Durban – Visitors to the Seychelles looking for the complete island holiday are spoilt for choice. With 115 islands forming the archipelago, choosing the right island to visit may be a daunting task.
But if you had to choose just three islands in the Seychelles to visit, these are IOL’s recommendations.
Mahe is the Seychelles’ main island and home to the capital, Victoria. At least 90% of the country’s population of 97 000 people live on Mahe which has a bustling port, the international airport, modern shopping malls and a vibrant city centre.
Mahe has more than 60 beaches from where visitors can hire a small charter or a yacht to fish, snorkel, swim and scuba dive.
For the those that love a hike, Mahe offers the Copolia hiking trail, a two-hour hike up a mountain which when you are at the top gives you a 360º view of the island.
The city centre of Victoria is rich in history, with its busy market, cathedrals and Esplanade where you are sure to find that souvenir to take home.
Another must-see is Eden Island, built on reclaimed land, that has a mall, casino, bars and restaurants that serve both traditional and western cuisine.
Praslin is the Seychelles’ second largest island and very popular with tourists, many of who set up base here. The island is a 15-minute flight from Mahe and being based here allows easy access to other islands via ferry.
Boasting some of the best beaches you could find anywhere in the world, perhaps the island’s most famous attraction is the Vallée de Mai, a world heritage site where the Coco de Mer – a double-lobed coconut – grows. It is the only place in the world where this giant palm grows naturally.
So beautiful is the Vallée de Mai that when General Gordon of Khartoum visited in the 18th century, he returned to London claiming that it was the original site of the biblical Garden of Eden.
According to locals, Anso Lazio beach, north-west of the island, is considered the world’s best beach.
La Digue is the Seychelles’ fourth largest island, and lies 43km from the main island of Mahe and 6.5km from Praslin.
Measuring just 5km by 3km, La Digue is home to some of the Seychelles’ most iconic beaches, and has a population of just 3 000.
Compared to Mahe, life on the tiny island of La Digue is slow and there are not many cars, with the main means of transport being the bicycle.
A bike ride around the island will take one about 40 minutes, and a walk from one end to the other, an hour.
A must-visit destination is the L’Union Estate, where one will get a glimpse of the island’s coconut industry in the form of coconut kiln and rustic mill where coconut flesh is turned to oil.
The Anse Source d’Argent beach on the island, with its giant boulders that ribbon the beaches, is considered the world’s most pristine beach and a must-see for any tourist visiting the island.