Two weeks in a tropical paradise
I travel a lot with work to Asia from the UK and accumulate air miles so there comes a time when you have to decide what to do with them. Looking at all the possible locations we had never been to on the Emirates route map, the Seychelles looked the most inviting. So in October, we set off via a day in Dubai, to the first island of our trip, Praslin.
The plane from Mahe airport is small and sets off when everyone has arrived, so we actually landed at Praslin at the time it was due to take off from Mahe! We had arranged car hire at the airport through Absolute Cars and I had planned the journey to Tranquility Villa“ that we had hired through SeyVillas carefully, even bringing a satnav with Seychelles maps loaded with us. The first problem was that the satnav decided to stop working, so despite Praslin being a small island we got lost. Fortunately, the gentleman who brought us the car happened to pass by and he kindly allowed us to follow him to the correct turning. We then had to negotiate a very steep road to the villa, giving way to the land crabs as they scuttled across the road. At the villa we received a warm welcome and were amazed to see the huge fruit bats flying to the trees in the garden.
The villa was in a great location near the white sand beach, which was almost deserted throughout our stay.
Having the car allowed us to explore the island and to visit the magnificent Anse Lazio where the snorkelling is superb at the right hand side of the beach.
Apart from the beaches, we also enjoyed visiting the Vallée de Mai, where there are many huge Coco de Mer as well as several species of rare birds and reptiles.
You also get a chance to see the large palm spiders- fortunately they aren’t poisonous and stay in the middle of their webs!
We also took the opportunity to take a boat trip to Curieuse for a beach barbeque and the chance to see the giant tortoises that have been reintroduced to the island.
In the afternoon, we sailed on to snorkel around the crystal clear waters of St Pierre.
We had heard that the beaches on La Digue are some of the best in the world, so we took the ferry from Praslin harbour and hired bicycles. This is a great way to get around the island as there is hardly any traffic. In fact we were very impressed with La Digue and it would be a good spot to stay a few nights. The beaches lived up to their reputation and along with many other tourists to the island a picture of Anse Source D’Argent is now a screen saver on my computer at home.
The waters there are very calm and while swimming around the coral a friendly hawksbill turtle came to investigate and it was beautiful to swim alongside the turtle as he explored the coral. We also visited the Veuve Reserve there but unfortunately didn’t manage to see the rare bird there.
For the second week of our trip we returned to Mahe. We stayed at Machabee on the North Coast of the island and had a great villa by the sea. Whereas during our stay on Praslin, the weather had been dry, we had some spectacular storms with monsoon like rain, but fortunately most of this was during the evenings. We had some enjoyable drives across the mountains and along the coast and there are a couple of places we can highly recommend:
The tea factory is very interesting. You pass the workers picking the leaves as you arrive and then you can take a guided tour of the old machinery to see how the leaves are processed. There are also great views down to the west coast.
Driving further along the mountain road that crosses the island, you come to Port Launay, where a track that is passable in a car takes you up to a nice waterfall.
When you stop in Port Launay, everyone is keen to take you on the “secret” road to the waterfall, but with a bit of research we managed to find it quite easily without help.
The other must see place on the island is the Le Jardin du Roi. The gardens are superbly maintained, with hundreds of indigenous species of plants.
There is also an excellent restaurant that serves simple, fresh food with spectacular views down to Anse Royale. Victoria botanical gardens are also worth a visit, but if you can only visit one garden, Le Jardin du Roi is the one to choose. In fact, the only other restaurant that matched the food there was La Perle Noire at Beau Vallon, where you need to book to enjoy the wonderful fish dishes and best service we experienced in the Seychelles, all at a reasonable price.
We finished the holiday, with a morning on Sunset Beach. Beneath the hotel on the left and side of the beach, the snorkelling is excellent as the fish congregate there hoping that residents will throw bread into the water. You are part of a shoal of hundreds of colourful fish as you snorkel amongst the rocks there.
We had a great time in the Seychelles. Of course, it is a paradise for beach lovers, but we recommend exploring the places away from the coast, too.