The pristine islands of the Seychelles, which were largely uninhabited until the 18th century, retain the charm of an undiscovered paradise. Today, the lush jungles and sun-kissed beaches make the archipelago off the coast of East Africa a popular destination for vacationers. To help plan your next trip, we asked Selwyn Boudanne, Concierge at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, to share his tips for embracing island life while in the Seychelles.
Adventure on the high seas
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the Seychelles is to charter a boat for fishing, island-hopping, snorkelling or diving. Bring your fresh catch of local tuna, red snapper, grouper or jobfish back to the Resort, where the chefs will prepare it to your specifications—barbecued, in sushi, Creole-style or baked with a hint of lemon to bring out the fresh taste.
The island of Mahé’s best-kept secret is the secluded, horseshoe-shaped beach at the foot of Four Seasons Resort Seychelles—one of the most beautiful in the world. Black granite boulders provide a dramatic backdrop to the powder-white sand and azure waters of the cove. The calm waters of the bay are sheltered by dense vegetation, making it ideal for safe swimming.
Of the 115 islands that make up the Seychelles, one of the top destinations is Praslin, which boasts spectacular secluded shores. On La Digue, Anse Source d’Argent is one of the archipelago’s best beaches. Explore the island on two wheels: Cycling around the neighbouring plantation on a bike is the best way to see vanilla fields and giant tortoises. Don’t miss the unusual rock formations off La Digue’s coast.
Instead of glitzy malls, designer stores and international chains, you’ll find local art galleries and quaint shops selling handicrafts. Kenwyn House, a 19th-century French colonial mansion, is home to an art gallery and high-end jewellery store specializing in South African diamonds and tanzanite.
The George Camille Studio showcases the work of its namesake, a local artist who works with a variety of media to capture the colour and spirit of Creole life.
For retail therapy closer to home, the Resort’s Spa features products from Ila, Sodashi and locally blended items from Yi-King. Signed, limited-edition prints by local artist Alyssa Adams are available exclusively for Resort guests to purchase. Depicting the wild beauty of the jungle and inlaid with real gold, these souvenirs to treasure are sure to evoke beautiful memories of your time in Petite Anse.
Snap up colourful, printed pareus and locally made T-shirts at Pineapple Studio, just a 10-minute drive from the Resort. While you shop, watch the artisans at work. Stop by Michael Adams Art Gallery to view an impressive selection of his work that reflects the Seychellois life and culture. The gallery sells silk screens, postcards and calendars.
Antik Colony, located on Independence Avenue in the capital city of Victoria, is another must. The shop stocks a beautiful range of handmade silk and cotton batik fabrics and clothes, as well as maps, prints, and scented soaps and oils made from citronella, coconut and vanilla.
Dining in the Seychelles
Once a colonial spice plantation, the hilltop Le Jardin du Roi is now a favourite Creole restaurant on Mahé. Stroll the property to see not only the colony of giant land tortoises, but also the spices grown on site, including vanilla, cinnamon, saffron and nutmeg. Meals are served in the open-air restaurant overlooking the sea, and dishes feature spices and fruits grown on the plantation.
Every Saturday evening, the Resort’s Kannel comes alive ever Wednesday night, featuring a Creole barbecue buffet of local dishes. A local band and dancers will get you on your feet, and on-site market stalls showcase local crafts and fashion. Save some space to enjoy “La Daube,” a delicious specialty dessert made with sweet potato cooked in coconut milk.
During the rest of the week, Kannel is open for lunch and dinner. Try the Creole octopus salad with lime juice and fresh cilantro or a selection from the specialty Dim Sum menu.
Also at the Resort is ZEZ, an open-air, hillside restaurant with views of the ocean and sunset. Come for breakfast and taste the international menu, including dishes like smoked salmon and toasted brioche and Creole crab Benedict. At dinner, try European-inspired specialties of olive-oil poached red snapper or artichoke and sausage risotto.
Gardens and views
Explore more of the islands’ natural splendour at the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens at Mont Fleuri. More than 100 years old, this national treasure comprises 2 hectares (5 acres) of landscaped and beautifully maintained tropical gardens. The orchid house, showcasing orchids endemic to the islands, is a must-see.
On the journey home, take a drive on the Sans Souci route in Morne Seychellois National Park, and stop at Mission to enjoy some of the island’s most stunning vistas from the road’s cool highlands.
With a few notable exceptions, nightlife is largely a low-key affair in the Seychelles. Dance the night away at Eden Island, a marina close to Victoria. Enjoy cocktails or a local SeyBrew beer at one of the area’s many restaurants and bars as you watch the yachts bob on the harbour’s moonlit waters.
Romance by moonlight
While the island’s bars, restaurants, casinos and discos are undeniably lively and friendly, romance blooms naturally in the Seychelles. Enjoy an intimate candlelit dinner on the Resort’s beach as you watch the sky break out in an array of sunset colours. End your meal with a walk along the shore and light a sky lantern together, then watch it float towards the stars.
Only in the Seychelles
Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
The exotic and isolated location of the Seychelles only adds to its appeal—and to the number of attractions. Snorkel amid a kaleidoscope of fish; scuba dive to try and spot migratory whale sharks between September and November, or take your pick from a shipwreck or a moonlit night dive.
The Seychellois life
Built in 1840 and renovated in 1999, the colourful Sir Selwyn Clarke Market in Victoria remains the bustling heart of the capital and the best place to buy fresh fruits, fish, vegetables and spices. There’s also an array of boutiques and shops selling everything from art to textiles. For an ultimate taste of the Seychelles, stop at a roadside stall to buy a fresh coconut. For just a few rupees, a local vendor will select a tasty coconut and slice it open before your eyes, a refreshing treat after a day spent in the sun.