Heralded as the “Original Garden of Eden”, the Seychelles is a sanctuary for a myriad of natural treasures, and boasts some of the most exclusive resorts in the world fit for royalty.
The Galápagos of the Indian Ocean
The Seychelles archipelago consists of 115 stunning islands in the Indian Ocean off East Africa. Declared a French colony in the 18th century, the archipelago changed hands several times between the French and British before gaining independence in 1976. Throughout its history, widespread intermarriage between the colonists, Asians from China, India, Malaya, and the native African people has resulted in a population of mixed descent and an interesting blend of cultural backgrounds.
Boasting lush vegetation, numerous pristine beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves, as well as diverse marine life and rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises, there are plenty of exceptional islands to visit. The Seychelles has two main island groups: the Inner Islands, comprising the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on Earth, and the Outer Islands, which are made up of the low-lying coral atolls and reef islands. Most travellers tend to stay on the Inner Islands where the majority of the high-end resorts are; and you can always charter your own yacht if you want to explore the Outer Islands.
Our portfolio in the Seychelles covers the archipelago's pristine inner and outer island resorts as well as the premier luxury properties on the main island of Mahé. We have been arranging bespoke honeymoons, family adventures and post-safari retreats to the Seychelles since 2002 and we can secure preferential rates at many of the premier resorts around the archipelago.
Mahé is every traveller’s first stop to Seychelles, and it is also the largest and most developed of the islands, with its capital Victoria situated here. The island features the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park and beautiful white sand beaches including Beau Vallon and Anse Takamaka. It is also the main hub for island hopping and day excursions to the archipelago's smaller islands.
There are a number of high end global resort and hotel brands that can be found on the main island including the Four Seasons, Banyan Tree and Kempinski to name a few.
The Inner Islands
The Inner Islands are the remains of a submerged mountain range resting on a shallow plateau, with lush tropical vegetation appearing as high hanging gardens overlooking silver-white beaches and clear lagoons. These islands offer impressive granite reef locations, where the sculptured rocks can be covered with soft corals and sponges, and are abundant with prolific marine life, with access to diverse and impressive dive sites. Most spectacular are the plankton-eating whale sharks that can be found in large numbers during October and November. With many islands to choose from, we have summarised some of the best ones that may whet your appetite for a luxury retreat in this beautiful paradise.
North Island is synonymous with unsurpassed beauty and unashamed luxury; therefore, it’s no surprise that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose this island as their honeymoon location. With only eleven luxury villas, this intimate island features four luminous white beaches surrounded by azure warm waters, and acts as a Noah’s Ark, where natural habitats have been rehabilitated and endangered flora and fauna introduced. In 2020, North Island became Marriott's most exclusive resort in its global portfolio, the definition of the ultimate in barefoot luxury, with world-class service, tranquil privacy, exquisite dining options and unforgettable activities just waiting for guests to enjoy.
La Digue is interestingly untouched by development, making the island an exclusive paradise. The hilly interior is cloaked with tangled jungle and wild hiking trails, and the Veuve Natural Reserve is teeming with wildlife, thus allowing guests a perfect destination for back-to-nature exploration. The island also offers a range of world-class dive sites including the iconic White Bank. Not a fan of diving? Snorkelling is also world-class within this area, with sweet spots including Anse Severe and Anse Patates as crowd favourites. With granite pillars, turquoise waters and white sand as a backdrop, the Anse Marron is regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is only accessible by foot, making the journey to this beach all the more worthwhile.
If you ask travellers why they visit the Seychelles, their predominant answer would likely be to see the giant Aldabra tortoises, and this is the island to realise their dreams. The island is home to free-roaming giant Aldabra tortoises (with a lifespan of up to 150 years), and Fregate's stellar conservation efforts include growing a population of tortoises from 150 individuals some 25 years ago to their current number of over 2,000. The island's sandy beaches provide vital nesting habitat for two species of sea turtle: the critically endangered hawksbill turtle and the endangered green turtle.
The second largest island of the Seychelles, Praslin has pristine beaches, emerald waters, lush jungles and stunning sunsets in abundance. It is also home to the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, one of the country’s two UNESCO World Heritage sites. This protected forest is home to the endemic Coco de Mer palm, which produces a fruit that is valued by many cultures for its aphrodisiac, medicinal and mystic properties. If you’re a beach lover, then a visit to the Anse Lazio beach is a must, as it has been voted the world’s most beautiful beach countless times.
Other Inner Islands
There are other islands that are worth visiting if time is not an issue. Silhouette Island was declared a National Park in 2010 and is now a haven for endemic birds; Curieuse Island is another island to witness the grandeur of the Aldabra tortoises; Denis Island is a small 375-acre island ringed by flawless white sand; and Félicité Island is home to the stunning eco-resort of Six Senses Zil Pasyon.
The Outer Islands
Located at the southwest of the archipelago, the Outer Islands are flat with elevated coral reefs that offer interesting dives from canyons to numerous wreck-diving sites and drop-off dives. Frequent sightings of many of the larger grouper species are quite common, including the spotted potato bass to migrating manta rays, and the occasional hammerhead shark. Heading to the Outer Islands can be an adventure in itself, and there are plenty of hidden gems to be found.
The magnificent island threesome comprising of Alphonse, St. François and Bijoutier lies in the very heart of the Indian Ocean. Beautiful white beaches line the edges of the dense natural forest, interspersed with the remnants of old commercial coconut groves. Here you will find ancient ambling tortoises, scurrying crabs and an interesting array of bird species.
Marine life in the country is colourful and diverse, where you can easily spot a kaleidoscope of corals, over 900 species of fish, ribbon-tailed stingrays as well as the plankton-eating whale shark, to name but a few. The Aldabra Atoll, the second largest coral atoll on Earth, is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, where tens of thousands of giant tortoises reside; it’s no surprise that divers of all levels flock here to marvel at the underwater treasures found here. We can arrange a live-aboard cruise to visit this remote location if you consider yourself a keen and seasoned diver.
Other Outer Islands
Cousin Island houses a sanctuary for land birds including the endangered Seychelles warbler; Bird Island is a stunning and important breeding ground for turtledoves, frigate birds and other seabirds that flock there each year to nest and rest. Desroches Island is home to another Four Seasons Resort in Seychelles.
There is no better way to cap off your African safari than to be pampered at one or two of the most exclusive resorts in the world, hosted by the Seychelles' friendly Creole people.