Green Stuff and Giant Tortoises – A Jurassic Week in Seychelles

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I visited Seychelles in October last year with my boyfriend Bartek and would think that two weeks is probably the most appropriate length of time to truly see all that Seychelles has to offer. This is especially true if you would like to explore some of the most remote islands, which can only be reached via pre-organised expeditions.

  • Where: Seychelles, Africa
  • Month: October (November also suitable)
  • For: 10 days
  • Suited to: Couples
  • Expect: Beaches, Nature, Culture, Hiking
  • Accommodations: 1
  • Activities: 7 inc. a tea factory, spice garden & island cruise
  • Cost (accommodation): ~€600 pp + flights
  • Spending: €100/day pp (meals, petrol & entrance fees)

Getting there

We flew from Switzerland to Seychelles (SEZ).

Getting around

I recommend renting a car (we did it via our hotel). Buses are there (at least in Mahé), but are unreliable and don’t cover the whole island. For Praslin, same advice applies, while you won’t be able to use a car on La Digue or any of the other smaller islands. Bikes are the best option there, definitely a great way to discover the unspoilt beauty of these islands!

Mahé Island

Seychelles’ biggest island and home of its capital Victoria, Mahé is often considered as the least charming of the Seychelloise islands, as it perhaps lacks that 5* luxury you are more likely to get in a private island resort. But if you dislike all inclusive resorts and want to be more adventurous and self cater like we did, I personally recommend making Mahé your base for any trip to Seychelles.

"Lush". Lush is the first word that comes to mind once you step into the tropical heat of the island. There is green stuff, EVERYWHERE.

On our way to the villa, my taxi ride is spent contemplating when the dinosaurs will come out from this Jurassic park-like scenery. I perk up when our driver tells us Seychelles’ number one rule: "Take it easy. The secret to life in Seychelles is avoiding stress".

Sleeping

Well, if I could wake up to THIS view every day, there would be no reason for me to be stressed...

Villas de Jardin

Located on the main island approximately 40 minutes drive from the airport – it was very nice, clean and in a great location!

Just when I am about to get used to this incredible view, sunset comes, and with it, the birds. I don’t need to tell you that the sunsets are those kind that make you want to grab a stranger just to be able to enjoy such a beautiful thing with someone, but the sounds of the hundreds of birds singing is absolutely mesmerising.

What to do

The Hotel Tortoises: Another big thing in Seychelles are tortoises! Seychelles is the only other place in the world besides Galapagos where these giant tortoises still exist!!

We were lucky enough to have some pretty close interactions with 6 buddies lounging in our hotel’s garden.

Discover Mahé's beaches: Mahé has gorgeous beaches, some of its more pristine ones on the Western and Southern coast, like Anse a la Mouche and Anse Intendance, as well as the Port Launay and Baie Ternay Marine Park in the North West. Sea lovers, divers and serial-snorkellers will have plenty to feast their eyes on underwater. The water is also warm and shallow so it's also a real pleasure just to walk in the water and observe the greenery all around you..

Anse Intendance

The famous Anse Intendance, the beach of the Banyan tree Resort in Mahé.

Anse a la Mouche
Anse a la Mouche

Anse a la Mouche

Beau Vallon

Beau Vallon: probably Mahé’s most popular beach. It's a very long and wide stretch of sand but way too busy for my taste. Not too bad of a view thought right?!

Tea Factory: Nested inside the Morne Seychelloise National Park, and in which 15 people produce flavoured tea for local consumption only.

Tea Factory

With a ceremonial fee of 2 euros, a local worker will take you around the factory, where you could also be lucky enough to see the actual tea processing (plant nerd alert) and you can get all your souvenirs sorted by buying plenty of delicious tea in their makeshift shop just outside.

Le Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden: This spice plantation/restaurant/tourist attraction is a beautiful place to spend a few hours seeing all possible kind of spices and exotic plants. Highly recommended if like me you are a bit of a foodie and like plants!

Le Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden

Just look how adorable baby pineapples are..

Le Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden

What pepper looks like before you buy it in the shop!

Le Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden

Me holding a lemon just cause I love plants so much..

Copolia Hike: We were advised to do this trail as it is guarded and you are less likely to get lost (or robbed).

The one-hour ascent is totally worth getting soaked in sweat for (tropical heat, you know), as you are rewarded with breathtaking views of the islands and the capital Victoria from above..

Copolia Hike

Note: Be careful on where you step, aka pay attention to wet foliage or risk falling on your ass and getting it bruised.

Victoria (capital): Victoria itself is nothing special, so don’t count on spending too much time there. It is useful to stock on food and change currency (it is always better to pay in local rupees, Euros are widely accepted but it is a little bit of a rip off).

Praslin & La Digue Cruise: A full day cruise combining La Digue and Praslin, which are the second and third biggest islands. They are just wonderful and visiting them will make it very clear why they are a top choice destination for honeymooners.

La Digue

You can only explore La Digue by bike, so we rented one and rode across a vanilla plantation to reach Anse Source D’Argent. You know when you open a travel magazine and they show you these picture perfect stretches of white sand, palms stretching towards turquoise waters and all that? Well this is the real deal.

Anse Source D’Argent
Anse Source D’Argent

For a moment I thought I died and ended up in sea-lover paradise. It was so beautiful that it does not matter how much I blabber about it on here, you can really only understand by setting foot on those velvet smooth sands yourself.

Praslin

Praslin is slightly bigger, and universally famous for two things:

  1. Vallee de Mai: the only remaining pristine forest of Coco de Mer, a very sexy butt-shaped palm species – they're absolutely gigantic! I loved it here as you really have the feeling to be far from civilisation and completely immersed in nature.
  2. Anse Lazio: allegedly one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Definitely worth a visit but because there is no reef, expect much wilder waters than in La Digue.

Anse Lazio

If you have more time, many others islands are worth a trip, like Curieuse, where giant turtles roam free, or Bird Island, a bird sanctuary which is guaranteed to exceed any nature lover's expectations.

Eating

Besides the fresh fruit and mango juice, in general do not expect food to be the highlight of your trip. Fish is the staple, and there is nothing much besides that. Local Creole cuisine is not bad, but I have no shame in saying that we did have a fair share of homemade pasta and peanut butter toasts on our stay!

Victoria Market: Located in the central square, I definitely recommend buying some fresh mangos and bananas here..

Avoid the Pirate’s Arms: For the love of God, no matter what the Lonely Planet or other guides say, do not waste time and money eating here. It's highly overrated and you are pretty much guaranteed a better meal anywhere else.

Final thoughts

What I really got away from this holiday is that Seychelles is much more than just a honeymoon paradise. The scenery is surely breathtaking, as are the sunsets and the beach. 5 star resorts are everywhere to be enjoyed, affording luxury comforts. But there is so much to be enjoyed beyond that. Hiking, nature, water sports and local culture are all there to be explored, and I would highly recommend anyone to make the most out of all of these experiences. This does not exclude the possibility to end each day sipping a glass of wine and listening to the waves – it is a holiday after all...

A few useful tips to help you plan your trip:

  • Make sure you bring your own mask and snorkel as renting opportunities are limited, and you can pretty much buy these only in Victoria, without any guarantee of quality.
  • Food can be expensive, even in local grocery shops.
  • Do bring mosquito repellent, and the strong kind. Especially when hiking or visiting any garden or plantation.
  • There are no dangerous animals or insects on land, so do not panic when you see the spiders.
  • I loved this website when planning my trip, check it out!

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Questions? Feel free to ask me anything in the comments below!