Family holidays in the Seychelles are one of the Indian Ocean’s best kept secrets.
The archipelago of 115 little islands just a few degrees south of the equator has always been known to romantics. But now several luxury resorts have exceptional kids’ clubs, activity programmes, carefully thought out mini-menus and even their own giant turtles, on occasion.
Spacious lodges, villas, charming guesthouses and hotels all over the main islands are made for families and unusually affordable for this exotic part of the world.
Incredible beaches, clear waters and year-round sunshine make a natural adventure playground. And there are few places where kids can enjoy as much freedom as the warm, friendly and welcoming Seychelles.
There are no direct flights from the UK but, Air Seychelles from Heathrow to Mahé only stops for 1 hour and 20 minutes in Abu Dhabi.
The islands are malaria-free.
Almost right on the equator, the Seychelles are always warm and sunny with an average temperature of 27˚C.
Island-hopping between conservation reserves is a fantastic experiences for kids.
The country’s capital, Victoria, is the most densely populated island town and only 25,000 people live here.
The main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue are connected by frequent ferries so you can choose to stay on one and easily enjoy the others.
The world’s most beautiful beach, Anse Victorin, is on the Seychelles’ island of Frégate.
Mahé is the largest island but small by most standards (28km long and 8km wide). The pretty capital of Victoria sits on a natural harbour against a backdrop of soaring mountains. And beyond that, there’s nothing but lush forest and spectacular beaches, plantation houses, old fashioned hamlets and the bluest, clearest seas.
An hour by ferry from Mahé, Praslin is the country’s second largest island and very close to paradise – some 19th century visitors believed this was the original Garden of Eden. It’s not. But it is home to Vallée de Mai’s primeval forest of towering Coco de Mer palms. Some of earth’s loveliest beaches are here including iconic Anso Lazio. And, if your kids like pirates, plenty of that history can be found on Praslin’s dramatic Côte d’Or.
For total escapism, La Digue is ideal. Bikes and brightly painted ox-drawn carts are how you get about here. Traditional boat building is the main industry. And nobody needs much more than the gorgeous historic houses, white shores and friendly little villages for a blissful holiday. Older children might prefer to stay on a livelier island, but La Digue has to be visited at least once.
From sailing, swimming, diving and snorkelling to visiting conservation islands, watching turtles hatch, adventuring around marine parks and world heritage sites to picking up a few lilting Creole phrases, there are opportunities for kids to learn something new every minute in the Seychelles.
Cycling on La Digue and round Mahé and Praslin’s flat, easy coastal roads is a good way to travel with older kids. You can hire a car, but the islands have excellent local buses and a ferry service operates from early morning to evening all year round. Private water taxis are also available and, naturally, you can charter boats almost anywhere.