Now that the island nation has fully opened to Indian travellers, you can safely choose this paradise for your next pamper-cation…
Stop daydreaming. It’s time to go sip piña coladas on that stunning beach that’s been your laptop wallpaper forever. Seychelles, with its silky white sand beaches, impressive granite rocks, and lush tropical greenery, is that picture-perfect beach holiday straight out of a movie!
Be warned, this is no shoestring-budget beach-shack vacay. Seychelles is a place to splurge, even if you don’t book out the entire North Island as George Clooney & Amal Alamuddin, Salma Hayek & Francois-Henri Pinault; and Nicky Hilton & James Rothschild did. Whatever you pick, you’re sure to have a royally good time, just like Prince William and Kate Middleton, who honeymooned for 10 days on a villa in the slice of paradise called Desroches island. But even as you spend those dineros (in this case, Seychellois rupees), the wealth of experiences that this country offers will make you feel it’s well worth the prime dime.
The pull of Victoria
Mahé, which has the capital city of Victoria, is the most bustling of all the spots in Seychelles. As the gateway to this country, you’re sure to spend at least a little time here, unless you’re flying a private charter directly to your destination. There’s a lot of local charm to be experienced in Victoria. A browse through the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market, full of colourful sights and sounds, and redolent with ground spices and fresh produce, is a burst of sensorial brilliance. Visit on a Saturday for the most intense experience. Spend time at the National Museum of History (once the majestic Supreme Court), which takes you through three centuries of Seychellois history and culture.
Praise be to Praslin
Rich in flora and fauna, marine life and nightlife, opportunities for relaxation and adventure, this is one place to head to get the full Seychelles experience. The second-largest island after Mahé, Praslin is super for snorkelling in the serene waters of the Indian Ocean at beaches like Anse Lazio, hiking (under extremely rare coco de mer palms) and birding (look out for the endangered black parrot, Seychelles warbler, the Seychelles bulbul, and the Blue Pigeon) at the Vallée de Mai national park.
Stop by Curieuse, which is a breeding centre for giant Aldabra tortoises. The turtles nest in October and the babies hatch and head to the sea between January and March every year. You can also check out Baie Laraie nearby for a swim and snorkel. Anse Volbert is another popular beach to make a splash and soak in the sun while you fill up your social media feed.
You’ll dig La Digue
Speaking of social media, look online and you’ll keep encountering images of Anse Source d’Argent, touted as one of the most photographed beaches in the world. When you get here, you’ll understand just why! Live the island life by getting here by boat, and feasting on fresh fruit, as you twiddle your toes in the warm, white sand.
If birding is your thing, head to Veuve Reserve, one of the last places on Earth where you can spot a black paradise flycatcher. It’s called the veuve (widow) by locals because the male bird has long black tail feathers. More active travellers will enjoy a four km hike to Nid d’Aigle, the highest point of La Digue from where you get panoramic views of the sand and sea.
East Coast enchantment
Soak in some stories on a Takamaka Bay tour of the island’s rum distillery while you learn about the process and enjoy a tasting. Visit the memorial that celebrates the people who worked here.
Have a dine time
Make an evening of it at La Grande Maison, where celebrated chef/sommelier Christelle Verheyden creates fine dining cuisine with Creole and other influences using the best local ingredients.
Seafood is big in Seychelles, but the country also tops the Global Vegetarian Index compiled by Oliver’s Travels, with the maximum number of vegetarian restaurants in the country in relation to its population size and annual meat consumption per capita. So, if you’re a vegetarian, you’re sure to enjoy your meals.
If you’re craving pure Indian flavours, there are Indian restaurants such as The Maharajas, Mahek, Indian Ocean, Le Relax, or Urban Tiffin. Or you can try a Seychellois curry with Creole Rice or a ‘gateau piment’ (similar to spicy daal vadas) that you can have by the bucketful for a song.
Don’t forget to try the delish Creole dessert called Ladob, which features bananas or sweet potato, topped with a sauce made from coconut milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla.
Get the best of Seychelles
- You can learn to surf. The waters are generally safe and pleasant all year round. Head to Carana Beach if you’re a newbie, and Anse Bougainville, Anse Royale, and Misfit Baya, if you’ve hung 10 before.
- You can snorkel and dive. What’s a scuba dive if you can’t explore a sunken ship or a coral reef, right? Here, you can take your pick of options such as the Ennerdale and Dredger wrecks, the Shark Bank, Fisherman’s Cove Reef, and Marianne Island. You could bump into some whale sharks, sharks, and manta rays, depending on the season.
- It’s not difficult to get around. You can fly between islands if you can afford it, else rent a car, take ferries, or use the public buses.
- There are lovely luxury resorts. From the Six Senses Zil Pasyon on a private island called Felicité, to Four Seasons Resort Seychelles on Desroches, to the very opulent Constance Lemuria with its 18-hole Golf course, to the JA Enchanted Island Resort with only 10 villas each with a private infinity pool, situated inside a national marine park, there are many, many options for the luxury tourists, even for family vacations. For more budget travellers, the choice is largely between guesthouses and Airbnbs.