The Seychelles have a fantastic public relations department that advertises its islands as some of the most idyllic and gorgeous in the Indian Ocean, and we can attest that this is indeed true. As beach lovers, we have to agree that the Seychelles have some of the most magnificent beaches in the world. SCUBA diving is top notch, and in just five dives we saw schools of eagle rays, several manta rays, dolphins, hawksbill turtles, barracuda, napoleon wrasse, and beautiful coral. We navigated Mahe’s windy roads with a compact rental car, zoomed from island to island on Cat Cocos, explored La Digue by bike, marveled in amazement at Anse Source d’Argent’s beauty, and snorkeled to our hearts content on Praslin’s Anse Lazio.
2 DEC 06: Our Emirates flight from Dubai to Mahe was delayed due to inclement weather. Only in Dubai will some heavy rain wreck havoc with the baggage handlers. When the dust settled, our plane was 2 hours late, missing over 20 passengers luggage when we finally taxied and took off from miserably wet and dreary Dubai. A short four hour flight later, the scene improved dramatically. Our vista now included beautiful views of turquoise colored oceans surrounding perfect little island oases in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Immigration was quite stringent in ensuring we had an onward airline ticket (I suppose they want to make sure all incoming travelers plan to depart paradise!). We were fortunate that our luggage did end up making it from Dubai, so once we retrieved both backpacks, it was a quick linkup with our driver who took us directly to Beau Vallon, where we had booked four nights at the Panorama Relais des Iles guesthouse (www.panorama-guesthouse.com). Priced at 90 Euro/night for a double including breakfast, it wasn’t too shabby a deal for Mahe. Georgina’s cottages were close by (also another good budget option), and the beach was a 90 second dash from our room. We were greeted by Vesna, the owner of the Panorama hotels. She gave us a quick rundown on the local Beau Vallon dive operators, island excursions, car rentals, and nearby restaurants. Vesna was a wealth of local knowledge, and we had to smile when we noticed the Explore! Worldwide sticker proudly displayed at the bar. (We have toured with Explore in the past and have always enjoyed our tours with them, but were confident we could handle independent travel to this part of the world ourselves).
After checking in and settling our bill (all transactions are conducted in Euros…for some weird reason, all the restaurants, hotels, tour operators, etc want to be paid in Euros or Dollars. They will not accept Seychellois Rupees as it is not legal for them to accept, so we had to ensure that we had plenty of hard currency on hand), we headed towards Beau Vallon beach where a magnificent sunset was spreading across the sky. Gorgeous tones of reds, oranges, and purples exploded onto horizon as we watched mesmerized by the shifting colors. It almost felt like watching an artist color the landscape with vivid hues, only to change her mind and have a dash of another color thrown in the mix at odd intervals. It was a very memorable sunset and a perfect introduction to the Seychelles.
3 DEC 06: An early morning stroll had us exploring Beau Vallon beach from one end to the other. We found out there are three dive shops offering fantastic dives (Shark Bank, Ilot, and Brissare Rocks), and decided to sign up with the local dive shop as soon as it opened at 0800. In the meantime, we grabbed a quick breakfast at the Panorama, before throwing on our swimsuits and sunscreen (SPF 30) so that we wouldn’t make the rookie mistake of getting severely sunburned on our first day on the island.
We decided to go with the only local dive operator on Beau Vallon, the Le Diable des Mers which we liked because the owner was super friendly, the dive crew seemed real low key and relaxed, and the dive group was kept small (2 – 4 other divers a day). We signed up for their 5 dive package and worked our rental gear into the agreement. Talk about a huge price difference. The competitors had asked us for 38 Euros a dive, plus 12 Euros a dive for rental gear for a total of 50 Euros each dive! Le Diable des Mers was 38 Euros a dive including dive gear, plus a 10% discount for staying at the Panorama guesthouse.
Our first dive was the Lighthouse, and the dive masters had run into a pod of 12 whale sharks just the week prior at this very same dive spot. Hoping lighting strikes twice, we were eager to see if there was enough plankton around to lure the whale sharks back. We headed in a Westerly direction from Beau Vallon beach, and a short ride later had arrived to the lighthouse dive sight. It took Becky forever to descend, but once submerged, we were rewarded with magnificent views underwater. We didn’t see any whale sharks, but did see two large manta rays, a spotted moray eel, a school of travelers fish, barracuda, and gorgeous species of tropical fish. Very nice first dive, leaving us longing for more.
We took a break for lunch and stopped by a local grocery store where we bought a loaf of bread for two Euros. Thankfully, we had planned ahead to minimize our eating expenses by packing several cans of tuna and a jar of peanut butter. Lunch was filling, and we decided to kill time until our afternoon dive by sunning in the garden. The midday heat was a bit overwhelming, but just when we about to cry mercy, the sun disappeared behind some clouds for a quick breather, before popping back out and baking us a bit more. 30 minutes was all we could handle, before we lounged back down to the dive shop and squeezed ourselves back into our dive suits and loaded up.
Our second dive was out at Escobar reef, a shallow dive where our maximum depth was only 14 meters. We saw lobsters, lionfish, trumpet fish, Moorish idols, Christmas tree worms, giant clams, lizardfish, and Becky’s favorite: clownfish. After an hour of bottom time, we surfaced and headed back to Beau Vallon where we rinsed and hung our gear. Tomorrow’s dive would include a visit to Brissare Rocks, so we were told to get plenty of rest tonight.
The Seychellois people love their weekends, and this Sunday was no exception. Large families were gathered on Beau Vallon beach and were thoroughly enjoying themselves. We watched impromptu soccer and volley ball games, and strolled around Beau Vallon in search of an ATM. Once we found out everyone accepts Euros or Dollars (giving back change in local currency), we gave up our search and headed towards Baobab for a tasty pizza dinner. This sand-floor diner was fantastic…and packed. We were glad we got there soon after 1830 (when they opened for dinner) because the restaurant quickly filled up and late comers had to queue on standby for the next available table.
We’ve been in paradise for a full day now, but are both still the two palest tourists on the islands. Guess that SPF 30 is working! We saw some other travelers who had thrown all caution to the wind and soaked up the sun’s powerful rays. And all they had to show for it was a painful looking sunburn! The heat in the Seychelles can be deceptively powerful, so we were quite content in taking it slow and gradually lightening up on our sun protection.
4 DEC 06: We were up early for a two tank dive in the morning, and were excited because one of the dives was at the famous Brissare Rocks. Fred, a Swiss guy, and an American couple joined us for what proved to be a fantastic dive experience. It took us about 25 minutes to get out to the dive site, and the current was particularly strong. This is definitely a dive for advanced scuba divers only, as it would be easy to panic while trying to navigate against the current. We descended and were immediately rewarded with a phenomenal view of about 20 spotted eagle rays in formation…very cool! White tip sharks frequently circled around, and a massive Napoleon fish called Brissare Rocks home. Becky was reminded of the Napoleon fish at Hurghada, Egypt who would be hand fed boiled eggs. The Napoleon fish here paid us no mind, but did make it clear they were masters of this domain. A juvenile hawksbill turtle followed us around, and we thoroughly enjoyed this dive. We can definitely see why it is rated as one of the top dive sites in Mahe.
We took a quick breather for some biscuits and tea, before heading over to our second dive site, “Dragon’s Teeth”. Lucky for us, a bunch of playful dolphins had move into the area, and we watched in amazement as they frolicked around us. On this dive, we saw manta rays, schools of barracuda, hump head parrotfish, lobster, eels, hawksbill turtles, lionfish, porcupine fish, puffer fish and white tip sharks. Awesome dive.
Full of adrenaline, we surfaced and wished we could stay out to do a third dive in the area. But storm clouds were moving in quickly, so we zipped back towards Beau Vallon but got caught in the rain. Rain slapping into you as you are flying in your speedboat back to shore makes for a painful experience, so we zipped up our wetsuits, and covered our faces until the rain relented. With the rain cascading down our drenched bodies, we sprinted back to the Panorama and decided to make a lazy afternoon of it by lounging around at our guesthouse. Becky loves the sound of rain pitter pattering onto a tin roof. Today was a fun, lazy day.
5 DEC 06: Today we met the most amazing man, Dr Wojciech Mirski (www.flying-doctor.ch). He is a member of earthrounders (www.earthrounders.com), and has been flying solo in an around-the-equator attempt in his single engine Comanche HB-OTF. Wojciech is from Switzerland, and regaled us with his tales of flying low over Africa, watching the wildlife from an amazing bird’s eye view. He joined us on a shallow twin-wreck dive at the “Twin Barges Wreck” and we enjoyed our hour long dive observing the amazing Indian Ocean marine life. Towards the end of the dive we saw a puffer fish that swelled up into a huge inflated ball and refused to budge from under its crevice. Very cool to see how massive this fish could get!
We agreed not to do an afternoon dive because we wanted to visit Ilot, but due to the strong current, the dive masters recommended against it. So we packed a bag and caught a public bus into downtown Victoria. Pretty cheap for only 3 Rupees each. Our goal was to find the Cat Cocos office, so we could buy return tickets from Mahe to Praslin.
Victoria is one of the world’s smallest capital cities, and we had no problems navigating our way through town. Everything is laid out in an intuitive manner, and we found our way to the harbor in no time. Buying the tickets was pretty easy…there are only two daily trips from Mahe to Praslin, so we opted for the 0730 morning ferry as we wanted to get to La Digue during daylight hours.
Afterwards, we wandered downtown Victoria and stopped at the Pirate’s Arms restaurant for a late lunch. It was OK, but we wouldn’t consider it one of the top restaurants in Mahe. After a quick visit to the local tourism office (to see if there were any special events going on), we visited the colorful Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clark Market where the fishermen were wrapping up the day’s business. The herons were having a field day, snapping up juicy bits of fish and nabbing the flies who were also feasting on the day’s leftovers. Eventually, we managed to squeeze our way onto a bus headed back towards Beau Vallon where we went for a dip in the ocean and ran into Vesna and her granddaughter. We coordinated picking up our valuables from the safe, and asked for an early morning taxi to the harbor.
The rest of our day was spent soaking in Beau Vallon’s warm waters, before packing for our onward trip to explore more of the Seychellois islands.
6 DEC 06: Our first early morning on vacation! When the alarm sounded at 0530, it seemed a cruel joke, but since we had to catch the early morning ferry to Praslin, we rolled out of bed and strapped our backpacks on. Too bad our carefully arranged taxi was late! After waiting about 30 minutes, we asked the guesthouse staff if they could call again, and a few minutes later, a sleepy taxi cab driver rolled up and whisked us off to the harbor. The ride only lasted 15 minutes, but the 10 Euro price seemed expensive as we only covered 6 KM (albeit 6 hilly kilometers), but such are our expenses in pricey Seychelles. Even though Lonely Planet states that the local bus doesn’t start until 0700, we later realized we could have caught the local bus for a fraction of the price as it started at 0600. Lesson learned!
We joined an increasingly edgy crowd at the dock of the harbor when 0730 rolled around and our boat was a no-show. But we were used to “island time” by now. At 0810 a catamaran pulled up in harbor and a mad dash to get the best seats ensued. The boat lulled us to sleep, and before we knew it, we had pulled into Praslin just 5 minutes too late to catch the Praslin – La Digue ferry. In fact, we could see the La Digue ferry pull out just as we pulled in. So we settled in for a one hour wait for the next pickup, and spent our time feeding the fish by the harbor. Talk about a fantastic snorkeling opportunity! The water looked super clear, and there were tons of fish right by the harbor.
The schooner from Praslin to La Digue costs 10 Euros one way, and only takes about 30 minutes. We pulled into La Digue and it seemed that the entire town had descended on us in an effort to drum up business. Ox-driven taxis called out offers to take us to our hotel, but we figured we could hoof it instead. Fifteen sweaty minutes later, we had found Calou guesthouse and gratefully accepted a glass of water upon check in. Calou’s guesthouse (www.calou.de) is a small guesthouse offering a few garden-side rooms, and our bungalow was just perfect for our needs.
It was lunchtime, but we were eager to explore to we walked across the street to Cliff’s where we rented two bikes for two days. It was a bit pricey at 50 rupees a bike a day, but we ended up doing OK as we didn’t have exact change and gave a combination of Euros/dollars to our benefit. We tried to pick up a case of bottled water from the Cash n’ Carry Warehouse (near the harbor), but they were only open to customers from 0800 – 1130 and we had missed that window. So we bought a few bottles from a nearby convenience store and headed directly for Grand Anse where we had a picnic lunch lazing under a coconut tree. The ride to Grand Anse was pretty fun…the roads are all paved now, so don’t believe the hype that all of La Digue’s roads are dirt covered. We quickly found out just how important it is to ensure your rental bike has gears that can shift, as the ride was quite hilly. Grand Anse is a gorgeous beach.
A surfer girl was riding the waves, and the few folks who ventured into the sea were pounded by the rough waves. We opted to hike out towards Petit Anse and Anse Cocos. Yes, there were huge land crabs protecting their crab holes, and we did pass by massive palm spider webs, but the path was pretty well marked and we had no problems hiking out to the two remote beaches. And blissfully, we had the beaches to ourselves. Which of course set the stage for our crazy Santa hat photos, which we had a blast taking.
The bike ride back was a bit rough but we huffed and puffed and made it up the hill in one go. Two other bikers who had to stop and walk their bikes up the hill yelled out bravo as we caught gravity and started picking up momentum back downhill. A couple of baileys and vodka concoctions later, and we were ready for dinner, which was marvelous. Papaya and cucumber salad, octopus in curry sauce, fish in onions, and plain rice. If this is what they call “Creole”, we are big believers. We got second helpings before getting served desert of fried bananas. We have to say that Klaus knows how to put on a great dinner at the Calou guesthouse!
7 DEC 06: We woke up early and decided to go for a bike ride before breakfast. We headed over towards Anse Source d’Argent. The park wasn’t open yet, but we decided to ride on in and see what the plantation had to offer. The first thing we came across was an old colonial-era graveyard. Riding on in, we saw a large pen of giant tortoises and stopped to feed them. The giant tortoises were awesome…we grabbed handfuls of greenery and hand fed them. The tortoises ranged in age from 30 – 90 years old, and there were signs posted informing visitors how to interact with them. After playing with the plantations horses, we rode back towards Calou guesthouse for a quick breakfast. We realized as we were cycling out that as long as visitors make it to the plantation early in the morning, no one is around to collect an entry ticket. So we were able to get in an see the sights for free!
The warehouse was open after breakfast, so we picked up a 6 pack of water, and packed a picnic lunch for the day. Our plan was to hang out at Anse Source d’Argent for the day, and ride up to the North of the island later on that afternoon. We decided to park our bikes at the helicopter pad, and asked if we could leave them there all day. Then it was a wade down by the beach (the tide was receding so it was no problem for us to make our way through the shallow water), and a short 15 minute stroll to Anse Source d’Argent. Even from a distance, the beach looked amazing. The massive boulders perched precariously atop each other definitely gave the beach a romantic appeal.
A heavy storm drenched us while we sought refuge under a coconut tree, but it wasn’t long lasting, and soon we were able to finish circumnavigating the boulders to get to the better part of Anse Source d’Argent. We had beaten the day-trippers, and took a couple of photos before laying down our gear on the beach. The day was spent frolicking from boulder to boulder, observing the marine life stuck in small pools left by the receding tides, snorkeling amongst the coral, and snapping up photos galore. Don’t be fooled…this beach makes your camera happy. There are so many amazing views from all sorts of angles. We took hundreds of photos, and could never really capture the true essence of how this beach made us feel. Around lunchtime, a torrential downpour threatened to soak our backpacks and towels, so we grabbed our gear and ducked into the footpath behind the beach, where some shady palm trees provided a dry spot for us to wait out the storm. Afterwards, we found a large overhang that provided the perfect shade spot…protection from the sun and the rain! So we planted our gear there and at a picnic lunch (feeding the crabs our leftovers).
Hours later, we still weren’t ready to leave this beach, but we did have more of the island left to explore, so we headed back towards our bikes and rode up north to Anse Severe and Anse Gaulettes. La Digue is a very bike-friendly island. It was easy to explore all the nooks and crannies by bike. Becky even managed to befriend a few dogs along the way….and would have adopted them if she had the chance! We headed back to Calou guesthouse at dusk, and were absolutely thrilled with the day. La Digue is one of our fav islands…we love the laid-back pace of life here.
Dinner was good and we topped it off with some of Dubai’s duty free liquor. At dinner we overheard a French guest rave about her snorkeling trip to Felicite Island. She marveled that it was one of the most amazing experiences of her life, feeding the fish and turtles and being surrounded by turquoise blue waters. It did sound amazing, but we had run out of time and could not experience it for ourselves. We wouldn’t have given up Anse Source d’Argent for anything, though! We checked out of Calou guesthouse and settled our bill, as we had an early morning ferry to catch.
8 DEC 06: Thankfully the sun wasn’t up yet when we lugged our backpacks down to the harbor. We had an hour to kill, so we snacked on some pop-tarts and fed the fish our crumbs. When the schooner finally pulled into dock, it wasn’t as much of a melee in getting on board. Perhaps it was too early for the customary pushing and shoving? We grabbed seats up front on the open deck and watched as Praslin came into view.
Our guidebook states that most tourists decide to stay out on Praslin instead of Mahe as it makes an easier base for daily trips (to La Digue or Felicite Island). We decided to check out Praslin for a day, and what better way than to spend it on Anse Lazio? After looking at a Praslin map, we decided we could catch a public bus as far as Anse Boudin and hike the rest of the way to Lazio.
We had huge backpacks that we were lugging around, and Cat Cocos wasn’t too helpful in providing storage. But they did suggest we ask the local harbor café if we could dump our bags in their front entrance area. Amazingly, the café workers agreed. Since our bags were right next to the door, we decided to carry our valuables with us. Once we verified the café would still be open later that afternoon, we set out on our excursion.
Unfortunately, the public buses were on a holiday schedule today, so we had to wait about 45 minutes for the bus. But the fantastic scenery more than made up for the long wait. After pulling out of Baie Ste Anne, we caught glimpses of Anse Volbert, Anse Possession, and Anse Boudin. All three beaches beckoned, so we wondered how Anse Lazio would compare.
Once we got off the bus at the turnaround point in Anse Boudin, we had a 1 KM hike to find out. The incline uphill was steep, but it was a rather pleasant walk and in 15 minutes, we were strolling into Anse Lazio and had the beach to ourselves until a huge tourist bus pulled up and offloaded dozens of passengers. The first order of business was to find the perfect shady spot. Followed closely by getting rid of the grungy dog that had plopped itself beside us and whined for us to scratch its flea infested fur. Anse Lazio is a beautiful beach. Maybe not the most beautiful beach in the world, but with fine white sand, and the most mesmerizing hues of turquoise colored water, we were quite happy with our outing on Praslin. We snorkeled near the boulders and were pleasantly surprised with the marine life. Robby had the brilliant idea of feeding the fish our leftover pretzel crumbs, and we were completely surrounded by fish eating out of our hands. Very cool. The sun was quite powerful, and we spent the majority of the day lounging beneath the shady trees reading our books.
With a late afternoon departure from Praslin to Mahe, we wanted to leave enough time to catch the bus back to Baie Ste Anne. As our luck would have it, as soon as we hiked back into Anse Boudin, we saw passengers offloading and had to sprint the remaining 50 feet to catch the bus. A short ride later, we were back at the harbor. Of course the café was locked. Panic did not set it as we still had over an hour to catch our ferry and figured that the workers had taken an afternoon siesta. Five minutes later, our theory proved correct as they sauntered back in and unlocked the door. With bags in tow, we soon joined the mob that attacked the approaching Cat Cocos ferry. It is truly crazy trying to get both your bags and your body on board the ferry with folks pushing at you from all directions. But we were pros by now, and simply joined in the mass of bodies, knowing that eventually we would make our way up the plank.
Cat Cocos is a super fast ferry. We made it back to Mahe in under an hour. Catching a taxi was quite a feat but we finally managed to snag one and were quoted a fair rate to take us from Victoria harbor to Anse Royal (15 Euros). Le Relax Hotel (www.lerelaxhotel.com) was a very nice surprise. Robby had found them on the internet, and we had prebooked, having absolutely no idea what to expect. We were lured by its close proximity to the airport, and its inexpensive rate (70 Euros for a double, including breakfast). Le Relax is Indian owned/operated and the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. They checked us into room 2, a suite that exceeded our expectations. With a view overlooking Anse Royal from up high, we were amazed that Le Relax was so affordable. After finding out we could use the internet for free, we decided that we had to stay here on our return trip back from Mauritius, and immediately made another booking. Le Relax is definitely a hidden gem on Mahe…we both agreed that we would stay here on any future trips back to the Seychelles.
Dinner was at the hotel’s restaurant, and we were joined by a very nice couple from Rome, Italy. Both of them were flight attendants, and they were both enjoying a week getaway. We discussed a fair car rental rate (45 – 50 Euros for a compact), the best snorkeling spot (Anse Royal), and their favorite Seychelles spot (La Digue’s Source d’Argent). Dinner consisted of a seafood pizza and a seafood platter. Both were decent but nothing to rave about…we decided our next meal would be at Kaz Kreol, which was supposed to be the best eatery on the East Coast.
9 DEC 06: Our flight to Mauritius was a late morning one, so we had plenty of time to sleep in and relax. After breakfast, we bid adieu to the Italian couple (who were catching their return flight back to Rome), and coordinated for a taxi to take us to the airport. Our taxi driver had absolutely no idea what to ask for fare, as we tried to get him to commit and agree to a price beforehand. Once he told us the magic words of “as you like”, we settled on $10. But when he later tried to ask for 20 Euros, we laughed and told him no way. Keeping our conversation light and friendly, we explained to him that last night’s taxi was 15 Euros for a much further distance, and that $10 was reasonable. There were no hard feelings when he dropped us off at the airport, as we could see him converting how much he could get for his forex on the black market.
Our Air Mauritius check-in was a breeze and we were given emergency exit seats. We quickly learned that when the airport staff makes a boarding announcement, we should keep our seats. They kept everyone waiting in queue for well over 45 minutes after making their initial boarding announcement. It was ridiculous. The rest of our flight to Mauritius was pretty uneventful, except we both had probably the best airline food of our lives! Air Mauritius served a cold fish dish that was absolutely delicious. Two thumbs way up for Air Mauritius food!!
Read what we did from 9 – 14 DEC in Mauritius here.
14 DEC 06: The Seychellois islands absolutely sparkle in the Indian Ocean. We loved gazing out the airplane window as we were flying overhead and about to touch down in Mahe. Our second landing was really smooth, and we were all set for the inquisition as Immigration control. Passport…check. Return airline tickets…check. Sufficient funds for duration of the trip…check. We stopped by duty free to grab some water, before spotting our luggage on the conveyor belt. The very first car rental agency was Hertz and we were quoted 50 Euros a day with a 1000 Euro excess charge. (We shopped around and that darn excess charge seems mandatory…the lowest we were quoted was 800 Euros, making for a very expensive accident should one occur) Driving stick shift on the left hand side of the road took some getting used to, but a few minutes later, we were coasting on our way to Le Relax Hotel.
After greeting the hotel staff like long lost friends, we checked into our room and immediately set back out again. Robby didn’t put our car properly in reverse and drove off into the hotel’s gardens. Thankfully it’s a very light mini, so we picked it up, pushed it back onto the driveway and tried again. Once we got the hang of it down, we decided this afternoon would be a scenic day trip, exploring the southern side of the island.
Our goal was to head south past Anse Royale towards Anse Forbans and along the secondary road to Pointe Du Sud (South Point). We made it as far as Anse Royal when we saw fishermen selling their catch of the day. We stopped to get a closer look, before hopping back in and zooming down to the southern most tip of the island. Lots of secluded beaches, and at one little hideaway, we found a naked couple frolicking amongst the pools caused by the boulders. We probably interrupted their fun, as the man abruptly stood up and walked away once he spotted us. We then headed up north towards Anse Takamaka and Baie Lazare, where we took a detour to the local church. We debated whether to stop at Anse Soleil but figured we could do it tomorrow as we still wanted to see a bit more before the sun went down completely. After passing by Anse Louis, we took the Montagne Posee Road back towards the east coast, and headed back towards Anse Royal for dinner at Kaz Kreol, which lived up to our expectations. We had a scrumptious seafood pasta dish, as well as a tasty Chinese chicken dish with fried rice. Kaz Kreol is also famous for their pizzas, but we were quite happy with our selection tonight. The restaurant is quite popular with locals and tourists alike, and by 1900 the place was packed. Perhaps it’s the sandy floor ambiance, or just the good home-cooking? Our waitress was excited to tell us that she had the same surname as us, and was super attentive to us all night.
15 DEC 06: Our last day in the Seychelles! We debated whether to hold onto a room all day or force ourselves to be out and about until 2200 that night when we’d have to check in for our Emirates flight back to Dubai. And of course we chose the latter. After breakfast, we packed up and placed our luggage in storage, ensuring that Le Relax would have someone on hand late at night to let us reclaim our bags. Then it was a straight shot to Victoria, where we wanted to see the central market in action. The day started off a bit gloomy, with rain threatening overhead but it held off long enough for us to wander the streets of Victoria, snap a few fisherman’s portraits, and drive onward towards the North East Point. The North of Mahe is not the most picturesque. A reclamation project is underway, and the construction work was in full swing. We did like driving on the Western side of the northern tip, as some majestic views opened up at random points. Every time that would happen, we would find a tiny corner to park the car, sprint down towards the beach, frolic around for a bit before repeating the cycle.
The rain was merciless though. It would drench us in spurts, and then stop just long enough for us to dry off, before down pouring again. We recognized Beau Vallon as we approached it from the Northern part of the island, and seeing Baobab pizzeria made us yearn for dinner here tonight. But first we wanted to tackle the windy Sans Souci road towards Port Glaud where we hoped to get some snorkeling in at the Port Launay Marine National Park. At a high point on Sans Souci, we got panorama views of Victoria and the islands beyond, and we could spot Saint Anne, Moyenne, Long Island, and Cerf Island in the distance. Further on, another lookout area lured us into stopping for some magnificent views overlooking the Western side of the island, giving us a fine portrait of Therese and Conception islands.
It wasn’t until we reached the “Do not enter…for official vehicles only” warning sign at Port Launay Marine Park that we noticed our poor car was running on fumes. The thought of hitchhiking in search of gas was not appealing, so we decided to head back south towards the first Petrol station. But first, a quick lunch picnic was in order.
Afterwards, we headed towards the Petrol station next to the Berjaya Mahe Beach Hotel, but it looked abandoned and long since shut down. So we head further south towards Baie Lazare where 8 Euros worth of gas hardly put a dent. But it was enough for us to check out Petite Anse (surprisingly, the snorkeling here is nothing to write home about) as well as Anse Soleil (a gorgeous beach with some weird fish that jump from rock to rock and resemble huge tadpoles)
For dinner, we decided that the long trek back to Beau Vallon so we could dine at Baobab’s pizzeria again would be worth it. But it was dark, rainy, and a bit scary driving round the mountainous curves. And when we got to Baobab, it was closed due to “the cook boycotting cooking tonight”. What a letdown! We were ravenous when we made our way back towards the eastern side of the island to sample Kaz Kreol’s pizzas, which were pretty damn tasty. Even the seafood pizza!
As we drove towards Le Relax hotel to pick up our bags, we noticed a huge party going on. There weren’t any parking spot left, so we had to park on the street and walk towards reception. A Seychellois company had arranged for their Christmas party here tonight, and the place was packed! We grabbed our bags, changed back into cold weather clothes and headed for the airport where we linked up with the Hertz representative to drop off our car and keys. Check-in at the Emirates counter took no time at all and soon we were bidding the Seychelles goodbye.
We really enjoyed our time here. It is a must for any beach lover, and doesn’t have to break the bank if you plan accordingly. It is the perfect honeymoon destination, and we wouldn’t hesitate to come back. Definitely visit the Seychelles for yourselves and have a blast!