The Seychelles islands are synonymous with paradise; dreamy white sand beaches and emerald waters lapping the shore, an enviably balmy climate and unparalleled beauty. These are the jewels of the Indian Ocean.
The first thing you'll see on the approach to Mahé is the island's jungle clad mountains rising from the multihued waters of the Indian Ocean. However, these rugged peaks are just one of the factors that make the main departure point for any Seychelles trip so popular; the island also boasts dreamy beaches. This is biggest and most populated island in the Seychelles, home to 90% of the archipelago's population and where its capital Victoria can be found.
Victoria may be one of the smallest capitals in the world but it is certainly one of the most vibrant. The city serves as the Seychelles' economic, political and commercial hub but the beautiful colonial buildings and a bustling market make it a charming provincial town. Stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens and admire the endemic trees, palms, flowers, plants and possibly run into a giant tortoise.
Mahé (Carnaval International de Victoria)
The island also shelters a fascinating Creole culture that continues to thrive with the melting pot of people. When these different backgrounds are brought together, the result is one hell of a vibrant carnival that rolls through the streets of Victoria in February. The famed International Carnival of Victoria includes dance shows, colourful floats and a range of delicious food exhibitions from around the world.
Although it is the second biggest island in the Seychelles, Praslin is still small with only 6,500 residents. For many visitors, the beautiful towering palms of the Vallée de Mai National Park are what makes the island so magical - in fact, Praslin was first named 'Ile de Palme' in honour of their magnificence. However, the boulder-strewn coves and golden sand also make it a top destination for beach bums.
Praslin (Vallée de Mai)
In the heart of Praslin is the Vallée de Mai National Park, one of the world's smallest natural UNESCO sites. The primeval forest is famed for its towering palms that make it a tropical destination ripe for Indiana Jones-style exploration as well as being home to a unique community of rare fauna including the endemic black parrot. This is also where you can find the Coco de Mer, the largest seed in the plant kingdom which can weigh up to 25kg.