When Mother Nature apportioned its treasures, 115 went to the archipelago of Seychelles. It is an ecotourism capital fringed with white sands, azure waters, and glazed granite boulders; an underwater paradise for divers and swimmers. Venture to its valleys and frond-canopied jungles for rare birds and arboreal animals. Nature lovers would surely be awed by the uniqueness of many species of its diverse flora and fauna. This clump of jewels strewn in the Indian Ocean will keep you occupied to no end with its exquisite natural beauty.
Seychelles in a Nutshell
The Republic of Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands spread out in the Indian Ocean, continent of Africa. Its capital is Victoria City in the island of Mahe, the biggest of the land masses. Languages spoken officially are French, English, and Seselwa Creole French. The citizens are called Seychellois – the embodiment of Creole, Indian, French, Chinese, and British amalgamation of cultures. The currency used is Seychelles rupee.
Best Time to Visit
Generally, the archipelago enjoys summer weather all year round. Intermittent rains do occur during the wet season in January and February. The windy season from May through October could also affect the normally tranquil beaches. But one should not mind these modest discomforts because good weather abounds in this wonderful place.
Getting around the archipelago is very convenient. You can go island-hopping by air, boat or take a leisurely ferry ride. Exploring an island is just as easy – go by bus or rent a car. It’s really just a matter of your priorities and budget.
Indubitably, Festival Kreol is the biggest celebration in Seychelles. This centenary event of the francophone community is a one-week spectacular celebration of creole cuisine, music, dance, art, film presentations, and various exhibitions. It starts on the 20th of March. Another event is the Seychelles International Carnival, where world-class representatives from the world’s greatest carnivals converge at this marvelous and colorful fair.
What to Do
The country is scenic, beautiful, and, above all, conducive to any type of adventure your soul would crave for. Seychelles is home to stunning places that make for an ideal backdrop for the following activities.
Sprawl along the warm sandy beaches and savor the cool sunset, or enjoy swimming in the azure and warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
Seychelles is replete with dive sites of colorful marine creatures and fantastic coral reefs. Most resorts and hotels offer to take you to the perfect snorkeling spots with the appropriate diving equipment, so, you can either go solo or hire a guide.
3) Visit the Creole villages
You haven’t really been to Seychelles if you haven’t mingled with the Seychellois. Discover their local food, traditional crafts, and bring something home that will remind you of these beautiful islands and warm people.
4) Hike the Copolia Trail
An adventure through the Copolia Trail, which is nestled in thick foliage, is a perfect morning activity.
Have your picture taken at the Victoria Clock, which locals endearingly call Lorloz, to mark your arrival in the tropical islands. After that formality, wear your sunscreen and head out to what Seychelles really has to offer. Seychelles’ busy city is an interesting destination, but the archipelago’s unsurpassed beauty is in its fringes and outskirts. That means endless prancing under the sun to the many gardens, cultural heritage, islands and beaches. Here they are.
1) Seychelles National Botanical Gardens
Explore an arboretum planted with indigenous Mascarene plants more than a century ago. It teems with the island’s signature Coco de Mer palms and gaily orchids of various colors and species. Here you will find flying foxes, which are actually bats. Would you like to meet the native centenarians of the place? These are the native Aldabra tortoises and most of them are recorded to be over 150 years old. Admission to the gardens costs US$8.50.
Address: Mont Fleuri, Victoria, Mahe Island, Seychelles
2) Anse Source d’Argent
Postcard-perfect scene of sparkling azure water, sugar-white sands, green Coco de Mer, and smooth granite boulders – you’ve seen this in photos and certainly in movies. Anse Source d’Argent is one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, no wonder it is also the most photographed. The beach can be accessed through L’Union Estate, and the admission fee at that access point is US$8.50 per person.
Address: La Digue Island, Seychelles
3) Vallee de Mai
Wax poetic at the beauty of a forested valley where Coco de Mer grows abundantly and naturally. You might say that this is the last frontier for virgin Mascarene forest. Pines and several other endemic palms grow here and invite a unique collection of indigenous animals, including the rare Seychelles black parrot, the Seychelles warbler, the bulbul and the Seychelles blue pigeon. The valley is great for hiking along frond-canopied trails. There is a shop where you can buy seeds of the Coco de Mer. The unique tree is a double coconut which grows abundantly in the island. There is an entry fee of US$29 which has to be paid in cash. Children below 12 years old can enter free.
Address: center of Praslin Island.
4) Anse Lazio
One of the country’s best beaches is on the far northern part of Praslin. It has the characteristic green palm forest on one side of the wide pastel sands contrasting with turquoise waters on the other. Stunning granite rocks jut out calling your attention. The beach is great for swimming, snorkeling, or just lazing around. You would have a problem leaving such a perfect place. There are two restaurants nearby where you can quench your thirst.
Address: north of Praslin Island
5) Domaine de Val des Pres
Its English name is The Craft Village, and this is a center for manufacturing an assortment of souvenir items crafted by local artisans. This is one of the very few colonial homesteads left. The site is an assemblage of several family plantation homes and cottages mostly built in the later part of the 1800s. You get an eerie feeling of walking into that period when you walk into this village, complete with period architecture and furniture and building trimmings.
Address: Anse au Cap, Victoria, Mahe Island
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