More about Seychelles
An archipelago nation of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is the ideal place to go for a holiday on a beach surrounded by crystal blue seas; the equatorial location providing sun all year round. With numerous uninhabited islands to explore, a variety of sites to scuba dive and snorkel at, and the culture of the Creole people to experience, there is something for everyone in one of the most celebrated island paradises in the world…
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The Seychelles have a natural side to them that is becoming increasingly important. Attractive scenery and a healthy biodiversity have meant that whole islands are being set aside as nature reserves, and there are also a range of marine reserves and mountain and forest reserves. The coco de mer, or sea coconut, is a species of palm tree that is endemic to the islands of Praslin and Curieuse, and can be seen in the Vallée de Mai on Praslin.
For birdwatchers, there are a number of birds endemic to these islands that are a must see, including the Seychelles white-eye and the Scops owl. These can be found in the Morne Seychellois National Park. The black parrot can be found on Praslin in the Vallée de Mai, and sunbirds can be seen in the flowering trees. Bird Island has huge seabird colonies, and is easily accessible from Mahé. The best birding destination in the Seychelles however, is Aldabra which has endemic land birds and colonies of breeding boobies and frigatebirds.
The diving and snorkelling sites vary in difficulty; there are those suitable if you have never dived before and learning course are available on the islands, or there are sites that experienced divers will find challenging and exciting. The sites are situated on coral reefs pinnacles and drop-offs, near granite boulders and tunnels, and around wrecks, which are always excellent for exploring. For something different, a large majority of the sites can be visited at night.
Angling is another popular pursuit here and the Seychelles are regarded as being the finest venue in the world for catching bonefish. For those into big-game, marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo, Dorado, kingfish and barracuda can be caught, with sailfish being particularly abundant.
The smaller, unpopulated islands can be explored and motor boats or yachts can be privately chartered to do so at your leisure. The larger islands can take up to a day to be fully appreciated, whilst smaller islands can occupy you for a morning or afternoon, leaving time to do other things.
There is no individual tribe indigenous to the islands, so the population is made of people who have immigrated and settled there to create the diverse culture that exists today. These people are known as the Creole people, and theirs is a well documented history as it is so short. There are monuments commemorating important events as well as museums and archives to visit in order to learn about their interesting cultures. Art tours can be organised and in order to learn more about the art, the local artists are keen to meet any visitors. The galleries sell paintings, sculptures and pottery amongst other things. A market where local fruits, spices and souvenirs can be bought, and boutiques and stalls selling souvenirs also deserve a mention, even if you don’t want to buy anything. Gold and pearl jewellery made in Mahé and Praslin are available in shops as well as local liqueur and mats, hats and batiks crafted from coconut palm leaves. For those interested in trying the night-life, there are casinos, sega shows and local discos to sample. If you're feeling adventurous, you can try the Creole cuisine at a barbeque on the beach whilst watching a beautiful sunset.
It's best to base the timing of your trip around your favoured weather conditions. The Seychelles has an equatorial climate with two wind regimes through the year; the southeast trade winds are steady from May to October, and during this period there is little rain, the days are hot, humid and sunny. The northwest monsoons arrive from November to March, and the seas are roughest during this period. The most rain falls from December to January, but the temperature is not cold even when it is raining.
Other things that you could plan around are the various festivals that take place. These include the Kreol Festival in the last week of October, in which the Creole people from the surrounding islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues, Mayotte, Réunion, Madagascar and the Caribbean Islands gather and celebrate through art, music and dance. The African Week (or Fet Afrik) is celebrated in May, whilst an agricultural and horticultural show is held in Mahé in June during Environment Week; this focuses on education in schools. The Lafet jazz festival for musicians from all the Indian Ocean islands and continental Africa is held in July, whilst the SUBOIS Underwater Festival in Mahé for underwater photography is held in October each year. There are various game fishing competitions and sailing and wind-surfing regattas held annually, and the Festival de la Mer in September includes the Beau Vallon regatta and an inter-island windsurfing race from Mahé to Praslin.
Diving is possible all year round, but the best months for calm, clear water are March to May, and October to December. When the southeast trade winds blow the visibility underwater is reduced but the abundance of pelagic fish increases and the whale sharks arrive.
Seychelles is simply not to be outdone in terms of prisine beaches, tropical sea diving and the art of relaxing; it is the perfect destination for a honeymoon or beach holiday. Weddings are easy to arrange and can take place in civil offices, private venues, or churches. Seychelles caters readily for any traveller, from families and groups to single wanderers - it's very hard to be disappointed with the offerings here and we highly recommend the destination.
There are two ways to get to Seychelles; by air or sea.
Air Seychelles is the nation’s international airline, and it flies from London, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, Zurich, Madrid, Singapore, Mumbai, Dubai and Johannesburg. Other airlines that fly to the Seychelles are Aeroflot, Air Mauritius, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Kenya Airways. It is linked to the other Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar, Mauritius and Réunion by Air Austral, which is the partner airline of Air Seychelles. It is also possible to charter flights to the Seychelles.
Cruise and expedition ships stop at the Seychelles from November to April, and there are also facilities for yachts, which can be privately chartered.
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