Seychelles Islands, Towns, Locations and Districts
(Seychelles, SC, Africa)
Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles isn't a single island - it is made up of some 115 islands, although the majority of these are not densely populated and many are fairly remote. This island nation actually has the smallest overall population (roughly 90,000 people) of any country within the whole of Africa
The main islands, and therefore those which are most often visited by tourists, include Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette and La Digue. Around 30 of the Seychelles islands aren't inhabited at all and many others are home to relatively small groups of people.
Mahé is the largest island in the Seychelles, with a population of approximately 85,000. It is also home to the capital, Victoria, where around 90 percent of the country's overall population resides. Victoria is a relatively small town idyllically located at the foot of Mahé's granite mountains to the east of the island, and has all the facilities you would expect of a capital, including banks, restaurants and shops. Mahé itself has over 70 beaches, as well as lush vegetation and mountains. More information about Mahé
Praslin has to be everyone's idea of a tropical paradise. The second-largest island in the Seychelles, it has a population of just 7,500 people. There are no towns as such, instead, this island is dotted with tiny villages. One of the most popular places on the island is Grande Anse, because of its beautiful beach, while Anse Lazio is another enticing tropical beach fronting the Indian Ocean. Praslin is an ideal place to base yourself if you plan to visit other islands in the chain. The Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
, listed as a World Heritage attraction, is a major draw here, with its hiking trails and rare palms.
Named after the French ship that brought the earliest European settlers to the island in 1768, La Digue is best known for its relaxed way of life. The island is fairly small, being home to just 6,000 inhabitants. La Digue's villages include La Passe, Anse Patates, Anse Grosse Roche, Anse Source d'Argent and Grande Anse. Apart from the glorious sunny beaches, the L'Union Estate
theme park stands out, with its colonial Old Plantation House and boatyard.
The island of Silhouette lies just 24 km / 15 miles from Mahé. Although fairly small, at only 5 km / 3 miles in diameter, it doesn't feel overcrowded. In fact, it's home to only 100-odd residents. There are no roads on Silhouette Island, and there's only one shop where visitors and locals can stock up on the essentials. Its mountain peaks are a prominent feature and often covered with dense forests, with Mount Dauban serving as the highest point and towering at just under 750 metres / 2,460 feet. You may well like to visit the untamed beaches at Anse Lascar, Anse Mondon and Grande Barbe.
Tiny North Island is dominated by its rocky peak. Visitors can enjoy its four beaches and impressive indigenous plant and bird populations. North Island is perfect for those wanting to get away from it all, as well as for those with an interest in ecology. Located roughly 6 km / 4 miles to the north of Silhouette, North Island comes with exclusive luxury villas and is where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate Middleton) famously spent their honeymoon following their royal wedding in the spring of 2011.
Only a stone's throw from the larger island of Praslin, being just 1.5 km / 1 mile away and well connected by boat, Curieuse Island is dominated by its peak and once functioned as a leper colony for more than 100 years. Attractions on Curieuse include its marine park, its breeding colony of giant tortoises and an interesting museum. A boat trip to Curieuse is great for a day out if you're based on Praslin. Many holiday makers come here as part of an organised tour of Curieuse, Cousin Island and St. Pierre Islet.
The coral island of Denis is one of the most north-easterly destinations in the Seychelles and lies about 97 km / 60 miles to the north of Mahé, where it offers a real taste of paradise in the form of a gorgeous lagoon and tempting azure blue waters. Denis Lodge is an upmarket resort for the more discerning of travellers and is well-placed for hiking, scuba diving and snorkelling excursions, and fishing trips. Those visiting Denis between the months of July and December may well be able to observe turtles nesting along its coastline.
Close to Denis, Bird Island is the northernmost island within the archipelago and is just over 97 km / 60 miles from Mahé, being located directly to the north. Privately owned since the late sixties, Bird is a superb spot to indulge in some serious birdwatching, with sooty terns nesting here in their thousands. Between October and February, Hawksbills turtles also come here to lay their eggs on the sandy beaches. The luxury chalets at the Bird Island Lodge are eco-friendly and just a stroll away from the beachfront.
Best reached by taking a flight from Mahé (30 minutes), Fregate is frequently used as a getaway for Hollywood celebrities and the more wealthy of holiday makers, who come here to relax in luxury at the Fregate Island Private resort. Boasting views of the ocean and coastline, the villas come with private swimming pools and are surrounded by exotic foliage. Things to do at Fregate include swimming at the Anse Maquereau Beach, sailing around the island, enjoying beauty treatments in the spa, and taking guided walks with a conservation expert.
The Seychelles islands are spread around a huge distance, with a high percentage residing to the south-west of Mahé. Many of these can prove difficult to reach and whilst they come with opulent resorts and villas, can often only be reached by those with their own yachts. Some of the most notable include the Amirantes Group (roughly 250 km / 155 miles to the south-west of Mahé), and the Alphonse Group (around 450 km / 280 miles to the south-west of Mahé). Further still is the Aldabra Group, which is where you will find the World Heritage Site of the Aldabra Atoll and its huge number of giant tortoises.