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SEYCHELLES

The Call of the Islands

Seychelles' Best

Mother Nature was unbelievably generous with the Seychelles, a fabled paradise whose islands lie scattered across the Indian Ocean. Spellbinding beaches are the main attraction, and what beaches! Exquisite ribbons of sand lapped by turquoise waters and backed by lush hills, palm trees and Dali-esque boulders.

THE AREA

Beyond the beach, diving and snorkelling are brilliant in the warm waters amid abundant marine life, while few places on the planet do ocean-side luxury quite like the Seychelles. Mahé is the largest island and entry point to the Seychelles, with some fabulous resorts, restaurants and beaches, not to mention the small capital city of Victoria. But it's also the busiest island, with glorious Praslin and La Digue a short boat ride away. Even further out, there are real lost-world islands to be found. Divers and honeymooners, nature lovers and hedonists, gourmets and sports aficionados, gamblers and sailors - they all come to the Seychelles and find it little short of perfect. Set four degrees south of the Equator and spread over some 400,000 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is endowed with natural beauty, ancient wonders and awesome man-made attractions.

CLIMATE

That oft-used word "paradise" often rears up in descriptions of the Seychelles, and with very good reason. There are no serious natural hazards, no malaria or serious diseases, and the islands lie outside the cyclone and hurricane belts. A good standard of living means there is little crime, and careful control of tourism-related development has kept arrivals to a reasonable level and forbidden unsightly high-rises. The pirates who used to make the Seychelles their lair have long departed, leaving behind legends of buried treasure waiting to be unearthed by diligent explorers. However, it soon becomes apparent to most visitors shortly after arriving that they won't have to do much digging - the treasures are all around them.

Paradise Highlights

One hundred and fifteen islands make up the Seychelles archipelago so how do you choose where to go and what to do? Whether you want to laze on an tropical beach, take part in watersports, browse local markets or discover jungle-clad mountains this guide will help you narrow down your choices.

Mahé Island

Mahé is the largest island in the archipelago with all international and domestic flights originating here. It’s a busy island compared to the rest of Seychelles and while you may hear locals and other islanders complaining about how busy the roads have got, it’s still a very quiet, sleepy pace of life compared to home. Victoria, the capital, is busier with plenty of restaurants and shops to explore, but outside the city it’s mainly small hamlets scattered along the coastline with a couple of local restaurants and a small general store.

Praslin Island

Praslin is one of the greener islands in the archipelago with the vestiges of a natural palm forest at its heart. The Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve on the island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and protects endangered species such as the Seychelles blue pigeon, Seychelles sunbird, black parrot, bronze gecko and the rare tiger chameleon. It's here that you may well see the largest seed in the plant kingdom, the Coco de Mer, weighing in at around 15 kg. Praslin’s coastal appearance is dominated by huge granite boulders contrasting with the white sand and clear turquoise waters. My favourite excursion from Praslin is a day-long catamaran cruise which stops off at three isolated islands for snorkeling or swimming.

La Digue Island

The slow-paced, sleepy La Digue is one of the smaller islands on the archipelago. I love that there’s only a handful of cars, so everyone gets around either on foot or by bicycle. It is around 15 minute ferry ride from Praslin or a potentially choppy 90 minutes from Mahé.

Travel to Seychelles

AIRPORTS

The Maldives has also reopened to travellers with private jets or charter flights. Regular travellers should wait a bit longer as travel restrictions are expected to ease further in July.

YACHT

For elite travellers who prefer the ocean over the air, the Seychelles is in reach again as the waters of this corner of the western Indian Ocean have reopened to yachts and superyachts. But entry is trickier for those sailing in than those on private jet. There are strict rules in place for seafaring travellers, and cruise ships remain banned until 2022.

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