The soft, white sand beaches and crystal clear warm water are usually enough to attract children of all ages, but there are many more activities in the Seychelles that children will enjoy. Finding seashells and building glorious sand castles can burn energy and fill up the hours, but there is also adventure and thrill as well as a lot to learn about the nature.
Hotel Kids Clubs
Most of the resorts throughout the islands offer special clubs and activities for children. They have areas for games and sports including beach volleyball courts, football fields, tennis, badminton, game rooms and more.
Some children’s clubs that are in resorts and hotels offer interaction with wildlife, feeding local fish, catching crabs, walking all over the island with guides, games on the beach and, best of all, child-friendly menus.
Most of the clubs for children offer movie screenings, arts and crafts, workshops and educational activities. They include children from three or four years to twelve. Many have full time child-care professionals. Some of the activities include:
• Glass bottom boat rides
• Swimming pool games
• Pedal boats
• Face painting
Some of the water sports available to children are:
• Jet skiing
• Banana boat rides
• Water skiing
• Snorkelling and diving for older children
For the Nature Enthusiast
Visit the Birds
Bird Island is the northernmost island in the archipelago. It is a 170 acre coralline island that lives up to its name. The vast amount of fish on the northern edge of the island attracts huge numbers of seabirds. They have no fear of humans, so it is possible to observe them up close and personal. This is a big thrill for children. The proximity to the fishing, nesting and baby birds is fantastic and not found anywhere else in the world.
The regular birds seen on the island are sooty terns, fairy terns, common and lesser noddies, wedge-tailed shearwaters, Madagascar and Seychelles turtle doves, common mynahs, barred ground doves, Madagascar fodies and many more.
The current owners of Bird Island have been working with conservation groups since the middle of the 1960s to protect the bird life as well as turtle life. They have eradicated feral rats and rabbits to give safe places for ground nesting birds to raise their families. There are daily charter planes to Bird Island from the domestic terminal of the international airport. The flight is 35 minutes.
Another natural habitat that will thrill children is the island of Curieuse. It is the home of hundreds of protected Aldabra Giant Tortoises that are just walking around the small island. Visitors can feed the tortoises leafy greens and watermelon. There is also a nursery where baby tortoises are kept for their first five years before they are released into the wild.
The whole island is a National Marine Park and is like a natural playground. There are boardwalks where people can safely walk through the mangrove forests and there are trails up the blue and red granite cliffs. Children also like seeing the many giant hump-head parrotfish in the Baie Laraie harbour.
World Heritage Sites
The Seychelles has two UNESCO World Heritage sites, which are the islands of Aldabra, the largest raised coral reef in the world and the Vallee de Mai on Praslin Island. Some call this valley the original Garden of Eden.
The Aldabra group of islands is uninhabited and isolated in the Indian Ocean. It is the original home of the Giant Tortoises. Today, there are approximately 100,000 tortoises on the island. Hundreds were relocated to Curieuse for their protection. The huge raised atoll is closer to Africa than the Seychelles, but it is one place that children can see that is untouched by humans.
There are also several native birds including the only surviving flightless bird of the Indian Ocean area and other endangered species. It is not easy to visit the island, but for children interested in untouched eco-systems, it would be a great experience. Tourism is limited to small or medium size cruise ships, live-aboard charter boats, dive boats and private yachts and educational visits for up to 12 persons at one time on the land.
Four main islands circle a large lagoon. The island can be reached from Mahe by a bi-monthly boat or by hiring a plane. Private yachts can also be hired. Permission needs to be obtained from the Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF) to visit the island.
Vallee de Mai
On Praslin Island, the Vallee de Mai is a nature reserve that has a Coco de Mer forest and five other palms throughout the island. The Coco de Mer only grows naturally in two places in the world, one of which is in the Vallee de Mai and the other is on the island of Curieuse. It has the largest seed of any existing plant.
Visitors can see many animals in the Vallee de Mai including the Seychelles Black Parrot, mammals, reptiles and more when they walk through the rain forest. This is one of the unique places where people can actually walk through a primeval rain forest that is unchanged from prehistoric times.
The valley is a living example of the biological and geological processes that happened millions of years ago and were not changed or modified by alien plants or animals.
Diving is one of the main activities on the main islands of the Seychelles. There are PADI diving centres where older children can learn the basics. The underwater world is truly amazing with the hundreds of brightly coloured reef fish, coral gardens and ship wrecks. The Inner Islands have an abundance of Angel fish, Butterfly fish, Squirrel fish, Sweepers and Soldier fish as well as octopus, lobster and nudibranches.
Larger species can be seen a little further out at remote sites such as the giant grouper, Napoleon wrasse, reef sharks, ribbon-tailed stingrays and, in August and from October through January, the spectacular whale shark.
The Outer Islands have fewer divers and are never crowded. This is where the large groupers can be seen including the potato bass as well as silver tip, grey reef and nurse sharks and sometimes a hammerhead shark.
For those who prefer not to get wet, but would like to see some of the amazing marine life just below the surface of the water, there are glass bottom boats. Tours are available that will take visitors around the islands, stop for swimming or snorkelling and include a picnic lunch.
The Domaine de Val des Pres is a showcase of traditional Creole culture. Located on Mahe, it is a National Heritage site and an eco-tourism site as well as a national monument. The village is open Monday through Friday from eight in the morning to four in the afternoon and the craft workshops are open from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon. Admission to the village is free.
The village consists of five main attractions that highlight the architecture, crafts and arts as well as the cooking of the traditional Creole. The Gran Kaz Planation House was built in 1870, the La Kaz Rosa is a 20th century working class home and there are 12 workshops that produce local crafts. The Maison de Coco is a house built entirely of coconut products. It is a gift shop with gifts made from all parts of the coconut tree. The restaurant offers the spicy, traditional Creole dishes.
This island has almost no motorized vehicles and everyone gets around in carts or on foot. It has the L’Union Estate where horseback riding is available as well as one of the most photographed beaches in the world. The facility is open from seven in the morning to five in the afternoon. It consists of a huge Plantation House surrounded by gigantic boulders and landscaped gardens.
The Seychelles does not have theme parks and manmade attractions to entertain children, but it does have some of the most environmentally pure regions where nature lovers can experience a small part of the world that has not been corrupted by humans or other alien species in any way. It also has some of the most exciting beach resorts with fantastic water sports, hiking, biking, fishing and boating that are available for children to experience.