03 May The Seychelles – A Journey of Archipelagon Glory
I remain spellbound by the hypnotically beautiful Seychelles
The Seychelles archipelago is paradise on earth and I will remain forever enthralled by its purifying effect. The Seychelles are a cluster of over one hundred granitic and coral islands lapped by the clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. It is pure heaven on earth. Whilst the inner granitic islands such as Mahe, Praslin, Silhouette and North play host to luxuriant, tropically forested hills dropping down to stunning beaches, the outlying coral islands such as Desroches, Denis, Alphonse and Bird are flatter with groves of palm and casuarina trees. Ringed by powdery white beaches and dazzling coral reefs teeming with marine life, the islands make ideal bases for some world renowned scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. These hideaway retreats weave a magical blend of exquisite isolation and complete tranquillity – perfect when seeking your own secluded corner of paradise.
The much awaited time had come when the anticipated moment of arrival and next far-flung adventure was nigh, with the promise of exploring the famous emerald ‘Gardens of Eden’, excitement mounted as the plane approached Mahe flying above the scores of glistening islands below. Island hopping by boat between these heavenly hideaway islands took my breath away, with dramatic granite rocks towering from snowy soft sand bays fringed with swaying palms.
In my opinion Praslin’s beaches are the most beautiful in the world showcasing nature at her most luxurious. I spent the day in a dreamy shipwrecked fantasy sprawling on powder soft virgin white sand and the sheer bliss of dipping into the soothing, seductive and warm, gin clear Indian Ocean.
The Seychelles are known as ‘The Galapagos of the Indian Ocean’ a conservation hotspot boasting two UNESCO world heritage sites: Vallee de Mai is home to the endangered Coco de Mer tree only found in the Seychelles and Aldabra Atoll which is home to the world’s largest population of giant tortoises, as they have remained isolated and protected from human influence. Praslin’s Vallee de Mai is an untouched emerald forest entwined with primeval palms and every step was a journey back to prehistoric time. Giant palm umbrellas caste a vast iridescent canopy overhead with towering tree trunks disappearing out of view, creating distorted beams and shards of sunlight to bounce to the forest floor.
Above: The giant tortoise of the Seychelles
The path undulated past tumbling waterfalls over boulders of moss with serpentine vines tangling and exotic birds, (including the endemic black parrot), geckos, skink, several chameleons and insects flittering through the canopy. The Coco de Mer palm nut is a mysterious shiny, black seed resembling a huge gorilla’s bottom. It is actually the largest seed in the plant kingdom. There are spas with tailor-made treatments, adventures galore and plenty to explore whether that be an aerial island hopping experience by helicopter or a journey to Aride Island – home to one of the most important seabird populations in the Indian Ocean. You can hike to find the hawksbill turtles of Silhouette Island who inhabit a remote secluded cove.
Alternatively you can follow the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s lead and head for pure island bliss on North Island, arguably the most stylish beach resort in the whole of the Indian Ocean and only accessible by helicopter. The Seychelles is perfect for those searching the ultimate idyllic hideaway.