When it comes to planning a tropical island getaway, Africa may not be high on your list of destinations…or even be on your radar at all. Beautiful pristine beaches, idyllic seas, and plenty of relaxing and fun in the sun sounds more like a trip to the Caribbean or the Mediterranean. But there’s actually an African destination that rivals some of the top and most popular island destinations…the Seychelles.
Situated off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean (about 1,600 kilometers or 994 miles east of Kenya), Seychelles is made up of 115 islands. The archipelago is home to countless white sand shores with the beauty of the Indian Ocean as its backdrop. If you’re a traveler looking for a tropical beach destination without the hassle of having to deal with the crowds, the Seychelles islands may be just what you’re looking for. This African island destination is not only fairly isolated and quiet, but it’s also made it onto many lists of top romantic getaway destinations as well. So whether you’re looking for a serene, solo trip, or looking to get away with that special someone, there’s definitely plenty of appealing reasons to consider Seychelles as your destination.
So what exactly is there to see and do while visiting Seychelles aside from spending the day at the beach? Let’s take a look at some of the top options you’ll have while enjoying this sunny African island nation…
When to Go:
Seychelles sees hot and humid weather for most of the year. So it’s important to keep that in mind when planning a trip. The islands also see a slightly cooler rainy season, which could definitely put a damper on your fun in the sun. And even though these African islands are a more remote destination, there are high and low seasons you’ll want to consider, depending on how quiet you’d like your travel experience to be.
The peak season of travel for Seychelles is typically from the month of May through August. Heavy tourist crowd months tend to be in December, January, July, and August. So if you’re looking for ideal weather and don’t mind having to share the beaches with more people, the high season may be an ideal time for you to visit.
Rainy season for the Seychelles is usually from mid-December through March. That doesn’t mean every day is going to be cloudy and rainy though. It just means there will be more of a chance to encounter dreary weather due to the cyclone activity going on in the Indian Ocean at this time. Seychelles is beyond the cyclone zone though, so you won’t have to worry about getting caught in a tropical storm, and prices are usually lower during the low season.
What to See and Do
The Seychelles islands are made up of a variety of different land formations. From the smaller atolls to the larger granite inner islands, there’s definitely going to be plenty of exploring options as well as ample relaxation opportunities.
Wild jungles, boulder-strewn beaches, beautiful coral reefs, and diverse marine sanctuaries are just a few of the many things Seychelles has to offer. Here are a few great options to consider while exploring Africa’s tropical island paradise…
Bask in the Sun on Mahe Island’s Most Beautiful Beach
There’s no question that there will be plenty of beach options on Seychelles. It is an island destination after all. And one of the archipelago’s most picturesque beaches can be found on one of the larger islands of Mahe. Known as Anse Intendance, this beach is well-known for its pristine beauty and wild waves. This makes it an ideal surfing spot and the perfect location for those idyllic tropical island photo ops. This beach is popular among beachcombers and sunbathers. However, it’s not an ideal beach for swimming, as the waters can get pretty rough.
Hike the Trails of Seychelles Largest National Park
It doesn’t have to be all fun in the sun every day while you’re visiting Seychelles. Travelers who are avid hikers or outdoor enthusiasts can take a break from the sunbathing and head for the Morne Seychellois National Park.
It’s Seychelles’ largest park and covers a large chunk of the island of Mahe. There’s a mountain chain within the park bearing the same name as its highest peak: Morne Seychellois. There are numerous hiking trails throughout the park, with each one offering different viewing options. Most trails lead up into the park from the village of Danzil. From the tops of these hikes, you’ll be treated to awesome views, including the capital city of Victoria and the Port Launay Marine Parks, depending on which trails you take. Those looking for a unique hiking experience will definitely appreciate the picturesque views during all points along their hikes in Seychelles’ largest island park.
Explore the Former Colonial City of Victoria
Also located on the larger island of Mahe, Victoria is the capital city of Seychelles and is home to several historical structures. The city was named after England’s former Queen Victoria and is the only seaport for all of Seychelles. It’s a relatively small city, but definitely full of charm and discovery as you explore its streets.
Those looking for a semblance of colonial history can head to Freedom Square. Here you’ll find a few remaining colonial buildings. The most popular structure here is the clock tower, which was built in 1903 to emulate the larger version in London…Big Ben. Overlooking Freedom Square, you’ll come upon St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was built on the site where Seychelles first church stood.
The Seychelles National Botanical Garden is a great choice for those who want to take a relaxing stroll through fifteen acres of exotic and native plant life. There’s also an orchid garden. Those looking for a taste of the local life should head for the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market. Here you’ll find everything from crafts and souvenirs to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Indulge in the Turquoise Seas of Anse Lazio
With its crystal clear turquoise waters and long stretches of pristine sands, Anse Lazio (also known as Chevalier Bay) is one of Seychelles’ most picturesque beaches. Located on the northern shore of Praslin Island, this beach is a must visit spot for those looking for a relaxing day of sunbathing and swimming. There are some great snorkeling opportunities as well, especially at the east end of the beach. The shallow waters are coral reef protected, providing calm waters that are ideal for snorkelers looking to catch sight of tropical fish passing by.
Experience the Traditional Outdoor Island Life on La Digue Island
It’s the fourth largest island of the Seychelles archipelago and a perfect paradise for those travelers who are outdoor enthusiast. It’s also a great place to experience the traditional island way of life. That’s because on La Digue Island, the most popular modes of transportation are oxcarts and bicycles.
The island offers many great hiking opportunities, as well as more daring activities like rock climbing and diving. If you do decide to indulge in a few island hikes, be sure to check out the La Pass to Grand Anse Trail. You’ll not only wind your way through marshes and woodlands, but also pass by old French colonial homes. The trail ends up at the lovely Grand Anse beach. Speaking of beaches, La Digue Island is also home to the white sands and granite rock outcrops of Anse Source D’Argent. This beach is known as one of the most picturesque beaches in the world, so it’s definitely a must see while venturing around the island.
Take in the Amazing Wildlife on Aldabra Atoll
Wildlife enthusiasts will definitely want to check out the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aldabra Atoll. Not only is it the world’s largest raised coral atoll, but its home to a rich and diverse amount of island wildlife. Thousands of species of birds call this atoll home. In the surrounding shallow waters of the atoll, manta rays and tiger sharks can be found swimming about. But the main attraction on Aldabra is the giant land tortoises. In fact, there are five times more of these regal tortoises here than on the Galapagos Islands! So Aldabra Atoll is a definite must for those wanting to experience the diverse island wildlife of Seychelles firsthand.
Check out the Prehistoric Forest of Vallee de Mai National Park
Valle de Mai National Park is located on the granite island of Praslin, and offers visitors a rather unique outdoor experience. It’s in this park where you’ll find the giant, rare, and prehistoric coco de mer fruit palm tree. This palm is not only known to have existed during prehistoric times, but is also the bearer of the largest seed in the entire plant kingdom! That’s quite impressive for a palm tree. Aside from marveling at these majestic palms, you’ll also come across a variety of other unique plant life, including vanilla orchids, Chinese fans, splayed traveler’s palm, and the palmist…among many others. There are also many species of lizards and rare birds that call the park home. For the best experience, hike along the marked nature trail.
With 115 islands, there’s no doubt you won’t run out things to see and do while visiting Seychelles. Of course there are endless beach options to pursue. But there are plenty of other fun and exciting things to discover while you’re visiting the islands as well. So you’ll have plenty of ways to mix in a little excitement in between those relaxing lazing around in the sun days. No matter what you have planned, Seychelles is an ideal location for those looking to explore a unique island destination off the coast of Africa!