Giant tortoise being fed a leaf

10 things to see and do in the Seychelles

We all know that when it comes to natural beauty Seychelles plays in the big league. But did you know that its exotic beauty is so distinct that Victorian explorer General Gordon of Khartoum believed he had discovered the biblical Garden of Eden? Specifically it was the island of Praline, which grows its own unique nut (only found on one other island in Seychelles, and nowhere else in the world) that no one is allowed to eat because it’s that rare and special!

But The Seychelles is more than just a pretty face. Amongst its 115 islands, you’ll find a wealth of activities that are catered to by its breath-taking landscape and dazzling weather. Lying just 4° and 10° south from the equator, the temperature rarely drops beneath 24°C but there are winds of 15 – 22 kilometres per hour resulting in a relaxing atmosphere. Here’s just a taste of what you can get up to in the Seychelles.

Go island hopping

There are over 100 islands in the Seychelles. Each one boasting its own distinct geography, character and history allowing for a virtually endless possibility of itineraries and activities. Whether you choose a day excursion to one of the many Inner granitic islands, or an extended stay on one of the exotic island hideaways.

A banner that says "Discover the Exotic Luxury of the Indian Ocean"

A regular network of air and sea transport operate out of the principal island of Mahé. While ferry services, domestic flights and even helicopter transfers are also available on a daily basis to many of the islands.

Relax on Anse Source d’Argent

When you arrive on this beach, you’ll immediately recognise it. It’s one of the most photographed beaches in the world. Which is no wonder, given the glittering white sand that is punctuated with granite boulders and coconut palms – before slowly slipping into azure waters. But despite its beauty and fame, it is relatively uncrowded. You’ll need to pass through the old L’Union Estate coconut plantation to access the beach, which cost Rs115 (valid for a day).

Devour local seafood

With the Indian Ocean encircling the islands, it’s no surprise that the Seychelles is a haven for seafood lovers. Grilled fish or octopus coated with a sauce of crushed chillies, ginger, and garlic are national favourites!

Catch your own fish

Alternatively, you can catch your own fish. International sport and recreational fishermen enthusiastically return each year thanks to the record-breaking amount of striped bonito, bonefish, giant guitarfish, bigeye trevally, bluefin trevally, giant trevally, moustache grouper, humpheadmaori wrasse and dogtooth tuna.

Recreational fishing doesn’t require a license in the Seychelles. Also, Air Seychelles offers free allowance for sporting equipment not exceeding 10kg, which applies to diving equipment, golf, fishing and surfing.

Explore Aride Island Nature Reserve

Welcome to one of the world’s most precious nature reserves. Aride is home to one million breeding seabirds of ten different species, including endemic birds such as Magpie Robins, Fodies, Brush Warblers and Blue Pigeon, Endemic Plants like wrights Gardenia and Turtle beaches and rich marine life. Its ecosystem is so valuable that no vessels other than those of the reserve are allowed to land on Aride Island. As such visitors will have to disembark from their vessel and board the island’s boat for transfer onto the island.

Dive under the sea

With 115 islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, The Seychelles offers diverse and impressive diving opportunities – for both novices and experts. If you dive near The Inner Islands, you’ll find the remains of a submerged mountain range that rest on a shallow plateau with prolific marine life. This includes Butterfly fish and Angel fish, Soldier fish, Squirrel fish and Sweepers among many others. The island reefs are also havens for many invertebrates including Octopus, Spiny Lobster and a plethora of Nudibranchs, such as the Spanish Dancer.

Experienced divers also have the option of travelling to the remote Outer Islands, which lie to the south of archipelago. Outer Island diving is rich and varied, featuring everything from mini-walls and canyons to migrating Manta Rays, numerous wreck sites and some of the finest Gorgonian fans in the Indian Ocean. As for marine life, there are frequent sightings of many of the larger grouper species, particularly the spotted Potato Bass as well as Grey Reef, Silver Tip, Nurse Sharks and the occasional Hammerhead Shark.

Play a round of golf

There are two golf courses in the Seychelles both surrounded by natural beauty – but that is only thing that differentiates them. The Seychelles Golf Club, found on Mahe, is a challenging nine-hole course at par 68. The holes can be repeated over the back nine with different tee-boxes played on the same greens and pin positions. The 17th hole is the signature hole with 308 yard par four.

The Lemuria Championship Golf Course is a par 70 18-hole golf course, where The Seychelles Pro-am is held every year. The course is considered a tough challenge for any level of golfer because of the elevated tees, water hazards and wide fairways. The first 12 holes are lined with palm trees, but, beginning at the 13th hole, the course becomes a great challenge, where players will be met with steep slopes, thick forest, and spectacular views.

Sail along the coast

The Seychelles boasts incredible sailing conditions, with calm azure waters. Cruise around magical Mahé, Seychelles’ largest island and home to the main port and capital, Victoria. The island offers 44 miles of scenic coastline that features safe anchorages, over 65 beaches and a host of secret coves and romantic hideaways.

If, however, you are looking for something more adventurous head to the Outer Islands. The Amirantes is the nearest grouping of Outer Islands to the main granite cluster of the Inner Islands. The Amirantes lends itself well to cruising, with each of its islands being roughly 4 hours sailing from the next. Fishing en route is excellent and the snorkelling and diving are unrivalled, especially around the St Joseph atoll and off the walls of Desroches.

One of the most fascinating natural places on Earth, and one of Seychelles’ two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, can only be reached by sea: Aldabra. The Aldabra group is 630 miles south-west of Mahé and consists of 3 atolls, Aldabra itself, Cosmoledo and Astove plus the raised limestone platform island of Assumption. Only Assumption and Aldabra carry skeleton staff whilst both Cosmoledo and Astove are at present uninhabited.

Admire the ecosystem

Seychelles is a living museum of natural history and a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora and fauna on earth. Nowhere else on earth will you find unique endemic specimens such as the fabulous Coco-de-mer (the largest seed in the world), the jellyfish tree (with only eight surviving examples), the Seychelles’ paradise flycatcher, and Seychelles warbler.

Remember to take a boat trip to Curieuse Island where you’ll find the biggest and most accessible population of giant tortoises! Remember, the Seychelles

Discover the smallest capital city on earth

Victoria on Mahé Island is the charming capital, Victoria. It is the cultural hub of the Seychelles. Despite its size, it offers a generous selection of cultural activities. Including a silver-painted replica of that on London’s Vauxhall Bridge Road, organically grown food at the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market, and a tiny Hindu temple. The international airport is also located here, and its well-worth fitting one or two day into you itinerary.

Morag Lee

Morag is the resident blog writer at Barrhead Travel. Can usually be found exploring a cruise ship or on a city break.