Francis, one of our most travelled safari experts, is beguiled by the beaches of the Seychelles. A thousand miles east of Africa’s mainland lies a cluster of tiny, remote islands far out in the Indian Ocean. This archipelago seems to have been scattered from a giant’s hand, strung out over 300 miles or more of tropical ocean. I was struck, entranced in fact, by the Seychelles’ staggering, heart-stopping beauty. The warmth of the people. The diversity of the islands themselves, the quality of the accommodation, and the range of activities on offer. Among many captivating facets of an African safari is the combination of wonderful scenery and superb service. Often hard to replicate on the beach.
The Seychelles offer scenery to match anything that the mainland can provide. Along with remarkable levels of comfort and service, making it a top quality destination. The warm sea is turquoise and the vegetation a luscious deep green. The beaches are in some cases golden. In others, pure shimmering white, usually expansive, and often fringed with swaying drooping palms. A range of accommodation spans the gap from simple bed and breakfast to a couple of the most luxurious and exclusive private lodges anywhere in Africa. Something to suit anyone regardless of budget or preferences.
There is so much to do here. The diving and snorkelling are world class. The reliable trade winds are perfect for inter-island sailing. The coral islands are a mecca for salt water fly fishers. The deep sea fishing is superb thanks to the concentration of pelagic species at the drop offs around the islands. There is excellent bird watching with many indigenous species. A multitude of marine life and turtles to learn about, some great walks and bike rides on Mahe and Praslin. The water is always balmy and the weather benign for most of the year. Who could want more? Did I mention the food? It was amazing. So fresh and tasty, with no end of inspiration from around the world and wonderful fish and seafood each day.
Among the highlights of my trip were:
- My first ever scuba dive
- Flying into Denis Island – an isolated tropical paradise surrounded by azure blue sea as far as the eye can see
- The phenomenal granite scenery on Mahe and Praslin
- The incredible exclusivity, luxury and views of Fregate Island
- Psychedelic snorkelling in a warm sea
For many families and couples the ideal holiday is a combination of safari and beach. Whilst the Seychelles are 1,000 miles from Africa’s eastern coast, it is simple to get here from a top quality safari in Kenya or Tanzania. So, you can walk with the Samburu, see the great wildebeest migration. Relax by some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, all in a two week holiday. It’s also possible to spend two weeks split between two or three contrasting islands or hotels on the Seychelles. I’d say that the Seychelles is a ‘Mercedes’ destination: top quality, effortless to use, and very, very good all year round.