5 Best Places to Visit in the Seychelles

A trip to the Seychelles is the stuff of vacation dreams, where white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and spectacular lodgings make for an incredible tropical paradise you may not initially associate with Africa.  There is a slew of Seychelles destinations to add to your bucket list, as this archipelago is made up of 115 islands, although many of these are uninhabited.

With so many wonderful places to visit in the Seychelles, where do you go? Most visitors choose to stay on Mahé or Praslin, but with so much to see we suggest a bit of island hopping. Visit small-enough-to-cycle-around La Digue, treat yourself to a few indulgent days on the super-luxurious private islands, or fly to the remote Outer Islands – they are where to go in the Seychelles for the most exciting scuba diving.

Diving is excellent all year round but if you dream of crystal-clear conditions and visibility up to a staggering 30 metres, the best time to visit the Seychelles is in the months of April to May and October to November.

1. Mahé Island: Everything Under the Sun

Mahé is the largest of the Seychelles islands and has a scattering of sandy bays including the popular Baie Beau Vallon. This could easily be considered as one of the best beaches in Africa, with its stretch-for-miles shoreline, good swimming, fantastic diving and snorkelling and plenty of restaurants to choose from.

There are many places of interest on Mahé you’ll want to visit, so we’d recommend you hire a car, set out and explore! Take a leisurely drive past tea and vanilla plantations, up narrow roads that wind through forest-covered hills, and down into Victoria – one of the world’s smallest capital cities. You can easily spend a morning in Victoria strolling along the broad boulevards and visiting the local markets with their exotic fruits and spices – don’t forget to shop for pareos (sarongs) and handmade jewellery.

2. Praslin: Great Beaches & Cool Forests

Although among the most visited of the Seychelles islands, Praslin is somewhat quieter than Mahé, and its coastline of secluded coves makes it easy to find a crowd-free beach on which to put down your towel. And when you tire of the sand between your toes, visit the ancient forests at the Vallée de Mai – a World Heritage Site famed for its gigantic palm trees, rare black parrots, and the erotically-shaped Coco-de-Mer seeds (nicknamed the “love nut”).

The main tourism centre is Anse Volbert (also known as Côte d’Or) where a collection of hotels, restaurants, shops and bars gives this safe swimming beach a lively atmosphere – at least by Seychelles standards! As such, Praslin is a wonderful choice for those seeking the perfect mix of tranquillity and attractions.

3. La Digue: Postcard-Perfect Beaches

If you’ve ever wondered where those impossibly perfect pictures of the Seychelles were taken, chances are it was on the stunning island of La Digue. The traditional Seychellois way of life continues as it always has done on this laidback little island, and the best way to explore is to travel the way most locals do – by bicycle.

Cycle to palm-fringed shores such as the famed La Digue Beach tucked between towering boulders, swim in clear warm water and soak up the sun on Anse Source d’Argent – considered as not only one of the best beaches in Africa, but one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

4. Private Islands: The Ultimate Beach Holiday

For those with the right budget, the private islands are where to go in the Seychelles for out-of-this-world luxury and total seclusion. Spacious villas open out onto pure white-sand beaches, private pools overlook the ocean and personal butlers provide impeccable service – candlelit dinner on your private deck or on the beach? It’s up to you!

Our top choices for a private island escape are Cousine Island or Denis Island, where luxury accommodation such as Denis Private Island Lodge could be totally yours for the savouring. But, if you really want to feel like royalty, then it has to be North Island – the honeymoon hideout for Prince William and Kate. Each exclusive-use island is reserved for the guests staying there so if you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to have your own tropical island, here’s your chance to find out.

5. Outer Private Islands: Phenomenal Diving & Snorkelling

The outer archipelago of the Seychelles is made up of several groups of coral islands. Few of these far-flung islands are inhabited, some are not much bigger than a sand spit, and most are surrounded by the deep blue stain of pristine coral reefs – making it a true remote paradise.

The diving here is simply phenomenal: there are columns and caves to explore and a staggering marine life – ranging from tiny reef fish to turtles, mantas and hammerhead sharks – to discover. And best of all, there’s virtually no one else around. Only a couple of the outer islands have accommodation, and we’d recommend Four Seasons Desroches Island, lying about 230km from Mahé. Aside from being a great option for a remote and utterly private break, the location is also widely considered to be one of the best African honeymoon destinations.