Seychelles Travel Guide: What to do and see and where to stay

As I was pedaling along a sandy road with signs warning me of coconuts falling from overhead, the wildest things suddenly stopped me.

At first glance I could barely see the animal as it blends into the foliage, but upon closer inspection I realized it was the largest tortoise I had ever seen.

It almost looked like a dinosaur, with its big reptilian limbs stomping through the grass, and its body was almost the size of my bike.

My partner and I stopped to examine this majestic creature, which we later learned was named George and was around 120 years old. This was another discovery in Seychelles that surprised me.

Before venturing into the remote western Indian Ocean archipelago I thought it was primarily a honeymooner’s paradise, but there’s real adventure to be had when you look beyond the pristine white beaches and heavenly accommodation options.

The island republic, which comprises around 115 islands, offers a unique mix of varied terrain, with the inner islands formed from prehistoric-looking clumps of eroded granite rock, while the outer islands have more of a Robinson Crusoe feel, with sandy plains sculpted from it became beds of crushed coral.

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George is a 120-year-old tortoise who lives on Desroches Island (Photo: Sadie Whitelocks)

George is a 120-year-old tortoise who lives on Desroches Island (Photo: Sadie Whitelocks)

I started my Seychelles adventure in style by venturing to Desroches Island, home to a super-luxe and eco-focused Four Seasons resort.

The 5km outcrop is accessible by small 20 seater plane and takes just under an hour from the main island of Mahe.

Upon landing on Desroches, you’ll quickly be transported to an island paradise, with Instagrammable beach bungalows amidst lush jungle, more than 150 wild Aldabra turtles slithering about, and azure waters lapping the golden shores.

therefore island

Desroches Island is home to a super-luxurious and eco-focused Four Seasons resort (Photo: Four Seasons)

All guests get their own bikes, which you can use to explore a number of beaches, a small Creole village, and a nature reserve where even more turtles roam.

The beaches have water sports equipment for you to use as you please, including kayaks, SUPs and bodyboards.

Be sure to grab a snorkel from the watersports center, as the shores around Desroches are lined with healthy seagrass patches that are home to dozens of sea turtles. You’re pretty much guaranteed to spot one when you go.

Avid bird watchers will be in paradise on the island with dozens of native species flying from palm tree to palm tree.

Highlights include the tropical shearwater, which digs large burrows the size of rabbit holes in which to nest, and the super-fast red fody, which you’ll spy all over the Seychelles.

After a busy day, the Four Seasons at Desroches Island offers more than four restaurants to recharge your batteries with everything from authentic Creole to Indian food to beach barbecues.

Opportunity to have a private picnic on Desroches Island (Photo: Sadie Whitelocks)

Opportunity to have a private picnic on Desroches Island (Photo: Sadie Whitelocks)

During the day private picnics can also be arranged for a deserted island experience without foraging.

One of the most unique restaurants is located in a lighthouse, serving up stunning panoramic views of the area and a delicious steak if you’re craving something other than seafood and locally grown produce.

If you are celebrating a special occasion, you can dine right on top of the tower.

After we had our fill of island life, we boarded the small plane back to Mahé – the Seychelles’ largest island – to visit the Four Seasons’ sister resort.

If you picture a dreamy beach scene from a James Bond film, you have the Four Seasons of Mahé rolled into one.

The 170-acre resort sits on a secluded bay, with elegant dark-wood villas lining the surrounding jungle-strewn slopes.

One of the beachfront villas at the Four Seasons on Desroches Island (Photo: Sadie Whitelocks)

One of the beachfront villas at the Four Seasons on Desroches Island (Photo: Sadie Whitelocks)

As at the Four Seasons on Desroches Island, all 67 villas and 27 residences have private pools, sundecks, and chic, tropical-inspired furniture that looks like it was pulled out of an interior design magazine.

To really enjoy all that Seychelles has to offer, I recommend exploring the resort’s confines – comfortable as it may be – to see some of the other sights.

White Sands Tours specializes in crafting adventure-focused itineraries, and the Four Seasons concierge team can assist in arranging bespoke trips.

We went on a breakneck 4×4 tour of some of Mahe’s hard-to-reach hilltops with company founder Franky before he took us kayaking on the southernmost point of the island for an afternoon.

Highly recommend this kayak trip through the freshwater lagoon and out to the white sandy beaches of Police Bay.

It’s an utterly peaceful paddle with nothing but birdsong, the sound of falling coconuts and the waves crashing behind to serenade you.

The path to the top of Morne Blanc (Photo: Sadie Whitelocks)

The path to the top of Morne Blanc (Photo: Sadie Whitelocks)

The next day, the hotel helped us organize a hike to Morne Blanc, the third highest mountain in the Seychelles at 667m.

If you are an avid hiker then you will be in your element navigating this chain of islands as there are many trails for all abilities.

The return trip up the Morne Blanc took about 90 minutes at a good pace and with stops in between.

The trail is maintained with snake-like tree roots so be careful, but the view from the top is worth the sweaty tow.

There is a covered viewing platform at the top where you can stop and take some photos and take your time to enjoy the sun-kissed coastal panorama.

If you travel with local guides, make sure you choose their knowledge of the flora and fauna as they are like walking encyclopedias when it comes to nature.

White Sands Tours specialize in putting together adventure-oriented itineraries (Photo: Sadie Whitelocks)

White Sands Tours specialize in putting together adventure-oriented itineraries (Photo: Sadie Whitelocks)

Our trekking guides Julianne and Roberto made numerous stops on our way to and from the mountain to point out tea plantations, pick guava and fill us in on the fascinating history of the island.

The Seychelles were first settled in the late 18th century after being claimed by the French, but the British then took control in 1811.

While the country gained independence in 1976, there are still many remnants of its European past, with French, English and French-based Creole as national languages, British-style dustbins scattered everywhere, British street signs lining the streets, and there is even one “Mini Big Ben” takes pride of place in the characterful capital of Victoria.

If you can, set aside an hour or two in the port city. Here you will find colorful street scenes, with the fruit and fish market taking center stage.

After 10 days in the Seychelles it was hard to part with this gem of a place.

It may have some of the best beaches in the world, but there’s a lot more to this place than its picture-perfect coastline.


How to plan a luxurious, adventure-filled holiday in the Seychelles

Qatar Airways operates regular flights to the Seychelles via Doha with economy, business and first class seats. Sign up for Priority Pass lounge services if you’re not traveling on business or traveling first.

For airport transfers, driving services can be booked through Uber.

If you are planning a trip to the Seychelles, you can find information about travel around the archipelago at the Tourist Board.

Suggested hotels if you’re looking for the ultimate luxury getaway are the chic Four Seasons Resort Seychelles on Mahe and the secluded Four Seasons Private Retreat on Desroches Island.

For a more low-key experience, Augerine Guest House offers a charming property on the main island of Mahe, with an open-air restaurant and direct access to Beau Vallon Beach.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/04/01/seychelles-travel-guide-what-to-do-and-see-and-where-to-stay-16360375/ Seychelles Travel Guide: What to do and see and where to stay

Sarah Y. Kim

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