Mahe is the largest of the Seychelles islands and encompasses the country’s international airport as well as its capital, the surprisingly quiet and peaceful town of Victoria, home to roughly a third of the national population, as well as many good restaurants and entertainment venues. Mahe has a mountainous interior characterised by dense tropical forests and stony outcrops, while its coast is blessed with some 75-odd beautiful beaches. The best known of these is the idyllic, white-sand Beau Vallon, fringed by deep bays that offer excellent swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Dotting the Indian Ocean and forming part of the Aldabra Group and the Outer Islands of the Seychelles, the Cosmoledo Atoll is a raised coral atoll comprised of over 5 square kilometres of white-sand fringed land encircling a glistening turquoise lagoon stretching for over 145 square kilometres. Those looking for a truly remote getaway can look forward to experiencing the peace, tranquillity and sheer natural beauty of the Cosmoledo Atoll. Known as an Important Bird Area this atoll is home to one of the largest colonies of booby including all three species that inhabit the Seychelles. Renowned as a fishing destination, visitors flock here to jump on a fishing excursion to catch an array of local species including bluefin trevally, bohar snapper, barracuda, milkfish, and an array of triggerfish.
Sainte Anne Island
Set against a towering mountain carpeted in lush vegetation and bounded by the Marine National Park of Mahe, Sainte Anne is the largest island of the Seychelles Island chain. Travellers seeking an idyllic tropical getaway complete with palm-lined sandy beaches lapped by crystal-clear turquoise waters should look no further than the exquisite island of Sainte Anne. The island is home to a single luxury resort located on its southwestern point as well as a tiny nearby village. This absence of development has allowed the island to remain a peaceful sanctuary filled with natural flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy relaxing on one of Sainte Anne’s six beautiful beaches, snorkelling or diving in the colourful underwater world or exploring the numerous hiking paths on offer.
Offering visitors an exclusive luxury retreat in some astonishingly scenic surroundings, Denis is a north-lying island in the archipelago that forms the famously beautiful Seychelles. With top-quality and increasingly eco-friendly facilities (including pampering spa treatments), this private island resort provides a wonderfully relaxing base for enjoying the white sandy shorelines, thick forests, rich birdlife and clear warm waters of Denis Island, which is easily traversed via bicycle and criss-crossed by a number of walking trails. There are guided tours of the island’s flora and fauna, not to mention exquisite diving and snorkelling sites dotted around the island’s close-lying coral reef. Other activities available on the Island include kayaking, windsurfing, sailing and tennis, while the on-site restaurant offers the best of traditional Seychelles cuisine.
Dotting the Indian Ocean, Praslin Island is the second largest of the Seychelles’ islands and boasts a tranquil, laidback atmosphere. Stretching for almost 40 square kilometres, the island landscape features lush tropical jungle, fringed by pristine world-famous beaches lapped by crystal-clear turquoise waters. According to local legend, the island served as a pirate hideout throughout the 18th century, and today it is a popular resort holiday destination. Praslin is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve with its groves of ancient coco de mer palms which produce the largest seeds in the plant kingdom. Popular activities include: turtle and tortoise spotting, snorkelling, diving and boating.
Located in the Indian Ocean, the Aldabra Atoll is an outstanding example of a raised coral atoll. Due to its remoteness and inaccessibility, the atoll has remained largely untouched by humans for the majority of its existence. Aldabra is one of the largest atolls in the world and contains one of the most important natural habitats for studying evolutionary and ecological processes. It is home to the largest giant tortoise population in the world. The richness and diversity of the ocean and landscapes result in an array of colours and formations that contribute to the atoll’s scenic and aesthetic appeal.
Forming part of the Aldabra Group in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles, the Astove Atoll is known for its breathtakingly beautiful scenery including pristine crystal-clear waters lapping unspoilt white-sand beaches. Visitors can look forward to exploring the underwater wonderland filled with exotic marine creatures and untouched coral reefs. This marine paradise was featured in the world famous documentary ’ The Silent World’ by the renowned ocean explorer, Jacques Cousteau. View the Astove Wall, where vast flats meet a dramatic 90-degree drop – making it the perfect dive site; discover the collection of ancient shipwrecks dotting the ocean floor, and jump on a fishing trip to catch an array of local species.
La Digue Island
This picture-perfect island is part of the Seychelles Archipelago featuring ox-cart taxis, verdant interior, calm aquamarine bays and stunningly beautiful beaches strewn with massive boulders; it is an utterly idyllic holiday destination. La Digue has retained a charming old-world atmosphere and a strong Creole identity, with traditions and ceremonies still a focal point of the island’s culture. Major attractions include: the gorgeous Anse Source d’Argent beach and the Veuve Nature Reserve, home to the elusive black paradise flycatcher, of which there are only a couple of hundred left on earth.
Set within the boundaries of a national park and rated by conservationists as one of the most significant biodiversity hot spots in the Indian Ocean, Silhouette Island boasts a stunningly beautiful coastline and tropical scenery reminiscent of a Robinson Crusoe movie. Its lush, ancient forests are a nature lover’s dream, providing a sanctuary for an impressive array of flora and fauna, including a number of species teetering on the brink of extinction – two varieties of giant tortoises and the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat. Similarly, the island’s surrounding coral reefs are a haven for a plethora of oceanic life, while the primeval granite slopes of Mount Dauban – the Seychelles’ second-highest mountain – offer several breathtaking hiking trails.
Baie Ternay Marine National Park
Baie Ternay Marine Park is a nature reserve in a bay on the northwest coast of the Seychelles’ main island, Mahe. Positioned between two hills and bordering the Morne Seychellois National Park, the bay’s calm turquoise waters are perfect not only for yachters seeking shelter from the monsoons but also as a vital feeding and breeding ground for turtles, dolphins, whale sharks, catfish and moray eel. With this wildlife swimming between its incredible habitats of mangroves, sandy shores, rocky shores, seagrass beds and coral reefs, the bay is known as a diver’s and snorkeler’s paradise. The park has no direct coastal road, creating an other-worldly, untouched and enigmatic experience. However, Baie Ternay is also conveniently close to Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles, (roughly 40 minutes’ drive), which offers all the modern city amenities some travellers might require.
Lying six kilometres west of Praslin Island in the Seychelles, the small granitic Cousine Island is a tropical paradise of white sandy palm-fringed beaches, turquoise waters and beautiful wildlife. Visitors can explore the seas through snorkelling, diving, fishing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding, or even take a catamaran trip around the island, stopping at various points for some of these activities. See pods of dolphins, majestic whale sharks gliding by and beautiful bird’s-eye views of the islands from the comfort of a helicopter. The island is also a wildlife conservation area, and allows guests to take part in several conservation activities should they wish to. Don’t miss the opportunity to spot an array of delightful birds, crabs, giant tortoises and sea turtles, and perhaps even the ‘turtle run’ of baby turtles running from their nests to the sea.
Fregate Island Private
Situated in beautiful Seychelles, Fregate Island also referred to as Fregate Island Private is fringed with world-famous white-powder sandy beaches lapped by crystal-clear turquoise waters. The island is scattered with indigenous forest, hundreds of tropical birds, over 2000 Giant Aldabra Tortoises and provides a safe haven for the nests of hundreds of endangered Hawksbill Turtles. Fregate has a private inland harbour, a yacht club and PADI dive centre. Visitors can enjoy a variety of wonderful activities including: excellent diving and snorkelling around the island, sampling exotic local cuisine, enjoying a romantic dinner in a treehouse in the island’s oldest banyan tree, and soaking up the picturesque scenery of this tropical paradise.