The Republic of Seychelles comprises 115 islands forming an archipelago of legendary beauty. Of these, 41 constitute the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on earth while a further 74 form the low-lying coral atolls and reef islands of the Outer Islands. The granitic islands of the Seychelles archipelago cluster around the main island of Mahé, home to the international airport and the capital, Victoria, and its satellites Praslin and La Digue. Together, these Inner Islands form the cultural and economic hub of the nation and contain the majority of Seychelles’ tourism facilities as well as its most stunning beaches. Perhaps one of the most alluring characteristics of the Seychelles is the clear turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean which surround the islands. The stunning topography of expansive reefs, walls, pinnacles, drop offs, wrecks and canyons make for one of the most diverse marine environments around, teeming with both fish and coral life. With dive sites ranging in depth from 8m to 30m there are options for both beginners and experienced divers to enjoy. It is possible to dive throughout the year in the Seychelles – however waters are calmest during the months of March, April and May and September, October and November. During these months visibility can reach a staggering 30m and with water temperatures reaching 29C it makes for a very pleasant and relaxed diving experience.The calmer waters also mean dive boats can reach the more remote sites, where encounters with mega fauna such as sharks and manta rays are common – these sites are particularly good for experienced divers.

During the months June, July and August the south-east monsoon brings stronger winds making access to the more remote dive sites difficult and unreliable. Cooler waters are blown in and temperatures drop to around 25C. These cooler waters are filled with nutrient rich plankton so visibility can be significantly reduced; however these nutrients encourage the appearance of whale sharks, which can reach an incredible 10m in length. Local dive shops offer specific whale shark programmes during these months, so the chance to snorkel or even dive with these magnificent creatures is very high.

Around the inner reefs, marine life you can expect to see among others includes – angelfish, butterflyfish, octopus, lionfish, nudibranchs and mantis shrimp. Slightly further out, napoleon and humphead wrasses, schools of humphead parrotfish, stingrays, reef sharks and green and hawksbill turtles are common.

Sailfish, silvertip, oceanic whitetip and nurse sharks, manta rays and whale sharks are more common around the remoter outer islands – you may even be able to spot the occasional hammerhead shark if you're lucky!

Recommended - The Sunset Beach Hotel

The Sunset Beach Hotel is situated on a granite outcrop with a pristine golden beach on the North West cost of Mahe. It overlooks the Indian Ocean and the spectacular bay of Beau Vallon and the mysterious islands of Silhouette and L’ Ile du Nord.

A long established and handsomely refurbished Seychelles “Boutique” retreat offering tasteful peace and privacy in a beautiful rock promontory and shaded with large trees in a cove setting.

A pathway leads down to a beautiful secluded sandy beach while an attractive pool and sun deck set above the rocks offer an alternative venue for sun bathing and swimming. The beach offers excellent snorkelling – (all snorkelling equipment is provided free of charge). With the Magnificent 'Sunset on the Rocks' bar and restaurant that overlook the ocean – international, French and Creole cuisine. The Sunset Beach lends itself to undoubtedly the best Sunset views in Seychelles.

There are 28 tastefully furnished rooms in total compromising of 15 Ocean View rooms, 9 Junior Suites and Two luxury 2 bedroom \ 2 bathroom villas all sea facing.

A full range of water sports, diving and fishing trips etc can be organized through hotel reception or in advance. The hotel also offers a library, a games room, billiard table, table tennis, exclusive boat charter and car rental. It’s location next to Beau Vallon Bay means you can easily explore the many shops, restaurants, seaside pubs and other island sights easily.

Recommended – Eden’s Holiday Villas

Eden's Holiday Villas are located on the north west coast of Mahe, in the small fishing village of Port Glaud. There are 10 tastefully furnished villas perched on a hillside overlooking the bay of Port Launay. Each villa boasts its own private garden, with spectacular views of the ocean and just a few steps away from the beach, village shops and parish church. There are 2 x 1-bedroom villas, 6 x 1-bedroom villas with equipped kitchenette and 2 x 2-bedroom/2-bathroom villas with fully equipped kitchenette, making these villas perfect for those looking to self cater. Breakfasts and dinners are served on a request basis. Car hire is advisable as the villas are a 30 minute drive to the main town centre.

It is the ideal location for a quiet, relaxed, affordable family holiday.

Recommended – Bamboo River Villa

This superb 4 large bedroom luxurious villa is situated on a secluded beach of Anse Marie – Laure at Bel Ombre on the North West coast of Mahe. The villa boasts 4 large bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, large open plan dining and lounge area all sea facing and a fully equipped kitchen.

The beautiful garden with swimming pool slopes down to the beach and the well equipped barbecue area is 2 steps away from the beach. The villa is serviced and a cooking service is available.