Seychelles is an archipelago of granite islands that pop up in the middle of the Indian Ocean at the equator. These islands seem to embody the collective dream of the exotic paradise par excellence. We as travelers were a bit skeptical about the much-vaunted havens, but at the same time we are also curious and so we asked ourselves whether those beautiful white sand beaches and those blacks granite rocks that surround them, and the much-vaunted hospitality, and the lush nature, exist really, or are the product of photomontages of travel catalogs and are meant to catch the tourists seeking exotic vacations?
Well, to answer these questions and satisfy our taste of the sea, we decided to go and look for ourselves in the paradise of Seychelles, by organizing the trip ourselves. To this end, the best tool in addition to sites and online travelers forum for us was the official website of the Seychelles Tourism, where you will find all the useful information, accredited tourist facilities and how to contact them, the information for travel between the islands, the local currency and more.
We divided our two week stay in Mahe, the largest island and La Digue, one of the most beautiful of the Seychelles islands, including those inhabited, just because we were interested to see the difference between the two. Praslin, instead we visited in a day from La Digue.
Before leaving, we were informed about certain details that relate to the beaches and the sea of these islands. The beaches of the Seychelles, and the sea, in fact, are strongly influenced by two phenomena of the tides, which in some areas completely change the appearance of the beaches in the same day. In the morning, in fact, maybe there are 30-40 cm of water and salt level while in the afternoon a meter and a half, which allows you to swim, but often results in literally the disappearance of the beach itself, and the water which once was still and clear, then becomes murkier.
The other one is the algae, a phenomenon that occurs in their winter season, from May to November or so, mainly on the east coast of Mahe (Anse Royale) and Praslin (Grande Anse). This is not some harmless algae on the beach, but an authentic invasion.
Mahe is a small hospitable and peaceful island, definitely worth more than a couple of days of visit with its south coast beaches are amazing. You have to go with map in hand or be surprised! The most beautiful in our opinion is Anse Louis, the beach which overlooks a resort with blinding white sand, surrounded by calm blue sea. We stayed there one evening from sunset. It was just us and a surfer with his friends and the show was unparalleled.
Anse Royale with its beach is a fairly lively town located on the east coast, where we stayed for a week. For shopping, convenience stores, fruit stands and vegetable shops are generally run by Indians on the beach. Our hotel was located in the town center and right on the beach with a magnificent breezy terrace, and an excellent restaurant on the ground floor.
The shore of Anse Royale is very beautiful which during June is full of algae. The best place to stay on the beach, get in the water and also do a bit of snorkeling is in a resort. The strip of sand disappears completely in the afternoon.
We start from Anse Royale towards the south coast passing Anse Forbans, then to Anse Takamaka, which was a beautiful and wild beach with waves, and then we moved to Baie Lazare, which was quiet and suitable for swimming, passing close to Anse Soleil. We come then on the south coast, from Anse à la Mouche right up at Port Launay, which was completely free from algae. Throughout this journey, we moved up and down the streets with beautiful panoramic views of beaches, huge blacks granite boulders sprouting everywhere.
In Seychelles, in fact the roads are fairly well maintained but with little signs. The greatest danger for the driver is made by locals who constantly walk in the streets, and the bus drivers who drive in a crazy way. So driving to Mahe with car hire is doable, but you have to be very cautious and careful.
In continuation of our journey, between Anse à la Mouche and Grand Anse we meet a series of very beautiful and tranquil beaches, frequented by locals, families with children, and we were the only tourists there. At lunchtime we went to Port Glaud at a restaurant to taste the excellent Creole food with a breathtaking view of the bay.
Then for a wonderful relaxing afternoon, we continue towards Port Launay, a sheltered bay with white sand, blue sea, green trees and palms that shades the whole beach, with catamarans in the bay and a steady but quiet movement of tourists.
During return from Anse à la Mouche, we take the panoramic inland road (Chemin les Canelles) which in 5 minutes takes us back to Anse Royale. Along this road there are the bungalows and chalets, in a good position but actually very far from the sea. We visit the Jardin des Plantes, originally known as Jardin du Roi, a small and lovely botanical gardens, with an enclosure with giant tortoises and a nice restaurant to enjoy delicious fish soup with spices.
In one of these days we head north through Victoria, the capital, in the direction of Beau Vallon. Victoria is a very small town and then we head to North Point, circumnavigating the peninsula, but unfortunately it was raining and we could not enjoy much of the scenic ride. Once in Beau Vallon we stopped for swimming and lunch. The beach was really beautiful with white sand and the view of the surrounding mountains from which descends a light mist mixed with a bit of rain, making this day a bit special.
The town itself, however, leaves us a bit disappointed. We go far and wide but we could not find a place open for lunch as in mid-June some restaurants are only open in the evening. At the end we find a snack store and we ate just to not skip the meal. We spend a very pleasant afternoon at the beach between a swim in the waves, a coconut to quench our thirst.
The hike at Sainte Anne Marine Park was between sailing in a boat with a glass bottom, a BBQ on the beach and snorkeling. Then we spend the rest of the day on a beach on which we were served a big grilled fish covered with vegetables and potatoes prepared by the members of the crew. A very simple but tasty lunch were served on palm leaves. The rest of the day elapses between bathing in the bay in front and a walk to discover the surroundings.
On the way back to the too rough sea did not allow us to go around the island and go from Cerf island and we made the same journey of going through with a little variation as we drove the boat to sail up in the harbor. The same type of excursion can also be done with local travel agencies with much larger boats and the cost can be up to triple.
We would have stayed happily for a few days or more but we were expectant about La Digue and so we embark on to La Digue. For the Mahe-Praslin route there are two possibilities with flight that lasts 15 minutes or catamaran with journey time of about 50 minutes. From Praslin to La Digue however the only possibility is the ferry with journey time about 25 minutes.
Other ways to reach La Digue are the Helicopter or with the ferry. This trip between the interior islands was nice for the view but also quite tiring in the heat, the weight of suitcases and so, it took us almost the whole morning. To make our own way there was also a good number of travelers who just landed from intercontinental flights with distorted faces. I do not know under what conditions they arrived at their destination!
After a good lunch in the restaurant then begins the discovery. We begin to wander around the island, this time armed with two beautiful bicycles. The island is small and seems almost fake, with all the perfect little houses, narrow streets and carts pulled by oxen. It's a very strange place, a little surreal and fantastic microcosm. After the first few days, finally we begin to connect something, and we understand that there dwells also locals.
Villa Creole is next to the church, which wakes us up with its bells on the morning. Day after day, slowly La Digue comes in and we even get used to toil by bicycle! On the third day we go for the first time at Anse Source d'Argent that is almost the end of the world! In La Digue, as for Anse Source d'Argent, there are no words to describe it and you have to see it to believe it!
This beach does not seem true, apparently painted by an artist with his watercolors and for once there is something that far exceeds our expectations. After paying the entry of 100 Rupees, we leave the bicycle at the already known restaurant after which we proceed on foot. The trail winds between huge black granite boulders glistening in the sun, and slowly appear all the various loops and beaches. We go back and forth panting under the sun photographing everything as if at any moment this magic would fade away and then let us calm down and support us somewhere in the shade.
The tide was low and the sea shines and do snorkeling, however, being careful with the coral on the water and the current! There are plenty of fish within few centimeters of water. On the way back, then we stop to observe the turtles in their pen, the horses in the stables, the park houses, shelled and stacked coconuts to prepare the coconut oil. Evening lights make everything look different than in the morning. For today, we salute Anse Source d'Argent.
In the following days, we continue to explore the island, as we cycle towards the north, beyond the harbor, and after the cemetery, where the road leads to some beaches and hotels in prime locations. Anse Severe, at low tide was beautiful and surreal with its blindingly white sand. We continue a little uphill towards Anse Patates passing in front of hotels and a beautiful walk.
One morning, we signed up for a boat trip to snorkel. Typically from La Digue are proposed Coco and Felicite or Grand Soeur for half or full day. In the Bay of Felicite we did snorkeling in the midst of so many fishes and at some point also popped up the turtle, which was exciting. Unfortunately that day Coco Island was not accessible for the sea was too choppy.
One day we passed through La Digue pedaling our bikes through the magnificent tropical forest. The slog was uphill but worth it, and all it took was half an hour, stopping occasionally and then get to Grande Anse with its crashing waves and pristine beach with sand.
As the holiday was coming to an end, and there was remaining a day, we improvise and decided to dedicate it to Praslin. We find our rental car waiting for us around Praslin and leaves for Cote d'Or and Anse Lazio. Even Praslin is really small and really nice. Anse Lazio was beautiful and there was also a lot of people, as we dive in the deep blue and crystal clear sea. We have lunch at the beach restaurant with a good menu but the prices were double compared to the restaurants of Mahé.
Instead of staying on the beach, after lunch we get back into the vehicle and continue around the island. We return to Cote d'Or and then take the road to the airport and go from the island's center, that is, through the Vallee de Mai National Park. Here we visit the plantation of the Coco de Mer, the typical fruit reminiscent of the female form, and the road was very nice too, where in a point we even encountered a waterfall. We stopped several times to admire the lush vegetation.
Once in Grande Anse we aimed to north to the Lemuria resort with the majestic golf courses. We make it all the way south to return to the jetty, and apart from the undeniable beauty of the Cote d'Or and Anse Lazio, this stretch of Grande Anse Takamaka in consolation was the part that we liked most of Praslin. Praslin also gave us some good feelings, but we are glad we chose the other two islands for our vacation.
In the last day we can stay in the bungalow until 3 pm, and we have the last swim at Anse Reunion and we try to put in your suitcase the still wet suits and beach towels. Then begins the interminable routes as a taxi takes us to the jetty and a catamaran brings us to Praslin. Another taxi takes us to the airport, and then the short, scenic and incredible flight brings us back to Mahé and finally another taxi takes us to hotel booked at Anse Royale, in which we spend the last night before departure.
We salute La Digue from the ferry, and the next day we salute Seychelles from the flight.
Seychelles Travel Tips
Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar, the African coast of Kenya and Tanzania and the Maldives. Natural paradise, the Seychelles is made up of the larger islands but also small islands, fragmented atolls, rift and reefs, granite islands and isolated beaches in the sea.
Seychelles has a great sense of welcome and hospitality that will make you feel well-liked to the point that you will forget the amount you're spending. Although maybe not everything will be perfect, however, it will try to accommodate you in every way with great availability. These islands are in fact are a wonderful destination but still expensive, even for those looking to save money by organizing themselves in do-it-yourself. What greatly increases expenditure, then, are the costs of transfers between the islands and excursions and everything is very expensive.
Given the problems related to tides and algae at certain times of the year, Seychelles is not exactly the ideal destination for those expecting a holiday especially with long swims and maximum enjoyment of the sea.
Where to stay in Seychelles?
You can choose from an infinite number of different accommodations, from simple guesthouses, the self-catering apartments, small hotels and resorts. For lovers of self-catering, like us, I must add, however, that the grocery can be a bit problematic as the islands are filled with small shops with the larger stores and daily market is only in the capital Victoria.
In addition, many products that we are accustomed to find in the shelves of our grocery stores, here are almost unknown. This forced us to eat more times than expected at the restaurant but the Creole cuisine for 40-50 rupees per portion is very good and very spicy and, apart from budget, we did it willingly.
The local currency is the Seychellois rupee. Usually the stay, the rental car and excursions are payable in Euros, and everything else in Rupees, but there is no precise rule. You must be careful though because some services cost more if paid in Rupees and others just the opposite.
When to go to the Seychelles?
Because of their special geographical position are shown almost all year (except perhaps December and January, the rainy months, and weeks surrounding), thanks to an ideal climate that presents minimal variations between day and night (from 31 to 27 degrees). Beware of monsoon: alternate twice a year from the southeast to the northwest bringing sometimes a bit 'of algae on the exposed side of the island to the current season, but just choose the right structure and problems there are none! Favorite viaggidinozze.net periods are from March to June and from September to October, but the summer months give a lot of satisfaction.
The richness of plants are among the rarest in the world. Scuba diving or snorkeling is for everyone, to discover the age-old giant tortoises on the island of Aldabra, Curieuse and Praslin and many other islands, or in a safari into the sea in search of the treasures that the ocean waters belie in their blue mantle, visiting terns island of Aride. You can spend your honeymoon in the Seychelles exploring the islands by walking or cycling to the discovery of enchanted places. An ideal destination for a honeymoon or, why not, even for a romantic trip.