LOCAL! GoNOMAD DESTINATION MINI GUIDE
With breath-taking sunsets, powder-white beaches, the Seychelles are a tropical paradise like no other. And not just because of the endemic coco-de-mer palm whose startling resemblance to the female form has many believing it to be the biblical forbidden fruit. The main islands of this tiny Indian Ocean archipelago are the only mid-oceanic granite islands in the world.
This has given them a unique and stunningly beautiful landscape of steep lush-green hills and huge, majestic boulders.
The Seychelles are famed for their laid-back atmosphere and one of the islands even boasts that visitors go there to do absolutely nothing! However, there is plenty to keep nature enthusiasts busy.
The 92 islands are home to giant tortoises, a host of endemic birds and dozens of endemic, tropical plants. As for the turquoise-blue waters encircling the islands, they are a haven for diving, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing.
WHEN TO GO
The best time of year to visit is May or September and October. June to August may be a little cooler, but seas can get extremely rough around this time of year so it is not the ideal season for water sports activities. November to January is the rainy season. March and April are the hottest months and visitors used to cooler, drier climates may find the heat and humidity a little unbearable.
GETTING THERE AND AROUND
Visitors can fly to the Seychelles from major airports in the UK, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, South Africa, Kenya and Singapore. There are no direct air links from the American continent. Though some US-based cruise lines do make a port visit. The international airport in Seychelles is located on the main island, Mahe. Arriving visitors can easily get a tour bus or taxi to take them to their hotels. There are daily flights to Praslin and the islands of Bird, Fregate and Denis islands.
It is possible to buy boat tickets for the three main islands, Mahe, Praslin and La Digue from the inter-island jetties on each of them. Excursions to other islands are generally arranged through tour operators or hotels.
Renting a car is the easiest and most convenient means of traveling around the two largest islands, Mahe and Praslin. Alternatively, you could travel by taxi. Many drivers are more than willing to act as tour guides. The public bus service is fairly reliable and cheap. However, buses only run during the day and in some instances you may need to change buses to reach your final destination. There are few cars on La Digue and the best means of getting around there is by renting a bicycle. The ox-carts on La Digue are more of a novelty than a real form of transportation. Other islands are too small for any transport other than foot!
BEST MAJOR ATTRACTION
To savor the full experience of the Seychelles, island-hopping is a must. An ideal itinerary would encompass the breath-taking views on Mahe, a visit to the primordial palm forest on Praslin, the old world charm of La Digue, the wonder of the underwater world of the Sainte Anne marine park, the tranquility of Fregate and Denis and Bird and the unique endemic flora and fauna of islands such as Curieuse and Cousin. But above all, it is the islands’ beaches that are the main attraction. The fine white coral beaches of the Seychelles are the most beautiful in the world, and yet are rarely crowded. The two most outstanding are Anse Lazio on Praslin island and Anse Source d’Argent of La Digue.
BEST UNUSUAL ATTRACTION
- Vallee de Mai, Praslin Island
The giant nut of the coco-de-mer, an endemic palm tree that only grows on the Seychelles islands of Praslin and Curieuse, bears such an uncanny resemblance to the human female pelvis that many have claimed it to be the forbidden fruit! The nut, affectionately nicknamed “the love nut,” can weigh up to 40 pounds and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest seed in the world.
For a small fee you can visit L’Union Estate where you can watch the work at a traditional copra kiln or visit the 19th century colonial house where British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his family stayed during their holidays to Seychelles.
- Travel Services (Seychelles) (TSS)
Travel Services (Seychelles), Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles
E-mail: [email protected]
- Sainte Anne Marine National Park
Glass-bottom boats or semi- offer excursions through the natural aquarium of the Sainte Anne Marine national park, just a few minutes away from the harbor of the capital Victoria. The park boasts a rich variety of fish, coral and other marine life. After feeding fish, you can picnic one of the tiny islands in the park.
The best of all the web sites for would-be visitors
Website of the London-based Seychelles Tourism Office
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