Expert Reviews – Seychelles
Anthony is a photographer and writer for travel magazines and Lonely Planet, including the guides to Kenya and Botswana & Namibia.
Seychelles: Giant tortoises and beautiful birds
Seychelles is a world of astonishing beauty. Across a vast Indian Ocean realm, its archipelago of islands combines accessible tourism with end-of-the-world isolation, wild nature with fascinating cultural stories. Most visitors end up on the main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, and each of these has glorious beaches and dramatic interiors. I’ve loved my visit to each of these, with their fine hiking, bucket-list beaches and fabulous Creole cooking. Anse Lazio, Anse Source d’Argent and Anse Marron are the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. Further afield, the more remote islands have a Robinson Crusoe element to them, a mix of high-end ecotourism and the ultimate in seclusion. Seychelles also has a hint of the Galápagos about it, with its giant tortoises on many islands (especially Curieuse with its stirring back story and deep forests) and marine mammals. Diving is big business across the islands. The effect is even stronger on some of the Outer Islands – the bird watching of aptly named Bird Island, the tortoises and birdlife of Denis, the birdlife and 150,000 giant tortoises of Aldabra, which is a veritable speck of azure reefs and white beaches just about as far away from anywhere as it is possible to get. Slightly more accessible, the dense forest of Vallée de Mai on Praslin is an enchanted world of blue pigeons and black parrots.
Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.
The ultimate beach destination to complete an East African Safari
An archipelago of 115 Indian Ocean islands off the coast of East Africa, the Seychelles is a nature and beach paradise second to none. Spellbinding stretches of postcard-perfect white sand and warm, azure waters are the main attractions for most visitors. And the scenery is superb: perfect strips of sand, lapped by turquoise waters, backed by lush green hills with abundant palms and sculpted granite boulders.
Mahé is the largest and busiest island with the international airport making it the main entry point to the Seychelles. It boasts some top hotels, high-end resorts, quality restaurants and idyllic beaches, not to mention the quaint, little capital city of Victoria. In addition to popular Beau Vallon Bay and the indescribably beautiful beach Anse Intendance, it is home to the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park. And Mahé is the gateway to visiting the other islands, most notably Praslin and bicycle-friendly La Digue, which can be accessed by air or a short high-speed ferry ride. While Mahé, Praslin and La Digue are the three most accessible, affordable and visited islands, they are surrounded by a whole host of exclusive resort islands for those with fatter wallets.
Most high-end travel fanatics would agree that few places on the planet do ocean-side luxury quite like the Seychelles. Wilderness Safari’s North Island and Fregate Island Private surely rank amongst the very best tropical island escapes in existence.
But the Seychelles is not only synonymous with lazy beach days on picture-perfect tropical islands. Nature is abundant too, although – with the exception of the giant Aldabra tortoises – most Seychellois wildlife resides below the ocean surface. From manta rays, sharks and dolphins to coral reefs with their colorful fish-life and feeding turtles, scuba diving and snorkeling are highly rewarding activities that every visitor should experience in order to appreciate the abundant marine life and magnificence of nature in the rich waters of the Indian Ocean.