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Seychelles

The overwhelming majority of visitors to the Seychelles stay on one of the archipelago's three main islands: Mahe, Praslin, or La Digue. Mahe, the largest, is also the liveliest, with the most generous offer of shopping and entertainment. The capital city – Victoria – is also located on Mahe, many flocking to its Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market (often simply referred to as "Victoria Market") for produce and souvenir shopping. Mahe is most often any traveller's fist point of entry to the Seychelles, for it is on this island that the nation's only international airport is located. Praslin, albeit much smaller, has plenty in the way of nature escapes – the UNESCO-listed Vallee de Mai reserve makes for some incredible hiking through primeval mangrove forest, where the endemic (and rather wacky-looking) coco de mer grows undisturbed. La Digue, the smallest of the three, will please those looking for seclusion – the only means of transportation here is cycling, which means no vehicles or other disturbances – just you, picture-perfect beaches, and star-dotted night skies. Day-trips and private excursions can be arranged to nearby islands like Curieuse or Silhouette, as well as some of the more remote outer islands.

The City

European explorers took what today is Praslin Island's nature reserve to be the original Garden of Eden, and no wonder – the primeval forest of Vallee de Mai has changed little, if at all, over millions of years, and giant Aldabra tortoises still freely roam the archipelago populated by an incredible diversity of endemic plant and animal species. Out of the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles only 12 are inhabited – by Homo sapiens, that is – making for splendidly pure natural landscapes, unspoiled beaches, and some of the world's most fantastic diving and snorkelling.

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Do & See

The Seychelles' incredible biodiversity is an attraction in itself, with ample opportunities to get close and personal with the islands' most famous inhabitants – the giant Aldabra tortoises – as well as a countless other animal and plant species (most notably among the latter indigenous coco de mer). The archipelago's luxury hotels are the ultimate relaxation retreats, and active pursuits are available in the way of hiking through thick mangrove forests, diving and snorkelling.

Beaches

The Seychelles' 115 paradisiacal islands are home to some of the world's finest, most stunning beaches, many offering unparalleled seclusion. Some of the islands' best include Anse Lazio and Volbert on Praslin; scenic Anse Cocos, private Anse Marron and Anse Source d'Argent on La Digue; and Anse Takamaka on Mahe Island.

  • Address: Ouakam, Dakar
  • Phone: +221 77 939 61 79
  • www:
  • Email:

Wildlife Observation

Many of the archipelago's islands are populated by giant Aldabra tortoises, and bird species number 250, 12 of those being unique to the islands. Mahe Island's Port Launay Marine National Park is the place to head for whale shark sightings, and Praslin Island is home to the country's national bird - the Seychelles black parrot. Cousine Island is where visitors are encouraged to take part in wildlife conservation projects (and spot free-roaming giant tortoises and rare bird species along the way). A mere 3km away from there is Fregate Island, known especially for its chelonian inhabitants.

  • Address: Ouakam, Dakar
  • Phone: +221 77 939 61 79
  • www:
  • Email:

Diving & Snorkelling

The Seychelles' unique marine biodiversity and appealing crystal-clear waters create the perfect conditions for underwater discovery. For snorkelling, head to one of the best sites of the Indian Ocean - Sainte Anne Marine National Park - or take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim alongside whale sharks on Mahe. Diving is another way to get close and personal with reef inhabitants (humphead parrotfish, octopus, various types of sharks - including hammerhead, if you're in luck). Seychelles Underwater Centre

  • Address: Ouakam, Dakar
  • Phone: +221 77 939 61 79
  • www:
  • Email:

Bird Island

The now privately-owned Bird Island is the archipelago's northernmost, tellingly named after its incredible population of birds. The Bird Island Lodge provides eco-friendly accommodation and delicious meals, and further pursuits include snorkelling, dolphin-watching, and meeting the island's largest inhabitant - the 300kg tortoise Esmeralda.

  • Address: Ouakam, Dakar
  • Phone: +221 77 939 61 79
  • www:
  • Email:

Curieuse Island Tortoise Farm

Organised tours take visitors to the Giant Tortoise Farm on Curieuse Island (tours depart from Praslin and other islands). Upon seeing the Aldabra, visitors are free to explore the island further, and get the chance to see coco de mer palm trees, indigenous black parrot, the breeding ground for green sea turtles, and even more varied flora and fauna.

  • Address: Ouakam, Dakar
  • Phone: +221 77 939 61 79
  • www:
  • Email:

Dining

Seychellois cooking revolves around the sea: fish and seafood play a central part, followed closely by chicken. The proteins are frequently offered as part of a curry, served with a side of rice. Fine dining is available at most upper-range hotels (which can get pricey), but plenty of affordable alternatives can be found at small independent eateries.

Marie-Antoinette (Victoria)

The set menu offered at Marie-Antoinette has barely change since the 1970s, and consists of a variety of traditional Seychellois Creole dishes, which gives patrons a chance to sample several at once. The restaurant is set inside a former colonial mansion, which forges a distinctive ambience of olde.

Boat House (Beau Vallon)

This North Coast restaurant's main draw is the varied dinner buffet, held daily from 7.30 to 9.30pm. Dishes served are primarily Creole specialities, with seafood (tuna steaks on grill), meat, and vegetarian dishes represented, along with a traditional salad buffet selection.

Le Combava (La Digue)

La Digue's Domaine de L'Orangeraie resort contains the island's most refined restaurant - Le Combava. This one is the place to go if you intend to splurge, for opportunities are ample - Le Combava lists lobster, giant prawns, and fine wines on its menu - among other dishes, all exquisitely presented.

Essential Information

Airport

The Seychelles International Airport, a few kilometres away from Mahe Island's Victoria, is the country's only international airport, and main point of entry for the overwhelming majority of visitors. Taxis and rental cars are available for hire at the airport. There is a public bus stop just outside the airport at the time of arrival, the Seychelles public buses are not equipped with luggage storage compartments, which means no passengers travelling with luggage are admitted on board.

Public Transport

The larger islands of Mahe and Praslin both have rather well-developed bus networks. A print-out containing all information about schedules and routes can be picked up at the main station in Victoria (and at tourist offices in Praslin). Bus destinations are usually displayed on the front window, fares are fixed regardless of travel distance and are paid to the driver upon boarding. To reach some destinations, a change at the capital's main station may be needed. Ferry service connects the principal islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. Privately arranged boat tours are necessary to reach other islands. On La Digue, cycling is the primary means of transportation, and bikes are widely available. Air Seychelles operates 15-minute flights between Mahe and Praslin, and flies to other islands of the archipelago (some routes on request). Two charter companies (helicopter Zil Air and Islands Development Company (IDC)) also arrange transfers and excursions.

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