The Republic of Seychelles comprises 115 islands occupying a land area of 455 km² in the western Indian Ocean. It represents an archipelago of legendary beauty that extends from between 4 and 10 degrees south of the equator and which lies between 480km and 1,600km from the east coast of Africa. Of these 115 islands, 41 constitute the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on earth while a further 74 form the low-lying coral atolls and reef islands of the Outer Islands.
The granitic islands of the Seychelles archipelago cluster around the main island of Mahé, home to the international airport and the capital, Victoria, and its neighbouring islands of Praslin and La Digue. Together, these Inner Islands form the cultural and economic hub of the nation and contain the majority of Seychelles’’ tourism facilities as well as its most stunning beaches
Environmental legislation is very strict, and every tourism project must undergo an environmental review and a lengthy process of consultations with the public and conservationists. The Seychelles is a world leader in sustainable tourism. The end result of this sustainable development is an intact and stable natural environment, which attracts financially strong visitors (150,000 in 2007) rather than short-term mass tourism. Since 1993 a law guarantees the citizens the right to a clean environment and at the same time obliges them to protect this environment. The country holds a record for the highest percentage of land under natural conservation—nearly 50% of the total land area.
They are home to about 75 endemic plant species, with a further 25 or so species in the Aldabra group. Particularly well-known is the Coco de Mar, a species of palm that grows only on the islands of Praslin and neighbouring Curieuse. Sometimes nicknamed the “love nut” because of the shape of its fruit which, with the husk removed, presents a “double” coconut resembling buttocks, the coco-de-mer produces the world’s heaviest seed pods. The jellyfish tree is to be found in only a few locations on Mahe. This strange and ancient plant in a genus of its own has resisted all efforts to propagate it. Other unique plant species include the Wright’s Gardenia found only on Aride Island Special Reserve.
The Aldabra Giant Tortise now populates many of the islands of the Seychelles. The Aldabra population is the largest in the world. These unique reptiles can be found even in captive herds. It has been reported that the granitic islands of Seychelles supported distinct species of Seychelles Giant Tortoises; the status of the different populations is currently unclear.
There are several unique varieties of orchids on the islands.
Seychelles hosts some of the largest seabird colonies in the world. In the outer islands Aldabra and Cosmoledo are home to the largest numbers. In garanitic Seychelles the largest numbers are on Aride Island including the world’s largest numbers of two species.
The marine life around the islands, especially the more remote coral islands, can be spectacular. More than 1,000 species of fish have been recorded.
A dazzling array of granitic and coral islands, located outside the cyclone belt, makes Seychelles a year-round sailing destination.
The easy sailing distances between the Inner Islands with their secure moorings offers myriad beaches, golden sands, hidden bays and secret coves.
The Outer Islands, mainly coral cays and atolls, are virgin territories featuring stunning lagoons and unparalleled opportunities for big-game, bottom and fly-fishing.
Fleets of professionally maintained and operated mono-hulls and catamarans are available for charter, either crewed or bareboat, with many other styles of vessels available for scenic cruises, snorkeling trips and island-hopping excursions.
Amid 1,400,000 sq.km of sparkling warm waters it is not surprising that Seychelles offers spectacular and diverse opportunities for diving.
The Inner Islands, the remains of a submerged mountain range, rest on a shallow plateau that has encouraged prolific growth of marine life while the ‘Outer Islands’ in the southern arc of the archipelago are largely uninhabited and present the experienced diver with excellent diving spots where few have gone before.
Throughout the islands dive centers are located on the beach, the majority of which belong to the Seychelles Divers Association (SDA) and adhere to the strict safety standards set by the association. All diving is supervised by internationally qualified and insured Dive masters or instructors with a number of courses of instruction available at internationally recognized centers and resorts.
Seychelles has some of the richest fishing grounds in the world and you do not have to venture far from the shore to break fishing records. Seychelles’ waters already boast world records for pacific bonito and dog-tooth tuna while the Outer Islands have become the epicenter of salt-water fly-fishing.
Spectacular trophy sailfish and marlin together with shark, giant barracuda, rainbow-runner and wahoo make Seychelles an exciting fishing destination for the experienced fisherman and novice alike. A variety of charter boats and fishing excursions allow for individual tailoring of fishing programs.
Few places can rival these “islands of love” for the idyllic ambience of their island-style weddings and honeymoons and it is no wonder that lovers are inspired to take their vows and wed in such a romantic atmosphere.
Against this backdrop of island beauty, romance comes naturally, complemented by the care of attentive professionals who will ensure that your wedding day is as blissful as your memories. Specialist tour operators, both local and international, offer wedding and honeymoon services featuring different types and styles of weddings, including traditional Creole, tailor-made to fulfill your fantasies.
Whether nestling in dreamy, mountain-side pavilions overlooking the ocean or occupying stylish niches within the luxurious cocoons of 5-star resorts, Seychelles’ spas offer natural elegance and refinement in pristine surrounds promising the ultimate voyage of personal transformation. From the signature treatments of dedicated spas offering relaxing massages with exotic herbal oils, scrubs, detox baths and invigorating wet-treatments to a full range of beauty and grooming services, Seychelles’ spas hold the key to a complete renewal of mind, body and soul.
On Mahé, Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette as well as on several neighboring islands, there are nature trails to introduce hikers to the spectacular and unique natural treasures of these islands. Guided walks cover a variety of scenic routes and will reveal such endemic treasures as the rare Seychelles Scoops Owl, insectivorous Pitcher Plant and the Jellyfish Tree. With almost 50% of the country’s limited landmass protected, Seychelles remains a well-preserved sanctuary for a host of endemic species of flora and fauna, among which are to be found some of the rarest specimens on earth.