The Seychelles archipelago is made up of 115 islands, each one different from the next. Located just beneath the equator and to the North-East of Madagascar, the islands are divided into 2 categories: the “Inner Islands’ and the “Outer Islands” The inner islands are located to the North and are scattered round the main island of Mahé. These are the granitic islands, characterised by their beaches featuring large granite boulders. Mahe, Praslin, La Digue, Curieuse, Cousin, Cousine, Fregate, Felicite, North & Silhouette are some of the islands that belong to this category.
The “Outer Islands” are coralline islands: sandy, flat, and covered in mostly palm trees. Amongst those is Bird & Denis, about 100km to the north of Mahe while the others to the southwest such as Aldabra, can be as far out as 1100km! These “Outer Islands” to the south are further divided into two groups: the Amirantes & Aldabra. The Amirantes group has some 20 islands scattered around Saint Joseph, the African Bank, Desroches, Alphonse & Poivre. The Aldabra group comprises of 22 islands surrounding Providence, Farquar, Cosmoledo and the Aldabra atoll.
La Duige is no doubt the most charming of the islands, La Digue has remained untouched by the passage of time. With a population of 2000 habitants, the island’s rhythm of life is as relaxed and laid-back as its traditional modes of transport: the ox-carts and bicycles! It takes about half an hour to reach La-Digue by traditional schooner from Praslin. From Mahe, the only way to reach La-Digue is via helicopter or private boat.
Silhouette Island - Although both islands are only 20km away from each other, Mahe the civilised island and Silhouette the wild island, have only their granitic backdrops and luxuriant vegetation in common. There are no cars or roads on Silhouette on the 25km2 island; only a handful of people live there. This is a perfect island for eco-tourists who will marvel at its un-spoilt nature.
Curieuse Island is located just 1km to the northeast of Praslin and is less than 3km long. Inhabited by only a handful of people, this island is also home to 250 giant tortoises brought over from Aldabra Island some 10 years ago. A small trail leads to a historical leprosy colony site & to the ancient colonial house, once home to the island’s doctor. There is a trail that takes you round the island where you can admire the rich flora & fauna including a lagoon where reef sharks and green turtles abound. Curieuse Marine National Park is a popular visit from Praslin as well as the turquoise waters and red reefs of Ilê Coco Marine National Park. Some of the world's best shallow-water scuba diving can also be found here, particularly at Baie Ternay, where shipwrecks and carpet anemone dominate.
Cousin Island is located a few kilometres off the coast of Praslin. It is a veritable bird sanctuary and can only be visited on particular days and times. It is managed by Nature Seychelles, a local organisation and is home to rare breeds such as the Seychelles warblers, white tailed tropicbirds, lesser nodies, brown nodies, bridled terns, ferry terns… The best months to visit Cousin is between April and November when over 250 000 birds come to nest. You can also find a lot of reptiles such as lizards and giant tortoises. The island is open to the public only 4 times a week.
Denis Island is located 85km from Mahé and 30 minutes from Mahé by plane, Denis is one of the Seychelles 75 coralline islands. Once a coconut plantation, the island now hosts a 4* hotel comprised of 25 chalets. Denis is especially known for the richness of its waters, an ideal location for deep-sea fishing! From fishing to diving, windsurfing to canoeing, tennis to billiard, swimming to sunbathing, walking in the forest or jogging round the island,Denis offers a little something for everybody – the greatest luxury of course is to relax and do absolutely nothing!
Bird Island is located 30 minutes from Mahe by plane, and like its name suggests, is the island of birds. During the southeast monsoon (May to September), the island is colonised by thousands of sooty terns that come yearly to nest. The island of birds is also the island of the most famous giant tortoise of the Seychelles, it is also the heaviest, (300kg) and the oldest on earth (more than 200 years old) … a true celebrity! Bird is located at the edge of the Seychelles Bank, which drops off to over 2km making it a good spot fishing. On Bird Island, the real luxury is its own nature – perfect if you want to unwind and relax completely.
Frégate Island is the perfect island hideaway: only 2km long by 1km large, surrounded by luxuriant vegetation and breathtaking beaches. Located 56km from Mahe, this Seychelles Island is the furthest to the east and a true Garden of Eden. Frégate also hosts one of the most luxurious hotels in Seychelles with a reputation of being the most « private » of all the Indian Ocean islands! The spectacular granite blocks serves as a perfect backdrop to the villas.
Desroches is located 35 minutes by plane from Mahe and is only 3m above sea level. This is the main island of the Amirates Coralline Island group, some 240 km to the southwest of Mahe. The rich surrounding waters are perfect for divers: there are some 15 different sites, only a 20-minute boat ride away ranging between 12m and 32m. Divers often spot manta rays, green turtles, and even tiger sharks! The months between October and April are especially great for deep-sea fishing: marlins, barracudas, tunas, and Dorado’s are plentiful! Desroches is also a good spot for fly-fishing. The island host a 4* 20-chalet hotel.
Alphonse Island is located 450km from Mahé (1 hour by plane), the beautiful Alphonse Atoll stretches 16km from north to south and comprises of 3 islands: Alphonse to the north, Bijoutier in the centre and Saint François to the south – a magnificent combination of blue, white and green! The 25 4* chalets of Alphonse are nestled amongst palm tress some 20 metres above sea level. Each resident is given his own mountain bike and can follow the small shaded trails round the island.The Alphonse atoll is mostly renowned for having one of the best sites worldwide for seawater fly-fishing.
Aldabra Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to over 150,0000 giant land tortoises—happens to be the second largest atoll in the entire world. Aldabra has been billed as one of the wonders of the world by prominent naturalists due to its pristine coral reef ecosystems and is still protected from full-scale tourism.