Why Seychelles? Getting to Seychelles. The Islands in a Nutshell.
Hop onboard an evening flight from Europe and awaken to Paradise!
Located 5 degrees south of the Equator east of Africa and scattered across the western Indian Ocean lie the Seychelles Islands. This unique travel destination is renowned for its timeless beauty, tranquility and diversity, which rolls from emerald green rainforests down to crystal clear turquoise waters, home to some of the rarest species of flora and fauna on earth.
Here you will find the perfect setting for a tropical island dream holiday…world famous beaches, incredible rock formations, fantasyland coral reefs, soaring luscious mountains, a warm climate year-round and a wide range of accommodation!
Not surprisingly almost half of the Islands are protected in reserves with two World Heritage Sites. Seychelles is recognised as a safe overseas spot and is also free from malaria, cyclones and dangerous creatures.
This breathtakingly beautiful archipelago comprises 115 granite and coral islands with a mixed-race population of only 85,000 inhabitants. The principal granite islands Mahé, Praslin and La Digue forming the cultural and economic hub of Seychelles as well as the centre of its tourism industry are a must-see. This is possible as a day-trip from Mahé for those on a budget, or overnight stays on all 3 islands. For a true 'castaway' holiday, the coral cay Bird Island comes highly recommeded!
From your selected island and hotel you can then join island hopping excursions to explore some of the other surrounding little gems, each having an authentic experience to offer, or you can just sit back, relax and take in the beauty of your surrounds, fascinated by how few people there are around you sharing in this splendor.
Seychelles, one of the world’s very last frontiers, promises adventure and exceptional natural beauty in pristine surrounds still untouched by man. This is a world like no other.
1. Any time is the best time to visit. The Seychelles is blessed with a year-long warm, tropical climate making it the destination for sun worshippers and beach lovers.
2. Just 10 hours on a direct flight from Europe. See below airlines servicing paradise.
3. No vaccinations required*. *Except if you are travelling through Kenya, then Yellow Fever Vaccination is required. Seychelles is generally a safe destination with no snakes, no dangerous insects and no threats of terrorism.
4. No visa required**. Visitor's Permit valid for the period of one month is issued on arrival subject to presentation of valid passport, return or onward ticket, proof of accommodation and sufficient funds for the duration of stay. Please click on Essential Info for further details. **A Temporary Visa requirement is in place for the nationals of the countries listed and travellers who have visited listed countries within 28 days click here www.ics.gov.sc/immigration-seychelles/visiting-seychelles/passport-visa-requirements
5. English & French speaking.
6. Welcoming Seychellois hosts who are a colourful blend of peoples of different races, cultures and religions making up a vibrant Seychellois Creole culture with its unique character and mouth-watering cuisine.
7. Much to see and experience: extraordinary island-hopping in the surrounds of an unbelieveable natural environment with some of the rarest flora and fauna on earth, diving, snorkelling, sailing, fishing, trekking, car and bicycle hire, horse riding, bird watching, nautical sports, souvenir shopping, wining and dining and more...
8. R & R guaranteed! And plenty of Romance too. Dubbed the "islands of love", legend has it that the Valleé de Mai where the native Coco de Mer palm of the Seychelles grows was said to be the original "Garden of Eden".
9. Heaven doesn’t have to cost the Earth! This tropical getaway offers a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets. From world-class five star beach hotels to a fine, ever-burgeoning portfolio of smaller hotels, guesthouses and self-caterings - which invite you to savour the slow paced Creole lifestyle, Holidays Direct Seychelles promises to book the best value available on-line.
10. One of a lucky few to visit as the number of tourist arrivals per annum is limited by controlled air access.
Airlines listed below have scheduled flights to Seychelles. Please contact the airlines directly for more information about booking your flight and connections from/to countries world-wide.
Air Seychelles : www.airseychelles.com
Emirates : www.emirates.com
Condor : www.condor.com
Kenya Airways : www.kenya-airways.com
Air Austral : www.air-austral.com
Ethihad : www.etihadairways.com
Ethiopian Airlines : www.ethiopianairlines.com
Mihin Lanka : www.mihinlanka.com
Information provided by the Seychelles Tourism Board www.seychelles.travel
Mahé, measuring 28km long by 8km wide, is the largest island and cultural and economic hub of the Inner Islands, and the international gateway to Seychelles. It is home to the international airport and the nation’s capital, Victoria.
The island is home to almost 90% of the total population (or approximately 72,200 people) reflecting Seychelles' diverse ethnicity and descent from African, Indian, Chinese and European populations, and is the seat of government and the chief centre of commerce.
With a backdrop of towering 1000m granite peaks, Mahé is an extraordinary treasure trove of flora that has evolved over centuries of splendid isolation.
Rare endemic plants found nowhere else in the world adorn Mahé’s mist forests in mountain strongholds, such as the Jellyfish Tree, the carnivorous Seychelles Pitcher Plant and the Seychelles Vanilla Orchid.
First visited by the British in 1609, Mahé was not visited again until Lazare Picault's expedition of 1742 when the gradual process of settling the island began, first by the French whose direct influence continued until 1814 and then as a British colony until Seychelles gained independence in 1976.
Mahé is the transportation hub for island-hops and day excursions to neighbouring islands and all other islands within Seychelles. All scheduled domestic flights by Air Seychelles originate from Mahé to the serviced islands.
A leisurely tour of the island by car will take 2 to 2 1/2 hours and reveal the lion’s share of Seychelles’ accommodation facilities, places of cultural interest and other attractions.
Praslin, with a population of 6,500 people, is Seychelles’ second largest island. It lies 45km to the northeast of Mahé and measures 10km by 3.7km. A leisurely tour around the island by car will take approximately 2 hours.
Praslin is the site of the fabulous Vallée de Mai, one of Seychelles’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The island features truly exquisite beaches such as Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette, both appearing on the top-10 list of world’s best beaches in recent years.
Prior to settlement of the islands by the French in the mid-18th century, Praslin's Côte d'Or was a favourite haunt of pirates.
The island was named Praslin after the Duc de Praslin, the French minister of marine in 1768 when the original 'Stone of Possession' was erected on the island in what is still known as Anse Possession.
Almost a century and a half later the visiting General Gordon (of Khartoum fame) became convinced that the Vallée de Mai was the original site of the Garden of Eden. This is where the legendary Coco-de-Mer, the world's heaviest nut, grows high on ancient palms in a primeval forest. The Vallée is host to six species of palm to be found only in Seychelles.
Praslin stands at the forefront of Seychelles’ tourism industry with a strong tradition of hospitality and wide range of accommodation facilities. It also provides a base for excursions to neighbouring islands, some of which are important sanctuaries nurturing rare species of endemic flora and fauna.
La Digue Island
Close neighbour to Praslin and to its satellite islands of Félicité, Marianne and the Sisters Islands, La Digue is the fourth largest island in Seychelles.
La Digue takes its name from one of the vessels in explorer Marion Dufresne's fleet, sent by the French to explore Seychelles' granitic islands in 1768.
Apart from hosting the Seychelles' black paradise flycatcher, one of the rarest birds on earth, La Digue's biodiversity features such stars as the chinese bittern, cave swiftlet, waxbill as well as two rare species of terrapin.
La Digue's forests also contain a wealth of flora in the form of delicate orchids, tumbling vines of vanilla, as well as trees such as Indian almond and takamaka. Gardens blaze with hibiscus and nepenthes against a backdrop of swaying coconut palms.
La Digue is an island where time stands still and time-honoured traditions such as travelling by ox-cart and bicycle are still king. Traditional methods of boat building and refining of coconut products (copra) are still practised on La Digue.
The friendly atmosphere of this intimate island with its languid pace of life, traditional architecture and breathtaking beaches, such as legendary Anse Source d’Argent, is an absolute must for visitors.
La Digue has numerous and diverse accommodation for visitors, and its picturesque satellite islands are ideal for snorkelling and diving excursions.
Bird, Seychelles’ most northerly island is 100km or a 30-minute flight north of Mahé. The island was once known as Ile aux Vaches because of the dugongs (sea cows) that thrived there.
During the period of the southeast trade winds (May-September), Bird is colonised by more than a million sooty terns that each lay their eggs on their own exclusive square foot of territory. Bird also hosts populations of lesser noddies and fairy terns as well as white-tailed tropic birds, fodies, plovers and wimbrels.
Situated at the northern edge of the archipelago where the ocean floor plummets to 2000 metres, Bird has extraordinarily rich marine life in the form of hawksbill and green turtles, dolphins and even the occasional whale.
Once famous for its sizeable population of giant land tortoises, Bird now boasts 'Esmeralda,' the world’s heaviest giant land tortoise living in the wild, weighing in at over 300kg and reputed to be more than 200 years old. Incidentally, 'Esmeralda' is a male.
In the early 1970's, Bird turned to tourism, and with several conservation programmes in place, the Bird Island Lodge stands at the forefront of eco-tourism in Seychelles.
Twenty-four comfortable bungalows, excellent beaches, a reputation for good cuisine and a convivial atmosphere complement great opportunities for snorkelling, deep-sea fishing, and nature watching.
The Coco de Mer female nut endemic to the Seychelles.
The Coco de Mer male palm.