Praslin/ La Digue, Seychelles

A paradise for naturalists, the granite islands and low-lying coral atolls of the Seychelles are home to some of the greatest variety of flora and fauna in the world. Scientists flock to the islands to study rare species of bird such as the Black Paradise Flycatcher, which breeds only on La Digue, considered by some the most beautiful in this island grouping. Praslin, sanctuary for the black parrot, is one of only two places able to grow the famous Coco-de-Mer palm tree, whose nuts take 25 years to mature.

Mahe, Seychelles

Exotic trees edge the border of white sand beaches on the beautiful Seychelles islands, the luxuriant garden jewels of the Indian Ocean. On granite-peaked Mahe, there is a quaint, ramshackle charm to the tin roofs and broad verandas of Victoria, the capital. Mahe was uninhabited until the French arrived in 1770, and French culture remains predominant today. A trip to the Marine National Park reveals the beauty of the Seychelles' multi-colored coral reef.