Snorkelling in the Seychelles
Snorkelling in the Seychelles is an unforgettable experience which allows you to explore the underwater world with minimal equipment and planning. Just wear your mask and snorkel and swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Seychelles to see the fabulous underwater world of fish, corals, manta rays, turtles, many other sea creatures and fascinating marine landscapes. Keep reading to find out the best time for snorkelling in the Seychelles, the best snorkelling spots, and much more!
The best time for snorkelling in the Seychelles
The best months for snorkelling are April and November, as the wind does not blow during these months and therefore underwater visibility is optimal. If snorkelling is the main activity of your holiday, you should go to the Seychelles in those months. Snorkelling is also possible during the other months of the year, but the underwater visibility will be slightly reduced.
What can you see when snorkelling in the Seychelles?
Snorkelling in the Seychelles allows you to see a wide variety of colourful fish from very close up. Butterflyfish, surgeonfish, pufferfish, parrot fish and angel fish are just some of the species that you can easily spot. It is also quite common to see the beautiful sea turtles, especially the hawksbill turtle, and manta rays. If it is your lucky day you may also see a dolphin or a peaceful little shark.
A large portion of Indian Ocean coral was bleached by the natural phenomenon known as El Niño in 1998, and by a general increase in water temperature. In the Seychelles too, you will often find bleached corals, but in some places you can still see healthy and colourful coral gardens. Despite the bleaching phenomenon, snorkelling in the Seychelles remains a spectacular experience.
What do I need for snorkelling in the Seychelles?
If you wish to snorkel frequently in the Seychelles, we recommend that you bring your own mask, snorkel, and flippers from home. This way you’ll always have your snorkelling gear with you every time you go to the beach or on a boat trip – and you’ll be sure to have the right size and good quality equipment.
In the Seychelles you can rent snorkelling equipment in diving centres and at some hotels. This applies only to large hotels and resorts; smaller facilities such as apartments and guesthouses do not offer this type of service. Normally, during an organised snorkelling excursion, the operator provides the equipment. To be sure, ask for confirmation before departure.
Where to snorkel in the Seychelles
Where can you snorkel in the Seychelles?
In the Seychelles you can snorkel directly from the beach, or during a boat excursion to an offshore snorkelling site. Keep reading to discover the best snorkelling spots in the Seychelles.
Snorkelling excursions in the Seychelles
Some of the best snorkelling spots in the Seychelles are not by the shore, but a few kilometres off the coast. You can reach these points with a boat trip from one of the main islands. Such an excursion usually stops in several places and allows participants to explore the surrounding waters. Skippers are well acquainted with the waters surrounding the islands and can therefore stop at the places with the most underwater life; a member of the on-board staff may join customers in the water and help them spot fishes and other creatures. Excursion providers usually offer masks, snorkels and flippers, but by bringing your own you will avoid wrong sizes or equipment of unsatisfactory quality.
▸ Excursion in the Ste Anne Marine Park (Mahé)
The Sainte Anne Marine Park is a marine protected area off the east coast of Mahé. Its specially protected waters are home to magnificent coral gardens, reef sharks and colourful tropical fish. With an excursion from Mahé you can snorkel in the waters of the marine park and also visit its islands, such as Ile Moyenne.
▸ Curieuse Island & St. Pierre Island (Praslin)
On the small, uninhabited island of Curieuse, off the coast of Praslin, you can admire many giant turtles, enjoy a barbeque on the beach, hike through the inland and swim in bright blue waters. Then your guide will take you to the nearby St. Pierre, a tiny, rocky islet surrounded by an incredible marine life. Here you can do some excellent snorkelling.
▸ Sister Islands (Grande Soeur & Petite Soeur), Félicité, Ile Cocos (La Digue)
These four islets around La Digue are usually visited in a single boat trip. Their waters are home to a surprising variety of underwater life, so it's worth snorkelling by each of them. In addition to excellent snorkelling conditions, you can also relax on the spectacular beach of Grande Soeur and enjoy a delicious barbecue at Félicité.
Snorkelling from the beach
What are the best beaches in the Seychelles for snorkelling?
On many Seychelles beaches, a few steps into the clear waters are enough to find yourself surrounded by many colourful fish. When you leave your accommodation in the morning, don't forget to put your snorkelling equipment in your backpack, so you can explore the underwater world from each of the beaches you visit. Keep reading to find out the best Seychelles beaches for snorkelling!
Snorkelling beaches on Mahé
Snorkelling beaches on Praslin
Snorkelling beaches on La Digue
Special islands for a snorkelling holiday in the Seychelles
The waters surrounding the coral island of Alphonse are teeming with a variety of marine life that is difficult to find around any other inhabited island in the Seychelles. Warm, crystal clear water, pristine corals, great visibility and a wide variety of fish species make snorkelling in Alphonse a truly unique experience. Stay on Alphonse Island
The small, roadless Cerf Island, just 10 minutes from Mahé, offers great snorkelling conditions and an atmosphere of pure relaxation. It’s located within the Ste Anne Marine Park, a protected marine area with a rich underwater life. You can also use a kayak or a boat to reach the other parts of the marine park that are ideal for snorkelling. Stay on Cerf Island
Denis Island is a tiny, flat coral island. Rather far from the main islands, it has only one luxury resort and is bordered by beautiful beaches along its entire perimeter. Snorkelling is possible from anywhere on the coast; the waters around the island are home to truly amazing underwater life, rich in all kinds of fish, turtles, manta rays and small sharks. Stay on Denis Island
Bird Island has several aspects in common with Denis: it is also coral (therefore flat), far from the main islands, and has only one accommodation, the Bird Island Lodge. In the transparent shallow waters you can admire a wide variety of fish, corals and turtles. Stay on Bird Island
Snorkelling tipsChoose the right equipment:
- Make sure that your mask is the right size and adheres well to your face: if the mask is not "sealed" well on the face, water will enter.
- Although flippers are not essential for snorkelling, they will help you swim without too much effort. If you don’t wear them, you should wear water shoes to avoid stepping on shells or coral debris.
- You can also choose to wear a snorkelling vest, designed to reduce fatigue and help you stay snorkeling longer without reducing your mobility. However, if you can’t swim, you should wear a life jacket and NOT a snorkelling vest.
Whether you're snorkelling from the beach or from the boat, make sure you're always with someone. Don't forget to look up from time to time to see where you are and where the point you need to return to is.
Know your limits:
Don't push yourself to places where you wouldn't feel comfortable and don't exhaust all your energy before returning to the boat or to the shore. Keep your gait calm and your breathing relaxed; take regular breaks from swimming. Watch out for sea currents, especially when you’re near rocks.
Protect yourself from the sun:
To avoid sunburn, apply sunscreen before going in the water, especially on your back and the back of your legs, the parts most exposed to the sun during snorkelling. Remember to choose a sunscreen that does not damage the corals. Alternatively, you can wear a UV shirt. Don't forget to drink water to avoid the risk of dehydration.
Respect nature and animals:
Although sea creatures and corals can be very fascinating, you should never touch them or step on them, as this could harm both them and you.
SeyVillas and the protection of the marine environment
SeyVillas, in cooperation with WiseOceans and SSTF, offers the Marine Discovery Experience. This snorkelling excursion is led by a marine expert who will provide clear explanations and interesting facts about everything you will encounter during the trip. The proceeds from the tour are used for marine awareness projects.
SeyVillas also supports the Cerf Island Conservation Programme, or CICP, an organisation aimed at protecting and restoring the coral reefs in the Seychelles. More about CICP