Discover Mahé and Alphonse Island: Seychelles Diving Adventure
Pure, untouched natural beauty awaits above and below the waves in Mahé and the Alphonse Islands. Over 15 days, walk alongside centenarian tortoises, lounge on secluded sugar-soft sands and dive with eels, turtles and sharks over vibrant coral reefs away from the crowds. You'll stay in hotels so engulfed in nature that you forget the material world exists, and feast on nourishing food after being pampered in the onsite spas. This is your dream holiday to the Seychelles.
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When To Travel
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Day 1: International flight
Your adventure begins today with an overnight flight to Doha. Speed through security with fast-track check in and head to the lounge before you slip on your eye mask or settle in with a good movie during your eight-hour flight.
Day 2: Mahé
On arrival into Doha, you'll then take a four-hour flight to Mahé, the perfect amount of time to let the pre-holiday excitement kick in. On arrival, you'll be greeted and driven 40 minutes to your five-star hotel, an unspoilt haven with 300 acres of lush landscape nestled between two white sand beaches. Lie back on a lounger with a vanilla tea as you overlook the national park of Port Launay and allow yourself to switch to holiday mode.
Days 3-7: Mahé
Explore the natural wonders of Mahé over the next four days while enjoying local cuisine in one of the hotel's five restaurants. With over 75 accessible dive sites, dramatic underwater geology (including a submerged granitic mountain range) and various wrecks, Mahé is the most diverse dive location in the Seychelles.
Discover the beauty of Port Launay Marine National Park, ideal for beginners with its protected lagoons and colourful dives. Alternatively, advanced divers can explore Shark Bank, which attracts pelagic species like reef sharks and, occasionally, whale sharks.
On land, explore Kot Man-Ya Gardens, with its 200 species of colourful plants, or don your walking boots and hike Rando Copolia for a 1,600ft climb complete with a 360-degree view of Victoria and the surrounding islands. For water sports, visit Royal Bay waters for kayaking and paddleboarding; we suggest opting for a glass-bottom paddleboard to watch the life below the glassy surface as you kayak in the sunshine.
When you're in the need for a culture fix, take a tour of the famous Takamaka Rum Distillery or visit the Michael Adams Gallery where you can see colourful silk screen prints inspired by nature. And when you're ready to kick back? Relax at the hotel's spa which offers yoga classes, reflective pools and pampering massages.
Day 8: Next stop: Alphonse Island
Enjoy your final breakfast in Mahé surrounded by bird song. Afterwards, you'll be driven 40 minutes to Seychelles International Airport for your one-hour flight to Alphonse Island. Upon landing, your driver will take you to your private paradise, a luxurious resort nestled between white sand beaches, coconut groves and tropical plantations. After a relaxing day with your holiday read, head to the restaurant to enjoy a delicious meal under the stars with a menu blending French and Creole influences.
Day 9: Pinnacles diving
If the islands of the Seychelles are the gardens of the Indian Ocean, then Alphonse Island is the Eden. Raw, uncrowded and populated with tortoise, this isolated island promises a plethora of marine encounters.
There are over 30 known dive sites and more being discovered, catering to every diver, from the newbie to the professional. Start off diving at Pinnacles, a site with three large coral formations which is famous for sightings of dogtooth tuna, potato grouper and sharks, including silvertip, nurse, bull, whitetip and grey reefs. Gaze at the large overhangs decorated in huge sea fans and keep your eyes peeled for schools of fusiliers hiding among them. And on the reef, practice your underwater photography skills as you train your camera on the lionfish, scorpionfish and nudibranchs.
Day 10: St Francois Island diving
For today's dive, you'll head further afield to St Francois Island, about 20 minutes away, for an encounter with pelagics. You'll enter the water at Three Sisters, a site with three large coral patches on the sandy bottom where groupers and snappers congregate. Drag your gaze away from the outer walls, which are covered with purple sea fans, and look out into the blue to catch a sight of bigger marine species pass by such as sharks, mantas and dolphins.
Day 11: Bijoutier diving
This morning, you'll get to dive the reefs surrounding the nearby island of Bijoutier. Start off at Secret Reef, which is covered in tabulate corals and pink sea fans. Schools of snapper, emperors and barracuda are regularly spotted but keep an eye out for the rare grouper species too, including smooth and black saddle coral groupers.
After working up an appetite, enjoy a barbecue lunch on the island's beach as you compare underwater sightings. Then, after lunch, head to the Theatre, an impressive crescent-shaped raised reef that plunges dramatically to depths of 40+ metres. This ridge acts as a guide for large animals heading in towards the lagoon. You can hover above the wall and watch the marine life pass by including mantas, bumphead parrotfish and hammerhead sharks.
Day 12: Eagle Nest diving
Get ready to cruise with some eagle rays at Eagle Nest, a dive site to the east of Alphonse Island. The reef itself is covered in hard coral formations and is home to giant moray eels, sleeping nurse sharks and schools of blue-streak fusiliers, which often surround divers. Have a close look at the wall to spot some macro critters nestled here such as nudibranchs, flatworms and various shrimp species.
Finally, stop off at Gorge Gonian - named for the thousands of Gorgonian sea fans that create a purple forest. These healthy sea fans are home to a wealth of macro life including shrimps, gobies, nudibranchs and longnose hawkfish. Out in the blue, look out for napoleon wrasse, dogtooth tuna and giant barracuda.
Day 13-14: Relax and recharge
When the waters have been explored and adored, rest for two days on the sugar soft sand beaches or explore the island by bicycle to meet the century-old giant tortoise. If you're a bird lover, go out on a guided nature walk to spot several of the 130 bird species present on the island. And if it's some R&R you're after? Unwind with one of the several spa treatments available and treat yourself to a special dinner on the terrace of your villa.
Day 15: Homebound
Sadly, it's time to leave paradise behind and begin the journey home, sun-kissed and brimming with stories of your adventures. You'll be transferred back to the airport for your one-hour flight to Mahé - be sure to steal those final glances of the Eden floating on the azure waters. From Mahé, you'll begin the long journey home, flying via Doha. But don't worry, the pictures from your holiday will provide more than enough joy as you readjust back to 'normal' life.
Emily C and Rachel are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.