- Coastlife The totally tropical taste
- Coastline Seychelles, Seychelles on the sea floor
An archipelago of 155 islands that lie scattered like birdseed to the east of Africa, the Seychelles are known throughout the world for their idyllic tropical climate and desert-island beauty.
First discovered by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in the early 16th century, this smattering of granite and coral lumps has been, in its time, home to everyone from Arab traders taking a breather on the spice route to pirates using the islands as a base for their raids. Nowadays, the indigenous population is swelled by wealthy long-haul travellers, looking for – and finding – a version of paradise that verges on caricature. Beaches of soft, white sand peter out into turquoise waters, where the sort of brightly coloured fish you would usually only see on The Blue Planet weave their way between strands of luminescent coral. Behind the sand lie forests of dense tropical foliage – in which you will see more greens than at a Friends of the Earth demonstration – where a wide variety of fauna, much of it unique to the region, makes its home.
Do go/Don’t go
Because of its position just below the equator, the Seychelles is an ideal place to visit at any time of the year. The islands are at their driest between May and October, their wettest between December and February, and their most humid between October and April.
- Planes Air Seychelles (www.airseychelles.com) flies direct to Mahé from London two to three times per week | Air France (www.airfrance.com) flies via Paris | Emirates (www.emirates.com) has regular flights via Dubai and Qatar Airways (www.qatarairways.com) flies via Doha.
- Automobiles It’s worth renting car if you plan to explore Mahé | but it’s also very easy to organise taxis or a driver for the day.
- Taxis Taxis are fairly plentiful on Mahé, especially in Victoria, where there are several ranks (taxis are unlikely to stop for you if you attempt to hail them on the street). If the taxi has no meter, make sure you agree a fee in advance, otherwise this could lead to problems at the end of the journey. Drivers will usually give you their mobile number, and pick you up when you’re ready. There are a few taxis on Praslin and La Digue, but such a service is non-existent on the other islands.