The Seychelles: What to Do on These Beautiful Islands
Off the coast of eastern Africa near Tanzania, The Seychelles are an archipelago of 115 islands that lie in the Indian Ocean. The islands are known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, even fit for royalty, as Prince William and Kate Middleton spent their honeymoon there. Ian Fleming, the famed author of the James Bond novels, even visited the Seychelles for writing inspiration, and many popular blockbuster films, like Castaway and Tarzan, have been shot here.
Although the traveling journey to the Seychelles is long, the pristine beaches, unspoiled nature, and unique creole culture make the rest of the world melt away and allow you to truly enjoy your vacation.
How to Plan a Trip to the Seychelles
What to See
Although the Seychelles is comprised of 115 individual islands, the three largest and main islands to visit are Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue. Mahé is the largest of the islands and also home to the Seychelles’ capital, Victoria, which will likely be your point of entry at the airport. All of the islands are fairly close together and can be navigated with short hopper flights, ferries, and helicopters. It’s also recommended to rent a car on the larger islands, however, a bike would suffice on the smaller ones.
Of course, the main attractions of the Seychelles are the incredible beaches. Although many of these have luxury resorts built on them, public access is still allowed -- you just need to register at the security gate of the hotel. Here are some of the best beaches you absolutely cannot miss:
Anse Source D’Argent, La Digue - The most famous and well-known of the Seychelles beaches, Anse Source D’Argent is consistently named one of the world’s top beaches and is also one of the most photographed (think desktop screensaver). It’s known for its incredible rock formations and has served as the set for many movies and commercials.
Grand Anse, La Digue - Grand Anse is a widespread and open beach with few visitors and big waves good for surfing. There is little shade here so if you have sensitive skin, consider bringing a beach umbrella.
Anse Georgette, Praslin - Anse Georgette is known as a great beach for snorkeling and is more secluded if you’re looking for something quieter.
Anse Lazio, Praslin - Anse Lazio is a large beach with lots of sand and lifeguards for family-friendly swimming.
Anse Louis, Mahé - Anse Louis is a smaller and less popular beach, but a great surf spot due to its bigger waves. It’s also easily accessible and has its own parking lot.
Anse Intendance, Mahé - Also easy to reach if driving, Anse Intendance is extremely photogenic and good for swimming.
Honorable Mention Islands
While the three main islands are where you will most likely spend the majority of your time, it is worth taking a day trip to some of the smaller nearby islands.
Grand and Petite Soeur - These “big and little sister” islands are close to La Digue and are a popular day trip. The Soeurs are private islands owned by the Château de Feuilles hotel and allow for a limited number of daily visitors from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on weekdays. The main attractions here are swimming, snorkeling, and picnicking. You can also find the Seychelles’ famous giant tortoises roaming the deserted beaches!
Curieuse - Also home to the giant tortoises is Curieuse, a small island off of Praslin. Here you can hike through the mangrove forest and enjoy a barbeque lunch on the beach!
Aride - The small island of Aride is north of Praslin and is the perfect day trip if you are interested in wildlife. Aride has been a nature reserve since 1973 and is known for its bird watching and snorkeling.
Many local tour groups on the main islands are available for booking day trips. The cost differs depending on the trip, but are typically around $70-$150 USD per person.
Things to Do
Beyond exploring the various picturesque beaches on the Seychelles, there are also other interesting places to check out while you’re visiting. The open-air Victoria Market on Mahé Island is a great stop to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as pick up souvenirs for friends and family back home. Near the market is also Tempio Hindu, a Hindu temple with very colorful and intricate architecture.
Many of the islands have hiking trails with beautiful ocean views as well. The Copolia Trail and Morne Blanc Trail are top-rated trails, both located in Victoria on Mahé. Copolia is about a three hour trek round trip and has amazing views of the nearby Eden Island. Morne Blanc is a shorter hike, taking about an hour, and has beautiful scenery at the top.
If you’re in Praslin, the Vallée de Mai Nature Preserve and Praslin Waterfall are definitely worth checking out. The Nature Preserve is a preserved palm forest and one of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the Seychelles. It’s also home to the famous coco de mer, the largest seed in the world, weighing in at forty pounds! Just 200 meters from the preserve is the Praslin Waterfall, which is a secluded gem hidden in the rainforest.
Where and What to Eat
The Seychelles, known for its cheap creole cuisine, is the perfect place to get out of your comfort zone and try new foods! They have a large variety of freshly caught seafood and excellent grilled fish and curries. Two common dishes on the islands are octopus coconut milk curry and “sosis rougay”, a sausage dish with tomato and onion sauce. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try “rousettes”-- bat curry!
There are 23 different varieties of banana found in the Seychelles and they are especially known for breadfruit. Legend has it that if you eat breadfruit in the Seychelles, you are guaranteed to return again one day! Ladob is also a signature dessert you must try, made with banana or sweet potato and coconut milk cooked with various spices.
Some of the best food on the islands is found at creole-owned guesthouses and restaurants, including:
Rey & Josh Cafe Takeaway, La Digue, $
Mimi’s Cafe, La Digue, $
Mi Mum Takeaway, La Digue, $
Chez Jules, La Digue, $$
Le Reduit Restaurant, Mahé, $$$
Les Rochers, Praslin, $$$$
Important Things to Note
Before taking off on your exciting adventure to the Seychelles, there are also some important things to note:
The official languages spoken on the island are English, French, and Seychellois Creole
The currency used on the islands is the Seychellois rupee; one USD is equivalent to about 13.63 rupees
Most connecting flights from Dubai, Nairobi, and Doha land at the main airport on Mahé Island
To travel from island to island there are short hopper flights, ferries, and helicopters; a short ferry from La Digue to Praslin costs around $15 USD, while a ferry from Mahé to Praslin is about $70 USD
A trip to the Seychelles is not for the penny-saver -- you can expect to spend around $250 USD each day
There are no visas required to travel to the Seychelles, but travelers are granted a free visitor’s permit upon arrival that lasts for up to three months
In order to obtain a visitor’s permit you must have proof of a return flight, booked your accommodations, and have a minimum of $150 USD funds per day you will be spending there
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