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The Seychelles is not just a beach holiday

Article posted: 13/04/2012 17:01:13
The Seychelles is not just a beach holidayThe Seychelles is not just a beach holiday

When you think of the best places to go on a motorbike tour it's unlikely that the Seychelles will be at the top of your list – but it should be.

Along with other Indian Ocean islands the country is keen to promote itself as a tourist destination, and it's difficult to think what problems they would encounter with that.

Clustered along the equator these islands experience permanent sunshine, providing some truly stunning backdrops as you hit the road.

With its tropical climate, there is no 'best time to go' but there are two differing trade winds that can influence the conditions.

Throughout October to March a north-westerly wind blows at around eight to 12 knots, while May to September brings south-easterly winds with speeds of ten to 20 knots making it cooler and winder.

If you fancy a lull in the wind, April and October are good times to visit.

During this period swimming and snorkelling around the islands are a must as water temperature can get as high as 19 degrees C with visibility to depths of 30 metres.

"It is time for us to promote the equatorial belt to the world as one group, as a tourism destination," explained Alain St. Ange, minister of tourism and culture for Seychelles.

"I am a firm believer that it's an easy line to sell because it's a dream – going to the equator area. It's summer all year round. We have lovely, turquoise beaches. And you can play with the whole thing – [the equator has] got wildlife and the best five [beaches]," he said.

But that's not all, he added, you need to visit the Seychelles to really appreciate the country.

It's easy to sell the Seychelles as a beach holiday, with all the expanses of white beach and endless cloudless skies.

But is it the ideal place for a motorbike trip – if you're brave it is!

The country used to be part of the British Empire until its independence in 1976 and as a happy result, motorists and bikers drive on the left, rather than the right.

And its just as well, you'll need all your wits about you as you navigate the hairpin bends and winding roads that travelling on the right may be step too far.

If you have the stomach for winding roads, the rides are exhilarating and exciting with views that make it worth time to get there.

Cut into the sides of rock faces, the roads are sinuous and often have a sheer drop on one side or the other.

The roads are not busy but with a popular public transport system you need to keep an eye out for buses cutting corners around the blind bends and ensure you stick to a safe speed limit – however tempting it may be to let loose.

The majority of tourists will head to the main island of Mahé, which is home to the international airport which, together with Praslin and La Digue, form the Inner Island and make up the economic and cultural centre of the Seychelles.

However, with 115 islands to explore, many of which have no accommodation, if you really want to discover the area you'll need to get off your bike for a few days and hop on a ferry.

As a fairly recently established island – it was only populated in the 18th century – and with periods of British and French rule as well as Creole influences, the culture is diverse and colourful.

The summer is an ideal time to enjoy the culture and history close up as there are a variety of festivals and celebrations, including National Day in June.

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