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Seychelles

A tropical paradise with talcum powder beaches lapped by topaz waters

About Destination

Talcum-powder beaches lapped by topaz waters, lush hills, a sublime laid-back tempo; these dreams of a tropical paradise become reality in the Seychelles. There are over 100 islands that make up the Seychelles archipelago, the vast majority of which are completely uninhabited.

The diversity of the Seychelles landscape rushes up to greet you the moment your aircraft begins its descent and promises a long list of exciting things to do. Seychelles is famous for having some of the best beaches in the world, pristine and uncrowded. Some are framed by age-old granite boulders and others offer powder-soft sands, turquoise clear waters and sublime opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and pure relaxation.

There are great opportunities for island-hopping between the 16 islands that currently offer accommodation. These range from sumptuous 5-star resorts to rustic island lodges and cozy beachside bungalows. On your way, you will discover such gems as the legendary Vallée de Mai, home to the legendary Coco-de-Mer. You will also find proud national monuments, beautiful Creole houses, artists' studios, national reserves and marine parks, as well as breathtaking natural wonders above and beneath the waves. Various excursions will introduce you to the pleasures of glass-bottom boating, or enjoying a choice of water sports.

There's also golf course and for the keen explorer, guided nature tours where to enjoy some of the rarest species of flora and fauna on earth. Not forgetting the mellow Seychelles nightlife where you can take in a casino, some local bars and fine restaurants offering unforgettable Creole and international cuisine.

Nature takes priority in the Seychelles; most islands are nature reserves and even on the three most inhabited islands large areas of land are protected. Seychelles is a living museum of natural history and a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora & fauna on earth. Seychelles is also home to two U.N.E.S.C.O World Heritage Sites: Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll and Praslin’s Vallée de Mai, once believed to be the original site of the Garden of Eden. From the smallest frog to the heaviest land tortoise and the only flightless bird of the Indian Ocean, Seychelles nurtures an amazing array of endemic species within surrounds of exceptional natural beauty.


Destination : Seychelles Capital : Victoria
Capital's calling code : +248 Currency : Seychelles Rupee
Time Zone : GMT + 4 hours Minimum Stay : 6 to 10 Days
Languages : Creole, English and French
What to see : White pristine beaches in different Islands, Rarest species of flora & fauna, Dolphins & Sharks, Colonial architecture, Waterfalls, Museum with impressive collection of shells, corals and coco de mer, Local markets, Temple & Churches, Nature Reserves
Suited for : Beach Lovers, Nature enthusiasts, Family Holidays, Leisure Seekers, Boys Gang, Girls Gang, Anniversary Trip
Best Time to Visit : May – September
Selfie Spots : With the Giant Tortoises (biggest in the planet) at the Curieuse Island, Colonial streets of Victoria Markets in Mahe (Smallest city in the world), Little Big Ben (Clock Tower in Victoria)
What to Pack : Bear Gear, Hat, Flipflops, Sunscreen Lotion (High SPF) , Mosquito repellent, Light clothing, Snorkelling equipment, a Good Camera (Preferably underwater camera), rain proof jacket, Antibacterial spray/tissues, Insect Bite Cream, Dive shoes, Power Bank, Tote/Beach Bag


Explore

Victoria on Mahé is one of the world’s smallest capitals, with a cluster of roads around Creole-style houses. See the clock tower, a silver-painted replica of that on London’s Vauxhall Bridge Road, which arrived on Mahé in 1903. Don’t miss the wonky green vegetables, spices and fish piled high in the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market, or the tiny Hindu temple

The Seychelles largest and main island, Mahe is home to the capital of Victoria and about 70,000 people (almost 90% of the nation's total). Still, the island retains its idyllic beauty, with 3,000-foot mountains and scores of gorgeous beaches. Many plants, including the so-called Jellyfish Tree and several rare orchids, are unique to Mahe's shores. The Seychelles Natural History Museum, the Botanical Gardens and the Codevar Craft Centre, all in Victoria, are not to be missed.

Aside from just a quick way to island-hop, helicopter flights are a great way to see the Seychelles footprint spanning out across 450+ sq km of the Indian Ocean – although it may cost you a bag full of Seychellois rupee, Still, what a way to top off a couple of weeks. Boarding a helicopter is as easy as getting to the International Airport on Mahe and most islands have helipads if you are keen to touch down and explore.

Planted more than 100 years ago, the vibrant flora housed within the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens provides a pop of color to a vacation mostly spent on white sand. Stretching out along 5 acres of Mont Fleuri — on the southern outskirts of Victoria — the botanical gardens offer visitors an up-close look at Seychellois wildlife. In addition to the towering palm, spice and fruit trees found here (not to mention the aromatic blooms found in the orchid house), you're bound to come across animals like giant tortoises and members of the garden's fruit bat colonies.

The world's largest coral atoll that stretches about 22 miles east to west and encloses a huge tidal lagoon. Aldabra is the original home of the giant land tortoise and tiger sharks and manta rays can also often be seen here.


Experiences

While no diver is likely to get bored here, there are several shipwrecks such as the famous wreck of the Ennerdale, an enormous British Fleet Auxiliary tanker of 47,000 tonnes which carried drums of oil to the Seychelles in the seventies and foundered on uncharted rocks. Trips to this wreck 8 miles off the coast and to other wrecks such as the Twin Barges just off Bel Ombre at depths of 15 and 22 meters respectively and the Dredger wreck at Danzil (26m depth).

Snorkeling is possible almost everywhere and you can see some amazing things just under the surface including green sea turtles, giant sting rays, moray eels, scorpion fish, parrot fish and lion fish! Temperatures are a barmy 25-29 degrees centigrade and visibility is up to 30m, happy days! Top snorkeling beaches include Curieuse Island, Anse Lazio (Praslin), Coco Island and Vista Bay Rocks (Mahe) –  the latter of which is great for coral. If the daredevil in you is itching to swim through dramatic granite rock formations, the Channel Rocks off Praslin is the place to go.

Cousin Island is a conservation success story. NGOs Nature Seychelles and BirdLife International have collaborated to see it is kept as a place for terns, reptiles and endangered magpie robins to thrive. Visitors are only allowed to explore with a guide so as not to disturb the wildlife. Do not forget insect repellent. On Curieuse Island, visit the baby giant tortoise pens, take a boardwalk through preserved mango forest and read about projects to protect lemon sharks. Excellent snorkelling is to be had off St Pierre islet, although you are unlikely to have it to yourself.

It’s one thing to lie on the beach; it’s another to hurtle towards it from 14,000 feet at speeds of up to 120mph whilst gaining the best possible view of these picturesque islands. Skydiving opportunities are readily available in The Seychelles and tandem dives are in place for first timers who wish to experience this adrenaline filled activity.

Do not miss most popular Nightclub "Lovenut" in the centre of Victoria, 100 metres walk from central Taxi station. Also entertaining are "Tequila Boom" at (Bel Ombre) and "Katiolio" (near Anse Royale) night clubs. "Katiolio" was one of the first nightclubs to open on Mahe and boats an open-air that is directly beside the ocean. Some of the hotels in the Seychelles have entertainment and evening barbecues. Late night theatre in French, English, and Creole is also common. Gaming houses perhaps provide the most expensive form of entertainment in Seychelles. The Berjaya International Casino of Mahe deserves a special mention in this context. Here all major forms of international currency are accepted, with winners paid out in US dollars.


Get to know About

In the evolution of its society, Seychelles has remained faithful to its multi-ethnic roots. For over two centuries, the islands have remained a melting pot of different races, traditions and religions from the four corners of the earth. At different times in its history, people of African, European and Asian origin have come to Seychelles, bringing with them their distinct traditions and customs and contributing to the way of life and to the vibrant Seychellois culture. One can see these influences at work throughout the domains of local art, cuisine, music, dance and architecture.

The architectural design of some of the grand old houses with their steep roofs are representative of a style adapted for comfortable living in the tropics that displays influences from Seychelles’ French and British colonial heritage. Modern architecture attempts to assimilate traditional styles with practical features designed to capture the island breezes. Local artists continue to exhibit diverse styles that echo the multi-ethnic backdrop of the islands and bear testament to the various influences which have come to bear.  Creole music and dance have their roots in African, Malagasy and European cultures with rhythms traditionally accompanied by simple drums and string instruments which, today, include such recent imports as the violin and guitar.

The traditional moutya is an erotic dance derived from the days of slavery and still features today, together with the sega with its colourful lyrics; the kanmtole, reminiscent of a country reel, and the Kontredanse, an import from the French court.

Seychelles is hot and humid, with an average yearly temperature of 84°F (29°C), and average sea temperature rarely dropping below 81°F (27°C). However, the heat is usually mitigated by refreshing sea breezes, especially by the beaches. The cooler season in Seychelles is during the southeast monsoon season (May to September) and the warmer season is during the northwest monsoon (November to March). April and October are "changeover months" between the two monsoons, when the wind is variable. The northwest monsoon season tends to be warmer with more rain, while the southeast monsoon season is usually drier and cooler.

Low Season (Jun, Sep)
Accommodation prices slightly lower than high season. The sea breeze provides plenty of natural air-con.

Shoulder (Apr, May, Oct & Nov)
Fewer visitors but temperatures still high. Easter can be very busy. Normally calm and windless periods, great for swimming and boat excursions. Best months for diving visibility.

High Season (Dec–Mar & Jul–Aug)
In July and August, southeast trades usher in cooler, drier weather but winds whip up the waves. Spikes in European school holidays push prices up in July and August. Extremely humid between December and February. Cyclone activity elsewhere in the Indian Ocean may produce heavy cloud cover between December and March.

The cuisine that is uniquely Seychellois is actually a fusion of flavours from African, French, Chinese, Indian and English cooking. Over the centuries, spices have been combined to create a single flavour. The large selection of tangy, sweet, rich and spicy combinations makes the Seychellois cuisine a tourist attraction in itself. The cuisine that is uniquely Seychellois is actually a fusion of flavours from African, French, Chinese, Indian and English cooking. Over the centuries, spices have been combined to create a single flavour. The large selection of tangy, sweet, rich and spicy combinations makes the Seychellois cuisine a tourist attraction in itself. Most of Seychellois cooking is based on seafood and chillies. With very little local transport of goods, the ingredients are super fresh and often directly from a garden or fishing boat. Some of the famous dishes are tamarind chutney, coconut fish curry and shredded green papaya salad.

If Rousettes are seen on a menu, the traveller needs to know it means fruit bats. It is served in many restaurants with several different styles of preparation. It is considered to taste a bit like venison by those who can compare and is challenging to eat because there are many tiny bones to avoid. Shark chutney is a typical Seychellois dish that is made with shark meat that is boiled and mashed then cooked with bilimbi, a small cucumber, and lime juice. Fried onion, turmeric, salt and pepper are added. It is usually served with lentils and shredded green papaya with rice.

Ladob is a dish that may be eaten as a savoury or a dessert. The dessert is made of sweet potatoes and ripe plantain and may include breadfruit, cassava or corossol. It is boiled in coconut milk and nutmeg, sugar and vanilla are added. The dessert is creamy and soft. The savoury version is cooked the same way as the dessert version, but with salted fish added. Salt is added instead of sugar and no vanilla is added. Seychellois Beverages - Palm wine or calou is an alcoholic beverage that is locally made from coconut sap. It is also used in the preparation of many Seychellois dishes. Bacca is another alcoholic beverage that is made from sugarcane liquor and used for ceremonial events. Coco d’Amour is a tropical coconut liqueur that is made with coconut extract. Local beer includes Ekyu and Seybrew.

Mahe is the best island in the Seychelles for shopping where you will find some small interesting shops and markets that are somewhat laid-back. Some of the specialty shops on Mahe Island deal with locally-made products such as tea, perfume etc., the flavour and aroma of these products are absolutely unique. The most well-known specialty shop in the entire Seychelles is Kenwyn House, whose structure has considerable historical significance besides being a gem house. The Island of Mahe has the best markets in the Seychelles, such as Sir Selwyn Clarke Market – a lively place where you can buy fresh vegetables, fruit, spices, and fish. The Sir Selwyn Clarke Market area also consists of numerous little gift shops.

Bohemian dresses, candles, beach cover ups and everything related to islands – the market in Victoria is worth a visit for a great bargain on mementos or gifts, indigenous souvenirs and authentic artefacts to take back to loved ones. On top of that, there is tonnes of different (and quirky) fruits on sale as fresh as it gets, and if you’re anything like me you’ll be fascinated by the fish market which looks like a lazy aquarium with the sheer variety of sea creatures.

By Air : Flights to Seychelles from international destinations land at the Seychelles International Airport in Mahe Island. Top domestic and international airlines like Air Seychelles, Jet Airways, Etihad Airways, Emirates, and Ethiopian Airlines operate more than 150 flights to Seychelles from New Delhi every week. The airports at Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai also operate regular flights to this island nation. There are many other airports on the various islands that make up the archipelago of Seychelles; tourists can book chartered flights to these airports from Mahe Airport, thus easing their commute between the group of islands.