The Seychelles is a place where time is of little consequence, where it’s easy to fall into a relaxed and easy frame of mind. There are no “must-do” things unless you count lazing under a palm tree with a planter’s punch one of them. The big three islands are Mahe, Praslin or La Digue, but it would be a shame to miss the other islands, easily reached by small Islander ‘planes.
Bird Island, Seychelles
Bird is a sanctuary for one and a half million sooty terns, and has as its oldest resident and star attraction, a giant tortoise called Esmeralda (said to be between 150 and 200 years old) with a shell of more than 1.8 metres in length. Tiger cowries and crabs shuffle across the sands on the 45 minute walk around the island. With no shops and no organised entertainment, a 2/3 day stopover is probably long enough unless you are a serious bird watcher.
Praslin Island, Seychelles
Just 15 minutes away by ‘plane from Mahe, this island has an amazingly rich variety of plant and animal life and could be a blueprint for the perfect tropical island. When General Charles Gordon (he of Khartoum fame) first visited Praslin over 100 years ago he thought he had discovered the Garden of Eden when he saw the famous coco de mer, a massive nut whose shape bears a striking resemblance to the female pelvic region – pubic hair included – and provides plenty of innuendo for guides and locals alike.
Mahe Island, Seychelles
The main island, about one-quarter the size of Singapore, this is a good place for walkers and hikers, but beach buggies and hire cars are available for those who prefer a motor tour on the well-kept roads. The Seychellois drive on the left. Victoria, the sleepy little capital has few landmarks: a miniature Big Ben Clock Tower on the main street, the Anglican cathedral, the colourful markets, and the 100 year old Botanical Gardens with an excellent collection of orchids.
La Digue Island, Seychelles
Bicycles and ox-carts are the only transport permitted on the 10-square Kilometres of La Digue. With its 1930’s English suburban-type housing, giant tortoises and magnificent beaches, to many people La Digue and not Praslin, is the Garden of Eden.
The Seychelles attracts the seeker after luxury with hotels like the 47-villa Banyan Tree Resort that towers above the beach, and the cluster of mahagony villas with open-air bathrooms and gazebos which is Lémuria, (with Nirvana in the shape of a millionaire’s home away from home – a Villa built on a craggy headland with its own beach, Jacuzzi, massage suite and a sunken office).
North Island, has 11 huge ‘haute couture’ rough and smooth chunky wooden villas each with its own pool, gazebo, internet access and 24-hour butler, for low-impact tourism. The original eco-luxury, accommodation, and some still say the best, is on Frégate Island where no more than 40 guests are on the island at any one time to share 16 luxuriously appointed villas with access to 7 beaches.
What to Do on the Seychelles
Visibility in the waters around the islands is just about perfect for viewing the incredible collection of various coloured reef fish that move in and out of the living corals. Or, just read a book and chill out.