With over 100 jewel-coloured islands, the Seychelles is a diverse and strikingly beautiful destination to visit. You can find luxury hotels, boutique accommodation and glorious beaches, all fused together with local life. I was lucky enough to spend some time exploring three of these special islands and found them to be brimming with culture, adventure and scenery! Throughout this blog, I’ll be talking to you about things to do in the Seychelles, namely on the islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue – how you get there, how you get around and what to expect!
I’ll start with the main island of Mahé. The beating heart of the Seychelles, here you’ll find the international airport, the capital of Victoria and the central places of commerce. Mahé is home to several beautiful hotels which are great for both couples and families, so if you’d prefer a ‘fly and flop’ holiday with a simple transfer, Mahé is fantastic.
Victoria is a charming pint-sized capital which boasts a replica of the Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, at its heart. It was a gift from the UK government in the early 1900s. Victoria also has a lovely local market where you can buy textiles, beautiful souvenirs and wander the fresh fish and vegetable stalls. It’s colourful, bustling and makes for a great morning out!
As well as the beautiful Morne Seychellois National Park in the island’s north, where you can marvel at dramatic flora and fauna and even do a little endemic bird-spotting, the Port Launay Marine Park is great for snorkelling with turtles and other tropical fish.
If you like to explore on dry land with a little treat at the end, I’d recommend a visit to Takamaka Rum Distillery. In the 18th century, this used to be a plantation for cinnamon and patchouli. However, after the plantation fell into disrepair, it was discovered two decades ago the soil was perfect for growing sugar cane. Takamaka rum was born! At the distillery, Francis and his team have been custodians of this historical site for the last five years and oversea the Takamaka Rum Distillery and the tour of its factory. On a typical visit, you’ll take a journey through the restored plantation house, see where the old plantation kitchen was, look at the kitchen garden and meet Taka and Maka, the resident pair of giant tortoises. A tour of the sugar press and distillery will follow,where you will learn about the different barrel woods, how many years various rums will be stored for and how this aging process affects the taste. Of course, they don’t forget about the tasting at the end – Francis is also great and explaining how best to use rum and which ones to use in cocktails or ‘on the rocks’.
The Seychelles is so diverse and beautiful, so we would recommend you visit at least two islands in order to capture the different aspects. If you don’t fancy the light aircraft journey from Mahé to Praslin, you can take the hour-long Cat Rose ferry.
If you choose to visit Praslin, one thing that is an absolute must-do, is the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve. It’s home to the endemic coco de mer palm that bears both male and female fruit. These huge trees are spectacular and something incredibly different to your ‘regular’ palm tree. On a tour of the Vallée de Mai, you will learn about the length of time it takes for the trees and seeds to mature, and the difference in their appearance as time goes on. The deforestation and use of the coco de mer is heavily restricted due to its rarity and the fact they are the habitat for certain endemic bird species in the Seychelles. The Vallée de Mai is laced with gentle trails that can last for between an hour to up to a four-hour round trip.
For those who prefer the beach aspect of a trip, Praslin’s beaches are absolutely glorious. Anse Lazio was a favourite of mine, for its blinding white sand and clear blue waters lapping the shore. Along these picture-perfect beaches in Praslin, you will also find little local restaurants serving palm heart salads and local octopus curry – something you will find a lot of in the Seychelles, as fresh seafood is plentiful and delicious. Anse Georgette on the north-west of the island is another picture-perfect beach and accessible via a stay at Constance Lemuria. For any keen golfers out there, Constance Lemuria is a wonderful five-star luxury resort with a world-class golf course! You can snorkel and relax on the sands one day and sharpen your swing the next.
La Digue is the most undeveloped of the three main islands with very limited infrastructure, so it retains a real old-island charm. You arrive here by a Cat Rose ferry from Praslin (taking about 15 minutes) and will then head onward to your accommodation by golf buggy or open-sided truck. La Digue beaches are among the most beautiful in the world and the dramatic, shining granite boulders which rest on their sands are some of the most photographed scenes in the Seychelles, the dark stone starkly contrasting with the silver sand and azure waters. Grand Anse and Anse Source d’Argent are the ones you will find most people head to, as these are the most spectacular. However, if you hop on a bicycle and pedal around the island, then I’m sure you will find your own perfect sandy spot along the way!
La Digue is a very easy island to explore and most people do so by bike. When not beach-bound, you can visit an old vanilla plantation and see the fresh vanilla pods, as well as a working copra mill and coconut oil press. There really is nothing like the sweet smell of fresh coconut oil! At only 5km long, you can see most of the island in a day, but I would recommend spending two or three days here, to really ensure you see and take in the beauty at a leisurely pace. You can enjoy some great little local restaurants serving fresh, authentic Creole cuisine and quaint stalls selling clothing and small souvenirs. You will need to take cash though, as card payments are not too common in La Digue when you’re not in your hotel!
The Seychelles is more than just a paradise beach location and you can fill your trip with more than just snorkelling and sunbathing, and even the smaller Outer Islands hold visit a tortoise sanctuary on a nearby small island. Make the most of your time in these wonderful islands by spending 10-14 days exploring two or three of these beautiful islands.