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Seychelles - When and where to visit
The humid, tropical climate of the Seychelles and the western Indian Ocean is controlled by a host of interrelated factors. These include the monsoonal wind shifts induced by seasonal barometric pressure changes over the Indian Ocean, Africa and India; changes in the position and intensity of the south Indian Ocean high-pressure zone; seasonal migration of the complex inter-tropical lows; and ocean currents and sea surface temperature patterns in the equatorial Indian Ocean.
Sunset from Anse Soliel, Seychelles © Seychelles Tourism Board
Annual rainfall exceeds 800mm on all the islands and temperatures are always above 20°C. There are, however, important climatic variations between the islands which arise primarily because of the wide expanse of ocean covered by the islands, and altitudinal differences between the high granitic islands and the low coral atolls. Mean annual temperatures in Mahé (Victoria) are 26.6°C and 27°C on Aldabra, with only a 3°C seasonal variation. In the mountainous granitic islands, temperature decreases with increasing altitude. Humidity is usually around 75–80% and varies little with the season. Humidity does vary with altitude and the mountains are often shrouded with mist for long periods.
The equatorial climate is hot all year round, and is governed by the two wind regimes. The southeast trade winds blow steadily from May to October and, during these months, very little rain falls and the days are hot, humid and sunny. The seas are not as calm as during the northwest monsoon period from November to March. The highest rainfall occurs in December and January but don’t let that put you off as, even when it pours, it is not cold. The tropical downpours tend to occur in the afternoons and are short and sharp. Getting drenched in a tropical downpour could be a whole new experience!
The Seychelles is the ultimate sun, sea and sand destination, and the many beachfront hotels are geared up to cater for idyllic and relaxing holidays. A full spectrum of watersports is on offer at the larger resorts, and the smaller hotels and guesthouses can easily arrange such activities. Good local infrastructure is in place for scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing, sailing, birdwatching and hiking, and there are dive centres, watersports operators, charter boats, tour operators and well-trained local guides on hand. Beau Vallon offers the lot! But there is much more to the Seychelles, and the islands are just asking to be explored. If you want to view and compare sample itineraries, please see the Seychelles beach holidays section on SafariBookings. This comparison website lists tours offered by both local and international tour operators.
Make the effort to take a walk in the Morne Seychelles National Park. Go early in the morning with a guide and experience the mosses and mists of a high-altitude tropical forest with fabulous views over the granitic inner islands; you can look for bizarre pitcher plants, jellyfish trees and the tiny Sooglossus frogs. Visit the Jardin du Roi to find out about exotic spices and then drop in at Kot-Man-Ya to see a profusion of striking and colourful ornamental flowers. Make a stop at a studio of one of the many local artists and revel in the vibrant styles depicting the beauty of the islands. Pay a visit to the Selwyn-Clarke Market in Victoria for a glimpse of local life. Amid the hustle and bustle, take in the noisy fish market and the colourful stalls of tropical fruits, vegetables, flowers and fragrant spices. Explore the Beau Vallon area with its gorgeous beach and glorious view over to Silhouette. Join the locals at Bazar Labrin on a Wednesday evening or the last Saturday of the month to taste the freshest barbecued fish and other local delicacies and purchase your souvenirs from the cheerful stalls under the trees. Enjoy a sunset cruise on a lovely old sailing boat and, for a taste of the nightlife, watch a sega dance show. For some adventure, go zip lining at Ephelia Hotel.
Female coco de mer, which takes 25 years from germination to bear fruit © Seychelles Tourism Board
Experience the magnificent Vallée de Mai, the World Heritage Site that protects the remarkable coco de mer palms. Laze on Anse Lazio, one of the finest beaches in the world.
Hire a bicycle and explore this leisurely island making a recommended stop at Anse Source d’Argent where the famous beaches are surrounded by naturally sculpted, granite rocks. A little more energy is required to cycle over the low hill to the magnificent stretch of beach at Grand Anse.
The fantastic scenery and interesting biodiversity are increasingly attracting ecotourists to the Seychelles. Entire islands have been set aside as nature reserves and there are marine parks as well as mountain and forest reserves for the nature lover to explore. Make an expedition to one or more of the tiny satellite islands surrounding Mahé, Praslin and La Digue – some require a whole day while others can be enjoyed in a morning or afternoon.