Situated on the South East of Africa are the Seychelles, a beautiful cluster of islands in the Indian Ocean.
Made up of a 155 islands, the country is now officially known as the Republic of Seychelles and a member of the African union. Divided into twenty-six main regions, eight of which make up the capital known as Greater Victoria, fourteen of the other islands are considered as the rural part of the main island of Mahe and the remaining outer islands are considered as the last district. Typically, the islands are a vision of exquisite ribbons of white sand descending into topaz waters and backed by stunning hills and big glacis boulders.
The Seychelles are made up of small islands, typically known as being a tropical rainforest with an extremely humid atmosphere. The temperature does not vary much throughout the year with Mahe staying between 24°C and 30°C. The cooler months tend to be July and August but never dipping below 24°C, with December to April being the hottest months, with humidity reaching around 80%.
Where to visit
Out of the 40 actual islands which are inhabited, there isn't a huge amount of difference and you will strike gold whichever you visit, whether it be one of the three main islands of Praslin, La Digue or Mahe – whose mountainous interior is home to Morn Seychelles National Park or one of the outer ones. The Seychelles islands have earned themselves a reputation of offering an ecotourism of paradise, with fantastic bird watching spots, opportunities to catch giant tortoises in their natural habitat and a whole other world beneath the turquoise waters. Venturing beyond the beaches, the islands offer a jungle of different trails to uncover its wildlife and species that are close to extinction.
Nature and Wildlife
Praslin’s World Heritage – listed Vallée de Mai is one of the only two places in the world where you can experience a slice of Eden and discover the rare coco de mer palms growing in their natural state. The site is also home to more than 50 other indigenous plants and trees which is why the place is voted as a top brid watching spot especially for the country’s endemic species, including the Seychelles bulbul, the blue pigeon, the Seychelles warbler and the almost extinct black parrot. There are five hiking trails through the emerald-tinged forest, which remained totally untouched until the 1930s. The trails vary from 1 to 2km, so perfect for all tourists and capabilities with the 30 metre towering coco de mer palms and canopies creating a slightly eerie atmosphere. Another site to see is Pierre Poivre, located 2 kilometres up the hills above Anse Royal, and is a lush spice garden. Self-guided tours are available around the 35 hectare orchard-crossed with forest and a small museum and café restaurant occupies the spice entrepreneur’s house with outstanding views down to the coast.
The capital of Victoria is also home to the Seychelles covered market and definitely worth a visit. Despite being very small for African standards, it is a bustling and colourful place with copious amounts of stalls stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables, local spices and herbs are being sold to take home as souvenirs, not to mention the usual assortment of sarongs and shirts. For the fish lovers, it is best to come early morning to catch the fishmonger’s displays of a huge variety of seafood from parrot fish to barracuda.
The Veuve Forrest reserve located on the La Digue Island is small and has been set aside to protect its natural habitat and is the last refuge of the black paradise flycatcher. The ranger claims that sights of the male with its long black tail feathers are guaranteed if taken on small tours. Other species which inhibit the forest include terrapins, fruit bars and moorhens. Located in the heart of Victoria, are the gorgeous Botanical Gardens, which house a wide collection of mature, exotic plants within five acres of beautiful maintained tropical gardens. It has streams of water, one of the top bird sights and home to a variety of spice and fruit trees not to mention the population of giant tortoises from Aldabra, fruit bat colonies and an assortment of the Seychelles’ own native orchids.
The islands are very close together, therefore minimising the time spent travelling between them to visit the different beaches and attractions. There is a regular network of air and sea transportations operating out of the main island, Mahe, making moving around easy and hassle free. There is also the option of buses, car hire and ferries to get between each of the islands. Air Seychelles flies charter flights between the different islands with 20 flights operating in each direction every day between the islands of Mahe and Praslin and flights to the North Islands can also be booked. An efficient ferry service is available between Mahe, La Digue and Praslin and to visit the other islands a charter both is available. The Cat Cocos catamaran makes regular trips between Mahe to Praslin and there is a schooner service between Praslin to La Digue. Bike rentals are available to get around La Digue and Praslin islands which offer a personal and up close to the islands attractions and pristine beaches. It is possible to rent a car whilst visiting to get around and both Mahe and Preslin have fairly good roads but drivers should be cautious. The bus service is reliable and is actually one of the best ways to see Mahe and taxi’s are available to use for tours of Mahe and Praslin. A popular option with tourists is to sail around the outer islands, which offer a true adventure on the open ocean to a tropical paradise.
Thank you for choosing Our Man On The Ground to be your luxury travel guide to match you to your perfect destination. Read on for the islands’ highlights, our reviews on its hidden gem hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs and great things to do.
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