Trip review: holiday to Seychelles Islands

April / May 2003

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Seychelles travel itinerary | Seychelles travel information | Seychelles pictures
Contacts and Copyright | Pagina in Italiano


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SEYCHELLES TRAVEL MAP

Where to go in Seychelles?

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SEYCHELLES TRAVEL GUIDE : FACTS AND USEFUL INFORMATION

WHY GO TO SEYCHELLES?

The Seychelles are an ideal destination for who is looking for a beach holiday that, in addition to offering the classic white sand beaches, gives also the possibility to have inland excursions, among mountains covered with lush vegetation that includes many endemic species, but also home to exciting wildlife like giant tortoises and endemic birds that can not be found elsewhere. A trip to the Seychelles is therefore particularly recommended for those who want to alternate beach life and sea bathing, with some activities to discover a wide variety of landscapes and local biodiversity, hiking the numerous trails across the islands or moving by bike.



WHAT ARE THE MAIN ISLANDS IN THE SEYCHELLES GROUP?

The Seychelles archipelago consists of dozens of islands scattered over a wide area of the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa, just south of the equator. The Seychelles islands are divided into two categories: granitic islands and coralline islands (atolls).

The granitic islands are the most frequented by tourists, as they are the closer and easiest to reach from the capital Victoria: these islands have a mainly mountainous territory with particularly lush vegetation, picturesque bays with white sand beaches and lagoons protected by coral reefs. The main granitic islands are Mahé where the capital Victoria is located, Praslin known for a tropical forest that is home to Coco de Mer palm tree, La Digue famous for Source d'Argent beach with its granitic boulders, while Fregate is frequented mainly by elite tourism due to its super luxurious resort. Finally, it worth mentioning St. Anne, an island entirely included into a national park, Silhouette (of volcanic origin) and Sister & Coco, a group of islets and reefs ideal for day trips by boat from Praslin.

The coralline islands are the most remote, harder to reach and therefore less frequented by tourists, also because they are particularly expensive. These islands are usually part of more or less extensive atolls, they present the classical elliptical shape and the maximum altitude above sea level does not exceed a couple of meters. From the spacious white sand beaches that usually surround the island, swimmers get access to a turquoise blue lagoon and, in some cases, it may be easy enough to get up to coral reef for some good snorkeling. The main coralline islands (or atolls) in the Seychelles are Bird Island, excellent for eco-tours, since the atoll hosts an impressive colony consisting of millions of terns and many tortoises, while Alphonse houses a luxury resort built among palm trees and mangroves. Desroches is known for excellent snorkeling and beach life (but it's SO expensive!), while Aldabra is an uninhabited atoll home to the world's largest population of giant tortoises (Aldabra can be visited only by expensive cruises hosting just an handful of intrepid tourists).



HOW TO GET TO SEYCHELLES AND HOW TO MOVE AROUND?

Getting to Seychelles from the rest of the world is fairly easy, as they are served by daily flight from Middle East (Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi) and by several flights per week from major cities in east Africa or Europe. Furthermore, most tour operators offering fully inclusive packages to Seychelles, offer also charter flights, therefore increasing the overall total capacity and flight frequency to the islands.

Moving between Seychelles islands is not difficult as well, since Air Seychelles, the local airline, provides flights to the islands throughout the day or in connection with arriving and departing international flights. In particular, Praslin, one of the islands most frequented by tourists, can be reached by just a 15 minute flight from Mahe international airport aboard small turboprop planes. Also the most remote islands, such as Bird and Alphonse, are of course served by Air Seychelles, although the frequency of flights is much lower or in some cases scheduled just on request of the resorts on these islands (usually all the packages that include overnight stays on remote islands, also include flights to get in and out, so the tourists do not have to worry about anything).

Getting to La Digue requires instead some additional effort, since there are no airstrips capable to get passenger planes. Most tourists arrive in La Digue via Praslin through a short ferry trip taking less than one hour, although there is also a daily ferry link from/to Mahe (but much longer).

For tourists who do not care about the budget, there is also a taxi service by helicopter, ideal to get quickly to and from most islands. Moving around throughout larger islands is usually possible by bus whose frequency is generally around one hour, in addition to taxi or even by traditional bullock carts (La Digue). On smaller islands and atolls, most resorts give a courtesy bike, since the distances are usually short.


WHEN TO GO TO SEYCHELLES?

As these islands are mainly a beach destination, you're probably wondering what is the best season to go to the Seychelles, when there are less possibilities that unstable weather can ruin the holiday. The best time to visit Seychelles, when the rainfall is less than the rest of the year (but anyway never really absent) goes roughly from May to September inclusive, although that period may have slightly stronger winds, cooler temperatures and rougher sea (issues that however, usually do not affect the possibility to spend many hours at the beach, swim or have inland excursions). The most rainy period in the Seychelles instead goes from December to February inclusive, and although most of the islands are outside the cyclone belt, it is best to avoid this time of year. The rainfall of the wettest period is about three times the average of the dry months, while July seems to be the driest month ever. The temperature in the Seychelles is pleasant all year round, without extremes, never too hot or too cool.

MORE SEYCHELLES TRAVEL TIPS

Below, more travel tips about Seychelles, useful if you would like to go there:

  • Time zone: the Seychelles are on GMT+4 time zone and daylight saving time is not used.
  • Currency: the official currency of the Seychelles is the Rupee, but most hotels and restaurants can legally accept only foreign currencies like Euro, GBP or USD. It is therefore advisable to change only a small amount of money for the smaller expenses (street food, bus tickets, tipping), because the Rupee left at the end of the trip, can't be changed back to original currency (at least, legally)
  • How to dress: at dinner in restaurants (including hotel restaurants) decent clothing that completely covers the legs, even for for men, is required. On the beaches topless is tolerated, but nudity is not allowed.
  • Power plugs: power plugs in the Seychelles are usually of G type (UK standard), the voltage is 240V and the frequency is 50Hz
  • Malaria: as the islands are very close to east Africa, you are probably wondering if there is any risk of Malaria in the Seychelles. Well, you can go to Seychelles without worrying about Malaria, since there are no conditions in the islands letting this disease to develop. It is in any case suggested to dress properly at night and use insect repellents, to avoid unpleasant bites from regular mosquitos and other insects.


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SEYCHELLES PHOTOS ISLAND BY ISLAND

Alphonse island Alphonse Atoll and Alphonse Island Resort (Seychelles) <<-- GO
An incredible wonder, part of the Amirantes island group, about 400 Km southwest of the capital of Seychelles Mahe'. Characterized by a huge lagoon surrounded by sandy flats, it can also be used as a base for sightseeing and fly fishing trips to the nearby paradise of St. Francois, the kingdom of the mangroves and giant crabs.
St. Francois atoll Excursions to St Francois Atoll and Bijoutier Island from Alphonse <<-- GO
St. Francois atoll and Bijoutier Island, in the Seychelles, are natural paradises protected and uninhabited, where giant coconut crabs graze between mangrove forest and where colonies of terns establish their breeding territory. Both places are just a short day trip from Alphonse, usually aboard a small rubber boat.
Anse Source d'Argent La Digue Island, the most beautiful granitic island in the Seychelles <<-- GO
La Digue is a granitic island where the time seems frozen at the past century. La Digue can be entirely visited by bike and with its many opportunities for hiking and trekking, offers a lot of activities for either adventurous travellers and for who prefers to relax on a beach, swimming and snorkeling around. In La Digue there is Anse Source d'Argent, the most beautiful beach of Seychelles.
Praslin island Praslin Island (Seychelles) excursions to Valle de Mai and Anse Lazio <<-- GO
Praslin is a granitic island, home of the world's only population of Coco De Mer tree, growing mainly in Valle de Mai, a protected area that comprises a beautiful tropical forest. Praslin is also characterized by many white-sand beaches and can be used as a convenient base for several day trips to the nearby islands.
Excursion to Sister island and Cocos Day trip to Cocos Island and Sister Island from Praslin <<-- GO
A few minutes by boat from Praslin there are some islands that are an ideal destination for day trips. Sister island is big enough to let some hiking among beautiful granitic boulders and palms, while Coco island is instead just a big rock where the surrounding clear waters offer the opportunity for some interesting snorkeling.
Bird Island Bird island atoll (Seychelles) <<-- GO
A lovely tropical paradise, particularly suited for bird watching and birding tours, hiking, swimming and snorkeling. Home of Esmerlada, a tortoise about 200 years old, this coralline island also hosts a colony of Sooty Terns coming here annually to feed and to grow their chicks. A large beach of pure-white sand surrounds the entire island for a circumference of about 5 kilometers.
Minolta Dynax 5 PICTURES OF SEYCHELLES BY THEME
This section contains information about the trip to Seychelles, illustrated by numerous pictures divided by theme, showing the most significant aspects of the islands, and some curiosities. Photography equipment | Wildlife | Vegetation | Moving around | Seychelles postcards

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