Read our pocket guide to Seychelles
Seychelles: A pocket guide
It’s hard to get further away from it all than on a small chain of islands a thousand miles off the African coast. This is what you’ll find on the Seychelles, the ultimate beach and destination thanks to its spectacular pristine sands, lush forests, delicious fusion cuisine and stunning, secluded luxury villas.
The archipelago is comprised of 115 islands, found in the Indian Ocean east of Kenya near the Equator. It has a total population of just over 90,000, making it the smallest nation in Africa. The islands abundance of flora and fauna and the country’s pride in preserving this are elements which set the Seychelles apart from other paradise spots. The Seychelles Granite islands are also considered the oldest in the world.
The Seychelles have been admirable as front runners in sustainable tourism with almost half of the total landmass set aside in the form of protected areas with the larger islands having lush vegetation with crystal clear waters surrounding them with beach a wide range of beach settings which rival the best on the planet.
Its tropical climate means that there are rain showers at regular intervals interspersed with lots of sunshine. Major holidays like Christmas, New Year, and Easter are popular times of the year to visit, otherwise June to August visitors can enjoy dry and cooler weather.
The largest island, Mahe, at 157 square kilometers, is a popular destination for luxury travelers. It’s home to the world’s smallest capital of Victoria, where one quarter of the island’s total population lives. Attractions in the city include the Natural History Museum, the 15-acre National Botanical Gardens featuring a wine variety of native and exotic plants and the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market showcasing fresh seafood, fruit, and vegetables, and local crafts.
The island is dense in mountain rainforests, which can be explored at the Morne Seychellois National Park whereas some may like to spend some time meandering the charming village of Baie Lazare. It was named after 18th-century French explorer Lazare Picault, who landed on the site. Here you can peruse the neo-Gothic Baie Lazare Church, dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi, an excellent vantage point over the whole area.
Many of the resorts on Mahe and the outer island have their own beaches with only limited access possible by outside guests. This level of exclusivity is further enhanced on some of the outer islands which often feature only one resort. Since Mahe offers more variety, many visitors come here for the overall Seychelles experience and then enjoy a few days of even more enhanced exclusivity on one of the outer islands such as North Island, Fregate and Desroches. If you stay on Fregate island, you can get up early and visit Anse Maquereau and turn over the sign “Beach Occupied” and it’s yours for the rest of the day. More of the country’s phenomenal nature can be admired in the Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage site on Praslin Island.
Besides relaxing on the beautiful beaches or by the pool of your private villa, there are a multitude of water activities available. There are excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities above the coastal coral reefs as well as sailing, fishing and dolphin watching excursions. A wonderful place for this is Ste Anne National Marine Park, made up of six islands off the coast of Mahé near Victoria. It was the first national park in the Indian Ocean, established in 1973.
A highlight of any trip to the Seychelles is tasting the local Creole cuisine, a delicious blend of French and Indian influences which can be sampled at both fine dining and casual eateries.
It’s impossible not to have a divine holiday on this paradise on earth, especially while staying in one of the exquisite luxury villas of UltraVilla’s network of top luxury accommodation experts.