Seychelles is home to no less than two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the legendary Vallée de Mai on Praslin where the wondrously shaped Coco-de-mer nut grows high on ancient palms and the fabled Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll, first seen by early Arab seafarers of the 9th century A.D.
The idyllic islands of the Seychelles are simply beautiful with dense green, cloud-forested mountains rising high out of the ocean, while palm-shaded coves are filled with silky-soft, white sand and the smoothest of granite boulders. Remote coralline atolls surround lagoons teeming with tropical marine life and the sky and sea swim in myriad shades of blue. Boasting some of the most exclusive private islands anywhere in the world, this is an expensive destination, but one is arguably the finest beach holiday destination on Earth. It is simply exquisite; you will love it!
Seychelles is a living museum of natural history and a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora & fauna on earth. With almost 50% of its limited landmass set aside as national parks and reserves, Seychelles prides itself on its record for far sighted conservation policies that have resulted in an enviable degree of protection for the environment and the varied ecosystems it supports. Nowhere else on earth will you find unique endemic specimens such as the fabulous Coco-de-mer, the largest seed in the world, the jellyfish tree, with only eight surviving examples, the Seychelles’ paradise flycatcher and Seychelles warbler. From the smallest frog to the heaviest land tortoise and the only flightless bird of the Indian Ocean, Seychelles nurtures an amazing array of endemic species within surrounds of exceptional natural beauty.
Seychelles is a comparatively young nation which can trace its first settlement back to 1770 when the islands were first settled by the French, leading a small party of Whites, Indians and Africans. The islands remained in French hands until the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo at which time Seychelles was ceded to Britain, until independence in 1976.
Today, the approximately 90 000 Seychellois population continues to reflect its multi-ethnic roots. Traditionally, the islands have attracted a broad diversity of peoples from the four corners of the earth that has included freed slaves, European settlers, political exiles, adventurers, traders of Arab and Persian origin as well as Chinese and Indians.
Practically every nation on earth has been represented in this melting pot of cultures, each one contributing its special influence on today’s vibrant yet tranquil society. Seychellois Creole, also known as kreol or seselwa, is the French-based creole language of the Seychelles. It shares official language status with English and French (in contrast to Mauritian and Reunion Creole, which lack official status in Mauritius and La Reunion).
Seychelles’ architecture is at once distinctive in its style and practical in its design. It clearly illustrates the influences of its colonial past and combines these with practical considerations such as steep roofs to shoot the rain, wide verandas to make the most of a climate that encourages outdoor living, as well as features to make the most of the island breezes.
For such a small country, Seychelles has a vibrant art scene that encompasses painters, sculptors, writers and poets, artisans of many types, musicians and dancers. Painters have traditionally taken inspiration from the richness of Seychelles’ natural beauty to produce a wide range of works.
Echoing the grand assortment of people who populate Seychelles, Creole cuisine features the subtleties and nuances of French cooking, the exoticism of Indian dishes and the piquant flavours of the Orient. Grilled fish or octopus coated with a sauce of crushed chillies, ginger and garlic are national favourites as are a variety of delicious curries lovingly prepared with coconut milk and innovative chatinis made from local fruits such as papaya and golden apple. As may be expected, seafood dishes feature predominantly in the local cuisine, appearing alongside the national staple, rice. Some restaurants specialise in Indian, Chinese or Italian food and many feature popular international and specialist dishes.
- Population of 90 000 of which 90 % live on Mahé Island.
- Really cosmopolitan vibrant society with all four corners of earth represented.
- Official languages Creole, French and English.
- 115 islands, 41 the inner granite islands and a further 74 the outer islands that form the 5 groups of low-lying coral atolls and reef islets.
- Land area of 455 sq km only, but an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4m sq km.
- Vibrant art scene and fabulous Creole cuisine featuring the subtleties and nuances of French cooking, the exoticism of Indian dishes and the piquant flavours of the Orient.
Why we like it:
- Azure waters, white sandy beaches and granite boulders, just the most idyllic island experience imaginable!
- Exquisite private islands with some of the BEST accommodation right on the famous beaches.
- Arguably the finest private island holiday destination on earth!
- World class luxury accommodation options such as Six Senses and North Island, but also affordable small guest houses and boutique hotels.
- Real ocean adventure on the remote privately-owned outer islands with some of the best diving and fishing anywhere, also great eco-tourism and conservation focus.
- Good live aboard-boat options to explore the outer islands and reefs.
- Experiencing more than one island during your stay is a must and will add a dimension to your holiday experience that you will never forget.
- Fantastic honeymoon destination after the African safari, does it get any better?
Where to go?
The Seychelles’ 115 granite and coral islands extend from between 4 and 10 degrees south of the equator and lie between 480 km and 1,600 km from the east coast of Africa in the western Indian Ocean.
This Indian Ocean republic occupies a land area of 455 km² and an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million km². It represents an archipelago of timeless beauty, tranquillity and harmony that is famous for its world-beating beaches and for its great diversity which rolls from lush forests down to the warm azure ocean.
What sets Seychelles apart from so many other holiday destinations is its wide variety of islands, each one with its own particular geography, character and history. Whether you choose a day excursion to one of the many inner granitic islands, or an extended stay on one of the exotic island hideaways, Seychelles has something exceptional to offer for everybody.
Whatever your choice, a regular network of air and sea transport operating out of the principal island of Mahé will cater for most itineraries. Ferry services, domestic flights and even helicopter transfers are also available on a daily basis to many of the islands.
Of the 115 islands, the 41 ‘ Inner Islands” constitute the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on earth, while a further 74 islands form the five groups of low-lying coral atolls and reef islets that are the ‘Outer Islands’. 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 outer islands to be found. These are mostly privately owned, sparsely populated, and serve as wildlife havens due to ongoing efforts to preserve and conserve their plethora of bird species, turtles and other marine nature. All are accessible via flight from the international airport at Victoria.
Locations in Seychelles
When to go?
The Seychelles’ climate is one which is always warm and does not reach extremes of heat or cold. The temperature rarely drops below 24°C or rises above 32°C. All but the remotest southern islands lie outside the cyclone belt making Seychelles’ a year-round destination for sun worshippers and beach lovers, although different times of year may be better suited to your particular interests.
Two opposing trade winds generally govern the weather pattern: the north-westerly trades blow from October to March when wind speeds average from 8 to 12 knots; and the brisker south-easterly trades blow from May to September with winds of between 10 to 20 knots, bringing the cooler and windier conditions ideal for sailing.
The periods of calm between the trades produce fairly warm and wind-free conditions throughout April and also in October. Conditions for swimming, snorkelling and especially diving are superb during April/May and October/November when the water temperature sometimes reaches 29ºC and visibility is often 30 metres plus.
The ‘SUBIOS Underwater Festival’, showcases Seychelles’ extraordinary underwater world through a series of film shows, talks and competitions, while the ‘Festival Kreol’ (a week-long celebration of Creole heritage and traditions) is held in October each year.
The Seychelles Sailing Cup, an international sailing event, is held in January and the International Fishing Competition in November. Further local fishing competitions are held throughout the year.
The below table summarises the best times to visit Seychelles for different types of activities:
Make sure to stay on more than one island during your visit to the Seychelles and if you can afford one of these stays to be on the outer islands it will be one of the best experiences of your life! This is one of safariFRANK’s BEST experiences and is highly recommended for adventure travellers!