Last summer, I had the chance to fly to a dream destination of Seychelles. I never imagined that one day I would go on vacation to Seychelles. I had always looked at other destinations, but Seychelles for me was something unattainable.
In case someone is interested to know more Lemuria and Mauritia are the submerged prehistoric continent. About 200 million years ago the only supercontinent known as Pangea was divided into two: Laurasia to the north and Gondwana to the south. From Gondwana emerged South America, Africa, Australia, Antarctica and India.
Between the drift of Madagascar, experts discovered a submerged mini-continent. It would comprise the Mascarene Islands (Mauritius and Reunion) forming an arc up to Seychelles. They are the only islands of granitic origin in the world.
A trip to Seychelles is a dive into a world of colors and silence, the white sand and coconut trees of Cote d'Or, the clear waters of the Indian Ocean, splendid orchids in the tropical garden, and beautiful diving spots. The turquoise water beaches and granite outcrops punctuate the white sand beaches.
The shade of the coconut trees and the warm rays of the sun caress the skin. Those who follow me on Instagram have already been able to observe the paradisiacal landscapes as our journey evolved during two weeks. Today, I take you to the heart of my journey. Let's go!
Day 1 - Mahe
Since I had not taken my boarding pass online, I had to take it out at the airport. So I had to be 3 hours before the departure of the flight. The flight was entertaining. I dedicated myself to watching movies and playing Nintendo. After two flights and eleven hours of travel, we finally arrive in Mahe, the main island of Seychelles. The plane lands punctually at eight in the morning in Mahe. The procedures when going through immigration are very fast. Our two suitcases are already rotating on the conveyor belt when we arrive at it.
The sound of the wind in the palm trees and the huge block of granite that rises before us at the exit of the airport makes us forget any notion of time. Here, the needles have stopped. Nature, even in the center of Victoria, the smallest capital in the world seems more present than anywhere else. The day has just risen. The birds are singing at the airport as if to welcome us.
We climb aboard a taxi and arrive, about twenty minutes later, to our hotel. Admittedly, it is far from being a palace but it is located on the edge of the Beau Vallon beach. It is a popular beach popular with locals who gather there on Sunday around a barbecue and tourists who bask in the turquoise waters. They welcomed us with a fruit juice, that with the heat that I had, it tasted like blessed glory to me.
That day we wanted to rest. We ate delicious ham sandwiches and spend the day there, tired of the journey and happy to finally relax after weeks of hard work. For the first time in my life, after having worked hours on my memory to finish it before departure, I feel I have really need of holidays.
Exhausted by the crazy pace of our life lately, we look forward to finally let ourselves go to do nothing. We spend the day sleeping on the beach. As the day progresses, the clouds disappear to give way to a beautiful blue sky. When the heat is too oppressive, we immerse ourselves in the water. I never felt comfortable in the sea and even less in the ocean. Yet here, fear gives way to a sweet feeling of happiness.
The water is turquoise, even transparent. The waves are soft. The day unfolds slowly under the Seychellois sky with the only slogan to relax. Behind us, locals party around a barbecue. The sun is slowly falling in the sky. Night falls quickly here. The beach is empty as the sun descends into the sky. While we are on the way to the restaurant, the day offers us its most beautiful colors. Pink and mauve reflections color the ocean and the sky. Even the sand seems to change appearance for a few minutes. I feel like I'm on a postcard.
They prepared us for a local fish dinner. As we were tired we went to bed early.
Day 2 - Mission Lodge
The tiredness was still in our bodies, so we got up at 09:20. The breakfast is served on a terrace, in front of the beach. The managers of the hotel have big smiles on their face. Thumbs up, and they wish us good luck.
Our driver and guide pick us up at nine o'clock sharp. He is a tall man, with surprising blue eyes and varied interests. His passion for his country and his culture is evident throughout the visit. He seems to know everything about the history of his country and explains the peculiarities of Seychellois Creole by making us discover the most beautiful corners of Mahe.
We visit the capital of the country, Victoria its colorful market, its temples, and its lively streets. Our driver then takes us to the heights of the island, at Mission Lodge. It is an unknown place that offers a magnificent view to tourists who deign to climb so high. It is, moreover, a place steeped in history. The brief account of our guide reminds me of my trip to Zanzibar.
It is sometimes difficult to imagine that such paradisiacal places as Seychelles or Zanzibar may have been at the center of such a dark part of human history. Our guide takes the time to explain the history of the site and also shows us endemic tree species in Seychelles by mentioning them by their Latin name. I just admire the knowledge of our guide.
From Mission Lodge, we leave for Anse Soleil. After this more cultural visit, we are looking forward to discovering a beautiful beach on the island. Anse Soleil is located on the other side of the island, near beautiful hotels. For their marriage, some Arab princes reserve them in its entirety. I find myself dreaming of luxury, silk sheets and private baths overlooking the Indian Ocean.
At Anse Soleil, we eat on the beach. The weather is nice. It's hot and Anse Soleil keeps its promises. The beach is beautiful. It is in a good mood that we go to Cap Lazare, on the other side of Mahe. We see a wedding on the beach. Sitting on large wicker chairs set with frangipani flowers, the bride and groom exchange their vows. The wedding rings sit in a shell filled with white sand.
The wedding meal takes place in a good mood. We taste local dishes, some even from family recipes. There is fish terrine with coriander, mango salad with ginger, and coconut nougat. After the meal, satiated, we discover with wonder the citrus garden and turtles that live on these lands. We leave the place only after dark after a day of celebration full of emotion.
Day 3 - La Digue
We spend our last hours in Mahe on the Beau Vallon beach. We parked the car behind a huge rock, in the northern part of Beau Vallon beach. Between the rock and our car, a small group of teenagers drink their beers and are encouraged to see a blonde running in shorts and pigtail in the wind. The drunk runs to the edge of the road and, with one hand on the cigarette and the other on the neck of the beer, gives a pass while releasing a hello! The girl smiles sarcastically.
Here the Labrin bazaar is held, a market where crafts are sold and food cooked at the time or brought from home. There are marmalades, fried plantains, coconut cake, while a couple of musicians play moutia. We have lunch at the table on the terrace and the chef gives us freshly cooked crepes. Spread with the papaya jam that we bought in the Labrin bazaar they taste very good.
At 1 pm, we leave the hotel to go to the La Digue island. For this, we must take a ferry that makes the transfer between the three main islands of Seychelles of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. We retrieve the luggage at an alarming speed, and we take the taxi to the jetty. A tropical shower greets us at the jetty while we wait for the boat to La Digue. It is a large two-story catamaran. We finally arrive at La Digue although a little shaken. The sun is setting on the ocean, with pink and orange reflections.
The oxcart drivers head for us. After eating well in the nearest takeaway, we go onboard the oxcart that leads us to our bungalow. The paths are very pleasant, and the slowness of the ox cart makes us appreciate the beauty of the landscapes all the more.
We arrive at the bungalow, which I booked like that on a whim, after having a conversation on the phone with the owner, without knowing what it looks like. Especially since before departure, there was no way to find opinions or photos on the internet! The oxcart eventually stops in front of a pretty house on a small lawn right on the edge of a pristine beach.
We are taken aback. It is not possible that it is here, as it looks too good. But the driver tells us, it is here! The whole house is only for us. The owner welcomes us with a refreshing natural juice of passion fruit. The cleaning lady welcomes us, all smiles and then we start swimming in a dream.
We drop the luggage, and we changed our winter clothes for the summer clothes and went immediately to see La Passe. Just over the gate, the first surprise is the big spiders! Their cobwebs hang from the power line and down to the bushes on the road.
We continue along the dirt road, flanked by shrubs with hibiscus and frangipani until we reach the main street of La Passe. Distributed in two hundred meters are banks, food stores, beachwear stalls, bicycle rental, craft shops, restaurants, and travel agencies.
We thought we were going to buy purple mangoes, papayas, lychees, corossol and passion fruit but were disappointed by the astronomical prices! It is strange that they do not sell papayas when the papaya grows everywhere and trees look overflowing with fruit.
For lunch, we go to a hotel. The best thing about the restaurant is the terrace. In the shade of an Indian almond tree, the view over the lagoon is fantastic and the blessed breeze that blows relieves the heat and humidity. We order a chicken curry with tamarind sauce and a curry fish with coconut sauce accompanied with rice and some Creole sauce.
From the terrace where we eat, we can see in the distance the most luxurious and exclusive cruise in the world. The passengers themselves set the itinerary by vote. I cool off in the blue turquoise lagoon. The beach is deserted. In the white sand, there are even two coconut trees that lie down towards the sea and the famous gray rocks at the edge of the water.
We rent a bike immediately, to go faster on the island. We start with the north of the island. The ballads around and in the heart of the island are a marvel. This island has a completely magical atmosphere. The inhabitants say hello, they smile, and everyone is quiet. The beaches are all more fabulous. We walk through Veuve Nature Reserve, a bird sanctuary that houses the endemic black flycatcher of paradise, in danger of extinction.
We discovered many spiders in palm trees, the cardinal of Madagascar, a hummingbird, Indian mynas, zebra pigeons, day geckos and above all, the huge fruit bats, always present in the Seychelles sky at dusk. We do not see the flycatcher on this occasion. The sunset is beautiful. The temperature drops and the breeze also give way.
At nine we had dinner with coconut cream soup with ginger, marlin marinated in lime juice, mango sorbet, veal in wine sauce and chocolate cake. The streets of La Passe are barely illuminated. This has the obvious disadvantage that we have to sharpen our eyes to see where we are going and, above all, be careful with cyclists!
The advantage of this poor lighting is that the celestial sky can be seen with a clarity that is out of the ordinary. I have never seen so many stars. I understand little of astronomy but surely you can get to see even planets. The moon is in a growing phase. We enjoy the silence at night as only the song of an insect and the occasional barking of the dogs are heard.
Day 4 - Anse Source d'Argent
This morning, I rise from bed at 5:30! As the day begins to rise, we ride our bicycles to the Union Estate. Anyway, we planned to go early! It is barely 7am when we enter the reserve. The first pleasant surprise is that the ground is relatively flat. It is less tiring on the bike, because there for a few days, I cannot stand any more of these ribs.
A quick turn, we pass in front of the cemetery from the era of the colonists. The tombs are indeed very very old! Turning left, we arrive at the giant turtle enclosure. They are between 30 and 90 years old tells us the panel. I am not an expert, but they are really giant turtles. We approach the wall. A turtle approaches, and she raises her head! How strange is the skin of a turtle!
It is 8am, and it is already super hot! We continue the walk. We pass in front of the vanilla plantation. We decided to cheer ourselves up by visiting the most beautiful beach on the island, also known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Anse Source d'Argent.
There are two ways to get there. You can pay an entry fee of Rs 100 per person that includes a small vanilla plantation and an Aldabra turtle refuge and pass through a park. Even if the price is a bit excessive. The access via this reserve allows staying longer on the beach because you do not have to worry about high tide. You can also go for free that is more adventurous while enjoying the low tide. We choose the second option.
We still walk a little, following the directions to get to Anse Source d'Argent. We pass through pretty scenery, a huge granite rock, and almost a small mountain, emerged from nowhere in the middle of coconut trees. Further are the ponds surrounded by dense vegetation.
The sign indicates Anse Source d'Argent, and the ground becomes sandy. My heart starts beating very hard! For so many years I dream of this beach! There are the rocks that we see everywhere, on magazines, brochures of hotels, travel guides, documents of the tourist office. We go under an arch of granite. It seems to be there to look good over the road!
The beach is two kilometers away but the path is nice. We walk in the water to see the huge rocks that punctuate the black beaches and contrast with the transparent water of the ocean. The landscape is breathtaking and it is not difficult to understand why people have been so fascinated for so long by these lands, waters, and colors.
In front of this nature, we climb rocks, take a pose in front of the turquoise waters. We play hide and seek in the hollow of the granite outcrops. On the way, we cross the remains of a small wedding chapel made of palm leaves. The construction dates from a few days at most. Finally, we arrive on the famous beach. The water is beautiful, the sand is very soft under the feet.
Beautiful blue crabs hide under the sand. But the heat is unbearable. Quickly I take a dip in the lagoon, with my mask and my snorkel. The more the day lights up and the more beautiful it is. With the light on the rock, the turquoise reflections of the lagoon are revealed. The green of the coconut trees lights up. I wait until the sun is high enough to take pictures, and then it is impossible to stop. We hear the waves crashing against the coral reef in the distance. The tsunami greatly affected corals.
We see the foam, but there, in the lagoon, it looks like a giant bathtub! This is the sun is flashing. I am dazzled, but I look around me, not to lose a crumb of this unreal landscape. No the photos of the magazines were not photoshopped. The gradients of the lagoon are really like that! And the beach is still empty, even at 11am! A magical atmosphere emerges from this place, with the brightness of this beach, and the changing colors of the lagoon.
At the end of the Anse Source d'Argent beach, a small restaurant offers delicious grilled fish at a ridiculous price. They serve us on a banana leaf. A few minutes later, we go back by bicycle and arrive in front of the planter's house, but nowadays it is better known to serve as summer quarters to the president of the republic. It is much larger than I had imagined but as beautiful as in the photos. There is a huge roof of leaves of latanier, wooden balcony all around, and pretty flowered lawn.
A little further, here we come to the factory of coconut oil (outdoor of course! While the employees unpack the nuts, an ox rotates around a millstone to extract the oil. We leave with our coconuts in the basket at the back of the bikes.
We decide to continue in this spirit of adventure and ride our bikes to Grand Anse. On La Digue, cars are less and most locals and tourists travel by bicycle. This particular atmosphere not only gives charm to the island but also eliminates the small pounds gained by going to restaurants every night.
The road to Grand Anse is not very long but dotted with climbs that hurt my legs. Several times I have to get off my bike and continue the rest of the climb on foot. We sit on the logs while the waitress gives a shot of fresh leaf to sweep the grains of sand on our table. And there it goes, we ask for a beer. The waitress tells us that at 12:30 there is a Creole barbecue buffet.
Grand Anse is a huge beach (as the name suggests) and violent. Swimming is prohibited because of the huge waves and the particularly strong current at this point of the island. The beach exudes a wild atmosphere that contrasts with the other, more quiet beaches that we have seen so far. We stay in the morning and eat in a small cabin a few meters from the waves.
Then comes the expedition! In Seychelles, there is a little piece of paradise even more extraordinary than the others. This little corner of happiness at the other end of the world is called Anse Coco and it deserves! To get there, you must put on a good pair of shoes and embark on an adventure in the Seychellois bush. We leave Grand Anse and follow a small sign that tells us the way to Petite Anse.
We follow a track made of earth, cut with a machete. We climb rocks, we stop to drink a little water, take the road crossing tourists who do the opposite. They send us big smiles as if they knew we were not yet at the end of our troubles. Once arrived at Petite Anse, it is necessary to continue under a sweltering heat, to cross a denser forest.
We climb steeper rocks and then, finally, after nearly 35 minutes (or maybe a little more), we arrive at Anse Coco. The beach looks like its two big sisters, Petit Anse or Grand Anse, with one difference. At the end of the beach is a natural pool formed by the granitic outcrops so typical of Seychelles.
The rocks act as a breakwater and offer tourists the opportunity to swim in the Indian Ocean while observing the huge waves breaking in the distance. The show is well worth the detour and the effort. We do not regret at all having walked so far to get there. Encircled by the rocks, with the sound of waves as music and the ocean for horizons, we are as protected from the world.
While we are lying in the shade, I observe a small wolf snake that slips among the low branches, three meters to our left. Its skin is camouflaged perfectly with the color of the branches. It advances very slowly towards its objective to an adult gecko that remains motionless on a thick branch.
We decide to get on the bikes and go to Anse Fourmi. We pass next to Anse Grosse Roche, Anse Banane, Anse Patate and finally Anse Fourmi where the concrete road ends. At the height of Anse Grosse Roche, we came across a giant tortoise from the Aldabra Atoll.
We have to turn back with our bikes. The hike is quite sporty (many climbs and some difficult passages through the sand). We decide to take a break at a restaurant. Next to the restaurant lives a big sea turtle, little fierce, who lets itself be caressed by the tourists passing through the island. After the meal, we stop on a small beach whose name we do not know. The water is low and conducive to snorkeling.
We ride a bike for a romantic getaway on our favorite beach near Anse Banane. We have lunch at a delicious restaurant by the sea and enjoy the hot rays of the sun all afternoon. On the way back, we spot the flippers of a pair of dolphins in the distance. We see two huge stingrays that hunt on the surface, just where the waves break against the rocks and form foam.
And precisely, when we come back to Grand Anse, (in 5 minutes this time we found the path) it is late afternoon. We are thirsty and hungry too. So here we are sitting again on these logs, with a cool coca this time. With the Creole music, the sound of the waves, the cool sand under our feet, the waiters sing and dance, as the waitresses laugh.
One of them announces in the microphone that the food is ready. It is barefoot that we will choose our dishes. We take everything, except fish and chicken, as we do not know much! So we taste these unknown flavors. I fall of course on a spice, and it's a real one! I ordered bottles of water during the meal! Everything is delicious from starters, fish, curries, and vegetables.
Moreover the meal is so good that the ice cream offered for dessert seems a bit shabby, but anyway we are no longer hungry. We walked to the port, which is one of the few places in La Passe that remains illuminated. Where the current is most perceptible is a group of flute fish almost one meter long and small solitary trevally swimming at full speed.
The silence of the night is broken by the shouts and laughter of a gang that runs a good party on a catamaran. After having been full of memories and images, we return to our hut for the night.
Day 5 - Praslin
We head to Praslin, the second largest island of Seychelles for a day of exceptional excursions. We take the jetty and in fifteen minutes we are in Praslin. So we arrive at Gold Coast. After arriving at Praslin, we see cars again! The change of scenery is total against La Digue where everyone moves only by bike. We meet a taxi driver who agrees to be our guide for the day. The taxi drops us at the guest house, at the northern end of Anse Volbert beach, one of the best on the island, without a doubt.
After enjoying our welcome cocktail on the terrace of our apartment, we cross the coastal road to meet the mythical beach of the gold coast. This beach is worth its reputation. It is beautiful and super nice to swim, and to my amazement almost deserted! As for the ocean, it covers the turquoise color of tropical paradises.
We go to the beach restaurant, and we have a hamburger, a drink, and an expensive dessert. Sitting in front of bat island in the middle of a turquoise blue sea, dazzled of sun and white sand, we savor our chance to be here! But from the first day, we find the atmosphere of Praslin very different.
On the program is the May Valley and Anse Lazio. We decide to rent a car to the May Valley, a nature reserve with many endemic species in Seychelles. Its fauna and flora are absolutely exceptional which is worth to be inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. This is a must not miss during any stay in Seychelles, especially to admire the famous coco de mer and some rare species of birds such as black parrot or bulbul.
The Valley keeps its promise and gives us the impression to walk in Jurassic Park as the flora is impressive. I always have nightmares of dinosaurs. I cannot help but imagine raptors hidden in the thickets waiting for the perfect time to jump on us.
The visit can be done with or without a guide (we chose the second option) and it takes a big part of the morning to enjoy it. We receive a small list that allows us to tick the animals and crossed trees during the walk. We did not see a single black parrot. It is a species so rare that even the park workers have not yet managed to list them all! But we came across some bulbuls and geckos.
After this tropical visit, we head to Anse Lazio, the most beautiful beach on the island, to stock up on vitamin D and relax on the beach. This Cove is very long and is more crowded than the beaches of La Digue but it remains absolutely breathtaking. We settle at the end of the beach, in a small cove protected by huge rocks and let us be carried by the waves. I almost forget my fear of water!
In the evening a Creole party is held on the Anse Volbert beach with a musical group that takes their hobby very seriously. The sound is crystal clear. A food stand sells exposed meat directly from the flames.
We eat at the hotel restaurant. We are the first to enter the dining room. We ordered a steak. It is undercooked, although they take an eternity to bring it. We call the waitress and we remind her that the meat has been undercooked, so we throw it back. They bring another.
The next is better, but have just taken out of the freezer and has cold areas. As they have taken so long, we ask for more drinks and this time they forget to serve them in the cold jugs that they take out of the fridge. We leave without dessert. And they put on a serious face as if they had something to reproach us with and not an apology.
Day 6 - Victoria
We set the alarm clock very early. We slept poorly despite the huge bed. The night temperature never drops below twenty-four degrees and the air conditioning is a necessity. The bad thing is that the device makes noise. I take the opportunity to go watch the sunrise over the Indian Ocean. It is therefore with the head full of images of colorful fish and deserted beaches that we take the direction of Mahe.
Almost the entire passage is filled with locals and the atmosphere is very relaxed, with reggae music sounds for the piped music and nobody stops. The jetty sails to Mahe a few minutes before ten. The duration of the crossing from Praslin depends on the state of the sea and today, with a little swell, we have taken about fifty minutes.
This time, I'm less afraid. The traffic out of Victoria is a little denser than Praslin, but still very quiet. From the exit of the city, we take one of the two roads that cross Mahe from east to west, to join the Anse Boileau cove. The beauty of the landscapes is amazing. So we arrive at our small wooden bungalows, a little decrepit, housed in a pretty garden, behind huge hibiscus bushes.
When we leave the hotel at the end of the day, we are a bit sad to leave the island. We have to change two flights! Despite all the time we had at the airport, I did not have the opportunity to eat a good burger.
If you want to daydream, do not hesitate as Seychelles await you. We keep our best memories of La Digue, and not only on its paradisiacal beach Anse Source D'Argent. We will also remember the quiet bike rides on the interior roads of the island, discovering the customs of the locals or marveling at the exuberance of their nature.