29 Oct 2008

Ahlan! is seduced by the dazzling beaches and crystal clear waters of this postcard-perfect island nation…

Think ‘tropical paradise,’ and the image you conjure up may just about touch on the pure breeze-in-your-hair, sun-on-your-face escapism of the Seychelles. A kaleidoscope of Indian Ocean aqua shades surround the 115 islands, fringed by pristine beaches.

Anse Lazio beach in Praslin is one of the most stunning. Protected by a reef, the shallow water is excellent for snorkelling.

As you island-hop between the 16 islands that currently offer accommodation (ranging from luxe five-star resorts to rustic lodges), you’ll discover a breathtaking diversity of landscape – from granite boulders to indigenous flora.

If you tire of lazing on the powder-soft sand, explore one of the mountain trails further inland. The relatively tame Glacis Trois Freres trail on Mahé offers stunning views over the capital Victoria and the easterly islands, as you weave your way through the lush greenery.

Come sundown, it’s time to sample the Seychelles’ legendary nightlife. Influenced by the rhythm and flavour of Africa, the ambience is mellow – with a capital M.

Experience Creole cuisine right on the sands of Anse Lazio beach at Le Chevalier Bay Restaurant. Serving fresh grilled fish, there’s no better place to watch the magical turquoise ocean dance at night.


Swim with sharks
Aldabra Atoll is one of the world’s largest raised coral atolls, stretching for more than 34km and enclosing a huge tidal lagoon. It’s home to tiger sharks, manta rays and is the original habitat of the giant land tortoise. Access is limited as it’s a World Heritage Site, so book in advance for your chance to dive this extraordinary site.

Go (coco) nuts
National park Vallée De Mai is home to the weird and wonderful Coco De Mer palm. The unusual coconut, which requires six to seven years to mature – and a further two to germinate – can weigh up to 30kgs, so be careful one doesn’t drop on your head as you wander through the Eden-like forests! Also keep your eyes peeled for the magnificient Seychelles black parrot.

Diggin’ la digue
Famed for its magnificient beach Anse Source d’Argent, the remote island of La Digue offers an iconic image of emerald waters and icing sugar sand. The pace is slower than a snail’s, so you’ll never want to leave this stress-free cocoon!