Seychelles is an underrated island paradise that nobody is talking about. It is an off the radar island holiday destination that makes it an alluring travel destination for lovers and travellers wanting a slice of paradise without the hordes of tourists. Seychelles is an archipelago of over 100 islands off the coast of East Africa that is known for its unique beaches, island rum, spice farms, and interesting culture. It is also known for taking its guests privacy seriously. A holiday in Seychelles gives you a chance to experience what it would feel like to live on a beautiful tropical island. Snorkelling with turtles, hiking through steamy rainforests alive with the flutterings and sounds of exotic birds and frogs, and food you won’t be able to get enough of. And Seychelles is visa-free for South Africans, which makes it incredibly easy to travel to.
With over 80% of the islands covered in lush tropical forests and some of the best beaches in the world, many of the attractions in Seychelles revolve around nature. The beaches in Seychelles are an otherworldly kind of beautiful and each one more beautiful than the last. There are tons of them, most hidden on the smaller islands, but the best beaches on the main islands are: Anse Intendance, Baie Lazare on Mahé; Anse Lazio on Praslin; Anse Source d’Argent and Anse Coco Beach on La Digue. Between exploring the beaches, hike through Morne Seychellois National Park and Vallée de Mai (a UNESCO site) and get lost amongst the wild greenery and trill of rare birds and tiny frogs. Curieuse Island was once a leper colony and is now home to the ruins of the old leprosarium, giant tortoises, and the famous coco de mer nut. Learn how island rum is made and do a rum tasting at Takamaka Rum Distillery and sniff vanilla and cloves at Le Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden on Mahé. Explore the underwater kingdoms on a snorkelling trip and end the day to a spectacular sunset cruise. The key to a good holiday in Seychelles is to just enjoy the beauty and pampering.
You will be able to find shopping malls in Seychelles, but following the sweet aromas of tea and perfume will lead you to the best shopping on the islands. The markets and little shops you encounter along the way is where you want to linger and spend your money. You will be able to find coconut oil-scented bath soaps, colourful tropical fruits, and delicious street food amongst the markets. There are also little supermarkets and stores to get regular groceries and essentials from. Euros and US Dollars are the most widely accepted currencies in Seychelles. ATM fees can get steep, so exchange currencies and use cash during your trip. In terms of costs in Seychelles: accommodation can go from about R1,000 to over R10,000 per night. Food is about R70 for a regular takeaway, 400 for dinner at a restaurant, and between R600 and R2,000 for a meal at a fine dining restaurant. A beer is about R30 and a bottle of wine about R90. The bus fare is about R8 and a taxi across the island averages about R400 one way. The entrance fee for Valle de Mai is about R400 and the entrance fee for Anse Source D'Argent on La Digue is about R100. Seychelles is considered an expensive travel destination, but don’t let that put you off. It is possible to travel to Seychelles on a budget if you are smart about booking flights, accommodation, and spending money during your trip.
Renting a car is the best way to get around Seychelles if you are spending most of your time on the main islands, Mahé and Praslin. They give you freedom to explore the island on your own time, at your own pace, and generally work out to be much cheaper. There are a number of reliable private car rental companies in the Seychelles, but you will be able to find several well-known car rental operators at the airport. Taxis are an easy way to get around if you aren’t planning on doing too much gallivanting around the island. They are widely available. There is also a public transport system of buses that operate two routes: to the north and south of the island. There is a regular ferry service for getting from island to island, or you can catch an inter island flight. Air Seychelles offers domestic flights and private charter services.
There are many interesting accommodation options in Seychelles. Luxury resorts & spas are the dream if you are willing to spend a little extra. These are luxurious island villas nestled between lush jungles and overlooking the ocean or sprawling out onto empty beaches. The resorts in Seychelles are all about 5-star service and holidays of pure indulgence. For a mid-range budget, self-catering apartments, villas, and island homes are a great option if you want to stay somewhere that is within walking distance to the beach, and not spend too much. They are not overly fancy and you have to cook your own meals, but they are less expensive and give you a chance to experience the natural rhythm of the island. There are also many lodges and guest houses in Seychelles that offer warm island hospitality and comfortable accommodation.
Direct flights to Seychelles are available from Johannesburg and Durban on Air Seychelles. Connecting flights to Seychelles depart from all the major cities and towns in South Africa. Direct flights to Seychelles are only about 5 hours from Johannesburg, so you can get away without having to deal with ridiculously long travel times. Connecting flights from Cape Town are about 9 hours, and about 7 hours and 30 minutes from Durban. Flights to Seychelles land at Seychelles International Airport (or Aéroport de la Pointe Larue in French) on Mahé, the largest island in the archipelago. Good international airlines that operate flights to Seychelles are Emirates, Air Seychelles, and Kenya Airways.
Eat as much food as you can. The fusion of French, Chinese, and Indian cuisines together with the fresh seafood and island herbs and family secrets is one of the best things about Seychelles. Being an island nation, seafood obviously features heavily in Seychellois’ cuisine, but it is so much juicier and tastier something as simple as grilled will have you thinking about seconds before you’ve even finished eating. You will also find some questionable dishes on the menu, such as shark chutney and fruit bat curry. If you are staying at a guest house, you will get to taste home cooked Seychellois’ food, but if you aren’t, there are a number of superb local restaurants on the main islands. Try as many things as you can and enjoy the delicate textures and interesting mingling of flavours.