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The Seychelles Islands: The ultimate cocktail of exclusivity, diversity and affordability

April 19, 2014 Destination Feature, Headline News No Comments Email Email

Anse Royale Beach Mahé © Raymond SahuquetFor a long time the Seychelles islands have been synonymous with a rich man’s playground…a place where extremely well-heeled travellers languish on sleek yachts and on the sun-decks of opulent five-star hotels or upon the beaches of exclusive island hideaways, enjoying the rich trappings of vacations which are beyond the reach of all except a very few fortunate individuals.

Increasingly, however, Seychelles is catering to the middle and lower price ranges with a wonderfully diverse array of picturesque small hotels, Creole guesthouses redolent with local charm and great self-caterings where you can lead life entirely at your own pace and whim.

Aerial view of hotels La Digue © Raymond SahuquetThese exceptional establishments provide great value for money as well as an authentic introduction to Seychelles’ unique island lifestyle, placing the visitor in direct touch with the islands’ vibrant culture, exquisite gastronomy and offering a range of activities: sailing, diving, fishing, island-hopping and trekking as well as the ultimate in romantic breaks…all without breaking the bank.

At the forefront of this initiative to bring the Seychelles Experience within the reach of more visitors is the ‘Seychelles Secrets’ portfolio of small establishments which have been especially vetted, upgraded and refurbished to provide clients with comfort, a wide range of facilities and excellent value for money. True to their Seychellois roots and with Creole authenticity bursting from every beam, they provide an unforgettable taste of the islands and an ideal stepping stone from which to enjoy the great diversity and other exciting tourism products on offer. 

A Ghost crab scurries along the beach © Martin HarveyDotted throughout the islands is an enticing array of small restaurants and bars which provide delicious Creole fare as well as a wide range of international dishes. Here, prices are reasonable and well within the range of the average visitor looking to experience the gastronomy of the islands in stunning natural surrounds and often only a short walk away from the beach. Local artists fashion jewellery, craft wooden and metal sculptures, design and make clothes, write books and record CD’s of local music, all of which are for sale in galleries, boutiques and other retail outlets throughout the principal islands. A stroll through the capital, Victoria, one of the world’s tiniest, will reveal a treasure-trove of souvenirs to take back home that will keep memories of the islands alive long after they have disappeared over the horizon.

Anse Takamaka Mahé © Gerard Larose:STBThe Seychelles Islands are renowned as a sanctuary for numerous species of flora & fauna which have survived there, virtually untouched, since the dawn of time. An inexpensive guided tour through any of the parks and reserves that make up almost 50% of Seychelles limited landmass will provide an excellent introduction to Mother Nature’s bounty in the form of one of Seychelles’ two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Praslin’s Vallée de Mai, home to the legendary twin-lobed coconut the Coco de Mer. Also recommended is the Trois Frères trail and the primeval ecosystems of Praslin, Cousin, Curieuse and Silhouette Islands.

Sailing is arguably the best way to enjoy the diversity of the islands and perhaps the most convenient way of visiting several on your trip. A number of international and local charter companies offer a modern fleet of vessels, both skippered and bare-boat, to suit most budgets and clubbing together with friends or fellow visitors is a great way of keeping the price down.

Denis Island © Gerard Larose:STBFishing expeditions into Seychelles’ fish-rich waters are possible on the same basis and local skippers and their crews will be happy to introduce you to the best mixed-bag around. Another dimension to Seychelles breathtaking natural beauty is that found beneath the waves and many small dive centres offer attractive packages for aficionado and novice alike, often including beach Bar-b-q’s in the deal. It should not be overlooked that in Seychelles’ sparkling offshore waters where visibility is often excellent, snorkelling is also a marvellous and highly accessible way of fish-spotting.

Transportation, both in between and around the islands, remains well within the reach of visitors and, besides Air Seychelles’ domestic flights, fast ferry transfers and reasonably priced traditional schooners bring the principal islands and their satellites within easy reach. A wide network of bus routes on Mahé and Praslin caters for most itineraries while the new, advantageous exchange rates help to make car-hire increasingly attractive.

A new era is dawning over the Seychelles Islands – one which is steadily bringing its legendary natural beauty and the exceptional holiday experience it offers within reach of more and more holiday makers.

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