The Seychelles has long been known for its friendly, relaxed way of life. You can’t help but fall under its sunshine-soaked spell, but there is more to a holiday there than lying on a sunlounger.
Life’s a Beach
With 115 islands dotted across the Indian Ocean it’s no surprise that the Seychelles boast some of the best beaches in the world. Clear turquoise waters? Check. Fine white sands?
Check. Palm trees? You betcha. A true tropical paradise, this archipelago boasts shorelines to inspire and, of course, everyone has their favourite. Recommendations from the locals may lead you to visit many beaches on Mahe Island, and taxi drivers will always give you a different spot to try, but you will find every beach location is as beautiful as the one before.
If you’re keen to enjoy activities such as snorkelling, diving or watersports then a visit to the Beau Vallon beach is a must, but if you’d prefer to recline with a cool drink then there’s nothing wrong with that either.
Forget your elaborate dinners for one day and head to BaoBab Pizzeria on Mahe Island, a simple beachside spot for lunch. Don’t let first impressions cloud your judgment; granted, the service could be better and the hostess may have a smile allergy, but for a few dollars you will have decent pizza, with a view that’s hard to beat. This place has a constant flow during the day and gets busy right after sunset as it’s so reasonably priced. Best of all is the unpretentious air – it doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is.
Take a Tour
The best way to discover the Seychelles is to hire a car and take a drive. If you’re the type who doesn’t mind aimlessly exploring then you’re in the right place; Mahe is only 155 km2, so there’s no danger of getting seriously lost and plenty of chances to stumble upon a quiet beach or stunning vista, with every bend leading you to yet another photogenic view.
The driving, like everything else on the island, is relaxed and even the most nervous drivers can explore without the worry of being overwhelmed by busy roads.
The Pirate island of Praslin
A day trip to the island of Praslin is worth it just to experience the boat ride. The catamaran-style ferry takes around an hour across the Indian Ocean from Mahe, and if you choose the open-air deck you’ll be rewarded with a great vantage point of passing islands.
Praslin, in days of old, was used as a trading post by Arab merchants and as a drop-off point for pirates and their
treasure. If you dream of digging for untold wealth then this is the right island to visit, but remember that you won’t be the first one with a shovel and similar hopes.
A pre-booked guide can be arranged to chauffeur you around the island, soaking up the many great sights and beaches such as Anse Lazio (consistently voted as one of the world’s best beaches). They will happily wait for you to have a paddle in the ocean and then take you onto the Vallee de Mai nature reserve, where you will find the famous coco-de-mer palm tree, the nut of which is used locally to produce a drink. Guides claim that black parrots, a shy and rare breed of bird, live in the park, so cross your fingers that you see one, and don’t forget to snap a photo as proof.
Island hopping to La Digue
A short crossing from Praslin finds the island of La Digue, a place untouched by the hustle and bustle of modern living. Getting around is either by bicycle or the more traditional oxcart, but opting for two wheels means every beach and attraction you cycle to feels like your own discovery, and you can work up a good appetite for dinner. Don’t fear fitness-phobes, this isn’t the Tour de France.
La Digue is a charming, beautiful island that you must visit, if only to say you have been to utopia.
One thing to be aware of while island hopping is the ferry schedule – there are few ferries operating and they will not wait for you. Do bear in mind that the weather can change quickly, winds do pick up and the waves can get pretty big.
Tea for Two
While many people enjoy a cup of tea in the morning, it’s easy to forget the process behind that daily brew. Whether you want to learn more about tea making or just enjoy the verdant green slopes of the plantation, a trip to the tea factory is a wonderful way to while away a few hours. Tours are available, teaching you how the leaves are transported from the hills to your cup, and you can try some of the factory’s offerings (and pick some up for a souvenir), but don’t forget to head to the top of the mountain to check out the view before you leave.
Cocktails and Dreams
Should you find yourself on the beach sipping a cocktail, chances are it will be made from Takamaka Bay Rum Located on the coast road a few miles south of the airport, this little distillery offers a tour of the facility and its traditional plantation, and if you’re not driving you can have a sample at the end. It’s also worth pointing out that if you can’t make the scheduled tours then the distillery will try to accommodate you if you book in advance.
La Plaine St Andre is the home to Takamaka Bay Rum, and the plantation grounds host a relaxing restaurant offering a fantastic menu to enjoy in the lovely surroundings of the medicinal and herb gardens.
This family owned Creole-style buffet restaurant is located in Beau Vallon. Set back from the beach, the traditional local cuisine will have your taste buds begging for more and your stomach pleading for a break. The mango and onion salad is a must-order, and with as much chicken and grilled fish as you can eat for 400 rupees, this is a firm favourite with tourists and locals alike, so make sure you arrive early as it fills up quickly.
The capital city of Victoria is full of colonial character, from the clock tower and the island’s only set of traffic lights, to the market traders at the fish market.
Victoria also offers souvenir shopping with some fun bars and restaurants thrown into the mix, and the local brew is a very welcome drink after being dragged round the town by the shopper in your life.
A visit to the capital needs no more than a day on foot, with the tourist stores, watering holes and a museum all within easy reach. History buffs might need a bit longer to read about the transfer of power between France and the UK until the Seychelles finally became a republic within the Commonwealth in 1976.
Where to Stay
Enchanted Island is a luxurious island hideaway, located in the midst of a designated National Marine Park in the Seychelles.
The five acres of white sand and tropical vegetation are surrounded by crystal clear waters, which are home to some of the world’s most colourful marine life. The ten exclusive villas stand proudly on the island’s beachfront, designed to reflect the unique and vibrant heritage of the Seychelles, yet with modern day comforts and technology, while the Private Pool Villas and enchanted signature Villas boast one or two bedrooms and their own infinity pool and private deck area, which are perfect for watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean. The resort’s restaurant, bar, main infinity pool and spa have all taken shape around the island’s natural landscape.
Time difference: GMT + 4 hours | Currency: Seychelles Rupee. US $1.00 = SCR 13.54
Weather: Hot and humid year round, the Seychelles has a tropical climate and there is more chance of rain in November and December, with occasional water restrictions in August and September.