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Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in Seychelles.
Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in Seychelles.
Bawah Private Island, Indonesia – A part of Indonesia’s largely unknown and untouched Anambas Archipelago, Bawah seems primed to become a bragging-rights destination when it opens in 2017. Thirteen empty beaches and epic dive sites are a quick ferry and a one-hour flight from Singapore, meaning you can wrap up business meetings in the morning and unwind in one of 24 tented safari-style villas for the weekend before flying back to the States. From $2,500 for two.
Four Seasons Maldives Private Island Voavah at Baa Atoll, Maldives – When this seven-bedroom retreat opens this month, it’s certain to be the most laze-around-and-be-spoiled experience in the Maldives. It has a dive center, a spa, and a 62-foot yacht that can take you to surf spots. Want to Napa-up the food? They’ll fly in Thomas Keller. Want a celeb to join you? They’ll bring one in. Seriously. From $38,000.
Kokomo Island, Fiji – The cultural appeal here goes way beyond the Fijian burre-inspired design of the 21 villas (all with their own pool), which will open in mid-2017 onto the South Pacific’s Great Astrolabe Reef, the fourth largest in the world and a phenomenal dive site. Guests can explore the island’s archaeological site, and if you’re lucky you’ll come across some kava (yes, that’s the alcoholic mud the locals drink). From $2,600.
Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Seychelles – Once they open next year, these three- and four-bed-room villas on Felicite in the Seychelles are where you’ll want to put up the family. While adults zen out in the spa’s rock pool and hammocks that swing over the sea, kids can play pirate in a two-story tree house and go on treasure hunts. And when you’re ready to bond, your butler can make a family swim with sea turtles happen, too. From $1,340.
Thanda Island, East Africa – About 18 miles off the Tanzanian coast, it’s a sanctuary with one five-suite villa— and the dugongs, whale sharks, and sea turtles that call the surrounding marine reserve home. Guests can balance indulgence (copper tub bubble baths on the beach) with conservation projects like turtle tagging. From $10,000.
To most of us, the very word Seychelles is synonymous with escape: 115 islands of exceptional beauty scattered across the equator, their shores washed by the gentle, azure waters of the Indian Ocean. It’s one of those rare places where, from dawn until after dark, life is still lived at the slow pace of nature; a haven for rare birds and animals, for beautiful trees and flowers – and a refuge for human bodies, minds and spirits wearied by the demands of modern urban living. It’s little wonder that, from being a secret shared among only the most sophisticated travellers, Seychelles has become renowned as a paradise where nature’s richness, peace and beauty provide an almost magical cure for stress.
And yet, as if this wasn’t enough, the islands offer a remarkable selection of spas and wellness retreats, where nature’s own restorative powers are boosted by world-class treatments and holistic programmes that enable guests to reboot their mind, body and soul.
From luxurious sanctuaries set on the edge of powder-soft beaches to hillside retreats with heart-stoppingly beautiful views of jungle and ocean, and from larger-scale resorts, set amid lush tropical gardens, to intimate boutique hotels and several entirely private islands, the emphasis in Seychelles is on a holistic approach to wellbeing.
Thus, nature is combined with nurture; hands-on treatments – massages, scrubs and wraps – alternate with energy-boosting hikes and relaxing sessions of snorkelling on the reefs, sailing or fishing. Eastern philosophies mix with Western approaches – yoga, t’ai chi and qigong are offered alongside Ayurvedic cures and meditation.
Local preparations from Seychelles’ own virgin forests are offered alongside the finest international brands and signature treatments of world-renowned spas to provide energy boosts or reduce stress, according to need. A vast range of beauty and grooming treatments are offered, to complete the sense of renewal.
With a perfectly judged balance between relaxation and animation, amid some of the most beautiful surroundings on Earth, taking a wellness-focused break in Seychelles is one of life’s most valuable experiences.
The first marine park in the Indian Ocean and perhaps its most beautiful, Ste. Anne consists of six little islands within easy reach of the archipelago’s principal island of Mahé, and the teeming waters that surround them. Organized tours will bring you to the park and show you why the local government had the foresight to protect this remarkable aquatic environment.
A fascinating underwater theater can be viewed from a semisubmersible “sub-sea viewer,” to the delight of nonsnorklers. But even the latter throw on a mask and flip over the side when introduced to the science-fiction seascape of multicolored coral gardens below. A delicious Creole lunch is arranged on uninhabited Round Island, under the shade of giant tamarind trees and never far from the park’s magnificent beaches. You can disembark on lovely Cerf Island and check into one of five small timber chalets built into a lush green hillside.
A handful of families live on the traffic-free island, and there’s a fine Creole restaurant. A frequent shuttle boat departs for Victoria on nearby Mahé, but castaways here are hard-pressed to find any reason to leave.
The huge, artfully weathered granite boulders that distinguish this most popular Seychelles island are actually the peaks of Gondwanaland, submerged millions of years ago midway between Africa and India. Simplicity and a slow-moving serenity mark life for the 2,000 hospitable Digueois.
On this traffic-free island, dancing schoolchildren of a beguiling ethnic mix run to greet the oxcarts that plod through thick vegetation along unpaved roads to different points of interest. Anse Source d’Argent is La Digue’s most brilliant beach, divided into one incredibly beautiful hidden cove after another; its sculpted pink and rust-colored boulders have eroded into sculptural forms that bring the work of Henry Moore to mind.
The warm, luminescent waters are a spectrum of pastel blues and greens, so clear you could submerge a (waterproof) book and read it effortlessly. Arguably the most beautiful beach of the Seychelles’ 115 islands, it is also one of the world’s most photographed and recognizable; but, ironically, it’s often blissfully empty.
The rare black paradise fly-catcher, an endangered bird whose population hovers around seventy-five, can be found only on this island, and might be seen flitting about the aviary reserve, unmistakable with its iridescent blue-black feathers and trailing tail plume. Succumb to the island’s sleepy, old-fashioned charm and stay on indefinitely at the island’s principal hotel, the beachside La Digue Lodge.
The shallow lagoons and perfect beaches of this small, untouched island offer a slice of paradise in a forgotten comer of the world. And, like paradise, Desroches is difficult to reach – some 1,000 miles off the East African coast and only recently opened to tourists in a deep escape mode.
It is a pristine, low-lying sand cay of shockingly white beaches (in the wild Amirantes archipelago of twenty-eight islands named after Admiral Vasco da Gama), barely half a mile wide and 3 miles long, and banded by concentric circles of aquamarine and turquoise waters of incredible visibility. You can walk the 10-mile palm-fringed, white-sand circumference in three hours or bicycle along paths through the giant coconut plantation that covers the interior. Although it’s far removed from the pretensions of civilization, the only hotel is, ironically, the very epitome of civilized hospitality. Desroches Island Lodge’s ten sea-facing villas house twenty deluxe suites, and the dining is simple and excellent.
The island’s protective reef offers world-class deep-sea fishing and the best water activities in the Indian Ocean, but the inclination to tuck into a bestseller on your breezy veranda may be just too great to resist.
At the center of Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll, lies one of the world’s largest lagoons, like a sea within a vast tropical ocean. This 50-square-mile atoll encompasses an ecosystem so isolated that the wildlife is in many cases considered unique.
It is the last remaining natural habitat for giant Aldabra tortoises, the unofficial and much-beloved national icon of the Seychelles; 150,000 of these enormous antediluvian creatures roam the harsh terrain. With huge eyes, wrinkled necks, and an odd expression reminiscent of E.T.’s, some tip the scales at 600 pounds.
Nature in its purest state reigns on Aldabra, observed biologist Sir Julian Huxley in 1970, who declared it a unique “living natural history museum” that should belong to the whole world. Open to the public only since 1991, the island has become a nirvana for divers, naturalists, and ornithologists.
Jacques Cousteau described it as the most spectacular drift dive anywhere. Lying closer to Mombasa, Kenya, than the principal Seychelles island of Mahé, Aldabra is the most distant of the Seychelles’ outlying islands: The very distance that enabled the flora and fauna to survive human encroachment also makes it difficult to reach the hotel-free island. The only crowds you’ll find are of the tortoise kind.