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The Seychelles Islands: Noah’s Ark of natural wonders

Apr 2, 2019, Author: Hello Joburg

Like a Noah’s Ark of miniature worlds, this sublimely beautiful archipelago still shimmers with its first brilliance.

The Seychelles remains an untouched, pristine, masterpiece of Nature and a sanctuary, not only for some of the rarest species of flora & fauna on the planet but, increasingly, for discerning travellers weary of the tired clichés and humdrum experiences served up by run-of-the mill-tourism destinations. It is here, amid the almost surreal natural beauty of the islands, their enviable lifestyle and the opportunities they offer for once-in-a-lifetime vacations, that the words ‘unique’ and ‘authentic’ reclaim their original – and proper – meaning.

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Close your eyes and imagine Shangrila, a secluded refuge offering ultimate harmony, a place where tired spirits can be refreshed, and the stresses of the modern world washed away. Seychelles has been blessed with all of this…and more. Against the backdrop of its legendary island beauty, this is where Man’s timeless yearning for harmony folds seamlessly into reality and where there is always ample time and space to enjoy life the way Mother Nature intended – soulfully.

In an overcrowded world that is, in so many cases, becoming more polluted by the day, Seychelles is fast gaining recognition for the enormous potential of its tourism industry. There are several excellent reasons for this awakening of interest and each of them points to a unique treasure that Seychelles possesses, treasures that together place it head and shoulders above rival island destinations.

Seychelles Tourism’s slogan, ‘The Seychelles Islands…another world’, is the embodiment of the concept that Seychelles remains one of the most other-worldly, environmentally-intact destinations on earth with only 160,000 visitors a year.

Certainly, one of Seychelles’ greatest assets is the exotic diversity of its multitude of islands and the variety they offer to visitors wishing to take in a selection of islands during the course of their stay. Each isle has its individual geography and character extending from granite boulders to coral reefs, from untouched forests and bird sanctuaries to private resorts and hideaways.

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Today, Seychelles boasts a wide range of accommodation options ranging from the opulence of five-star resorts with their vast choice of amenities to the authentic – and affordable – charms of smaller local hotels, picturesque Creole guesthouses and self-catering, each occupying their own special niche and each a perfect stepping-stone for exploring the numerous wonders of the destination.

Among all of Seychelles’ islands, there are currently only 16 host hotels, several of which offer the most luxurious amenities and all of which possess their own natural charm. The islands of Bird and Denis located to the north of Mahé, Frégate to the west and Desroches and Alphonse to the south each offer diverse and unforgettable, get-away-from-it-all, experiences. Those fortunate enough to travel to the islands of the far south will be rewarded by the heart-stopping beauty of Cosmoledo, Farquhar and the jewel in Seychelles’ crown, Aldabra, with its magnificent lagoon and teeming wildlife. An efficient network of inter-island ferry, plane and helicopter transfers will accommodate almost any itinerary affording the visitor the opportunity to explore and discover the unique features of each island.

Equally, the wonderful variety of Seychelles’ flora & fauna with its high proportion of endemic species nurtured within one of nature’s last pristine sanctuaries makes it an exciting destination for naturalists, ornithologists and eco-tourists alike.

With 115 diverse islands spread across an area of over 1,300,000 sq. km. of sparkling waters, one can well understand seafarers who believe that God created Seychelles with the sailor in mind. Chartering a yacht provides perhaps the most rewarding way of discovering the hidden treasures of the archipelago at one’s own pace and whim, cruising in cyclone-free waters and enjoying a dazzling array of inner islands with golden beaches fringed by warm, turquoise waters. Further afield, the virgin territories of the Amirantes and the southern island groups offer unparalleled opportunities for big-game fishing, diving and island adventure amid turtles, mantas, dolphins and whales in places where few have gone before.

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It should not be overlooked that Seychelles has some of the richest fishing grounds in the world and you do not have to venture far from the shoreline to break fishing records. Cast your fly-lines on the magnificent shallow flats of Alphonse or one of the islands in the Amirantes group and chances are you will land several energetic Bonefish to challenge the record books. The outer islands of Seychelles have become the epicentre of salt-water fly-fishing.

International sport and recreational fishermen enthusiastically return to Seychelles’ waters that already boast several world records for Pacific Bonito and Dogtooth Tuna. The abundance of Wahoo, Bonito, Dorado and several species of Tuna make a day’s fishing trip an unforgettable experience, allowing you to savour the finest tasting fish on offer anywhere in the world.

With so many islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, it is little wonder that another of Seychelles’ outstanding resources lies in the impressive diving opportunities it offers to experienced and novice divers alike. Myriad dive sites promise a marine extravaganza as diverse and vibrant as it is unique. Colourful reef fish, octopus, lobster and turtle flash in the shallows surrounding the inner islands, while more adventurous dives offshore include the ‘Ennerdale’ wreck and rocks that are the playground for larger groupers and stingrays. The dedicated and accredited diving centres of most hotels and island resorts offer everything from one-day introductory courses to international diving instructor certificates.

No account of Seychelles’ riches can be considered complete without mention of its reputation as ‘the islands of love’ and it is little wonder that lovers are inspired to take their vows and wed in this gentle and romantic atmosphere. Sensual Seychelles creates the idyllic ambience for an unforgettable wedding day or honeymoon beneath swaying palms alongside silken waters fringed by the silver-soft sands of discreet island hideaways.

Seychelles has all this to offer and more but perhaps its most enduring attraction is the security it offers and its enviable pace of life amid the beauty, tranquillity and multi-racial harmony of the islands.

Here, cocooned within the reassuring atmosphere of a large family, there is still ‘time to enjoy’ the finer things of life and to appreciate the elements of a truly refreshing Creole culture and rejuvenating island lifestyle.

www.seychelles.travel

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