Located off the East coast of Africa just below the Equator, the ‘Jewel of the Indian Ocean’ is exceptionally attractive and bathed in year-round sunshine. Seychelles is home to some of the rarest species of flora and fauna on earth. 115 islands divided between the atolls of the Inner and Outer Islands present visitors numerous options for water and land-based activities.
The Inner Islands reveal an abundance of fish even on shallow inshore reefs while the Outer Islands present an even more prolific marine population including the spotted Potato bass, the Yellow rubber lipped sweetlips and the elusive long-nosed Hawkfish. Nowhere else on earth will you find unique endemic specimens such as the fabulous Coco-demer or the jellyfish tree.
On a geographical point of view, unlike the Maldives, the islands have hilly interiors, often given over to national reserves that can stretch to the ocean. Having earned a reputation as a paradigm of ecotourism, the Seychelles is a top spot to watch birds and giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Also, a vast living world lies just below the turquoise waters, attracting divers of all levels from around the world. An international airport brings in visitors directly from Johannesburg, as well as from Europe and the Middle East, quick connections can be made domestically with the other main islands.
Day 1 – Therese Island and Port Glaud
Embarkation in Mahe. After leaving Victoria, cruise NW for 20nm and anchor in Therese Island Bay. This bay has been recently defined by Forbes as “an emerald paradise” with its crystal waters. Enjoy a day on the fine whitesanded beach and all kind of watersports. An excellent spot for divers, the area of Therese Island has an immaculate underwater fauna; a renowned spot for passionate divers is Conception Rock, just nearby. There is also the possibility to spend time ashore in Port Glaud and enjoy the breathtaking view and services of Constance Ephelia Hotel, winner of the Beach Hotel category of “International Hotel & Property Awards 2014” or visit the former colonial spice plantation on the hilltop “Le Jardin du Roi”, surrounded by vanilla, cinnamon and saffron plants grown on site.
Day 2 – Silhouette Island
Cruising to Silhouette Island (13nm). The beautiful and hilly island of Silhouette, surrounded by a pristine coral reef, is the third largest in the Seychelles archipelago with Mount Dubon reaching a height of 780m. Silhouette is also a Marine National Park and makes it ideal for snorkeling, diving and fishing. The rainforest slopes give way to white sandy beaches and, as an official National Park, it presents the opportunity to walk with the resident naturalists based at Labriz.
Day 3 – Baie Lazare
Cruising to Baie Lazare (22nm) Baie Lazare is a lush island sanctuary in the breathtaking Indian Ocean. Black granite boulders provide a dramatic backdrop to the powder-white sand and cobalt waters of the cove. The bay is sheltered by dense vegetation and the water is extremely calm, making it ideal for swimming and safe for families.
Day 4 – Baie Ste Anne
Cruising to Baie Ste Anne (39nm), South of Praslin. Tender ashore and visit the “Vallйe de Mai”, part of the UNESCO world heritage list: the existing vestiges of a natural palm forest preserved in almost its original state made it reputed to be the original Garden of Eden . The famous coco de mer, from a palmtree once believed to grow in the depths of the sea, is the largest seed in the plant kingdom and grows there endemically.
Day 5 - Curieuse Island and Grande Soeur Island
From Baie Ste Anne, cruise NW Praslin for 7 nm to Curieuse Island. Once known as Ile Rouge on account of its red earth, Curieuse was eventually named after one of explorer Marion Dufresne’s vessels which explored the islands of the Praslin group in 1768. Today Curieuse is home to an exciting giant land tortoise rearing project. The island is also an important nesting site for hawksbill sea turtles. After a daily excursion, a brief cruise will send Exuma to Grande Soeur, just 8nm from Curieuse. In close proximity to Fйlicitй and to Ile Cocos, Grande Soeur is popular for its spectacular panoramas and the excellent opportunities it offers for trekking, snorkeling and diving in waters where the marine life is abundant (Open on weekends only). Two white sand beaches surrounded by pink granite rocks and coconut-trees descending towards splendid turquoise waters make this island an outstanding location. Anchoring between the two islands of Grande and Petite Soeur (“The Sisters”) will provide a perfect overnight stay on the quietness of the ocean.
Day 6 – La Digue and Cousin Island
After enjoying the charming atmosphere in Grande Soeur, a stop in La Digue (5nm) is essential. La Digue is defined as an everlasting oasis, hidden away in the Indian Ocean, protected by sapphire waters and by superlative reefs. A world away from Victoria, La Digue basks in the timeless tranquility of a Seychelles almost unchanged, home to the country’s most beautiful beaches: L’Anse d’Argent was voted by CNN the best beach in the world in 2013. The discreetness of the island will be the perfect background for enjoying a delicious seafood BBQ ashore and revel in watersport activities during the day. A sunset anchoring in Cousin Island’s waters (10nm W Praslin) is the ideal frame for delightful moments: Cousin Island is the first reserve in the Indian Ocean and one of the world’s Special Reserve: the protection of the island also includes waters up to 400m offshore around the island itself and in a year this island nests up to 250,000 birds.
Day 7 – Victoria
A short-distance cruise (20nm) will bring you to Victoria, where you will enjoy your last moments onboard. Alternatively, you may also decide to extend a little your charter and visit Sainte Anne Marine Park. Set amid dazzling turquoise waters, the marine park presents a pristine protected area with perfect snorkeling spots where corals of all shapes, sizes and colors will amaze you.