Anse Intendance, Mahe © Angelo Cavalli / STMA
The beautiful Seychelles islands are regularly credited as one of the most romantic destinations in the world. The Seychelles casts a siren-like spell over travellers, with crystalline turquoise waters, pristine coral reefs, and powdery beaches that encircle vast granite pinnacles and verdant rainforest.
The islands stretch like an array of jewels across nearly one million square kilometres of the Indian Ocean east of Kenya, and even have their own suggestively shaped fruit, the famous 'coco de mer' double coconut, to emphasise their seductive charms. Only a few of the 115 islands are inhabited, with most of the local population (known as Seychellois) gathered on the main island, Mahé, around the capital city of Victoria.
The Seychellois are an eclectic mix of the descendants of freed African slaves, Arab, Indian and Chinese traders, and British and French settlers and seafarers who go about their business speaking a Creole patois. The multi-party democratic republic was once a thriving pirate's haven but today it serves as a refuge for sunseekers, honeymooners and nature lovers who congregate in the top quality hotels and resorts on the main island shores.
Whether you come to dive among the more than 800 species of fish in the island waters, marvel at flocks of colourful birds flitting among rare jungle trees, soak up the equatorial sun on silver sands or to cement your marriage vows, the Seychelles archipelago will impress as being just about as close to paradise as it is possible to get on Earth. Although the Seychelles are still primarily enjoyed as a luxury destination, there is an increasing drive to develop the budget tourism options on the islands, opening the doors of paradise to travellers who may previously only have dreamed of a holiday on these exotic shores.
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