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You have to study a map quite closely to spot the Seychelles. Roughly 1,500 kilometres off the eastern coast of Africa, this stunning collection of unspoiled islands has Africa’s smallest population. Most of these islands are uninhabited, but the developed ones offer gorgeous settings and a welcome as warm as the climate – the temperature stays between 25C and 30C all year round.
A holiday to the Seychelles allows you to discover an unspoiled African paradise. Huge swathes of land have been dedicated to nature reserves, with turtles and tortoises often outnumbering people. Sustainable tourism is a key aspect of trips here, with strict rules on environmental protection helping to preserve rare orchids and wildlife.
With 115 separate islands to choose from, holidays to the Seychelles literally come in all shapes and sizes. Every island has its own distinct charm, from the coastline of Cousin to the mountains of Mahé. As the largest and most populated island, Mahé is the main Seychelles destination. With its national park and botanical garden, it certainly makes the most of its picture-postcard beauty. A coastal road wraps around 90 per cent of the island, providing spectacular scenery for anyone willing to hire a car. There are also bus services winding their way along the west and east coast roads.
With its eternally warm microclimate, holidays to the Seychelles can be enjoyed at any time of year. That means it’s always a good time to hit the beach – the only challenge is deciding which one to visit. The islands comprise a mixture of granite and coral, and most have smooth white beaches extending into the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Praslin alone has ten notable beaches that are all ideal for snorkelling and swimming, with forests framing the soft, white sand that’s perfect for sunbathing and relaxing. No wonder a 19th-century general became convinced Praslin was the biblical Garden of Eden.
Because they’re so far from other population centres, the Seychelles gives you a chance to immerse yourself in the unique culture of these islands. Folk music and seafood are among the signature attractions, and the Creole cuisine borrows influences from India and Asia as well as the French settlers who governed these islands for many years. Each island has its own distinct character, and it’s easy to island-hop using a variety of short-haul flights and boat rides.
As the dominant island in this archipelago, most holidays to the Seychelles will involve Mahé at some point. With towns and villages framing its coastline, the majority of hotels and guesthouses can be found on this island. Water sports and diving are among the most popular pastimes, along with boat tours and fishing. However, the party doesn’t stop at sundown thanks to clubs and bars in the thriving town of Victoria.
Mahé’s bustling market and charming boutique stores are well worth a visit during any holidays in the Seychelles, with many of their spices sourced from Le Jardin du Roi in the hills. The Botanical Gardens offer a feast for the senses with their exotic aromas and diverse flora, and a rum distillery awaits discovery at Takamaka Bay. Speaking of which, don’t leave before you’ve discovered the rugged mountainous beauty of the Morne Seychellois National Park.
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