As amazing as you think Seychelles will be, it just exceeds expectations. Imposing granite boulders hug glittering turquoise oceans that gently lap against palm-lined beaches. Add to that wonderful, friendly people, amazing seafood, uber luxurious resorts and Seychelles is just what we all need right now — a tonic for the soul.
Each one of the 115 islands of Seychelles is diverse in its own charming way. So why stay stuck on one island? Here’s a guide to navigating the best of Seychelles.
Start your Seychelles vacation in Mahe which is home to the country’s capital Victoria. The town is walkable in half a day. Set aside a few hours to roam the lush grounds of the Seychelles National Botanical Garden. The rare palms, spice and fruit trees and vibrant native orchids make for astounding pictures. The Sir Selwyn Clark Market in Victoria is a good place to stock up on exotic fruits and souvenirs.
A guided tour of the Takamaka rum distillery is a must do in Mahe. It comes with a tasting of the spirit and a chance to buy bottles of Seychelles’ most popular drink. Stay for a meal accompanied by panoramic views of the sea at the adjacent Le Jardin du Roi Plantation restaurant.
If you enjoy a side order of adrenaline with your beach holiday, then go diving at Beau Vallon — Mahé’s most popular beach. Expect massive shoals of bengal snapper, moray eels and batfish popping their heads out of underwater caves and gently gliding by.
As the sun sinks below the horizon, twinkling bonfires light up on the beach. This is the perfect time to find a spot under the takamaka tree and enjoy a sunset cocktail. Or simply join the islanders to The Boardwalk the island’s very own watering hole with live bands and DJs for some smashing cocktails or chilled beers.
Just a short 15 minute flight from Mahe will land you in Praslin home to the legendary Vallée de Mai the birthplace of the mysterious coco de mer palm. Apart from its size (it’s the largest seed on earth) the coco de mer seed also bears an uncanny resemblance to a woman’s butt. That’s not all. While the butt-shaped nut comes from the female tree the male tree grows very suggestive phallic-looking catkins! As you navigate the thick canopy of trees, winding your way through gurgling streams and roaring waterfalls, it’s easy to imagine dinosaurs lurking behind the gigantic palm leaves. Watch out for the elusive black parrot and the bronze gecko.
No matter how many stunning beaches you have been to, nothing prepares you for the lapis lazuli waters and granite boulders of Anse Lazio beach. It’s also a much sought after snorkelling spot in the Seychelles with “resident” turtles, colourful fish and breathtaking corals.
A stroll along Cote d’Or with its local shops, cafés and restaurants is great for an insight into the Seychelles way of life.
Reserve a spot at Café des Arts a funky, pink and aqua-toned café for amazing seafood. Head straight for the wooden deck set right on the beach. A picture on the swing here will set your Instagram on fire.
With just 3,000 people, La Digue is the laid-back sleepier sibling to the boisterous Mahe and Praslin. Wooden pirogues dot the shore while bicycles and ox-carts rule the streets. This is the ultimate wind-down destination.
The first thing to do is hire a bicycle. They come with baskets in the front so you can pack a picnic, snorkel masks and fins and just and ride through palm-lined roads to Anse Source d’Argent. If the huge boulders, perfectly positioned palms and deliciously clear waters seem familiar its for a reason. Apart from being one the most photographed beaches in the world, Anse Source d’Argent has been the backdrop for many film and fashion shoots. Order a fruit platter from one of the beach shacks and soak in the hypnotic setting.
If you can bear to tear yourself away from the beach there are tortoises to indulge in. Watching the giant Aldabra nibbling on leaves and posing patiently for photographs is simply cute. Passionate hikers must add Eagle's Nest La Digue's tallest peak to their itinerary. A steep climb over 300 metres will be rewarded with the most awe inspiring views of the sea and neighbouring islands.
As the sun dips on the horizon head to The Fish Trap restaurant located on the water's edge. Panoramic sea views, fresh seafood with loads of french fries, chilled beers and a live band. What else could you ask for!
Best places to stay in Seychelles
Hilton Seychelles Labriz, Silhouette
The only hotel on the majestic Silhouette Island, you will be transported here by a helicopter or scenic boat ride. Expect pristine white beaches, mountains and virgin rainforest wherever you look. Accommodations consist entirely of private villas, each with its own garden terrace or pool. The spa is set on stilts over rocks and jungle.
Call: +248 4 293 949; Wallet: Rs42,000 onwards for a night
Constance Ephelia, Mahe
Set within 120 hectares of land, Constance Ephelia is as gorgeous as it is expansive. All suites and villas are spaciously designed and studded with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. The fitness center, sauna, outdoor pools, spa and diving will keep you engaged and enthralled throughout the stay.
Call: +248 4 395 000; Wallet: Rs38,000 onwards
Hotel Raffles, Praslin
Swim, sunbathe, snorkel, sail, kayak, walk, or just do nothing at all at this luxurious hotel with the largest swimming pool in the Indian Ocean territory. There are 86 architecturally exquisite villas, all of them with private plunge pools and outdoor pavilions to soak in breathtaking views of the ocean, white sandy beach and lush green hills.
Call: +248 429 6000; Wallet: Rs76,000 onwards
Les Lauriers Eco Hotel, Cote d'Or, Praslin
This boutique hotel also houses a popular restaurant serving fantastic Creole food and delicious wood fired pizzas by the pool. Rooms are spacious with a veranda/balcony and outdoor shower. The magnificent Côte d’Or beach is just a two-minute walk away.
Call: +248 4 297 900; Wallet: Rs21,000 onwards
Chateau St Cloud, La Digue
A heritage property located at the foothills of Eagle’s Nest Mountain, Chateau comes with a tropical garden, outdoor swimming pool and home style Creole food. The gorgeous Anse Reunion Beach is just a 15-minute walk from the property.
Call: +248 4 234 346; Wallet: Rs18,674 onwards
Le Duc de, Praslin
The turquoise Cote D’Or beach will be your playground when staying at this glamorous hotel with a tropical garden and three restaurants. There are two good dive centres close by and some fantastic snorkelling too.
Call: +248 4 294 800; Wallet: Rs33,000 onwards