The Seychelles is an undiscovered paradise on earth. Enjoy them as no one knows them

The Seychelles is an undiscovered paradise on earth. Enjoy them as no one knows them

You will not find large and ugly hotels, visitors mingle with the locals, many islands are not inhabited and others form strict nature reserves with unique species of plants and animals.

These are the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. You can roam the forest, conquer rocky peaks, dive, snorkel among coral reefs, catch fish, ride a bike along the coast, caress turtles. But most of all, there is peace and quiet everywhere.

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Thanks to our boat, we were able to elegantly and independently explore not only the beautiful bays and beaches, but we also got to places that the average visitor can hardly see.

We visited, among others, the islands of Mahé, Praslin, La Digue, Coco, Curieuse, Cousin, Silhouette or Ronde. When I flew out of this paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean after two weeks, I knew for sure that I would return here again.

Praslin, the island of the largest coconuts

We are leaving Prague in the bitter January frosts and we are looking forward to a tropical hot dog. Seychelles is the oldest granite oceanic islands on Earth and it's hot all year round. They are located on a total of 115 islands, which lie in the Indian Ocean, just below the equator.

After a night flight, we are greeted by Mahé, the largest island in the Seychelles. We plan to explore Mahé at the end of our voyage and move by ferry to Praslin Island, where we take over a catamaran - our floating hotel for the next two weeks. The marina in Ste Anne Bay has such a domestic hallmark. About a dozen boats are swinging at the floating pier, and in the nearby wooden hut we find the office of a charter company.

A cruise around the southwest coast of Mahe offers breathtaking views of the jungle-covered mountains.

We take over the ship and before leaving we decide to explore the interior of Praslin. We will find a bus stop just opposite the marina. In a moment, the Tata bus crunches, we pay five rupees for a ticket, we sit among the natives and set off. The destination is a reservation Vallée de Mai, one of the monuments of UNESCO. The unique endemic palm Lodoicea seychelles grows here, whose coconuts are the largest in the world. You will recognize them safely - they resemble a woman's wedge and the shop costs about five thousand rupees, which represents about 10 thousand crowns!

La Digue: an island of the most beautiful beaches

Seychelles' fourth largest island, La Digue, is about an hour's drive from Praslin. We decide to anchor in Anse Cocos Bay first. We are greeted by the perfect scenery of turquoise water, sandy beaches and typical granite rocks. The beach is hardly accessible other than by boat and we anchor here alone, so we have the beauty more or less to ourselves. While snorkeling, I admire the unusually large coral fish, a few small stingrays, and eventually swim with a sea turtle.

In the afternoon we raise the anchor, tighten the sails and sail in a pleasant wind towards the port of La Passe. On the shore we are greeted by a slightly more provincial atmosphere than on the previous islands. If we saw enough cars on Mahé, there were already an order of magnitude fewer cars on Praslin and here on La Digue bicycles predominate. Tourists and locals ride them, children on the way to school, marketers with crops in their armpits and young ladies shopping in a basket.

We are moored in Anse Cocos Bay, La Digue

Cocos Island

Early in the morning I sit on one such squeaky skeleton and run to Anse Source D'Argent beach, which has a reputation as the most beautiful beach in Seychelles. Huge granite boulders line the beach and here and there they seem to be thrown by some giant in a shallow lagoon. Just after sunrise I am here alone, I can take pictures in peace and soak up the unique atmosphere.

Curieuse: Turtle Island

After a few days we sail towards the island of Curieuse, which is a nature reserve with huge turtles. On the way we stop at the beautiful island of Cocos with magnificent snorkeling and dozens of Seychelles fruit bats hanging on the branches of trees.

During the voyage, we always catch fish, have a rod attached to the stern and pull an artificial bait behind us. This way we managed to catch a few tuna and diversify our diet. Unfortunately, we lost a few catches (not even a millimeter-thick line lasted) and the highlight was when, after a half-hour fight with the fish, I only pulled its huge head out of the water. The fighting fish must have been eaten by a shark or its predatory relatives.

We anchor in Curieus in a shallow bay in the middle of the Marine National Park. So it's time to explore the coast on an inflatable kayak that I brought with me. The boat with the TNP folding expedition paddles is on the water in an instant and in a moment I will be weaving around the granite rocks and mangroves. Herons sit on the branches, I see several turtles in the water, and at one point a half-meter-long lemon shark jumps into my kayak.

The inflatable kayak has proved its worth again, exploring in Port Launay Bay.

Curieuse Island, Giant Tortoise

Then I arrive at the beach, where there is a breeding station for giant tortoises, which were once brought here from Aldabra Atoll. One colossus is resting on the beach, so I can look at it and take a picture. The turtle, which is over a hundred years old, even scratches its neck and then slowly moves into the shade of the forest.

Cousin: island of birds

One of the smallest islands is only 500 meters in diameter. However, the smaller it is, the more interesting it is. For example, five of Seychelles' eleven bird endemics live here. Cousin is a strict nature reserve with a regulated entrance and we paid a thousand crowns for a two-hour stay there. But it was worth it!

At ten in the morning, the park ranger picks us up on a wooden boat and takes us ashore. We are immediately attracted by hundreds of white flying birds. It is a white node and about four thousand of these feathers nest on the island.

Together with the guide, we go on a guided walk inland and along the beaches. In the dense forest, we were almost eaten by mosquitoes, but we could admire a lot of other interesting animals, the cutest of which were the young on the ground, nesting yellow-billed phaetons. These fluffy tufts are not afraid at all and we were able to take pictures of them from a half-meter distance.

A beach on the island of Cousin, where cards come to lay eggs.

In the winter, real cards come here to lay eggs, but we weren't lucky enough with them, so at least we took a picture of the "veteran of the island", who is a 150-year-old male tortoise, before leaving.

Wild Silhouette

This third largest and second highest island in Seychelles stands out from the others in many ways. Formerly a haven for pirates, today a mystical and hard-to-reach island with the need to obtain permission to enter. Over 90% of the area is a national park with wild jungle and steep mountains.

Silhouette is located about 12 nautical miles from Mahé, for our catamaran less than two hours sailing. We have the permit issued and after a night mooring in the lee, we disembark in the morning at a luxury hotel, the only civilization on the island.

We decide to explore the hinterland and set off into the forest along a barely perceptible path. In the morning heat we climb in the shade of ripening mango trees and tropical vegetation towards the highest point. Along the way, we observe, among other things, huge millipedes and breadfruit trees with large fruits, called "jackfruit", which are said to be the largest fruit in the world. We return to the ship with a bag full of mangoes and a huge jackfruit in our backpack.

Mahé: an island of mountains

The largest island is completely different from the rest of the Seychelles. It is home to 90% of the population, the vast majority of them around the capital Victoria. Mahé boasts the mountainous Morne Seychellois National Park, which covers a tropical forest. There are several hiking trails in the park and there is also the highest point of the Seychelles, the mountain of the same name, 905 meters high.

We circumnavigate the west coast of Mahé and pass a large and shallow bay Beau Vallon at a respectful distance. Here lies probably the most popular Mahé beach with many hotels and lively tourism. However, we are heading for the less busy and wind-protected southwest coast.

Viewpoint from Morne Blanc

We are moored in a fabulously beautiful bay in the marine reserve Port Launay, above which rise steep and deep green mountains. We set out for one of them the next morning. Although Morne Blanc looks wild, the jungle journey from the bus stop to the top, in the end, took us only about half an hour. From the viewpoint we can admire the entire southwest coast, including the bay with our boat.

The circle is closing, we will return the ship in the marina tomorrow and we will have to say goodbye to this paradise. It is clear to me that I will come here again and I know exactly that it will be in half a year. The wind in the Seychelles turns every six months, so the beaches and bays, which are now exposed to the wind, will be beautifully hidden in the lee!

But now we prefer not to leave and look forward to dinner on the tuna we caught from the ship yesterday.

It may come in handy

Weather and when to go : all year round - Seychelles is outside the area where tropical storms occur, so if you are planning a holiday in Seychelles, you do not have to worry about bad weather. It can rain more from November to January. Air temperatures reach a range of approx. 26 - 32 ° C all year round. The water temperature is between 28 - 30 ° C. From May to September there is a dry southeast trade wind, from November to March a slightly milder and wetter northwest trade.

Transport: Seychelles is easily accessible by air, international flights land on Mahé, flights from Prague with Emirates or Etihad, for example, the price of a ticket according to the season is 14 - 25,000 CZK.

Mahé, Praslin and La Digue are connected several times a day by Cat Cocos: There is public transport to Mahé and Praslina, tracking also works (especially on the back of the truck), you can rent a car. Beware, taxis are expensive.

Accommodation: you will not find giant and ugly hotel buildings here, the hotels are either smaller or well hidden under the crowns of palm trees. Prices in family apartments start at about 50 euros / room / night. Luxury resorts on private islands, on the other hand, are astronomically expensive. More info can be found here:

Prices: Seychelles is not a cheap destination, but for example, basic food costs about the same. You can buy fresh fish on the market for 100 - 200 CZK, a bus ticket costs 10 CZK, a portion of lunch in a take-away is about 100 CZK. But beer (about 50 CZK for 0.25 l) and the local excellent rum Takamaka are expensive. Taxis and entrances to parks and reservations will become more expensive (usually CZK 700 - 1,000). For dinner in the restaurant you pay around 500 - 600 CZK. More info here.

Boat rental and cruise organization: The largest marina with several charter companies is on the island of Eden on Mahé. From the rental companies, we can mention, for example, Dream Yacht Charter. The organization of charters in our country is provided, for example, by Independent sailing requires knowledge of coral and tidal areas. Cruises with Czech captains in the Seychelles are offered, for example, by the VIP Holiday agency.