The 115 granite and coral islands that make up the Seychelles archipelago are scattered across a remote part of the Indian Ocean, just south of the Equator and roughly 1,000 miles off the coast of Kenya. World renowned for idyllic white-sand beaches fringed by lush jungles and turquoise shallows, the island scenery embodies the essence of a tropical paradise. Fregate is a private Seychellois isle—a secluded sanctuary reserved for guests of the lodge, as well as an array of indigenous tropical wildlife. And although most guests travel to the lodge to experience Fregate, it is possible to visit other destinations in the Seychelles.
Mahé Island is the largest isle of the archipelago and home to the capital city of Victoria. Charter a plane or helicopter to the island, and spend a day exploring the country’s primary commercial and cultural hub. Stroll streets lined by colonial buildings and open-air markets, pay a visit to the Seychelles Natural History Museum, or see vibrant blooms flourishing in the National Botanical Gardens.
Calmer than bustling Mahé, but offering enough action to add some variety to your Seychelles experience, Praslin Island makes for a worthwhile day trip. Travel here by plane or helicopter, and then relax at a beachfront bar along lively Anse Volbert. Or head inland for a hike through the Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage site that protects the rare and primitive coco de mer palms.
Believed to be fragments of land that splintered off from the Gondwana supercontinent, the islands of the Seychelles have been fostering extremely unique—and fragile—wildlife for millions of years. The archipelago is part of a biodiversity hotspot and showcases the fascinating effects of species evolution in an isolated environment. The islands exhibit extremely high levels of endemism; of the 200 plant and animal species living in the Seychelles, around 80 of them are unique to the islands.
On Fregate Island, Aldabra giant tortoises poke through shady inland jungles, and hawksbill and green turtles can be found nesting on the island’s sandy beaches. More than a hundred types of tropical birds have been identified here, including endangered endemic species like the Seychelles magpie robin and the Seychelles white eye. In the surrounding ocean waters, dolphins, giant manta rays, and whale sharks swim in the deep, while myriad tropical fish dart through the shallows.
The remote Seychelles archipelago has been uninhabited throughout most of recorded history. Some of the first known occupants were 17th-century pirates, who used the islands as a base for attacks on ships passing through nearby waters. Frenchman Lazare Picault formally explored the Seychellois isles during a 1742 expedition, and French colonists and their African slaves gradually began to settle in the archipelago shortly thereafter. During this era of seafaring exploration and trade, the Seychelles served as a natural transit stopover between Africa and Asia, and small numbers of Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian people also colonized the archipelago. Britain seized control of the island in 1814, and by the time the Seychelles declared their independence more than 150 years later, the islands had an established multi-ethnic heritage. Today, the Seychelles are a true cultural melting pot, with citizens who claim origins from across the globe.
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