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An ancient cluster of 115 islands, the Seychelles lay happily hidden in the Indian Ocean until their discovery by a French ship in the 18th century.

Comprising ancient granite and coral atolls with aquamarine lagoons and powdery white sands, the islands are home to their own unique ecology and provide a world of pure escapism where time stands still.

Lying off the southern tip of India, the slender chain of coral islands known as the Maldives are strewn like a magical necklace across the shimmering azure waters of the Indian Ocean. A cruise of the area treats you to the prospect of thousand of islands, massive lagoons in infinite shades of blue and turquoise, and dazzling underwater coral gardens – the perfect combination for an idyllically scenic cruise.

The Seychelles have more nature preserves and marine parks than any other country; they boast 11 unique species of birds, 200 species of fish and aquatic life and the giant tortoises of Aldabra, the biggest atoll on the planet.

Curieuse is home to the magnificent coco de mer palm, and is a conservation station for breeding giant tortoises. Les Souers Islands are a pleasurable two-hour sail. Enjoy snorkeling or beach combing on white powder sands surrounded by large granite boulders on Grand Soeur. Sail to La Digue, the third-largest granite island in Seychelles. The pace of life here is slow and ox carts and bicycles are the traditional way of transport. La Digue is home to several restored plantation houses as well as spectacular white sandy beaches. Diving is outstanding off the boulder formations, and the snorkeling is fantastic in calm sheltered warm waters.

Praslin is the second largest granite island of the Seychelles. A hike through the Vallee de Mai, one of the world’s smallest natural heritage sites, is highly recommended. In its limited area, the richness and variety of plant and animal life is astounding. Cousin Island has been a nature reserve for more than three decades. Here you can find many beautiful birds. On land there are also interesting reptiles, geckos and giant tortoises.

Cruise to Aride Island, the site of more outstanding bird watching. Fishing is also quite superb in this area, from deep sea to bone fishing.