Off the eastern coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean, is an archipelago of more than 115 islands that you don’t want to miss. Seychelles is a picturesque getaway with landscapes that can transport you back in time. Mahé is the largest island in the archipelago and it's where you'll find the capital, Victoria, which is unlike many other first cities in the world. Imagine finding a hidden escape surrounded by lush greenery straight out of a famous movie, or walking around and not remembering the last time you even heard a car, much less saw one. Those looking to escape from the hustle will be surprised at just how decadent disconnecting can be and how many opportunities there are to get back to nature.
With a population of nearly 3,000, La Digue is the third most populous island in Seychelles. With a nearly 10-mile coastline, you can have your pick of any spot to enjoy the sand. Take some time out to visit the Veuve Natural Reserve, home to the rare Seychelles paradise flycatcher, which is considered critically endangered.
Located in Victoria, the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens is a lush garden of amazing flora and fauna. You can enjoy a relaxing walk along the trails and just get lost for a few hours. If you’re lucky, you may see some fruit bats or even giant tortoises that are always up for some food and a few unforgettable selfies that will make friends jealous.
If you remember one of the scenes from Jurassic Park, then you’ll enjoy Vallée de Mai on Praslin Island. It’s a nature preserve that helps you imagine what it was probably like to live around untouched greenery. There are many endemic plants to enjoy, but the coco de mer trees are the main attraction, as they can only be found in Seychelles. Remember to also check out the Praslin Waterfall, a natural attraction that’s classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
On the east coast of Mahé is the white sand of Anse Royal Beach. Above that is Les Jardin du Roi Spice Park, which is a throwback to when Seychelles was considered a spice hub in the 18th century. You will be drawn to it by the sweet, warm smells of vanilla, nutmeg, and other spice plants as you wander through the garden for a couple of hours.
A little more than a mile west from Praslin is Cousin Island, which was designated as a Special Reserve since 1975. It used to be a coconut plantation, which required removing the native vegetation to make room for the coconut trees. This action drove the native warbler to near extinction. These days, the coconut trees have been removed, allowing the natural vegetation to return and swamp area with mangroves to thrive. The coast is rocky and home to about 1,300 feet of protected coral reefs.
St. Pierre Island is a little island that looks like a postcard. Located north of Praslin island, it boasts granite boulders and coco de mer palms that provide the perfect shade for a dip in the clear waters. Though uninhabited, St. Pierre Island is a frequent stop for sailors and snorkelers, who sometimes get to see sea turtles and stingrays.
With a population of about 100 people, Desroches Island is a part of a group of coral islands called the Amirantes that are on the outer edge of Seychelles. It’s got wooded forests and a bevy of birds, that were introduced to Desroches, such as Madagascar fodies and grey francolins, making it a bird-watching haven.
Surrounded by sapphire-blue sea, Curieuse Island is just a 10-minute sea taxi ride from Praslin. It has massive boulders on the white sandy beaches that can give you a bit of shade when you need it. If you're up for exploring, you can check out the mangroves on the other side. But the real attraction is the free-roaming giant tortoises that visitors can interact with and feed.
On the main island of Mahè, Morne Blanc offers a sweeping view of the island’s coast. From the San Soucis road, you head up the trail, passing through lush jungle with moss and ferns. It's a gorgeous walk up a mountain that is smothered in clouds a good part of the time, making it continuously damp most days. You’ll want to start your hike early to make sure you get a great view from the top.
While there is plenty to enjoy on La Digue, you’ll want to make time for Anse Source d’Argent. Imagine pale blue-green waters continuously lapping white sandy beaches against a backdrop of coconut palms and massive boulders that give you just enough privacy. No wonder it's considered one of the most photographed beaches in the world.