When you imagine Seychelles, typically you’re transported to sandy beaches with clear blue waters. However, there’s much more to this island nation. The archipelago consists of 115 islands. And the majority of those islands are uninhabited. With a number of protected natural wonders and historic architecture, Seychelles just might be the destination of your dreams.
When people say they’ve been to Seychelles, they’re more than likely talking about the inner islands of Mahé, Praslin, or La Digue. They are the most developed for tourists with many luxury five-star resorts. Mahé hosts the capital city of Victoria and is where the international airport is located. It is also home to the Morne Seychellois National Park and the world famous Anse Intendance beach. Let’s check out some ways to chill in Seychelles.
Unlike the other scenic beaches of the nation, there is no offshore coral reef to protect this bay from the open ocean. This means the water does get deep quite quickly, and waves can get very rough. Because swimming here is treacherous, people are encouraged to try surfing or body boarding in the bay. Fishing here is also a favorite pastime for locals and visitors alike. Beyond that, the beach is always excellent for sunbathing and selfies!
Morne Seychellois National Park
Created in 1979, the Morne National Park is the largest in the nation. It encompasses over 20% of Mahé island and can only be accessed by walking trails. Thankfully, there are over a dozen access points and guided tours that one can take through the thick forest. Typical tours last from four hours to overnight excursions. Plants and animals unique to the Seychelles, including the insectivorous pitcher plants can be found in higher sections of the park; just be ready to climb up over 100 m of granite rock in order to see them. The mountain chain that gives the park its name, Morne Seychellois, reaches a height of 905 m and overlooks the city of Victoria — perfect for your undercover adventurer.
Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
Located on Praslin Island, the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve is the toast of the territory. The entire reserve is legally protected under national legislation and managed by a public trust called the Seychelles Islands Foundation. It is best known for a forest of palm trees.
The famous coco de mer, the largest seed in the plant kingdom, is from this reserve. The palm-trees that house them were once believed to grow in the depths of the sea. Unfortunately, overexploitation of coco-de-mer and illegal removal of the seeds is a serious problem for rangers and preservers of the park. But if you’re interested in historic palms and taking in the prehistoric beauty of nature, you’ve met your match.
Commonly known as the “Aldabra Atoll,” this is one of the most secluded of the Seychelles archipelago. It’s completely untouched and inhospitable to people, with no hotels or villas for sleeping over. But it’s this very fact that makes the wildlife there stunning. Aldabra boasts a large population of giant tortoises, as well as 273 species of shrubs, ferns, and flowering plants. This includes the tropicbird orchid, which is the national flower of Seychelles.
La Digue island is the 3rd most densely populated in Seychelles with a population of nearly 3,000. Boating trips are popular here, and one could hire a boat for one day or half a day. Like the other Seychelles islands, hiking, surfing and snorkeling along the reefs are the main attractions to this region. There are no cars on this island. So if you’re into cycling, this is the perfect destination for you. Belle Vue, also known as the Eagle’s Nest Mountain, is the tallest point in La Digue. It can be found in the central part of the island, peaking at more than 300 m above sea level. If rare plants are your thing, the Veuve Nature Reserve is home to the rare black paradise flycatcher, of which there are only about 100 in existence.
Seychelles Natural History Museum
If you’d rather be indoors, there’s the Seychelles Natural History Museum. With so much of Seychelles being protected, this museum hosts exhibitions that chronicle the flora, fauna and geological history of Seychelles. The museum has another important mission, to enlighten visitors about major environmental concerns in the country, and promote positive attitudes and actions in conserving the natural heritage of Seychelles.
As you can see, there are few places that truly compare to the beauty, the history, and nature of Seychelles. No matter what your definition of “fun,” there’s definitely something everyone can enjoy. So the next time you’re seeking a place to chill, we implore you to seek Seychelles.
This article originally appeared on Demand Africa.
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