There are few more beautifully exotic destinations on the globe than Seychelles Islands. This archipelago is made up of 115 coral and granite islands and sits between 480km and 1600km off of the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. First settled by the French in the 1700s, it was later claimed by the British. During the 1800s the Seychelles set up a vibrant trade settlement, with the establishment of numerous different plantations, which contributed largely to its population growth over the following century. The Seychelles were granted independence in 1976 and remain a member of the British Commonwealth. Today, it is a major draw for tourists. It is lush, tranquil and opulently beautiful, with pristine white sand beaches, unique topography set against lush tropical rainforests, and miles of turquoise waters winding through this island chain. It’s also home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This diverse group of islands fall into two categories: the inner islands are tall and mostly made from granite. The outer islands lie more flat, and consist of cays, reefs and atolls (an atoll is a ring or horseshoe shaped coral reef, usually with a lagoon in the center. They usually sit atop an extinct seamount or volcano). In terms of accommodations in this group of islands, only 16 of the 115 islands currently have hotels, with a wide range of choices, from luxury resorts to guest houses. In terms of getting there (and getting around) there are a number of direct flights from Johannesburg to Mahe International Airport in Seychelles’ capital, Victoria. To get between islands, there are domestic flights, charters and ferries.
Mahe is the largest inhabited island in the Seychelles. It has over 60 beaches as well as a mountainous countryside that is covered in rainforests and jungles. Mahe is appealing because of its variety; travelers can relax on their choice of beaches or explore caves and coves, discovering bays and waterfalls. A hike up the mountainous terrain can be grueling, but will offer views that make the climb well worth the effort and then some. Kayaking and snorkeling are popular here as well. The island is populated with small towns and villages, great for wandering and exploring. There is a decidedly Creole influence on Mahe, reflected in the food, architecture and culture.
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