Visit the Seychelles responsibly: discover this ecotourism paradise

Sauzier Waterfall

Looking for ecotourism in the Seychelles? Come and discover the archipelago’s exceptional, unspoilt biodiversity.

Off the coast of Africa and north of Madagascar, this vast archipelago is famous for its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. But there’s much more to this destination than its paradisiacal landscapes. For many years now, ecotourism has been developing in the Seychelles, captivating travelers in search of a sustainable destination.

Rich in unique and endemic biodiversity, the Seychelles archipelago is committed to protecting its natural environment. In particular, the creation of nature reserves and national parks is helping to promote sustainable tourism. Hiking, scuba diving, ecotourism sites… For travel and nature lovers alike, here are the sustainable experiences you can enjoy around the archipelago, to discover the Seychelles in a different way.

7 committed national parks to visit in Seychelles

Curieuse Marine National Park

Tortoise on Baie La Raie Beach, Curieuse island

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Ennio Maffei – Tourism Seychelles

A must for an ecotourism trip to the Seychelles, Curieuse Island, declared a marine national park in 1979, is a veritable treasure trove of biodiversity. Many species thrive in this still-fragile ecosystem, including exotic birds and the famous coco de mer. Its coconuts are the heaviest and largest in the world. There are also multi-century-old palm trees over 30 meters tall and mangroves lining Baie Laraie.

The island helps to protect giant land tortoises, reintroduced at the end of the 19th century for a breeding program. Curieuse Island is also a sanctuary for sea turtles, which come to lay their eggs on the island’s beaches. Your visit would be incomplete without exploring the protected seabed by snorkeling or scuba diving. Put on your flippers and swim with the shimmering colors of the fish.

Baie Ternay Marine Park

Baie Ternay Marine Park Anse du Riz

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Paul Turcotte – Tourism Seychelles

On Mahé Island, Ternay Bay National Marine Park, accessible by sea or land, is home to a rich and varied biodiversity. Its pristine coastline and calm turquoise waters offer refuge to abundant marine life and numerous bird species. Stroll through the rainforest of this national park, founded in 1979, and discover its exotic plants. Contribute to efforts to conserve the island’s endemic fauna and its natural habitat by taking part in beach clean-up missions.

Discover the park’s various coastal habitats: mangroves, coral reefs, rocky and sandy shores, and seagrass beds. These underwater meadows are vital for feeding hawksbill turtles. With secluded, shaded beaches like Takamaka, it’s also a snorkeling paradise. Swim in the reefs that line the bay and encounter dolphins, turtles and all manner of fish.

Ternay Bay Marine Park is also famous for its whale shark observatories, which can be seen between June and February. These giants of the sea feed on plankton, which is abundant in the park. They can also be observed from another marine park adjacent to Baie Ternay: Port Launay National Park.

Port Launay Marine National Park

plongée sous-marine seychelles

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Chis Mason Parker – Tourism Seychelles

South of Mahé, Port Launay National Marine Park is a must-see destination for ecotourism enthusiasts in the Seychelles. Classified in 2004, this national park protects almost untouched natural landscapes, rich in biodiversity. Explore the crystal-clear waters and colorful reefs of Port Launay by scuba diving, snorkeling or on a boat trip.

Underwater, corals have suffered from some harsh climatic events, but with acommitment to conservation, they are now regaining their place in this ecosystem. Swim with whale sharks and colorful fish. Incidentally, to protect underwater biodiversity, it is recommended not to dive deeper than 2 m.

Close to the National Marine Park, discover the Port Launay Coastal Wetland. This is the first site to join the RAMSAR convention (from 2024). With its seven species of mangrove, this wetland is a treasure trove of biodiversity. It is the ideal place for breeding, cultivating and feeding fish, particularly certain species endemic to the island, such as the gudgeon or the freshwater macanbale fish. It is also home to endangered species such as the Seychelles insectivorous bat, also known as the roussette.

Morne Seychellois National Park

Morne Seychellois trail

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Chris Close – Tourism Seychelles

Morne Seychellois National Park attracts many visitors every year in search of more sustainable tourism. Covering 20% of the island of Mahé, it boasts a unique ecosystem with a rich biodiversity. It is a haven for many endemic Seychelles birds, as well as geckos, chameleons and giant tortoises. Founded in the late 1970s, this national park strives to protect its endangered species and their natural environment.

Twelve signposted hiking trails take you through this unspoilt ecosystem. Hike through tropical and swampy forests, tea and spice plantations, or discover Mahé’s natural and cultural heritage. And there’s something for everyone! The summit of the Morne Seychellois nature park reaches an altitude of 950 m, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding islands and beaches.

Praslin National Park

Vallée de Mai Preslin Seychelles

Photo credit: © Seychelles Tourism Board

A primeecotourism destinationin the Seychelles, Praslin National Park is located on the island of Praslin. Established in 1979, its 324-hectare surface area also covers the Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This Garden of Eden is home to indigenous plants and endemic species, such as the black parrot, unique to Praslin.

Naturalist guides help you visit the area, learn about conservation efforts and find the famous coco de mer. This variety of palm is on the red list of endangered species, threatened by poaching and fires. The Glacis Noire trail, the most popular, winds through the fern and palm forest, ending with a magnificent view of the sea and surrounding islands.

La Réserve de la Veuve

Faune et Flore Seychelles

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Nadine Shah – Tourism Seychelles

For a perfect example of how Seychelles’ biodiversity is protected, visit the Veuve Reserve on La Digue. The Black Widow is a bird endemic to the Seychelles, also known as the flycatcher or Tchitrec. This rare blue-and-black bird gives its name to this reserve, as La Digue is its last refuge on Earth.

Created in 1982, the reserve is working to save this species from extinction and provide it with a protected habitat for feeding and breeding. How do we do this? By limiting human mutations, such as deforestation and the creation of plantations. Accompanied by a guide, explore the rainforest and its rich, dense vegetation. A word of advice: don’t forget your mosquito repellent!

Ste. Anne Marine National Park

Saint-Anne Marine National Park

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Michel Denousse – Tourism Seychelles

Off the coast of Mahé, Sainte-Anne will delight responsible travellers. Founded in 1973, Sainte-Anne National Marine Park is the first marine park in the Indian Ocean. It is considered a model of marine biodiversity conservation and offers a variety of sustainable activities. It is a haven of tranquillity for many marine species native to the Seychelles.

A paradise for snorkeling enthusiasts, explore this unspoilt natural aquarium. Sainte-Anne’s crystal-clear waters are teeming with a wide variety of tropical fish, and offer the chance to observe corals of rare beauty. You can also learn more about the conservation of this marine fauna at the island’s interpretation center.

Ecotourism activities to discover the Seychelles

Discover the flora and fauna at the Biodiversity Centre

Endemic Pitcher Plants Seychelles

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Michel Denousse – Tourism Seychelles

On Mahé, the Biodiversity Centre offers a vast 17-hectare playground for travelers in search of an ecotourism activity. The various gardens showcase the archipelago’s ecosystems and local flora. Awaken all your senses! Visit the palm grove to discover the six varieties of endemic palm trees, including the Coco de Mer.

The Center introduces you to many rare and endangered plant species and plays an important role in their conservation. You can even buy seeds to plant in your own gardens, as part of the national effort to preserve biodiversity. The little plus? The site is flat and accessible to all!

Visit the Botanical Garden

Botanical Gardens Seychelles

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Michel Denousse – Tourism Seychelles

Located near Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles, the Botanical Garden offers quick and easy access to nature. A national monument, it is one of the most visited conservation sites in the Seychelles. This haven of peace was created by Rivaltz Dupont, a Mauritian agronomist with a passion for exotic plants. An hour’s walk will take you through a number of gardens with endemic trees, ornamental plants and magnificent palm trees. The giant tortoise enclosure is the garden’s most popular attraction, delighting young and old alike. It’s a peaceful and magical place to relax.

Venture out on the Copolia Trail

Copolia Trail

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Nadine Shah – Tourism Seychelles

Looking for a 100% responsible way to discover the Seychelles’ lush natural environment? In Mahé’s Morne Seychellois National Park, the Copolia Trail offers a beautiful hike, starting from Sans Soucis. Allow 1 hour to cover this 1.4-km trail, with a 300-metre ascent, and reach the summit of Mount Copolia.

Hikers and nature lovers, walk through an exotic forest on the slopes of a granite mountain and explore the rich local biodiversity. Discover carnivorous plants, wild orchids, palms and ferns. Along the way, the Copolia trail offers panoramic views of the jungle, Mahé and neighboring islands.

Immerse yourself in nature on the Anse Major Nature Trail

Nature trail to Anse Major

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Michel Denousse – Tourism Seychelles

Explore the north-western Morne Seychellois National Park, on theAnse Major Nature Trail, another popular trail on Mahé. Less difficult than the Copolia Trail, it is accessible to beginners and families. The trail is named after the beach it leads to. Allow around 70 minutes to complete this 2.5 km hike. This glacis trail follows the coastline through beautiful, rich natural surroundings. Your reward? Splendid views of the Indian Ocean and a swim in the turquoise waters of a paradise beach.

Take in the sights on the Morne Seychellois Nature Trail

Morne Seychellois trail

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Chris Close – Tourism Seychelles

In the heart of Morne Seychellois National Park, this moderate-to-difficult hiking trail is best reserved for very good walkers. It starts at Danzil, near Victoria. We recommend that you hike with a guide, as the Morne Seychellois Nature Trail leads to the summit of the same name, at an altitude of 905 metres.

This 6.5 km circuit takes you through tropical jungle, moss-covered undergrowth with an enchanting ambience, and crosses streams and a former cinnamon plantation. During a 3 to 4-hour walk, discover the endemic vegetation and fauna of the Seychelles. At the top, the panorama of Mahé and the surrounding area is absolutely incredible.

6 ways to travel responsibly in the Seychelles

Sauzier Waterfall

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Michel Denousse – Tourism Seychelles

In the Seychelles, the local economy is heavily dependent on tourism. And you, little hummingbirds, also have a role to play in preserving the ecosystems. So here are a few tips for practicing ecotourism during your trip to the Seychelles.

1. Limit the use of plastic. In the Seychelles, water is drinkable and can be consumed using reusable bottles with built-in filters. Use sustainable alternatives to plastic straws, cutlery and bags, which can end up in the ocean.

2. Use your car sparingly. Limit your carbon footprint and prefer public transport, such as the bus. Plus, it’s all part of the typical, affordable Seychelles experience.

3. Consume locally and avoid buying products derived from marine exploitation. Seychelles is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport and protect marine biodiversity. Choose fish caught in a way that respects ecosystems, and avoid souvenirs made from coral, shellfish, shark or turtle scales. Buy locally-designed products, which are fresh, healthy and free from food packaging.

4. Visit the cultural heritage, which helps generate money to help local people maintain and preserve the archipelago.

5. Become a responsible traveler. Coral reefs are a real tourist attraction, but also one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems! When diving, don’t touch anything and don’t disturb the flora and fauna. Use environmentally-friendly sunscreen and collect your garbage.

6. Choose establishments that take environmental issues seriously. The Seychelles government has set up the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Label (SSTL). This label certifies around twenty hotels that are working towards more sustainable tourism.

Commitments to ecotourism in Seychelles

Couple cycling on La Digue

Photo credit: ©Image courtesy of Danio Denousse – Tourism Seychelles

As a paradise vacation destination, the Seychelles are committed to implementing actions in favor of ecotourism. The aim? To preserve the archipelago’s natural and cultural riches.

Reducing plastic waste

Since 2018, the destination has been fighting the profusion of plastic waste and banning single-use plastics. This commitment also concerns recycling, with the setting up of collection points and beach clean-up campaigns.

Preserving biodiversity

The archipelago is home to a rich, unique and threatened fauna and flora! The creation of nature reserves and national parks is helping to protect Seychelles’ endemic species and their natural habitats. A third of Seychelles’ ocean is part of a protected area, and several conservation projects, such as fishing and hunting regulations, are in place.

Awareness campaigns

Programs and actions help toeducate and raise awareness of environmental issues among locals and travelers alike. Seychelles also works with local communities to launch sustainable tourism projects and promote local crafts and organic farming.

With its rich, unspoilt biodiversity, the Seychelles archipelago is a jewel of ecotourism in the heart of the Indian Ocean. With its national parks and nature reserves, the archipelago offers a plethora of outdooractivities to discover this sustainable destination. In so doing, you’ll be helping to preserve the beauty of this natural paradise for generations to come. Tempted by an ecotourism trip to the Seychelles? Visit the Seychelles Tourist Office website.