The Seychelles are a group of 115 islands, only a few inhabited, in the Indian Ocean that lie off the coast of East Africa, northeast of Madagascar. The Seychelles were disputed between France and Great Britain during the age of colonialism, with Britain ending up in control in 1814 after the Napoleonic Wars. The islands achieved independence in 1976; however, free elections did not occur until 1993. The politics of this island group remain in something of a state of flux, although this should not bother the tourist seeking a relaxing beach vacation.
Attractions in Seychelles
- Visit the beaches. Many of the beaches are untouched by man’s influence and are refreshingly uncrowded. They offer clear blue skies and a tranquility you will rarely find. A hike along the coastline from Beau Vallon to Anse Major will take about 1.5-2 hours and your reward will be a small deserted beach that’s fit for a king. The scenery along the hike is breathtaking. Not all beaches are suitable for swimming depending on the time of year, due to the seasonal winds. Do not ignore warning signs indicating that a beach is hazardous for swimming, no matter how it seems to you.
- Vallee de Mai is a national park and world heritage site, home to amazing flora and fauna, including the world’s largest seed: the coco de mer. Entrance fee: Free for residents, 315 rupees (~20Euros) for foreigners (Sept 2010).
- Aldabra Atoll: The world’s largest coral atoll that stretches about 22 miles east to west and encloses a huge tidal lagoon. Aldabra is the original home of the giant land tortoise and tiger sharks and manta rays can also often be seen here.
- Water Sports: The warm Indian Ocean waters make Seychelles the perfect place for the water enthusiasts. Explore on board a yacht, power boat, catamaran or sailboat. Windsurfing is also popular and the best time for this activity is usually around May then in October, at the start and end of the trade winds.
- Scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing are also extremely popular and can be done almost anywhere in Seychelles. Baie Ternay is superb and easily accessible by glass bottom boat tour from Beau Vallon beach – leave yourself an empty day and walk the beach for a ‘last minute’ booking – great deals can be bartered. Snorkeling (provided you have your own gear – some hotels lend masks, snorkels and fins to guests) is FREE and there are many great spots: off some of the small beaches at Glacis, past Mouse Island at Anse Royale, along the reef at Port Launay (near Ephelia Resort). Often spotted are a wide array of tropical fish, sea turtles, eagle rays and more!
- Land Sports: Golf, tennis, squash, badminton, horseback riding, biking and hiking are some of the recreational activities available on the Seychelles Islands. Bike rentals and walking tours are great ways to sightsee and since distances are relatively short and the scenery is beautiful, walking is probably the best way to see the smaller islands (La Digue, Praslin), while walking along the main road can be quite intimidating as the roads are narrow and local cars/busses drive quite quickly. On Mahe it is not advised to ride bicycles, and there are no rental shops within sight. Bird watching is also popular and the islands are home to many of the worlds most treasured and rare species of animals. The best place to do so is Cousin Island which although only 1 km (0.6 miles) in diameter, is home to more than 300,000 birds, but many unique species can be found at ease on Mahe.
- Nightlife: Do not miss most popular Nightclub “Lovenut” in the centre of Victoria, 100 metres walk from central Taxi station. Also entertaining are “Tequila Boom” at (Bel Ombre) and “Katiolio” (near Anse Royale) night clubs. “Katiolio” was one of the first night clubs to open on Mahe and boats an open-air that is directly beside the ocean.
Destinations in Seychelles
- Victoria – is the Capital City
- Anse Boileau
- Anse Royale
- Anse Etoile
- Beau Vallon