Planning a trip to Seychelles? This luxury tropical destination is one of the top celebrity hot spots – and here are 10 essential travel facts you need to know before you go.
Ever since Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, went on their honeymoon to the Seychelles, there’s been a surge of interest in visiting this gorgeous archipelago made up of 115 specks in the Indian Ocean. But before you plan your own trip, here are 10 essential Seychelles travel facts you need to know.
But first, why do celebrities love the Seychelles?
Celebrities love the Seychelles because these tiny islands are far from prying eyes (except mine), and it’s just so unbelievably peaceful that after a day or two you’ll start thinking the Dalai Lama truly knows what he’s talking about when he preaches peace to all mankind.
When we’re talking about luxury travel and romantic destinations, the Seychelles is as good as it gets.
It’s no wonder the Seychelles is voted one of the best island destinations
With Seychelles beaches regularly ranking among the best in the world, water warm as clear as turquoise elixir straight out of a genie’s bottle and resorts where low-key glamour means Burberry flip flops and Badgley Mischka coverups, it’s no wonder the Seychelles has become a celebrity hangout.
But don’t worry, if you’re not a Hollywood A-lister, there is still a place for you. The Seychelles are not a cheap destination but there are plenty of smaller guest houses and loads of people take the bus to get around the island, which is a total bargain.
10 Essential Seychelles travel facts you need to know
Because the Republic of the Seychelles is a bit of an unknown island destination far away in the middle of nowhere, some 1600 km off the coast of East Africa in the Western Indian Ocean, it’s not surprising that even the most savvy travellers have questions before they go, so here are a few essential travel tips (and some not so essential tips but interesting all the same.)
#1 of 10 essential Seychelles travel facts: There is no malaria here
The mosquito that carries malaria does not exist on the Seychelles. Hurrah!
#2 of 10 essential Seychelles travel facts: This doesn’t mean you can’t get bitten by bugs
Don’t lie down on the sand. I spend 3 days here bite free, happily lying in a beach chair then I lay on the beach for an hour and now I have itchy bites. I repeat. STICK TO YOUR DECK CHAIR.
#3 of 10 essential Seychelles travel facts: The Seychelles are safe
I’m not saying you should walk around with all your valuables down a dark alley at night, or get reeling drunk and walk into the jungle shouting “I’m alone and incapacitated!” but the overall feeling is tranquil.
Of course this is no reason not to use your hotel safe. But you’ll find plenty of foreigners around of all stripes and types, lots of charm and a place more geared to a cocktail on your terrace than to rollicking nightclubs.
#4 of 10 essential Seychelles travel facts: The Seychelles are the only mid-ocean granite islands in the world!
I find this fascinating even if many others could care less. 150 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the Seychelles was part of the super-continent Gondwanaland.
And then all that seismic activity happened and shifting tectonic plates broke up Gondwanaland – and this is the interesting part – maybe a meteor hit and killed the dinosaurs but knocked a chunk of granite free and thus it was bye bye dinosaurs and hello Seychelles.
(PS, there are some coral islands here too.)
#5 of 10 essential Seychelles travel facts: No one lived here until the 1700s
Except maybe a few fearless pirates. The Seychelles may be among the most ancient group of islands in the world, but it wasn’t until the French settled it in 1770 that they became inhabited. Creole is still very much in existence, but there is a huge diversity of residents today.
#6 of 10 essential Seychelles travel facts: The mysterious Vallee de Mai is the original Garden of Eden
The Vallee de Mai on Praslin Island, one of the most visited islands in the Seychelles after Mahe, was long considered to be the original Garden of Eden. (And since no one has definitely proved it wasn’t the Garden of Eden, I’m sticking with the theory that it really IS the original Garden of Eden, so go ahead – try and prove me wrong.)
#7 of 10 essential Seychelles travel facts: The Vallee de Mai is the only known habitat in the WORLD of the rare black parrot
Which is actually brown.
#8 of 10 essential Seychelles travel facts: The Seychelles is for nuts. Rare female ones called coco de mer
The coco de mer is the heaviest nut in the world (and trust me, I’ve met some heavy nuts in my time). The coco de mer’s fame comes from the fact that it’s shaped like a female pelvis. And it’s only found on the islands of Praslin and Curieuse.
This rare nut is partly why the Vallee de Mai on Praslin Island was considered the original Garden of Eden – the suggestive curves of the female-shaped coco de mer was obviously the Forbidden Fruit! (I’m sorry, but what about the banana – why isn’t that a Forbidden Fruit? Trust the female nut to get the bad rap. And let’s not even get started on plantains. Sheesh.)
Seychelles travel facts #9: The Seychelles has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites are the aforementioned Vallee de Mai and the Aldabra, the world’s largest coral atoll. (And you thought the islands were just granite and palm trees, right?)
Seychelles travel facts #10: Even though all the celebrities come here, you are unlikely to run into any
Look, I’m sorry about that but celebrities are hard to control. As one local told me (and so did another because I’ve asked around a lot), “The celebrities fly in on a helicopter to North Island where there is only 11 villas and they don’t leave.”
Well, personally I’m still hopeful about celebrity spotting. Face it, if all the celebrities hiding out on the Seychelle’s North Island, where ‘barefoot luxury’ is the island mantra, some of the superstars are bound to get bored, so don’t you think they’ll want to go to the Vallee de Mai to see the pelvis-shaped coco de mer and the rare black parrot, which is actually brown?
Parrots are celebrities, too
I mean, in the celebrity parrot world, the black parrot is a superstar! It’s a celebrity shoe-in. So that’s what I’d do if I were a bored celebrity – I’d go the the Vallee de Mai. Unless of course said celebrities are really tired or on their honeymoon and then I completely understand and forgive them for flying all this way and not seeing the primeval Garden of Eden. (Although no matter how jet lagged I was I’d still want to see the Vallee de Mai.)
So there you have it. 10 Essential Seychelles travel facts, and I’d really like to add more like you’ll be eating a lot of grilled tuna and Roman Catholic is the main religion on the island, although there is an exotic-looking Hindu temple right in downtown Victoria and almost every religion you can think of here, but that would be 12 Essential Seychelles Travel Facts, so I dare not add any more.
So now that I’ve shared these 10 essential Seychelles travel facts, don’t you feel more knowledgeable about the Seychelles? Are you ready to plan your own trip? Hopefully that answer is yes (but if it’s not, I have plenty more Seychelles blog posts below)
For even more comprehensive travel information on the islands visit the Seychelles Official Tourism Website, and happy travels – whether you see a rare black parrot (which is actually brown) or not.
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Read more about travel to Seychelles
Read more about the Seychelles Carnival:
Seychelles Carnival Masks – dark truths revealed