Going through some Seychelles packages
for your upcoming holiday? Before you zero in on one it is imperative to know a bit more about this archipelago of 115 islands on the Indian Ocean just off East Africa than just its sunny beaches and warm turquoise waters home to a dazzling marine life. While it is true that Seychelles is a fabled beach paradise with strips of white satin sands separating the azure waters from the sprawling tropical wilderness rolling down its hillside, there are fewer places that understand beach-side luxury the way Seychelles does. The resorts are plush and incorporate the natural environment in the most incredible way, the food is exotic and laced with sumptuous offerings from the sea, and everywhere you turn you are greeted with the most stunning palm-fringed coastal scenery that you will ever come across in a lifetime.
As you consider one of the Seychelles tour packages
, make sure it incorporates a visit to Morne Seychellois National Park for its mountain rainforest and beaches such as that of Anse Takamaka and Beau Vallon. But in all you do, the starting point of your journey will be Mahe which is also home to its tiny, picturesque capital, Victoria. With your Seychelles trip
underway, we list down a few experiences that are worth taking.
Dive and snorkel
Among things to do in Seychelles
, snorkelling and diving form the top choice of activities of its visitors. Some of the greatest underwater experiences can be enjoyed off the La Digue, Mahe and Praslin coasts as well as a whole array of inner islands, several of which remain unexplored to this date. With Mahe as the largest island and the gateway to Seychelles, you can begin your diving experience just off its north coast which has a wealth of reefs, schools of exotic tropical fish and some truly spellbinding shipwrecks. Stay a little longer in the waters and you will broaden your chances of spotting manta rays and whale sharks. The gin-clear waters make the colourful coral gardens all the more vivid, promising a time of their lives to the swimmers and snorkellers.
The list of places to visit in Seychelles
is never-ending. However, if you were to shortlist a few, Praslin with its alluring beaches of golden sand and smooth granite boulders is easily an idyllic sun-and-surf getaway and the high-point of your trip to the island nation. Anse Lazio on the island’s northwestern tip offers the most picturesque ribbon beach fringed with palm groves, receiving emerald swells through the day. Its beachfront restaurant is ideal to unwind at and tuck into succulent seafood. Else you have the rest of the day at leisure to walk the powdery sands, swim in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and keep a radar for approaching shoals of reef fish. Another significant highlight of the Praslin island is the Vallee de Mai National Park, a World Heritage Site known for being home to the extremely rare coco de mer palm. Birdwatchers flock in to spot the native Seychelles bulbul, the endangered black parrot, and other exotic birds like the Seychelles warbler and blue pigeon. Another highlight of Praslin is the long, arch-shaped beach of Anse Volbert. Perfect for sunbathing and snorkelling, there are several good seafood restaurants on its shores along with a number of facilities and hotels with views. And if you wish to work up an appetite before heading to one of its restaurants, go for a swim in its aquamarine waters.
Morne Seychellois National Park
Very few know that there is more to Mahe than its beaches and cool diving sites. One such unexplored gem is the Morne Seychellois National Park that goes up in a spine of tall peaks to the zenith of the Mahe Island. You can opt for a guided hike through the slopes of the rainforest rich with coastal mangroves and awe-inspiring mountain and coastal scenery. The dense forest is bristling with indigenous species of reptiles, birds and plants found no where else on the planet. A day trip to this national park is highly recommended.
Take a boat ride off La Digue or Praslin and you will arrive at this slate-grey island of Curieuse. Only a kilometre and a half from the northern coast of Praslin island, Curieuse is preferred by day trippers for its population of the giant Aldabra tortoises that you can touch and take photographs with. The largest tortoise species in the world and native to Seychelles alone, the Aldabras can grow up to four-foot-long and weight around 250 kg. The beach is great to enjoy a barbeque lunch, and after all the walking around if there is still some steam left in you, without another thought, dive into the crystalline waters of Baie Laraie and watch its brilliant marine world unfold before your eyes. You could even visit the Anse Jose beach for more swimming and snorkelling opportunities, or simply to soak up the tropical sun.
La Digue Island
La Digue is another of Seychelles popular islands, a short boat ride away from Mahe. It is home to some truly picturesque caramel sands and azure waters backed by granite outcrops. Its beach setting characterised by swaying palm and casuarina trees lend it its Robinson Crusoe-esque feel. To get a sense of this scenery, head to the Anse Cocos beach. Though a haven for sunbathers, the rip tides make it less than perfect for the swimmers. However, if you proceed to its northern edge, you will find pools for a refreshing swim. The southern tip of La Digue is quite a find with its remote beach scenery that’s made up of alabaster sands and blue-green natural pools. Anse Marron, a picturesque little inlet, backed by looming boulders of granite and waters fit for snorkelling or swimming, is worth the slightly arduous journey by foot. No trip to the La Digue island is complete without the customary visit to Anse Source d’Argent, easily the planet’s most photographed beach. D’Argent’s shallow azure waters, a gleaming white beach and a spine of granite boulders that run the course of the sands as swaying coconut palms jostle for space on it, draw travellers from far and wide to Seychelles. To make the most of this sun-and-sand paradise, a trip early morning when the tide is not high and you can see maximum beach area, is recommended. There are a few shacks in the vicinity that sell fresh fruits and snacks, and if you have the time you can navigate the blue seas in a transparent kayak.
Silhouette is the third largest island on the Seychelles archipelago, just 20 kilometre north of Mahe. With palm-fringed beaches, secret coves and forested peaks that rise dramatically out of the ocean - its highest point is Mt Dauban at 2559 foot - skirting caramel-golden sands, it is no wonder that the entire island is a national park. It has two lodging choices, but you are bound to fall for the castaway-like feel of the place.
Fregate’s Anse Maquereau affords a typical Seychelles-like beach scenery with granite-backed shores, craning palm groves, salt-white sands lapped by waters of the deepest blue. This island doesn’t get too crowded, and it is possible to even have the whole beach to yourself. Make sure you use the markers ‘Beach in use’ or ‘Beach free’ at the top of the stairs before climbing down. Don’t be surprised when you find a cooler full of chilled beverages waiting for you here.
The picturesque little capital of Seychelles is known for its colonial-era landmarks such as the National Museum of History housed in a 19th century building which was formerly its Supreme Court. But it is not just its stunning architecture, the museum brings in lovers of history, culture and anthropology for its exhibits. You can go through the 300 years of the island nation’s history with bits on the ships that arrived here, the cannons that were used aside from other tenets from its maritime past. Get a glimpse into its Creole culture by browsing the display on architecture, music, fishing and clothing. The southern wing of the structure houses a cafe. Before leaving for the other islands of Seychelles, do make a stop at Victoria’s Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market. This traditional African market is an explosion of activity. Here you will find stalls bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables, local spices and herbs, quaint souvenirs and a wealth of shirts and sarongs. Come early in the day to watch the fish sellers arrange their fresh catch that includes everything from barracuda, tuna to parrotfish. Saturday is the best day to visit Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke.
Takamaka Bay distillery tour
Familiarise yourself with the rum-making process, a favourite drink of the islanders and find out the story behind its most important distillery. You are taken around it in about 45 minutes where you get a closer view of the process of making the drink till the session concludes with some rum-tasting. Walk about in its sugarcane grove and unwind with a meal at the on-site restaurant.
Beau Vallon Beach
This spectacular crescent beach lined with coconut palms and takamaka groves make it the most coveted one in the whole of Mahe island. The waters are perfect for a swim and easily you can spot shoals of tropical fish swim past you. There are sundecks available for rent on an hourly basis in the daytime. For the beach bum, any time is a good time to visit Beau Vallon, but if swimming is what you have in mind, avoid the period between June and November when the currents can be strong.
Best time to visit Seychelles
Pick the months of April, May, October and November to visit the island country off the East African coast. These are considered the transition months from the humid and hot to pleasant and cool. The conditions in these shoulder months is milder, making the weather ideal for soaking up some sun, setting out into the jungles to view the wildlife, and of course, getting under the currents to get a sense of its marine life. The island is the most crowded in December, January, July and August, the time between spring and fall, but it is best to avoid this time if you would like to have the place to yourself, enjoy some quiet moments, take photographs at leisure and get a feel of what it was like before civilization came up.
How to reach Seychelles
The Seychelles International Airport is located in Mahe, very close to its capital, Victoria. From New Delhi there are no direct flights to Seychelles, however, you could board an Air Seychelles, Air India, Etihad Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates or Qatar Airways flight to get to the island nation with one or more stopovers along the way in either Mumbai or Colombo. From Mumbai, there are non-stop flights to Seychelles by Air Seychelles that takes about 4.5 hours to complete the journey. Most of these are early morning flights around 05:30 am. There are connecting flights from Trichy and Coimbatore as well for Seychelles aboard SriLankan Airlines.
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