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Seychelles is holidaymaker’s paradise, offering tourists a host of activities from hiking and cycling to water sports.
If you are planning a trip to the islands here are seven must-do activities.
La Digue is the Seychelles’ fourth largest island, which lies 43km from the main island of Mahe and 6kms from Praslin. One has to get to the island via the Cat Rose ferry, a journey of about 15 minutes.
Once on the island, the pace of life immediately slows. There are few cars on its narrow roads and the main mode of transport for locals and tourists is the humble bicycle.
One can cycle the entire island within an hour as most roads are flat.
On the cycle route, which passes through quaint neighbourhoods, one can visit the L‘ Union Estate where one can see a traditional copra mill and kiln and watch the estate’s population of giant land tortoises.
Swim at the world’s most pristine beach, Anse Source d’Argent
Located on La Digue island, Anse Source d’Argent beach is said to be the world’s most filmed beach.
The beach, with its perfectly clear waters and white sand, is surrounded by giant granite boulders that takes one’s breath away. Its warm waters are perfect for snorkelling in the shallows where an array of coral fish species can be explored.
It’s hard not to pinch yourself as you sit under a tree and sip on a local drink served in a coconut while watching the still ocean.
Visit Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
Located on Praslin island, the Vallée de Mai is a Unesco World Heritage site where the mythological double-lobed coconut, the coco de mer, grows naturally – and only in this part of the world.
The Vallée de Mai, which is a national park of the Seychelles, has an abundance of flora and fauna and the palm forest is largely unchanged since prehistoric times.
The forest is also home to five other endemic palms and many endemic fauna species, and is the last habitat of the endangered black parrot.
So beautiful is Vallée de Mai that it was once believed to be the original site of the biblical Garden of Eden.
Leisure on one the world’s most beautiful beach, Anse Lazio
Anse Lazio, on Praslin island’s north west coast, is according to the Lonely Planet guide considered the world’s most beautiful beach.
The waters are clear and warm and still enough to swim, float and snorkel. The beach is also very quiet and finding a prime spot to chill and watch the waves crash in the sand is easy.
Hike the Copolia Trail
The Copolia Trail on Mahe island is a popular destination for tourists visiting Seychelles as the hour-long trek up the mountain path can be accomplished by even novice hikers.
The hike can be done alone, but hiring a guide is recommended as the tropical forest the trail snakes thorough is rich in flora and fauna which the guide can explain, given that many plants have medicinal value while some are poisonous.
Wear comfortable footwear, preferably hiking boots, as the terrain is rough, although our guide for the day, Steve, did the trail barefoot.
Getting to the top of the trail is the highlight, as one has a panoramic view of the eastern part of the Mahe and of the beautiful Eden Island below.
The Seychelles is perhaps best known for its water activities that offer those looking to fish, scuba dive or snorkel endless options.
The Seychelles have crystal clear water and 12 hours of sunlight, which make the conditions for snorkelling perfect.
Even for the less adventurous, snorkelling along the shoreline is possible, given the shallow waters and the water visibility.
We went snorkelling on the Dolphin Nemo Glass Bottom Boat out of Mahe island under the watchful eye of captain Michael, who is a snorkelling expert, and took us to two spots in the Sante Anne National Marine Park.
At these spots we swam with an array of coral fish that included the a powder-blue tang, emperor angelfish and a triggerfish. The highlight, however, was seeing a 2.5m nurse shark, which we were assured was harmless.
Michael educated us about the coral reefs and how 60% of them have died off in the Seychelles because of global warming.
One of the beautiful aspects of the Seychelles is that one can hire the services of a local, like Michael, who is not just knowledgeable about marine life and other aspects of the Seychelles, waters but can give his guests a truly authentic Seychelles experience.
See Mahe from Mission Lodge
Fancy a meal where Queen Elizabeth II once sat for tea?
Look no further than Mission Lodge in Mahe, which is perhaps the most famous vantage point in all of the Seychells, offering spectacular sea views looking southward across Mahe.
it is also a historical site of the Seychelles where children of freed slaves went to boarding school during the late 19th century.