Warm tropical waters – aquamarine colors layer, upon layer – clear waters and white warm and inviting sandy beaches. Perhaps those are the thoughts that come to mind when one mentions the Seychelles. Rightly so! However, geographically their location may be a bit hazy and one may grasp for their exact location. In fact these small islands are a part of Africa.
The Seychelles are located about 1600 km east of Zanzibar and the Eastern African Coast and about 1000 km North East of Madagascar. The country is made up of 115 islands in the heart of the Indian Ocean. A number of these islands are composed of Granite Rock – making for unique natural rock formations and natural scenery.
Visa hassles getting into the country? No way! No visa is required, regardless of your nationality – however confirmation of your hotel booking must be made ahead of time.
While the weather is fairly consistent year round (warm, humid, tropical environment) May though September is generally cooler and windier – the south east trade winds blow during this time.
Looking to get away from it all? The population of the entire country is under 100,000 people and about a quarter of the population lives in the capital city of Victoria (one of the world’s smallest capital cities by population). Victoria is well served with daily flights from a number of major cities within Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Victoria is located on the island of Mahe and this island is also home to the Seychelles International Airport (all International flights arrive and depart from this airport). The tallest mountain in the country, Morne Seychellois stands slightly more than 900meters and from its top there are great views of the main island. Other picturesque granite peaks stand on the island.
Despite most of the population of the entire country living on this small island, it is easy to find a number of secluded spots. You can rent a car in Victoria and make a leisurely drive around the island taking several hours visiting the secluded beaches, Baie Ternay Marine National Park, Morne Seychelles National Park and even a botanical garden.
From Mahe you can catch boats to other nearby islands (using the Inter Island Ferry) or fly (Air Seychelles & or other private domestic air charters) to further more remote islands.
While there is no indigenous population on the islands – the current population is fairly international – Arabic, African, French, Indian, Chinese etc. However, there is a high endemic population of flora and fauna including the black parrot, a specific species of palm (which incidentally produces the world’s heaviest seeds!), the jellyfish tree and the Seychelles Vanilla Orchid among others. Eco-tourism is certainly one of the Seychelles primary attractions.
A visit to the Seychelles begins and ends with the ocean and the beautiful beaches. A must visit is the Vallee de Mai National Park (world heritage site)- which boasts a huge diversity of plants and animals. The Aldabra Atoll (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is one of the world’s largest coral atolls; it surrounds a major tidal lagoon. This is pure classic island beauty – from its aquamarine water, billowing clouds often floating by, unique rock formations and lush green vegetation with white sand beaches. Oh and not to mention the giant tortoises.