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Seychelles a luxury Indian Ocean escape

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The Seychelles is the name of an archipelago of 115 granitic and coral islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, a few degrees south of the equator. All the islands are splendid in their own right, one more exotic than the other, yet they share a common denominator: lush flora and fauna, white sandy beaches running down to crystal clear water in shades from emerald green to dark blue.

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History

Similar to other archipelagos in the Indian Ocean, the history of the Seychelles begins around the end of the 15th-century, during the age of the great sea voyagers which ultimately culminated in the discovery and colonisation of the new world. From Arabs seafarers, African slaves, pirates to European sea captains have all influenced the Seychelles somehow.

The main island of Mahe was given its name after the French governor of Mauritius, Mahe de Labourdonnais. It was in the 18th-century when the French expanded their empire that they called the islands Seychelles. Following the Treaty of Paris in 1814, the archipelago, together with the island of Mauritius, officially became part of the British empire under King George III. Fast forward to 1976, when the Seychelles gained full independence from Britain.

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Seychelles’ islands

The main three islands in the Seychelles are Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. Read about our top 10 islands in the Seychelles for more holiday ideas and jaw dropping images of heaven on earth.

The island of Praslin is home to the Vallee de Mai UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the famous coco de mer grows wild. And the island of La Digue is the place to head if you want to see granite boulders and breathtaking beaches such as Anse Source D’Argent.

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The Seychelles are a dreamlike destination, unsurprisingly, a choice for couples tying the knot and honeymooners. However, the Seychelles have so much more to offer than laying in a hammock on a beach with nary a person in site or quaffing champagne in a luxury hotel – not that we would say no these. Read about our 10 favourite beaches in the Seychelles for some titillation.

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The Seychelles have garnered a reputation for the ultimate destination for eco-tourism in the world. The islands are an ideal place to watch migrating birds, giant tortoises, rare flora and fauna. There is a whole different world to explore underneath the ocean too. There is an abundance of marine life to see in the Seychelles: colourful reef fish, octopus, lobster, tortoise, stingrays, sharks and a plethora of fish.

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Victoria world’s smallest capital city

If you get tired of the amazing beaches, snorkeling and sailing (as if!), there is a whole host of activities and things to do on land. Mahe the main island is home to the smallest capital city in the world, Victoria.

The city is home to about 25,000 people, around two-thirds of the population. The city has a wonderful quaint charm to it. There is a bustling market, botanical gardens, amazing Creole restaurants (we would recommend Marie Antoinette), colonial architecture and plenty of independent shops perfect for last minute gifts and souvenirs.

Victoria is the main hub in the Seychelles, it’s where all international flights arrive. Make sure you see the wow-factor Hindu temple, stunning mosque and a miniature version of London’s Big Ben – the Clock Tower.

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Tourist information

The Seychelles Tourism Board has its main office in Victoria on Mahé, but there are smaller offices on Praslin and La Digue too.

The Seychelles are a good year-round destination, with temperatures ranging of between 24ºC and 32ºC. However, December to March are the wettest months, and humidity is highest from February to May. The best months to visit are June-September.

The local currency is the Seychelles Rupee (SR). However most places accept all international currencies (US, GB, Euro). The Seychelles has three official languages – English, French and Creole. And the Seychelles is four hours ahead of GMT, three hours ahead of British Summer Time and two hours ahead of European Summer Time.

Images courtesy of Gerard Larose, Eileen Hoareau, Raymond Sahuquet and Seychelles Tourism Board

About

Assif is a luxury travel and design aficionado currently working as a BBC content producer. He holds an MA in journalism from the University of Leeds. He is partial to tea and cake - Yorkshire Tea Gold Blend please. His favourite trips include island hopping in the Seychelles, a mountain escape in Kashmir and getting lost in Hong Kong.

Assif is the current editor of Adelto Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @journolista.

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September 18, 2013 | Africa Indian Ocean Seychelles Travel | View comments

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