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Island Hopping

Seychelles is made up of a hundred and fifteen islands scattered across one and a quarter million square kilometres of tropical, blue Indian Ocean. Every visitor to Seychelles will want to make the most of their opportunities to visit as many islands as they can during their stay. The islands fall into two categories – the inner granitic islands, most of which are accessible through a variety of day trips and excursions and the outer, coral islands.

Mahé is the main island, providing the first tantalising taste of Seychelles for every visitor. Victoria is the capital and nowhere is the warm and friendly spirit of the nation more typically displayed than at the bustling, colourful early morning market. Victoria is also the springboard for full and half-day trips around the Ste. Anne Marine Park and its adjacent islands: Cerf Island, Anonyme and Ste.Anne. Mahé is home to a wide range of hotels of all sizes, from charming self-catering to sumptuous world class resorts. Beau Vallon Bay, on the northern side of Mahé, offers some of the safest bathing on the islands, dive centres and fun watersport activities.

Praslin is the second largest of the inner granitic islands and is accessed by the fast Cat Coco service, traditional ferries, and by regular plane and helicopter transfers.

In the thickly forested interior of this island lies one of Seychelles’ two UNESCO world heritage sites – the legendary Vallée de Mai, a legendary, ancient forest and one of only two places in Seychelles and in the world where the fabulous Coco de Mer grows wild. Explore the island of Praslin and you will discover hidden beaches that are frequently ranked among the very best in the world. Praslin has a variety of hotels ranging from attractive beach front guest houses to five star luxury resorts, and is also home to a prestigious 18-hole championship golf course.

A short crossing from Praslin by traditional ferry, La Digue is the island where time seems to have stood still; few private cars are allowed so transport around the 10 square kilometre island is by traditional ox-cart or by bicycle . At L’Union Estate ancient traditions are still alive. Stunning granite boulders and rock formations provide the backdrop to La Digue’s beaches.

Many of the smaller inner islands are wildlife sanctuaries dedicated to preserving the fragile eco-systems.

Cousin, is a nesting ground both for sea birds and rare land birds. Curieuse features a boardwalk through the mangrove forest that ends at the Giant Tortoise Conservation Project. Aride is where oceanic seabirds soar over the spectacular northern cliffs of this island known as the seabird citadel of the Indian Ocean.

Other islands host exclusive resorts such as Cousine, and Frégate. Cousine, is one of the smallest inhabited granitic islands and also a private resort.

Frégate, a twenty-minute flight from Mahé, is a luxurious and totally private 5 star hideaway where refinement and elegance crown a backdrop of stunning natural beauty.

Rising majestically from the surrounding ocean, Silhouette remains accessible only by helicopter or a specially chartered boat. There is just one hotel here and a handful of island residents. The mountain walks through Silhouette’s dense forests and over its mountain trails are amongst Seychelles’ finest.

Neighbouring North Island is home to one of Seychelles most prestigious private hotels.

Bird Island is a mid-oceanic sanctuary for seabirds and turtles. Famous as a nesting ground for sooty terns that annually flock in millions to this tiny island and its stunning beaches are also a prime nesting-site for green and hawksbill turtles.

Bird and of Denis Island are known to many as the islands of romance.

200 miles further out towards the coast of Africa lies a sparkling chain of coral islands and atolls – the Amirantes, first discovered by Vasco De Gama on his second voyage to India.

Of these Desroches is at present the only one with a hotel and is accessed only by the flights of the Island Development Corporation.

Diving at Desroches is world class and still largely unexplored.

More remote still are the islands of Seychelles 5 outer island groups: the Southern Coral group, Alphonse group and the Farquhar and Aldabra groups.

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