The Seychelles in the Indian Ocean is a natural wonderland and playground. Over half of the archipelago is protected by national parks and marine reserves with the outer islands hosting dive ships and eco-minded island resorts. Mahé might be the archipelago’s busiest island, but its numerous national park trails navigate dense forests, coastal mangroves, and the jagged spine of the largest island. Dawn hikes to high-altitude tropical forests reveal carnivorous pitcher plants, jellyfish trees, and tiny, endangered Sooglossus frogs.
The Seychelles is a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora and fauna on earth. An adventurous explorer can find these rare life forms swimming, hiking, biking, or even zip lining over a forest. The Botanical Garden on the outskirts of Victoria, the capital, is a good place to get a feel for the plant life. Follow the Sans Souci road up into the mountains for spectacular views of Morne Seychellois National Park which covers a fifth of Mahé. Walking trails meander through a surprising variety of habitats, from coastal mangrove forests to granite cliffs and the country’s highest peak. Beau Vallon Beach offers dives at local reefs and wrecks rich with marine species like eagle rays, reef sharks, and huge schools of yellow-striped snappers.
Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond novels, came to the Seychelles in 1958, for sun, sea, adventure and inspiration for his writing. He stayed at the Northolme Hotel near Beau Vallon beach, now a luxury Hilton resort, with villas perched on stilts. For Your Eyes Only, was set in Mahé, a sunny island paradise that’s warm year round. Situated on the north-eastern side of Mahé island, Victoria is the capital Seychelles and is a great place to buy souvenirs, as well as a selection of fresh fruit and seafood. Along the east coast there is the Takamaka rum distillery, a cathedral, Natural History museum, colourful Hindu temple and Botanical Gardens. A line of beaches dot the eastern coast from Anse Royale through Anse Bougainville and Anse Parnel. A whole string of very secluded amazing beaches like Anse Soleil are found on the more rugged western coast. North of Victoria is Beau Vallon, Mahé’s most popular beach, but that doesn’t mean its packed with sun loungers and high-rise hotels.