Seychelles by the Seashore

Relaxation was number one on our to-do list in the Seychelles, followed by scuba diving and visiting the national botanical gardens.

Throughout most of recorded history, the Seychelles were uninhabited, and they still have a fairly primitive feeling. The tourism industry has only existed since 1971, when the country’s international airport opened, and the government has worked since then to protect its native flora and fauna. In fact, Seychelles is a world leader in protecting lands for threatened species, devoting nearly half of its territory to conservation.

The Republic of Seychelles has the smallest population of any African country but makes up for it with a huge number of islands—115, to be exact. Over 93 percent of Seychellois are Creole, which gives the nation a very cool, laid-back vibe.

Aldabra giant tortoises are arguably the stars of the largest island, Mahé, and the best place to see them is the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens in the capital city. Some of them are over 150 years old, but they move quickly when they see you have tasty leaves for them to eat.

The gardens also feature five acres of mature, exotic, and endemic plants, as well as fruit bats and a variety of colorful bird species.

As we wandered the grounds, we noticed this beautiful, gnarly old tree and walked closer to get a better look. Strung throughout the branches were hundreds of giant golden orb spiders spinning their bright yellow webs.

While the Indian Ocean didn’t cooperate for diving, we did manage to spend a relaxing week wrapping up our time in Africa.

Up Next: We kick off our time in Asia with a visit to Sri Lanka, land of serendipity.