WHY SHOULD I VISIT THE SEYCHELLES
Here are our top five reasons why you should visit the Seychelles:
- Most beautiful beaches in the world.
- Scuba diving – with protected reefs and 30m visibility
- Island Hopping – hopping between islands gives a variety of experiences
- Live aboard luxury boating options
- Hiking or cycling
The Seychelles is essentially a beach destination, albeit the best in the world, in my opinion. Some of the beaches are protected by coral reefs and have little to no waves and other beaches experience big waves that are perfect for surfing. Although some beaches or parts of beaches have coral underfoot, there are lot of areas where there is just soft, white coral sand underfoot. With palms and other larges tree growing right on the edges of the beaches, the view is not marred by umbrellas as these trees offer enough shade for most beach goers.
With crystal clear, warm water, the sea life is fantastic and the coral reefs most rewarding to explore either while snorkeling or scuba diving.
What is the best time to travel to the Seychelles
The Seychelles is dominated by the northwest (October to April) and southeast (May to September) monsoon prevailing winds. The transition months are generally the best time to visit, namely April & May, October and November. October to March is generally slightly hotter with gentle winds while May to September is cooler and drier, with stronger winds. It is during this period that the southern beaches of Mahe and Praslin may be covered in seaweed that washed up on the shore.
Most rain falls in January and February, but the rest of the year still experiences rain. The rains that fall are short and only last a few minutes to a few hours. Rain is very localized. One beach experiencing rain while the beaches nearby are dry and the same with the islands.
Of great importance is the fact that the Seychelles does not experience the extreme weather (cyclones, monsoons etc.) that is normally associated with the Indian Ocean and other tropical islands.
Which places should I include in my visit?
Mahé, the biggest and main island, is the point of entry and as such is almost always included in an itinerary. In my opinion, Mahé has some of the best beaches in the Seychelles, so I would suggest you spend some time here. Beau Vallon Bay is the only bay in the Seychelles where motorized sport is allowed.
I suggest that you do a bit of island hopping to truly get the best out of your visit. Praslin, is the second largest island and Lazio Beach one of my all-time favourites. Here I would hire a car and go beach hopping, much as I would suggest for Mahé. The trip to Praslin and La Digue from/to Mahé is by fast ferry which is in itself an experience. You may even encounter dolphins on your trip.
La Digue is the third largest island, just a 15min boat trip form Praslin. On La Digue life is more laid back and where you get where you are going by bicycle or by walking. The beaches on the east coast are more remote, less crowded and wilder, as they are not protected by coral reefs and sometimes have waves up to 2m high. Arguably the best beach in the Seychelle is Source d’Argent, which is actually a series of beaches separated by granite rocky outcrops making for stunning photographs.
The above are the three biggest of the Seychelles Islands and form part of the inner (granitic) islands. They have smaller islands dotted around their shores that are great for day trips to laze on the beach, go snorkeling, kayaking or scuba diving and are easily accessible by boat. These three islands, due to their ease of access and cost, attract the majority of tourists. The other islands of the Seychelles are often more expensive and getting there can get quite pricey.
Other inner Seychelles islands that offer accommodation include: Round Island, Cousine Island, Bird Island, Denis Island, North Island, Silhouette Island, Sainte Anne, Cerf Island, Recif and Frégate Island.
How long should I visit the Seychelles for?
I would suggest that the minimum stay is 7 to 8 nights. This will allow you to experience the three main islands. If you are wanting to do this at a more leisurely pace, 12 nights would be perfect. If you are wanting to include some of the other islands stays of 10 to 28 days are not uncommon. Bear in mind that the Seychelles is an expensive destination and that the length of an itinerary will most often be dictated to by cost.
What is the weather like in the Seychelles?
The Seychelles islands are scattered just below the equator and as such have very little variation in temperature throughout the year. Very seldom does the minimum temperature go below 20°C and the maximum temperature above 32°C. It does have significant amounts of rain, but this varies quite considerably between islands and also between the west and east of the bigger islands, particularly Mahé.
Rain is mostly in the form of short showers of a couple of minutes to a few hours, with the wettest months being January and February. There is no month in the year where no rain falls.
The months of April to September are drier than the rest of the year and cooler. The Seychelles can be very humid, but the sea breezes seem to make this less oppressive.
The Seychelles in not in the cyclone or monsoon belt and very seldom experiences heavy winds and damaging rain.
Do I need a visa to travel to the Seychelles?
No visas are required to travel to the Seychelles if you are travelling for holiday and that for less than 90 days.
What are the health requirements for the Seychelles?
Seychelles is a malaria FREE country, it does however have mosquitos.
Yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from an endemic country. The following vaccinations are recommended, but not compulsory:
- Hepatitis A & B
- Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis (TDAP)
- Mumps, Measles and Rubella (MMR)
- Meningococcal meningitis
How do I travel around in the Seychelles?
Mahé and Praslin have a reliable, cheap local bus service. For Mahé and Praslin we suggest car rental as the roads are good and it provides flexibility allowing you to explore the whole island. Inter-island ferry or boat transfers are well organized and relatively inexpensive. Flights, both scheduled and charter are available and for some island the only way, to get there.
All islands will offer transfers to the lodge/s, but on the main islands, transfer with driver are one of the easiest ways to get around. On La Digue, other than the arrival transfer, the best way to get around is by bicycle.
TOP TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Mahé is the biggest of the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles. It houses the capital city of Victoria and the International airport. Mahé is only 157 km² and is home to over 80% of the population of the Seychelles, just in excess of 80 000 people. The north and east of the island are the most densely populated. The island has many beautiful beaches, the most well-known of which is Beau Vallon Beach, also the busiest beach, with many hotels, resorts and restaurants. The other beaches are much quieter and two of my favourites are Grand Anse and Anse Soleil.
The are 3 national parks on the island itself with Sainte-Anne Marine National Park just offshore. The highest point in the Seychelles is Morne Seychellois which rises to 905m, which is quite astounding on such a small island.
The center of the island, from the far north almost to the far south, is mountainous and the elevation drops quickly to the east and west coasts where there is a narrow band of flat land ending in the beaches. These mountains are covered with tropical forests and are home to many streams.
While much smaller than Mahé at 38km², Praslin has much the same topography. A mountainous interior, although substantially lower than Mahé and narrow band of flat ground culminating on the beaches. The vegetation on Praslin is not as dense as on the mountains of Mahé or La Digue. Although small, the best way to get around is by car or bus. With resorts and hotels scattered all around the island, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation.
Lazio beach is Praslin’s best, but can get quite busy, yet more than worth the trip.
The famous Vallée de Mai, home of the coco de mer nut (double coconut), is found in the mountains of interior of Praslin. I found the entry fee quite high, but it is a very unusual palm that it is protecting.
La Digue Island
La Digue, the 5th largest island in the Seychelles, is only 10km². With only a few vehicles allowed on the island, mainly for transfers and small trucks for moving goods, the best way to get around is by bicycle or on foot.
The island has an astounding 24 beaches, some very small, but all very different and beautiful. Arguably the most beautiful beach is Source d Árgent. To get to this beach, you have to go through Union Estate and have to pay for the privilege, but well worth it. It is a series of bays/beaches, separated by rocks or rocky outcrops that add an extra dimension to any photograph.
The beaches on the west are protected by a coral reef and the looming presence of Praslin, but the beaches of the east coast are more wild, remote, do not have a coral reef and have waves that are suitable for surfing. These are some of the best beaches on the island and include Grand and Petite Anse and Anse Coco.
Alphonse group of atolls
Alphonse, St Francois and Bijoutier make up the Alphonse group which is about 400km from Mahé. The atolls have beautiful white crushed coral beaches and dense natural forests. On Alphonse you will also find the remnants of coconut groves, huge tortoises and many birds, this of course is beside the coral reefs surrounding the island.
Cosmeledo and the Aldabra group of atolls
Cosmeledo is about 1029 km from Mahé and part of the Aldabra group of atolls. The Aldabra group of atolls, looks like the sides of a square with a lagoon in its centre and is a World Heritage Site. The World Heritage Site status of the Aldabra group comes from the fact that is a largely untouched and pristine ecosystem. The group of beautiful islands has stunning white sandy beaches, an interior of dense bush, “wadeable” sand flats as a wonderful lagoon.
The atoll is 1055 km from Mahé. The atoll is made up of Astove and Charlotte islands. The island’s white sandy beaches surround a large inner lagoon. The Astove Wall is where the coral reef drops almost vertically for over 1 km into the ocean depths, making it a fantastic place to dive and fish.
St Denis Island is a private island about 85km from Mahé. It is a low island with lovely white sandy beaches and lush interior.
Silhouette Island is the 3rd largest of the Seychelles islands and is only 20 km from Mahé. It is home to quite few endemic, endangered animal and plant species which is the reason that over 92% of the island is protected. One of the most notable endemic species is the sheath-tailed bat that nests in the caves of the island. Well maintained trails allow visitors to explore the island and its beaches. With similar topography to Mahé, the centre mountains of the island get up to 740 m high at Amount Dauban.
Frégate Island, 55 km from Mahé, is the easternmost of the inner islands and boasts 7 beaches. Anse Victorin was voted the World’s best beach. The natural vegetation of the island was largely destroyed and replaced by plantations, but some 10 000 indigenous trees have been replanted and the island is slowly regaining its original beauty. It is home to over 2 200 Aldabra tortoises and the endemic Tenebrionid Beetle. It is also a nesting ground for two species of sea turtles.
Bird island is the northernmost island of the Seychelles archipelago and only 105km north of Mahé. A haven for tropical birds and giant tortoises, it also has 5km of beaches and is surrounded by a coral reef.
With so many islands, the Seychelles is one of the best places to explore by boat. Live aboard yachts provide a luxury, exclusive experience that can be tailor-made to you needs. Fully catered with captain and crew, it is one of the most comfortable and flexible ways to visit the many beaches, coral reefs and islands of the Seychelles.
Contact Q2 Travel for quotes and if you are interested in visiting the best beaches in the world.
The Seychelles lies northwest of Madagascar and Mauritius at about 4° south of the equator. The Seychelles is an independent nation of 115 islands, not all inhabited and an exclusive economic zone of 1.3 million km². The Inner islands, 42 of them, are granitic (made up of granite rock) and the outer islands or atolls, coralline (formed by coral).
The Seychelles has a population of less than 100 000 people. The main language is Creole but French and English are spoken and understood. All three are official languages.
The official currency is the Seychelles Rupee. Euros and US Dollars are also accepted, but Euros are preferred.