once the setting for a leper colony it's managed to remain relatively intact from profit making interference .As such, it has been proclaimed a Marine National Park to further protect its animal inhabitants, which include rare black parrots, hawksbill turtles and over 300 giant Aldabra tortoises. A guided tour through mangrove swamps makes a great prelude to Creole bbqs on the beach.
Inner Islands, such as Coco, Felicite and Grande Soeur, can be reached via a short boat ride from Praslin or La Digue and offer untouched desert island images to keep your screensaver catalogue ticking over for a good few years . From shimmering palms and crystal white sand to transcendent snorkelling over coral reefs accompanied by turtles and angel fish, this is pure and simple island hopping heaven.
La Digue is the third largest inhabited island in the Seychelles and well accustomed to beach seeking travelers wishing to explore on foot, on two wheels or from an ox-drawn cart. The island's reefs and lagoons are home to an array of eels, rays and black tipped reef sharks whilst on land coconut crabs, sun birds, fruit bats and paradise flycatchers prefer the small, yet protected, habitat of Veuve Nature Reserve.
Praslin is a fascinating location that's just as highly regarded for its beaches, such as Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette, as its UNESCO protected palm forests within the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve. From hawksbill turtles nesting on soft sand amongst smooth boulders to waterfalls, streams and a cacophony of birds, Praslin is criss-crossed with trekking trails and sublime spots to snorkel.
Victoria, Mahé Island
The capital, Victoria, has long been an important export hub as well as the ideal location to learn more about the nation's relationship with the outside world. The city itself isn't very large but is perfect for a guided history tour amongst narrow streets and neglected colonial properties which sit adjacent to broader boulevards and lush green gardens surrounding the city’s cultural epicentre, Victoria market.