Seychelles makes a great Valentine's escape
Travellers who are looking for an idyllic Valentine’s escape should consider Seychelles. A picture postcard-perfect destination roughly in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Seychelles has serene natural beauty and a wide array of plant and animal life. The capital city of Victoria offers modern amenities combined with colourful, small-town charm.
The 115 islands that make up the archipelago nation of Seychelles are an unknown quantity for many travellers. Located in the Indian Ocean, roughly halfway between Africa and India, the country doesn’t yet draw the numbers of tourists that many tropical destinations experience. But a visit to this exotic locale will charm any first-time visitor.
Of the 115 islands that make up Seychelles, only three are inhabited: Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue. Most of the country’s population live on Mahe, the largest of the three. One of the high points of a visit to Mahe is a stop at Seychelles National Botanical Gardens on Mount Fleuri, a short drive from the capital, Victoria.
The gardens consist of five acres of beautifully maintained land, as well as numerous exotic native plant species, including spice and fruit trees. Looking up, visitors can catch a glimpse of the fruit bats hanging overhead.
Perhaps the most special part of visiting the botanical gardens, however, is the chance to see giant tortoises, who make their home in a large tortoise enclosure. The Aldabran giant tortoises, with a life-span of up to 250 years, are the world’s longest-lived animals. The remarkable animals have the ability to survive up to three months without food. The nearby Aldabra Atoll, a series of four coral islands, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The capital city of Victoria is a small, charming city characterized by neat, two-lane streets and brightly painted homes. The Victoria Clock Tower is one of the town’s focal points and a replica one erected in London in 1897.
Newcomers to Seychelles may be surprised to find that all beaches are open to the public. There are no private, “guests only” beaches common in other tourist destinations. National law assures that the country’s beaches are open to everyone. Among the country’s most stunning beaches are North East Point Beach, a popular choice with tourists and surfers. Beau Vallon Beach was once considered the best beach in the world. Another not-to-be-missed spot is Morne Blanc, the country’s highest peak, which rewards visitors with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.
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