The Seychelles, a glimmering archipelago spread across a million miles of Azure Ocean
Since that distant time when Seychelles’ 115 granite islands became scattered over a secluded corner of the Indian Ocean, they have remained sanctuaries for much more than some of the rarest species of flora and fauna on earth.
The Islands – There are two categories of islands the granitic ‘Inner ‘ that cluster around the principal island of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, whose verdant peaks climb skywards from virgin forests and immaculate beaches; and the ‘Outer’: a sparkling array of flat, coralline islands extending westwards towards the coast of Africa that includes legendary Aldabra, the world’s largest coral atoll. The ‘Inner islands’ are the cultural focal point of Seychelles where the majority of the population lives while the ‘Outer Islands’ remain miniature worlds, little touched by man thus offering a unique and incomparable island experience.
The population is made up of French, English, Indian, Chinese and African origin; nine out of ten live on Mahé. Mahé is the Seychelles Island largest island and home to the capital Victoria, with its bustling port is Seychelles commercial centre and home to most retail outlets and tourism facilities. Many are concentrated towards the north of the island while the south with its picturesque villages proposes a quieter pace of life. Most of the hotels are situated on Mahé , but beaches are far from crowded since the coastline boasts more than 65 beaches and coves. Car hire is reasonably priced and they drive on the left so there's no reason why not to explore this beautiful island.
The Seychelles is a gentle world where the insects are strictly non-poisonous, there are no snakes, and even the fish are unafraid of men. Everything on these unspoilt islands is friendly, courteous and clean. The land gives generously with coconuts, mangoes, bananas, breadfruit, pineapples, and an equally bountiful sea yields up tuna, snapper, barracuda and kingfish. The climate is temperate all year round, the sea clear crystal blue and the sand soft and white and stretching for miles. The frangipani's blossom perfumes the night air and the tropical birds call to one another creating the perfect atmosphere when astonishingly dramatic violet and orange sunsets pattern the sky.
Poetic I know, but seeing is believing and I can't stop myself from getting carried away. Having recently returned from a stunning 2 week trip I feel compelled to encourage my fellow travellers to visit The Seychelles. It's natural, stunning and not as expensive as you might have previously been lead to believe. The abundance of good quality accommodation ranging from small and friendly hotels to luxurious world renowned resorts has opened up this collection of islands. The smaller islands allow us to holiday on a desert island with perhaps no more than 20 detached cottages scattered among the palm trees, the ultimate in privacy, relaxation and indulgence.
Conservation is very important to The Seychelles, with many of the smaller islands forbidding or restricting visitors and much of the waters have become designated Marine Parks to protect the environment. St Anne Marine National Park, just off the coast of Mahé, is one of four marine parks in Seychelles. Apart from enjoying swimming and snorkelling opportunities, you can descend to the deep in a semi-submersible subsea viewer and see the fish without getting wet.
Praslin is the second largest island and home to Anse Lazio, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Seychelles. Situated just 24 miles northeast from Mahé and a quick 15 minute flight, or 60 minute catamaran trip across the water, Praslin is not to be missed. Praslin is home to the UNESCO World heritage Site 'Valle de Mai' that is said to be the original site of the garden of Eden and one of the few places the famous Coco-de-mer, grows.
La Digue is the fourth largest island in the archipelago. In sweet laziness transport is by oxcart, bicycle or on foot, you can walk anywhere on the island within an hour. Perhaps the most romantic of the Seychelles islands La Digue is characterized by the unruly heaps of massive granite boulders tumbling into the sea, tinged pink at dawn, grey at noon, and glowing red in the sunset.
Denis Island lies north of Mahé and comprises of 25 distinctive well-appointed cottages. Denis is unique and creates the perfect location for those seeking escapism, total relaxation and tranquillity, its romantic ambience makes it ideal for honeymoons, while its glimmering beaches are just made for soaking up the tropical sun and azure sea. Denis is also an ideal base for thrilling deep-sea fishing expeditions.
In comparison North Island provide an eco-friendly island experience where a philosophy of ’barefoot’ luxury aims to provide the very best in seclusion, location and accommodation. Eleven villas, each one handcrafted from natural elements to an astonishing degree of perfection, boast individual plunge pools, a health spar and breath-taking views of stunning beaches and verdant hillside. You arrive by helicopter into a world of ‘barefoot ‘luxury mixed with the opportunity to experience, and participate, in the educational and conservational programs undertaken on the island. A true sanctuary for the senses
There are so many stunningly beautiful islands it’s difficult to know where to visit but where ever you choose you can be sure that the infrastructure between the islands is superb. Inter islands flights are scheduled to co-ordinate with transatlantic flights. Boats, ferries and buses weave across the islands ensuring where ever you want to visit its accessible and never far away.
Amidst this glimmering archipelago, spread across a million miles of Azure Ocean, an unforgettable journey awaits those eager to finally discover a place that’s truly different and magical. A place like no other and another world entirely
For more information on Seychelles holidays or ideas for alternative holiday destinations
call Joanne on 01243 779 737