Activities, eco excursions and beautiful beaches
Perhaps you only have a week to play with and you want to see as much of the islands as possible. Or maybe you’re looking for day trip ideas to break up a longer stay in the Seychelles. Whether your heart’s set on beach lounging or wildlife spotting, Mahé makes the perfect base.
Day 1: And…relax
After a long journey, sink into holiday mode by getting to know your local beaches. Head to Beau Vallon Beach, the first of the impossibly good-looking bays you’re likely to encounter, it sets the bar incredibly high.
Day 2: In Silhouette
Looking out to sea from Beau Vallon, you’ll see a rugged island on the horizon. That’s Silhouette. Secrets to discover include a cloud forest that geckos, chameleons and carnivorous pitcher plants call home. As it’s a protected reserve, book a guided hike such as the Silhouette National Parks Experience. Experts can you tell you about the flora and fauna of this remarkable island, as well as guide you to secret beaches and spellbinding photo spots.
Day 3: Marvellous Mahé
The largest island in the Seychelles and home to most of the population, Mahé is the place to get a feel for the country’s vivid culture and history. Discovered by Arab traders, frequented by pirates and occupied by the Portuguese, French and English, the Seychelles’ modern Creole culture mixes European, African and Asian influences. There’s perhaps nowhere better to experience this than in the tiny capital, Victoria.
Alongside stately landmarks such as the ‘Little Ben’ clock tower and spice plantations in the Botanic Gardens, everyday life goes on. Throw yourself into the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market, where locals buy fresh fruit, fish and spices. It’s worth learning a few phrases of Seychellois Creole or French if you’d like to join in the fun.
Day 4: Under the sea
Scuba divers will be in their element in the Seychelles. St Anne Marine National Park is a popular choice for dive trips – but with so many islands to choose from, you’ll still feel you have the place to yourself. If you can, stop off on Moyenne Island, where 18th century pirates were laid to rest and giant tortoises roam.
It’s worth pointing out that the main draw for diving and snorkelling is marine life rather than coral. You stand a great chance of spotting manta ray, turtles, nurse sharks – and even swimmers will see plenty of fish in the clear water.
Day 5: Ancient wonders
Another bonus of making Mahé your base is how easy it is to reach many of the Seychelles’ other must-see islands in just an hour or two. Your first stop today is Praslin, home to the Vallee de Mai National Park. Wander into ancient groves of the unique Coco de Mer palms, whose strangely shaped fruit still have scientists scratching their heads.
Next it’s on to La Digue and an afternoon at the beach. Anse Source d’Argent is certain to star in more than a few holiday snaps. Huge, grey granite boulders strewn along the shore have become a natural sculpture park carved by millennia of winds and waves.
Day 6: Back to nature
Rising up in the centre of Mahé is the Morne Seychellois National Park – and slipping on your hiking boots is the best way to see it. Trails start from Danzil village, and the higher the path winds, the more spectacular the views. Popular routes go west towards Baie Ternay Marine Park or north to secluded Anse Major Beach.
Day 7: Eco paradise
During your time in the Seychelles, you’ll notice how much locals treasure the natural world. Sustainable tourism goes to the heart of every experience, with visitors playing a vital part in supporting conservation projects. A shining example is Cousin Island – a private reserve with a thriving population of some of the country’s rarest birds, including the magpie robin and brush warbler. Take a tour here and you could see hawksbill turtles laying their eggs. It’s one of the few places in the world where the animals are still comfortable enough to come onto the beach during the day.