Visiting & Exploring
A thousand miles from the Kenyan coast, the Seychelles archipelago is made of 115 islands, most of which are uninhabited protected nature reserves. A mix of granitic and coralline islands, many with endemic flora and fauna, and home to some of the rarest species on the planet, the Seychelles is so much more than a postcard-perfect island holiday destination.
41 granitic inner (2 are coralline) islands lie 4° south of the equator– including Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, the largest as well as the most visited and populated islands. These granite islands are unique as the only mid-ocean granite islands on the planet. These islands include the UNESCO protected Vallee de Mai on Praslin and the tiny country capital of Victoria on Mahé.
72 coralline outer islands lie towards the south and south west. Mostly uninhabited and less visited due to their remoteness (for example Aldabra is 700 miles from Mahé). Aldabra is the largest raised coral reef in the world and a UNESCO protected site with as many as 100,000 giant tortoises, numerous endemic plants and nesting seabirds.
Only definitively identified at the beginning of the 1500s by the Portuguese, the islands remained just a mark on a map for another 100 years. In the early 1600s the English were the first recorded to land on the island and enjoy some of its natural bounty after a merchant ship lost its course. Still, the Seychelles remained empty of permanent-inhabitants with the exception of pirates and passing merchant ships.
After the French had claimed ownership a few decades previously it was in 1770 that the first settlement was built. These first settlers, eventually became independent until the British in 1811 took over the islands. During the time the Seychelles was a British colony, the British successfully captured many slave ships and gave the captives freedom on the islands. The British remained ruling over the island nation, but paid it little attention. Today it’s a combination of French, British and African influence that is seen in the language and culture. Many of those freed slaves are the ancestors of the Creole Seychellois.
Over 150 years of British rule came to an end in 1976 when the nation became independent. The opening of an international airport, a fierce determination to protect the environment and culture and the unarguable tourist allure of the islands has seen a growth of different industries and a vibrant island nation with a special Seychelles charm.
Creole, English and French are the official languages of the Seychelles and are widely spoken throughout the island. Guests staying at MAIA will benefit from staff that also speak Russian, German and other languages.
A valid drivers’ licence is required to drive in the Seychelles, safety belts are mandatory and there are speed limits in place. These vary according to area, so we recommend a careful driving style. Please keep to the left side of the road.
The voltage is 240V/50Hz and the sockets in all rooms at MAIA are three-pin British standard. Your butler will ensure you have any adapters you may need.