To the right of East Africa, situated in the Indian Ocean, are the Seychelles, a group of more than 100 islands, only a few of which are inhabited. If you make the journey to the Seychelles, prepare to be greeted by stunning scenery and plenty of incredible nature. So, if you’re planning a trip to this distant island chain, here’s a stunning glimpse into what you could be doing.
Vallee de Mai National Park
This tropical national park is the place to visit if you love birding and are into hiking. One of its claims to fame is that it is one of only two places where the coco de mer palm grows in its natural form, the other being a nearby island.
Bird lovers should bring their binoculars because they can get a glimpse of the blue pigeon, Seychelles bulbul, black parrot, and the Seychelles warbler. You can see the birds whilst enjoying one of the three hiking trails or you can join one of the free, guided tours that run between 9am and 2pm.
Beau Vallon to Anse Major Hike
This trail will take you along pristine coastline, showcasing views of both forest and the Indian Ocean. Start in Beau Vallon and then take the Anse Major trail, which is rated as easy, to get in some serious scenery. The trail markers make it easy to navigate and get back on track when you inevitably stop to do some bird watching and snap a few photos. Plus, the trail ends at Anse Major beach, which is said to be one of the best on the island.
Anse Major Beach
If you love secluded beaches then this will be heaven for you. This beach doesn’t have much in the ways of amenities, however, this is part of its charm. If you want to fully enjoy this small, sandy beach, make sure to pack plenty of your own food and water. Bring a snorkel along too because the clear waters make it a great spot to spy on the fish.
This is really a must-see when visiting the Seychelles because it’s the world’s second largest atoll. The area is very isolated, hardly touched by humans and located in a secluded lagoon. While the atoll is fiercely protected, tourism is still allowed so visitors can have the chance to view the stunning coral. Guests can take boat tours out to the lagoon to take a peek at what’s going on underneath the surface there.
Beau Vallon Beach
This bay is located off the northwestern coast of the main island of Mahe, and is considered to be the most popular beach on the island. There are plenty of hotels surrounding the area so you won’t have a problem finding a place to sleep in between beach visits. This is also a prime starting point for diving and snorkeling trips, as there is a ton of coral underneath the surface. You’ll find that it can be quite popular with tourists, but it’s worth it for the beauty of the coastline and the convenience of bars and restaurants where you can relax.
This is the second largest island in the Seychelles, and it’s absolutely, naturally, beautiful. It’s characterized by its tropical forest and white sandy beaches, but has less than 7,000 inhabitants. It’s less developed, giving most of its land to the nature lovers who want to explore it. It’s beaches, Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette, are some of the most beautiful in the world and guests here can also get in an 18-hole round of golf while they visit.
Part of the Inner Island group of the Seychelles, Cousin is said to be one of the most private places on the planet. There are not many facilities on the island, but the slight inconvenience is worth it for the nature. In fact, there is a private nature reserve on the island that houses birds and turtles. While you can get in by boat or helicopter, it’s somewhat difficult to stay overnight on the island as it only allows ten people per day. The luxury resorts and privacy make it a great spot for a honeymoon if you do the proper planning.
Snorkelers and divers will be in underwater heaven at this popular marine park. The shallows are bright turquoise and the vistas are postcard perfect. The mixture of habitats here adds to the beauty, and visitors can see mangroves, seagrass beds, rocky shores, sandy beaches and coral reefs. This is also an area that is abundant in turtles, especially the hawksbill. It’s a great place for yachts to seek out shelter and a fun spot to try and see moray eels and catfish.
La Digue Island
This island is the smallest of the three main inhabited islands and provides the perfect blend of local life and a beach holiday. It makes a great day trip and has some of the best beaches in the country. While visiting, make sure to check out Anse Source D’Argent, Anse Severe, Anse Patates, and Anse Cocos. These beaches are famous around the Seychelles for their perfect conditions and natural sites as well as the beautiful landscapes around them.
This area is a picturesque village named after an 18th-century explorer from France. As most places in the Seychelles are, this area is studded with white sandy beaches and a few luxury resorts, making it ideal for a romantic getaway. When you’re in the area, make sure to visit the Baie Lazare Church, a neo-Gothic work of architecture that offers fantastic, panoramic views to visitors.
This is one of the most popular and touristy beaches on Seychelles, but despite the crowds, it’s a great place for a holiday. The waters here are shallow and warm, making it a great spot for children to swim and families to relax. It’s a large resort area full of restaurants and bars, so you can have quite the social life while enjoying the sun.
The only seaport in the entire country, this small town is actually the country’s capital. It’s where guests can explore a bit more of the culture aside from the natural beauty and beaches. Make sure to stop by the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens, which have 15 acres of exotic and native plants as well as giant tortoises, flying foxes, and an orchid garden. Wander around Freedom Square where a few colonial buildings still remain, most noteworthy, the historical clock tower. Check out St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Natural History Museum and don’t neglect the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market where you can get some fresh seafood, produce and homemade crafts.
Aride Island Nature Reserve
Animal lovers will be thrilled at the chance to visit this bustling breeding ground. Here is where you can find 18 species of sea-centered birds including the noddy, red-tailed tropicbirds, frigate, and roseate terns. It is one of the most densely populated areas for lizards as well as certain endemic species of flowers. A day trip is the best way to explore the island but from May through September, a rough surf makes it difficult to visit.
This marine park has a whole lot going on in the ways of insects, wildlife, and natural scenery. It’s located about 30 kilometers off the coast of Mahe and is extremely bio-diverse and mountainous. Throughout its rugged terrain and mist forest, the park protects over 2,000 species. These include geckos, turtles, skinks, birds, and chameleons. Visitors will find plenty to do here including beach lounging, snorkeling, caving, and swimming. Oh, and don’t forget to get a look at the insect population which includes, snails, slugs, millipedes, and their enemy, the carnivorous pincher plants.
This is the home and breeding ground to a large population of giant tortoises. They can be found wandering around the island and hiding out in sandy, sheltered coves. Most of the island is covered by trees, making it a great spot to lounge in the shade. It used to be a leper colony, and visitors can take a peek at the ruins of the doctor’s house as well as the hospital.
Morne Seychellois National Park
Covering more than 20% of the main island of Mahe, this national park is considered the largest of all of the islands. The mountain chain that it borders has high points of 905 meters, which provide an incredible view over the capital of Victoria. This area is home to hiking trails, many of which pass the tea plantations and overlook some pretty picturesque beaches.
Located on the island of Mahe, this trail is one of the best hikes to do while visiting. Wander through rubber and cinnamon trees until you find yourself surrounded by the glacis rocks. The trail itself is pretty easy going but make sure to wear sturdy shoes anyway.
If you’re a birder, this is where you HAVE to visit. The island has a huge population of dugongs, otherwise known as sea cows as well as sooty terns. There are raised observation platforms that allow photographers and birders to get a better look into the nests! Other species that can be found on the island include: ground doves, cardinals, noddy terns, plovers, crested terns, and mynahs. You will probably spot some giant tortoises too.
Le Jardin du Roi Spice Garden
It’s located in Mahe and helps to preserve the history of the island’s popularity for spices back in the 18th century. You’ll notice the aroma of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg right away as you overlook the ocean. There is a small museum on site which will give you more insight into the history, as well as guided hikes that can be arranged in advanced. Take the time to dine in the restaurant that uses the spices in their dishes and don’t forget to grab some from the spice shop to take home with you as a souvenir.
St. Anne National Marine Park
This is the first national park to be made official within the Indian Ocean, back in 1973. It’s a popular nesting ground for hawksbill turtles and crocodiles, and contains lush mangroves for them to hide in. For anyone who wants to snorkel, dive, or take a glass-bottom boat cruise, this is an ideal place to do those kinds of activities.
Mahe Tea Factory
Want to learn a little bit more about tea? Head to the tea factory on the island of Mahe to get schooled in the art of the brew and tour the plantation. It’s located in the hills, about 20 minutes from Victoria going south, and overlooks the western side of Morne Blanc.
Whale Shark Diving
The Seychelles is one of the best destinations on the planet to go diving with whale sharks. You can do this between Mahe and Silhouette islands, where the 19,000-kilogram animals are lurking. They are absolutely massive and quite intimidating to be next to in the water, although they aren’t dangerous. This is probably an experience best done by someone with previous snorkeling experience.
Experienced divers will jump at the chance to explore some intriguing shipwrecks below the waters. Heading 8 miles northeast of Victoria will offer some pretty unique wrecks to explore. A great one to start with is the Ennerdale, a giant British fleet auxiliary tanker that met its end on a group of rocks in the 1970s. Also, try the Twin Barges and Dredger Wreck if you have the time.
La Digue Coconut Plantation
Because, if you don’t come from a country with coconuts, they are more exciting than you would imagine. Visit L’Union Estate on the island of La Digue and see how coconuts are grown, processed and used. There is a stunning beach and a cemetery where the original settlers to the area lie.
The Seychelles is a destination that nature lovers will truly enjoy. If you want to get out there and explore the wildlife and tropical plants, these islands are where you need to go on your next holiday. Get in touch today to start planning your holiday of a lifetime.