Where is the country Seychelles? Island or islands?” These are common questions about the country. To make matters worse even official websites propagate bad information… “Are the Seychelles in Africa?” “Where in Africa?”
All is revealed… First, Seychelles is not in Africa. It is not part of the African continent. It is an independent island country very, very far from Africa, and as we mentioned in the intro, it’s nearest foreign mainland country is Madagascar, being apart some 1100 km (700 miles), Somalia, some 1350 km (835 miles) and Kenya being 1600 km (1000 miles) away. The distance from the Seychelles to the Maldives in the east (it’s biggest competitor when it comes to tourism), is approximately 2140 km (1330 miles).
Size of Seychelles land mass is totaling 455 km² (175 sq. miles), but if we count oceanic area of the country, it adds up to enormous 390,000 km² (150,000 sq. miles). The largest land mass in the Seychelles is the uninhabited Aldabra Atoll, with the main island of Mahé (with it’s capital Victoria) coming in second.
The Seychelles Islands are what dreams are made of – a real paradise. 155 exotic tropical islands make up the Seychelles in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and that’s without man-made ones like Eden Island. The latter is land recently reclaimed from the sea near the seaport and capital Victoria, on Mahe Island.
The country is divided into 23 administrative districts: Anse aux Pins, Anse Boileau, Anse Etoile, Anse Louis, Anse Royale, Baie Lazare, Baie Sainte Anne, Beau Vallon, Bel Air, Bel Ombre, Cascade, Glacis, Grand’ Anse (on Mahe), Grand’ Anse (on Praslin), La Digue, La Riviere Anglaise, Mont Buxton, Mont Fleuri, Plaisance, Pointe La Rue, Port Glaud, Saint Louis and Takamaka.
A tropical island country with pristine environment and mild tropical climate year round, Seychelles has stunningly gorgeous beaches and an incredibly azure blue sea teeming with marine life.
Mahé is the main island and for that reason more commercialised. It houses the capital Victoria and the one set of traffic lights in the country! It’s worth spending at least day or two on Mahe. A car hire to explore the island would be recommended allowing you the freedom to explore at your own pace. Alternatively, taxis are common and the local bus service is also an option for those looking for a more authentic Seychellois experience!
It’s recommended that you end your stay on Mahé so as to avoid inconveniences with International departures.
Mahe boasts a wide selection of beaches to experience. If your mode of transport is a hire car, parking can be a little tricky for some beaches. Click here for some beach suggestions on Mahe.
Being on Mahé during the Seychelles Carnival is a must for those wanting to experience the colours and faces of a country with as much diversity as Seychelles.
Beau Vallon Beach is a favorite amongst visitors with many hotels and restaurants available on the strip. Baobab Pizzeria is right on the beach and makes some of the best pizzas and lasagna on the island. A must to experience!
Rent a car and visit the Vallee de Mai if you’d like to experience what is often described as the original Garden of Eden. The main road winds through it and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot the famous Coco-de-Mer nut from your vantage spot. It’s endemic to Seychelles so you’ll never see it anywhere else in the world.
Follow this up with a visit to Anse Lazio beach (continually voted one of the world’s most beautiful beaches) for the rest of the day. A small restaurant on the beach serves some lovely Creole cuisine – perfect for lunch.
From Praslin, a 30 minute boat trip to the island of La Digue is a lovely way to experience more of the diversity of Seychelles. Here you’ll find a more traditional way of life with ox carts and bicycles as the main modes of transport.
La Digue Island
Once you dock to La Digue 75-metre pier which leads to the centre of la Digue, made up of 4 to 6 small shops, the Post Office and the Police Station, all across a sandy dirt road from the landing stage at La Passe.
There was also a single shop that stood by itself at the corner with the pier on the seaside. This setting has changed a little over the past decade but this island hasn’t changed much otherwise. It still has the same sleepy feel.
There are no taxis, no cars, no buses but the bicycles are there waiting to be rented out for the day or even the half day.
A visit to La Digue isn’t complete without a visit to Grand Anse and Anse Source d’Argent beach, both regularly voted as the world’s most beautiful beaches.
Hire a bicycle and visit L’Union Estate. (An entrance fee is payable to help with the upkeep of the estate, it’s SCR100 and you will get a bracelet). Here you’ll access Anse Source D’Argent – The most Instagram-ed beach in the world). You’d also find an old historical cemetery, a massive Giant Tortoise pen, traditional Copra Mills etc. It’s a bit of a flash back to the old Seychelles.
Silhouette Island & National Park
Silhouette Island, the third biggest island in the granite group of Seychelles, is, believe it or not, a private island. It covers 5,000 acres (20 sq Km). Yes it is a private island, and it’s also bigger than the world famous La Digue Island. Main settlement is La Passe.
Silhouette Island has the second highest mountain peak in all Seychelles at 2461ft (750m), so it’s a great place for mountain trekking, and for just admiring nature. Consider that it has 5 mountain peaks of elevation exceeding 500 metres. That gives you a great view all around. If you do go up there, just be careful. It can get slippery in those hills. But it can’t get better than that for hiking. There are no roads on Silhouette – just nature trails.
This huge private Seychelles island now sports a luxury resort, Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa!
What of the beaches of Silhouette Island? Well none of them made it into our chart of the top 10 beaches of Seychelles, but snorkeling and scuba diving is superb there. The sea around Silhouette Island is a marine park, so fishing is not permitted.
Curieuse Island is a small island with only 1.5 sq km, belongs to group of granitic islands and is very close to the north coast of Praslin. Curieuse is notable for its bare red earth intermingled with the unique coco-de-mer palms.
Easiest way to reach it is from Praslin, and it should definitely be planned as daily trip in your itinerary. When you dock and get from the boat you’ll be astonished, not only by beautiful coast full of palms & mangrove trees, but also by number of tortoises strolling around. Yes, you can feed them, touch them or just take few selfies to save the moment.
During high tide, you can also get glimpse of lemon sharks, and of course, snorkeling, diving and similar activities are more than welcome.
Aldabra is the world’s second-largest coral atoll, Aldabra Atoll consists of 13 islands, but of which there are 4 main large coral islands which enclose a shallow lagoon, part of the Outer Islands of the Seychelles, with a distance of 1,120 km southwest of the capital, Victoria, on Mahé Island;
Aldabra Atoll is the group of islands surrounded by a coral reef. Twice a day, with high and low tide, the lagoon fills and empties almost completely. It is filled with a host of fish, including sharks and barracudas. Due to difficulties of access and the atoll’s isolation, Aldabra has been protected from human influence and thus retains some 150,000 giant tortoises, the world’s largest population of this reptile.
The maximum number of visitors to Aldabra is limited to 12 at any one time and special permission is required. The only way to reach the island is by chartering a small plane or boat. A direct trip by boat from Mahe to Aldabra takes a few days.