are good all year round, the best months for diving are March to May and
September to November. The latter period coincides with the likely visits
of whale sharks to Seychelles so this is an excellent time to visit. The
annual underwater photography competition that forms part of the SUBIOS
Underwater Festival in October is worth attending – the winners
get a free trip back to the festival the following year.
The marine parks are also a haven for snorkellers. Sure, there has been
some coral bleaching following the El Nino warming of 1998, particularly
on the shallow corals, but even here the coral has made a remarkable recovery
and estimates are that it will have regenerated almost completely by the
end of the decade. And most of the reefs that you dive on the inner islands
of Seychelles are granitic – albeit adorned with beautiful soft
corals - and have therefore escaped the ravages blighting the hard coral
formations of neighbouring areas. So don’t be put off by horror
There are now two specialist liveaboard dive boats available from Mahé,
the Indian Ocean Explorer and Sea Star, for scuba divers wishing to dive
the inner isles on a boat based holiday or to venture further afield to
the Natural Heritage Site of Aldabra.
Top dive sites:
This shallow, natural aquarium has lovely reef formations and an abundance
of fish so is perfect for novice divers. A highlight is the tiny garden
eels that sway in the current.
The dramatic boulders with their deep gullies provide shelter for large
schools of snapper and Napoleon wrasses and the soft corals are particularly
Maximum depth 20m, suitable for novice divers.
Another place for colourful soft corals and gorgonian sea fans is on the
walls around L’Îlot. Moray eels peek out from the crevices
and the strong current ensures there are usually large schools of fish.
An added attraction is turtles, which are regularly spotted grazing in
The picturesque jumble of rocks is a short boat ride from Beau Vallon,
on the exposed North Point. A strong current rushes through the narrow
passage between the island and the shore making this an advanced dive.
The site is an exciting night dive particularly to see the lovely Spanish
dancers. Maximum depth 23m.
The Ennerdale is a former British Royal Navy motor tanker, which went
down without loss of life in 1970 when she struck an uncharted rock some
seven miles from Port Victoria. The 200 metre long superstructure, with
its outsized moray eels, stingrays and schools of batfish and barracuda
is also a good place for viewing sharks.
Maximum depth 30m. The wreck is about 8km off shore and is an advanced
This granite massif, with its protected overhangs usually enjoys clear
blue water and good vis. The dramatic boulders, with their colourful sponges
and white gorgonian fans, are subject to current so are clothed with huge
shoals of batfish, jackfish and snapper. Marbled stingrays, eagle rays
and sharks are regularly spotted and schools of barracuda and tuna are
often seen cruising by.
Maximum depth 35m. An advanced site.
South Marianne, off Praslin
This is one of the best sites I have ever dived – I loved it so
much that I came back on three consecutive dives! The dramatic, underwater
pinnacles that fringe the tiny island reflect its surface topography,
and you can swim through gullies and next to incredible, sheer walls.
We saw a hawksbill turtle as we descended and several more as we swam
towards the first gully. I could almost feel the beady eyes on me before
I saw my first shark and as I tried to attract my buddy’s attention
a dozen more flashed by, light reflecting off their white underbellies.
We drifted through a narrow canyon, transfixed by the graceful denizens
of the deep before reaching a wall, complete with a perfect natural viewing
balcony, where dozens of curious grey reef and white tip sharks circled.
Huge wrasses passed above us and the waves crashed overhead. Wow.
Maximum depth 27m usually with strong current. Definitely for experienced
Ave Maria, off Praslin
This jumble of granite boulders is, in many ways, similar to L’Ilot.
Expect lots of fish, including some big shoals, the odd ray and regular
Maximum depth 26m. Suitable for novice divers.
One of the big attractions of Seychelles is that you don’t have
to be a qualified scuba diver to appreciate the beauty of the reef. The
clear, shallows waters and colourful aquariums of archipelago can be explored
The islands offer some of the easiest and best snorkelling in the world
particularly on the popular reefs around Ste Anne and in the remote Baie
Terney National Marine Park in the north west. (See excursions)