Calling all island hoppers: there are 115 green specks on the Seychelles map. Most are unpopulated, secluded, untouched and so alarmingly beautiful you might spontaneously shed a tear. So what, the Caribbean is too, right? The difference is that the Seychelles are genuinely green: with nearly half its 459sqkm (177sqmi) territory set aside for conservation, it’s one of the world’s most eco-friendly destinations. Hike in the morning on a jungle adventure, then go for dive in the afternoon – you’ll see more wildlife than an Attenborough documentary. Add luxury spas and a dramatic boulder-strewn coastline and you’ve got a sailing destination that writes itself.
Cruise around the Seychelles in style by hiring a boat for the week through Dream Yacht Charter. Alternatively, rent a yacht for the day with SamBoat.
Beaches. It’s impossible to pick one. But let’s start with Anse Marron. At the southern tip of La Digue island, this remarkable strip of bright-white beauty is strewn with sculpted boulders that wouldn’t seem out of place in the Louvre. The Rodin-style granite divides the beach into two sections: you can either frolic in the gentle sway of the Indian ocean or bob in a sheltered seawater pool.
Birdwatchers and other nature lovers will revel in Unesco-listed Vallée de Mai National Park on Praslin. Spot rare birds such as the Seychelles warbler, the blue pigeon and the black parrot shelter here – and look out for the Coco de Mer palm, endemic to Praslin and Curieuse islands here in the Seychelles.
Feeling floppy? Time for a spa day. Head to the legendary Boat House restaurant on Beau Vallon Bay with a day spa next door that’s both friendly and affordable.
The Eden Island Marina in Victoria on the largest island of Mahé has everything you need. It offers 129 berths for boats of 115m (377ft) in length, drawing 11m (36ft) – although access depths are closer to 5m (16ft). Monitoring VHF Channel 10, the marina gives easy access to Eden Plaza shopping centre – while the stores and services of Victoria are concentrated nearby.
Happily, anchorage is permitted in some of the loveliest marine parks in the Seychelles, once fees and permits are sorted. Île aux Cocos is renowned for snorkelling – while the six islands, giant tortoises and limpid waters of Sainte Anne island are something special.
If you love seafood as much as seafaring, the Seychelles will blow you away. The variety and freshness of local tuna, lobster and shellfish – such as touloulou and tectec – is incredible. Tropical fruit and the highest-quality spices also grow here. These local delicacies elevate dishes such as spiced grouper in banana leaf. Don’t miss the Indian-influenced seafood curry at Rey & Josh Café on La Digue.
Minimal development in the Seychelles makes its beauty difficult to access. This is where the freedom of having your own yacht charter shines. SamBoat offers a fleet of single-hulled yachts and catamarans from Eden island and Mahé – both powered and under sail – for day rentals. Alternatively, Dream Yacht Charter offer week-long bareboat rentals as well as all-inclusive, by the cabin charters for solo travellers.
Restocking at Eden Island Marina couldn’t be simpler. Eden Plaza shopping centre has it all: a supermarket, wine shop and even an ice-cream parlour. If you want cheaper, more varied options, it’s a short taxi ride to supermarkets such as Buyrite, Tip Top and People’s – all on Mont Fleuri Road.
Get ready for heat and humidity throughout the year. But expect relief from the northwest winds between December and March and the southwest ones from May to September. You’ll still sweat it out, though – average temperatures continually hover between minimums of 24℃ and maximums of 30℃. Humidity regularly hits 80% and rain is most likely from December to February. April, May and the last three months of the year have the best visibility for diving.
Late August sees the Round Table Beau Vallon Regatta sweep into the Seychelles, bringing lively competition and a festival atmosphere. Accompanied by other events – swimming races and a tug-of-war – it’s also an excuse to let loose, as live music, beachside barbecues and other frivolities unfurl.
Seychelles International Airport lies on the mid-east coast of Mahé, only 4.1mi (6.6km) south of SamBoat’s charters on Eden Island. There’s also a domestic terminal here, where you can take flights to the few other landing strips on the islands – such as Praslin Airport.