Think miles and miles of unspoiled pearly beaches enfolded by azure waters, lush mountains, wildlife aplenty and sunsets that set the horizon on fire; think Seychelles. The amazing islands of Seychelles will exceed even your wildest expectations. Let your tropical dreams become a reality in Seychelles.
Annually, hundreds of passionate volunteers make their way to this stunning island country in the Indian Ocean to do some good in the world. I did some research to find out what inspires them to choose Seychelles as their volunteer destination. Enjoy our list of 5 reasons to volunteer in Seychelles. Here’s the lowdown:
It is no secret that Seychelles has some of the best-kept beaches in the world, boasting more than 115 pristine islands. These islands are located off the east coast of Africa and can be divided into two distinctive groups:
• Outer islands: these islands are remotely located beyond the Seychelles plateau, consisting of 72 chains of islands formed of coral
• Inner islands: the 43 inner islands are made up of granite and are clustered around the main islands of Mahé, La Digue, and Praslin
The inner islands form the heart of Seychelles’ tourism industry and most of them offer travellers accommodation facilities, whereas the outer islands are mostly uninhabited. Each island has its own set of breathtaking beaches, each offering its own kind of magic. Get ready for some island hopping!
Amazing Endemic Fauna And Flora
Seychelles spoils nature lovers with an abundance of amazing, endemic fauna and flora, so you better make sure your camera is handy, as you don’t want to miss out on any of the wild action. Almost half of the country’s mainland is classified as national parks or protected areas, providing you with a multitude of endemic species to help protect. Some of the most iconic protected plant and animal species found in Seychelles include:
• Aldabra tortoises: the world’s largest land tortoise, weighing 100 to 250kg, depending on gender and size
• Coco-de-mer: the largest seed in the world weighing up to 18kg; it belongs to a palm tree
• Sea turtles: the green and hawksbill turtles nest on some of the islands in Seychelles
• Seychelles paradise flycatcher: this forest-dwelling bird is native to the island of La Digue
• Gardiner’s frog: one of the smallest frogs in the world, reaching a maximum length of around 11mm or 0,4 inches
• Aldabra rail: the last surviving flightless bird of the Indian Ocean
Diving and Snorkelling Amongst Stunning Coral Reefs
With average sea water temperatures rarely dropping below 81°F (27°C), it is no wonder Seychelles is famous for its aquatic charms. Divers and snorkelers alike flock to the islands to explore the beauty and warmth of the underwater wonderland. Whether you are an experienced diver or just starting out, Seychelles will captivate you with its out of this world dive sites. What can you look forward to when diving in Seychelles?
• Mystical shipwrecks: there are many of these, be sure to check out Ennerdale, a 47000 ton Royal Fleet auxiliary tanker that sank northeast of Victoria in June 1970
• Warm, clear waters and great visibility
• Spectacular reefs and coral gardens: don’t miss out on the dive sites found in Brissare Rocks, Trompeuse Rocks, and Vista Bay Rocks
• Fantastic marine life: you are likely to spot lion fish, hawksbill turtles, barracudas, stingrays, reef sharks, whale sharks, or lemon sharks
Markets And Bazaars
There is no better way to get a true feel of the local culture than by visiting a local market or bazaar. Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle as you take in all the vibrant colours and tantalising spicy aromas that linger in the air. Apart from cheerful live music and dancing, the street markets have fresh produce, spices, herbs, grilled fish and local arts and crafts on offer. Some popular markets to visit:
• Victoria Bazaar, Victoria
• Bazar Labrin, Beau Vallon Beach
• Sir Selwyn Clarke Market, Victoria
Photo: So Seychelles/Flickr
The Perfect Place To Gain Conservation Experience
As I have established, almost half of Seychelles is classified as protected areas and volunteers help play a critical role in preserving these areas and protecting the country’s unique biodiversity. Anyone interested in conservation, be it marine conservation or wildlife conservation, will appreciate the opportunities Seychelles has to offer. You can gain valuable experience as you assist with:
• Marine species research
• Collect terrestrial data, or
• Work towards your PADI Divemaster qualification
Whether you want to receive career development opportunities whilst gaining practical skills and experience in the fields of conservation, or just simply want to give back, Seychelles offers a variety of options to help you make a genuine difference!