Escape to paradise: The tranquil tropics of the Seychelles

Words by
Sphere Life

18th June 2019

With exotic wildlife, stunning beaches and a vibrant local culture, discover why this unique archipelago should be your next holiday destination

In the heart of the Indian Ocean, far off the coasts of Africa and Madagascar, 115 beautiful islands are scattered over warm turquoise waves. Quite literally located ‘a thousand miles from anywhere’, the Seychelles draws thousands of travellers every year to enjoy its tranquil – and blissfully remote – treasures.

The Seychelles is a relatively young nation, having only been settled as a republic 250 years ago. That said, it remains all but unscathed by the oppressive noise, crowds and pollution of the modern age, existing as peacefully now as it did when it still formed part of the Gondwana supercontinent, millions of years ago.

The ecological integrity of the Seychelles is unparalleled, with most islands boasting pristine, white-sanded beaches, crystalline waters and breathtaking natural beauty, complete with astonishingly verdant landscapes and all manner of tropical wildlife. It’s no wonder that many refer to the archipelago as ‘another world’. Even better, the Seychelles is still relatively undiscovered as a holiday destination, meaning its not unusual to have one of its stunning shorelines all to yourself.

With 115 islands to choose from, it can be tricky choosing where to start. For a relaxing, laid-back stay, head to La Digue, which offers beautiful beaches – including Anse Severe and the famous Anse Source D’Argent – with idyllic cycling and hiking routes. Meanwhile, Praslin comes with three village-sized settlements, the Seychelle’s only 18-hole golf course and lush jungles to explore. Mountainous Mahé is the largest island, home to most of its towns and villages, including the capital of Victoria. Enjoy a spot of rock-climbing or sea-kayaking before embarking on a tour of Victoria or the famed Le Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden.

Dotted in between the three main inhabited landmasses are smaller mid-ocean islands, formed of coral, reef or granite. Each has its own unique attractions and character, from sunset vistas and snorkeling spots to gorgeous flora and fauna. Look out for such exotic species as the Seychelles Black Parrot, the rare Seychelles Magpie robin and the Jellyfish tree, as well as the Coco De Mer, the world’s heaviest nut.

It goes without saying that island hopping is an essential experience during a trip here. Air Seychelles offers an inter-island transfer service, while catamaran ferry lets you experience the joys of sea travel. For a real treat, book a helicopter transfer and enjoy the view from the skies.

If you can tear yourself away from the beach, there’s much to discover in Seychellois culture. Festivals and events take place throughout the year. For instance, autumn 2019 will see the nation host the Beau Vallon Regatta – complete with yacht races and beach games – the Praslin Culinary & Arts Fiesta, and Festival Kreol, a riot of creativity, music, dance and food. In December, the Seychelles Ocean Festival celebrates the vibrant marine life of the archipelago.

Seychelles cuisine has to be tasted to be believed. A true melting pot of eastern and western influences – from India and China to Europe – dishes contain the freshest of locally sourced ingredients, drawing on the teeming oceans and verdant landscapes, as well as the bustling Victoria Market. Think tender grilled fish, flavoursome coconut curries and plantain-based desserts.

With British Airways now offering direct flights twice a week, visiting paradise has never been easier.

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