The Garden of Earthly Delights

The uninhabited Seychelles were discovered by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in 1502. Colonisation by the French began in 1768 and the islands became an independent Republic in 1976, with a rich cosmopolitan blend of European, African, Indian, Chinese and Creole cultures.

Pristine coral reefs make scuba diving and snorkelling popular activities, and kilometres of spectacular coastline call for sailing, canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, paragliding, game fishing and windsurfing. Hiking and walking tours are a great way to explore the islands' flora and fauna. The Seychelles' granite formations make them unique, and the islands' isolation means they are a wonderful destination for nature lovers, with 11 species of endemic land bird.

See more than 300,000 birds on tiny Cousin Island and spot the rare Seychelles Black Parrot in the Vallee de Mai. Explore one of the world's largest coral atolls, Aldabra Atoll, with more than 900 species of fish and 100 species of coral. Special highlights are a sailing trip to the coves of La Digue Island and snorkelling at Saint Pierre Islet and Coco Island.

The rich blend of cultures that populate Seychelles is echoed in the food. Creole cuisine is based on traditional French cooking, blended with the exoticism of Indian dishes and the robust flavours of Asia. As can be expected, seafood features predominantly - be sure to try some grilled fish or octopus basted in garlic, chilli and ginger or sample some delicious curries made with coconut milk.

Insiders' Tips

  1. Big Boulder: La Digue Island is home to the Granite Boulder, a huge ancient natural national monument.
  2. Time Standing Still: All around new buildings and modernity are springing up on the streets of Victoria, but the historic Lorloz clock tower has remain unchanged for over 100 years.
  3. Hike Vallee de Mai National Park: Lookout for the rare Coco de Mer palm trees in this World Heritage-listed area.

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