By: Kaleem Haroon
The Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands off the east coast of Africa, are known for being extremely beautiful — and extremely expensive. But here’s the thing- pristine turquoise water and white-sand beaches come with a hefty price tag.Seychelles’s claim to fame is its beaches. The islands’ soft, white shorelines — peppered with immense boulders and framed by the warm, clear Indian Ocean — are often seen gracing the fronts of postcards and the covers of magazines. And the best part about Seychellois beaches is that even the most popular stretches of sand (like Anse Intendance and Anse Source d’Argent) are never crowded.While some islands of the Seychelles will bring you face to face with other tourists, others are almost completely deserted and offer peace, quiet, and pure seclusion. Whether with mountains, beaches, or lush vegetation, the Seychelles are also home to all kinds of landscapes and scenery! Island-hopping is the best way to get to know all of the different sides of the Seychelles. Every island, whether large or small, brings the full variety of the Seychelles to the forefront. And thanks to the various tours that are on offer on every island, the Seychelles are a unique and varied holiday destination.
If you don’t mind the company of critters, make your way to Curieuse Island to soak up the sun alongside giant tortoises, or dip below the waves off the Beau Vallon coast for a fishy encounter. Once you tire of the sand, the sea and the sun, cool down in the shade at the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens on Mahé, or stretch your legs in Praslin’s Vallée de Mai.
One of the most adventurous Seychelles attractions is to go scuba diving and snorkeling. Due to the spectacular topography of sprawling coral reefs, marine walls, apexes, drop-offs, wreckages, and ravines- the northern island region is perfect for scuba. The island of Mahe has some amazing snorkeling spots like Bay Ternay- which is another not to miss.
Rock climbing and zip lining are two most adventurous things to do in Seychelles. Challenge yourself as you climb the massive granite outcrops of Mahé at Constance Ephélia- the luxury resort. The adventure zone at this resort in Mahe offers various grades of rock climbing depending on expertise and thrilling zip-lining through the luxuriant tropical vegetation of the island.
The best and cheapest way to eat in the Seychelles is at the many, many Creole takeaway stands, where you get a plastic foam box stuffed with rice, seafood, and green papaya (just try it). And because the islands’ British colonizers relied heavily on indentured servants, a substantial portion of the country’s population is of Indian descent, and—as is often the case—horrid imperialism resulted in innovative, unique, delicious foods. Anywhere you go here stands to serve you some of the best Indian seafood you’ll ever have. These islands’ natural beauty is like a vacation brochure cliche: Smooth granite rocks hem the white beaches, and the crystal-clear water, together with the lush greenery and the thriving wildlife, is something everybody should experience once in their lives. The cuisine is spicy and fresh, the local culture fascinating, and there are plenty of activities, mostly water sports, to keep you busy if you need a break from relaxing in the sun lounge.
The Seychelles isn’t all about lazing around and relaxing on pristine beaches – if you’re looking to raise your heart rate, there’s no better way than scaling one of the Seychelles’ remarkable mountains. The Copolia Trail will take you through unique tropical flora and fauna, as you make your way to an unforgettable 360-degree view of Victoria, the nation’s capital. The Copolia Trail takes approximately 45 minutes to complete, with a total length of 1.6km. Loved for its relative ease, hikers will be greatly rewarded with uninterrupted vistas of the Seychelles archipelago.The Seychelles are NOT volcanic islands, meaning they’re quite different from somewhere like Hawaii. The mountains here are sheer and made from granite, giving the islands a very unique look.Hiking is even popular here, with various trails leading to great viewpoints all across the island and through Morne Seychellois National Park. The tallest mountain is Morne Seychellois at just under 3000 feet.
The largest island of Mahe especially charmed me with its different landscapes, including huge granite mountains and boulders covered in palms and other jungle-y plants.
The Seychelles, together with other Indian Ocean Islands, are not easy to get to, and to get the most for the time and money spent reaching your destination, you should stay for a week or two, if possible. You can easily spend more time if you are planning on boat trips and island-hopping, but in general, most people visit the main island to look around and then choose one island to settle and relax in a beach resort.