Seychelles is a secluded but dream destination that has heavenly beaches with turquoise seas and a pleasantly warm weather. This archipelago in the Indian Ocean has at least 81 species of rare plant life that is reminiscent of the lush green tropical forests of the islands before the onslaught of humanity two fifty years ago. The coco-de-mer (sea coconut), native to Praslin, which grows in the Vallée de Mai is prominent among them.
The archipelago is also a birdwatchers’ delight with up to two million sooty terns nesting on Bird Island, and the world's largest colonies of lesser noddies, roseate terns and other tropical birds on Aride Island.
The islands were named after the royal accountant Vicomte Moreau de Séchelles, when under French colonial rule. They were later annexed by Britain and then remained cut off from the rest of the world so that Seychelles developed traditions, language and culture of their own.
Getting there by air: Air Seychelles (HM) (www.airseychelles.com) is the national airline
Getting there by water: Mahé is an important port of call for cruise and cargo ships but there are no scheduled passenger services.
Car hire: Cars and mini mokes can be hired in Mahé and Praslin but it is advisable to make advance reservations. The rental includes third party insurance and tax with unlimited mileage. The minimum age for hiring is 21 and petrol is somewhat more expensive than in Europe.
Denis is good for deep sea fishing and October to December is well suited for a catch of Marlin. Bird Island, located at the edge of the Seychelles continental shelf where the sea floor drops rapidly to 2,000m/5,000ft, is also a preferred place for fishing. Alphonse and Desroches islands are the favourite spots for
Take a boat ride
You can explore the islands at leisure in a powerboat, a cabin cruiser or a yacht. A ride in a glass bottomed boat would give a good view of corals and fish in the
St. Anne Marine National Park
Desroches, the largest of the Amirantes archipelago has good facilities for
Waterskiing, windsurfing and sailing. The most adventurous is diving as there are sea cliffs, tunnels and caves besides numerous fish which are best visible from September to May. St Anne National Marine Park, which surrounds six islands off the coast of Mahé, is preferred for snorkelling.
It takes just three hours to reach La Digue by schooner from Mahé or half an hour from Praslin. Here you may spot the black paradise flycatcher, common in Seychelles or see plantation houses besides the beaches.
Visit the market, the Botanical Gardens (with coco-de-mer, giant tortoises and orchids), and a replica of London's Vauxhall Bridge Tower Clock in Victoria and the plantations of cinnamon and vanilla and the not so well kept colonial mansions.