With clear, coral fringed waters and a lush mountainous backdrop, the Seychelles is the perfect place for a honeymoon or lazy beach vacation; but it’s not all about cocktails at sunset and moonlight strolls on the beach. There’s plenty going on both above and below water to keep adrenalin-seekers happy too. Those seeking an energetic trip could try the following adventures in the Seychelles.
The Seychelles’ reefs, underwater canyons, wrecks and drop offs are buzzing with both fish and coral life, offering plenty to see for both experienced divers and newbies. Even shallow reefs close to shore hide a myriad of beauties: butterfly fish, angelfish and soldier fish are all common, and you may well spot octopus and lobster. Head a little further out and you’ll be rewarded with reef sharks, giant grouper, stingrays and turtles; at the more remote islands you could see nurse sharks, manta rays and the odd hammerhead.
Visibility is best from March to May, and in October-November. If you’re keen to see whale sharks, July and August are the best time to visit, when plankton in the water brings them closer to land.
Most dives take place on the Inner Islands, in particular around Mahé, Praslin and La Digue – the Seychelles’ tourist hub. Dive centres in the Seychelles for the most part offer modern dive equipment rental and it’s a great place to complete a PADI course. Good operators include Blue Sea Divers on Mahé, Octopus Diver on Praslin and Azzura Pro Dive on La Digue, all of which offer courses as well as trips for experienced divers.
The tourist hotspots of Mahé, La Digue and Praslin all have excellent trails into the hinterland. Most of the hikes are well signposted and can be attempted without much more than a sturdy pair of shoes and some water, but guided tours are also popular if you want to learn about the islands’ plant and animal life along the way.
Mahé’s 3050-hectare Morne Seychellois National Park offers a number of options for keen trekkers including a walk to the top of Morne Blanc. You’ll pass through an old tea plantation and misty forests (spotting many of the Seychelles’ native birds along the way) to reach the 905-meter-high summit, the highest point in the country. From here you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views across Mahé and over the ocean.
The Vallée de Mai, on Praslin, is one of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Seychelles, and a great place for more gentle walks. Here a number of paths crisscross an otherworldly natural palm forest of some 6,000 trees, which remains as it was many thousand of years ago.
Another option is a short walk up to Mahé’s Mission Lodge for the Seychelles’ most famous views, southwards past mountains and boulders and out to sea.
Rock climbing and tropical paradise may not seem to go hand-in-hand, but the sport has become more and more popular on the islands because of its magnificent granite rock faces. There are plenty of challenging locations for experienced climbers, but beginners and children can try the Constance Ephélia Resort at Port Launay, where you can be guided over an 18-meter-high natural granite climbing wall (there is also a section for more experienced climbers to get stuck in to). Also at Port Launay you can fly through the forest canopy on a zip wire up to 120 meters in length. Contact SMAC Adventures for more information.