The yachting°com Sailing Guide to Seychelles
Why sail in the Seychelles?
Seychelles - home to beautiful bays and national parks, both on land and in the sea. The Republic of Seychelles lies east of Africa, roughly 1,000 km north of Madagascar and is divided into two parts. The inner islands, which most visitors head for, and the outer islands, which are inhabited by about only 2% of the population. Mahé is the main island of the Republic of Seychelles. Its capital city, Victoria, is one of the smallest capital cities in the world.
What is special about the Seychelles?
Plenty of beautiful bays where you can swim, snorkel, and discover the beauty of the coral reefs.
National parks where you can take day trips and see endangered species of giant tortoise.
Predominantly medium winds and small waves make the Seychelles an ideal region for sailing.
The constant warm climate makes Seychelles a perfect place to holiday all year round.
Yachting areas in the Seychelles
The most inhabited areas and the most frequented are around the islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. It’s the perfect place for holidaying and sailing. Most tourists plan to holiday in this exotic area for 14 days, so they can discover the most beautiful and interesting places and still return to their starting point. But you can also take advantage of the option of one-way trips in the Seychelles.
Weather and climate
The Seychelles lie outside the area where tropical storms usually occur. The hurricanes that race through the Pacific and then on through the Indian Ocean pass by without disturbing the islands. So, when planning a holiday in the Seychelles, you don’t have to worry about being caught in the tropical storm season. The only things that change there are the monsoons and air currents.
From around the end of November to the end of April, a northwesterly monsoon prevails, while for the rest of the year, a southeasterly one blows. On the islands, it is possible to adapt due to the large number of leeward and windward bays. However one downside is the small number of good berths during periods of stronger wind.
From May to September, stronger, southeasterly trade winds blow at speeds of 9-19 kn (knots) or 3-5 on the Beaufort scale (BFT). Rain is minimal, air temperature is between 27-29°C, and water temperature is 26-27°C. April and October are calm periods, usually without much wind, and ideal for scuba-diving and motorboating. Trade winds blow from November to March with a force of 2-4 BFT (7-12 kn), air temperature is between 28-30°C, and water temperature is between 27-28°C.
The main island of the Seychelles archipelago is home to the newly built Eden Marina and international airport. The marina is within easy reach of the airport, just 5 km away and a few minutes by taxi. Anse Royale, where you can moor on the eastern side of Mahé, is a cliff-lined lagoon with sandy beaches and coconut palms. On the southwestern side is a bay called Baie Lazare (Anse Lazare).
Also worth mentioning is a small national park on the northwest side of Mahé, Port Launay. If the southeast monsoon is blowing during summer, it is possible to anchor in some places on the northern side of Mahé. Unfortunately, during the northwest monsoon it isn’t.
20 NM to the northeast is one of two enchanting islands - Praslin. Dream Yacht Charters' main base is here in Baie Sainte Anne. This means you can takeover or handover your boat there or at the Eden Marina on Mahé. You can have your bed linen changed, replenish your supplies, or fill up your water tank at the marina, or you might opt to take a trip around the island. You can comfortably make excursions all over the island using cheap local transport (you can take an unlimited journey by bus for just 5 rupees) and visit places such as the famous Vallée de Mai National Park. Unfortunately, the entire southern shore is inhospitable to sailors and there are no spots to comfortably and safely anchor. The exception perhaps being Grand Anse Bay, but this is not recommended in the local yachting guide.
One of the most beautiful beaches in the world is on the island of Praslin. This sandy beach with granite stones enchants all who set eyes on it. However, in contrast to other beaches, Anse Lazio is not home to any protected coral reefs. Another attraction of Praslin Island is the Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO listed, mature protected forest with incredible palm trees.
Near Praslin you’ll discover one of the most beautiful national parks in the Seychelles, Curieuse. There you’ll find Aldabra giant tortoises, beautiful primeval forests and sandy beaches - it is simply an ideal place for a walk. The Aldabra giant tortoises are one of the two attractions for which the Seychelles is most famous for. This species of tortoise can only be found only on the Galapagos Islands, and here in the Seychelles, so there aren’t many opportunities to see these creatures in their natural habitat.
The second most famous attraction is the huge and ornate granite stones here, not found in such abstract form anywhere else in the world. Their imposing beauty will leave you in awe of their grandeur. The Curieuse area is suitable for anchoring and is an excellent starting point for excursions to nearby islands such as Aride or Cousin. Curieuse is a quiet and enjoyable location that you’ll want to return to again. The anchor holds well here.
Aride, Cousin, and Sainte Anne
Aride Island is another nature reserve, lying just 6 NM northwest of Praslin, and is suitable for day trips or you can visit the Cousin Island Nature Reserve. There is also Ste Anne Marine National Park, which is rather expensive, but you can stay anchored here on the first day when you leave the harbour. It is located in front of the Eden Marina, not far from the capital city of Victoria.
Perhaps the most beautiful island in the Seychelles is La Digue. The island is located just 2 NM east of Praslin. The anchorage at La Digue is truly breathtaking. On the eastern side of the island there are three beautiful bays that are romantic, uninhabited, and provide a perfect spot to moor. The most beautiful bay is Coco Bay, the northernmost of the three. It is 200-300 m long and only accessible from the sea, so there’s virtually no chance of running into tourist here. This area has not been mapped, nor it is in map plotters or even navigation systems. You can only get here by pilot and when pulling into the bay, you will have to carefully watch the seafloor beneath you.
On the western side of La Digue lies the small La Passe harbour, which is used to transport people and cargo from Praslin. There is space here for around six catamarans and with an anchor tossed out you’ll be moored to the shore around a tree or boulder. The services provided by the locals are excellent. They can top up your water tank using long hoses, arrange bikes for a ride around the island and all at reasonable prices. A bike tour is definitely a pleasant diversion after many days spent on a boat and the atmosphere at La Digue is captivating. We recommend buying homemade coconut oil from a street trader. It is also sold in souvenir shops everywhere but on the street, it is cheaper and will be genuine. A visit to this island is a truly unforgettable experience.
North of La Digue are several small islands, which are themselves national parks. The main one is Coco Island, where you will experience the most beautiful snorkelling in the Seychelles. It is a small island, relatively unyielding to anchors and therefore, unsuitable for staying overnight. The underwater fauna is magnificent here though, with large sharks gliding around the rocks and an abundance of colourful tropical fish.
North of Coco Island lies the private island of Grande Soeur, where you can lay anchor and enjoy swimming on beautiful beaches. Unfortunately, as it’s private you won’t be able the explore the island.
We also recommend a trip to Silhouette Island. It is a large, mountainous and very distinctive island northwest of Mahé. The environment on the island is quite different from the other islands and definitely worth experiencing for yourself. However, getting there is complicated. It's the only place you must obtain a permit from the charter company you are travelling with, because they have to book your visit to the island with the island’s administration.
The entire Seychelles have perhaps just one drawback - they are so incredible that you will struggle to find an equally beautiful place for sailing or for an exotic holiday.
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