The Seychelles are not only ideal for a holiday, but also a paradise for children – not least because it is one of the few countries in the tropics that doesn’t require additional vaccinations and where there are practically no dangerous animals and plants.
The Seychelles are a family-friendly holiday destination and if you are travelling with your offspring the locals are likely to approach you for a friendly chat, with the older ones often patting the children on their heads. This is a common gesture and is just their way of showing how much they like children. You won’t find people frowning at you if your child behaves the way children behave, by playing loudly or kicking up a fuss.
The endless, sandy beaches that line the island are an absolute pleasure. The sand is fine, powdery and usually very clean. In many places the beaches have very shallow waters that are ideal for children.
Children aged eight and up can participate in a Bubble Maker course where they learn how to use a mask and snorkel. Those 12 years and older can do the Junior PADI Open Water Diver Certificate. It is important to remember that your children need to obtain a diving medical certificate from a sports physician prior to departure.
Glass bottom boat trips are available on Mahé and other islands. Without getting your feet wet, you can observe corals, fish and other marine creatures up close.
Mahé: It is worth taking the children on a visit to the Botanical Gardens and older children will enjoy exploring the Jardin du Roi where you can explain to them where spices come from, which most only know in their processed form in their kitchen cupboards. The same goes for the Tea Factory, where they can experience the growing, harvesting and processing of tea.
La Digue: Visit the L’Union Estate for a demonstration of the processing of coconuts.
Praslin: If you are staying on this island, you should book a day trip by boat to the neighbouring islands of Cousin and Curieuse, where you are guaranteed to encounter giant tortoises and all kinds of exotic birds and the tortoises don’t mind if you pet them.
Top tip: It is a good idea to have beach sandals with non-slip soles as some of the beaches have sharp-edged corals that can cause nasty injuries.
When choosing your accommodation, it is worth noting that some hotels have locations that are not suitable for children – such as the Sunset Beach Hotel on Mahé, which is on a rocky outcrop right on the sea. These hotels usually have a prescribed minimum age for their guests. On the other hand, some large hotels offer special entertainment programmes for their younger guests as well as a babysitter service for those parents who need some time alone. Some hotels also offer family suites, most have cots available for infants and many hotels have space for an extra bed for an older child. If children want their own rooms, larger hotels have adjacent rooms with connecting doors. Travel agencies usually indicate these options in their catalogues.
The high-end category of hotels also have offers especially geared to the needs of children such as the Lémuria Resort, which attracted so many children that, in addition to the children’s playground, they now also have options for older children and teenagers. There are even spas with treatments for children and teenagers so they can enjoy a yoga class or a chocolate massage.
Travel time: Flights from London take approximately 11 hours and 50 minutes.
How to get there: Fly with Emirates from London Heathrow to Seychelles International; from £780.
Top tips: Read a Marco Polo travel guide before you go on your family holiday.