When: October 2019
Where: Mahe Island – Seychelles
Seychelles is probably as close to paradise as it gets. This secluded island chain is located almost 1,000 miles off the cost of East Africa and was primarily uninhabited throughout history. There are 115 islands and most are made up of granite rock, creating mountainous interiors and dramatic beach-scapes.
Welcome to the Seychelles
The Seychelles are stunning and provide endless opportunities for sailing, beaching and snorkeling. This was the last stop on our honeymoon travels and it was the perfect way to unwind before we headed back to real life.
Where to Stay
As with any island paradise, Seychelles has countless beach side resorts to choose from. We decided to stay on the main island, Mahe, and picked the Kempinski Seychelles Resort Baie Lazare. Since this was our honeymoon, we splurged to stay at the five star resort. We liked the location, beach area, and fact that they have tortoises living on site.
Welcome to the Kempinski!
Swinging in the Seychelles
Our room was beautiful, complete with four post bed and outdoor area with lounge chairs and view of the ocean. The resort had lots of restaurant options, a lounge where we spent most evenings, and a breakfast buffet that catered to every appetite. The food was delicious and we enjoyed mimosas, fresh fruit and a wide variety of breakfast foods that I’m still drooling over.
Additionally, the resort has gear to snorkel along the beach and a hiking trail that comes to the top of a granite mountain overlooking the guest rooms and ocean. We hiked this in the morning and were blown away by the views.
Top of the rock views of the Kempinski
As much as we liked the resort, there are tons of affordable options, including hundreds of Airbnbs that make the islands accessible to any traveler. If I make it back to the faraway island, I would stay at one of these more budget friendly places and explore the entire island chain.
Things to Do
Since there are so many small islands in the Seychelles chain, you’d be remiss if you didn’t go and explore some of them! We found a day trip through Chase Sapphire Rewards that included hotel pick up/drop off, boat trip, lunch and tour guide.
A quick one hour and forty five minutes across the Indian Ocean, we landed on the island of La Digue! You’ve probably seen this island on many a computer background desktop due it’s unique massive granite boulder that dot its beaches. The island is famous for these rocks, beaches as well as its limitless coconut supply.
Coconuts for Days
The old Governor’s Mansion
Feel free to walk or grab a bike at the dock (very few cars are allowed on the island) and head south to the L’Union Estate. It was run as a vanilla plantation as part of the island’s colonial past. Today, you can tour the site for about $10. The plantation home has a massive wrap around front porch and outback an area for the giant tortoises who live on the property.
Tortoises in La Digue
We enjoyed learning about La Digue’s history and industry but then it was time to explore the most famous beach in the world, Anse Source d’Argent beach. The waters are crystal clear,and shallow, the sands are soft and there are giant granite boulders framing the coast. It lives up to the hype.
The inviting beaches of La Digue
We spent a few hours lapping about in the shallow waters and then explored more of the coast line! All the way at the end of the path there were two beach bars serving up fresh fruit, snacks and cocktails. The bartenders were really friendly and it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Tropical drinks out of coconuts
Drink stand on the beach
Praslin is the second largest island in Seychelles and was a popular hideout spot with pirates in the late 1700s. The beaches here are also stone cold stunners, with Chevalier bay consistently rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Get ready for lazy waves and breathtaking sunsets!
Sunset sailing from Praslin
This beach is lined with palm trees where you can find some shade and post up for a full beach day. Or maybe search around your towel for a long forgotten buried treasure?There is a restaurant a few yards from the beach where you can sit down for lunch or drinks.
Beaches of Praslin
A unique feature of Praslin that should not be missed is the Vallee de Mai, which is a prehistoric historic palm forest and UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are five separate trails here which takes you through this well signed, unique nature preserve. It’s also home to the world’s largest nut, the Coco de Mar. The nut was first spotted in the waters near the Maldives by explorers. However, they could never find the tree it came from so they named it the “coconut of the sea.” Today, just the shell can sell for over 800 euros! Not only is it valuable, it’s quirky, especially it’s exotic shape with breeding habits. There are very distinct male and female palms which can be difficult to fertilize into new Coco de Mar palms!
The Coco de Mar Palm
The nut in all its kinky glory
Takamaka Rum Distillery
Not only does the Seychelles have beautiful beaches but they also make their own rum! This distillery
opened in 2001 and celebrates the diversity of the Seychelles islands, “Takamaka is the liquid in this melting pot.”
Have a Rumtastic Day!
We went to take a tour and sample this island creation and ended up buying a few bottles to take home! The rumtender was incredibly friendly, made tasty cocktails and could’ve been cast as the best bartender in Cocktail.
The best way to get downtown is the local bus! It costs three Seychellois Rupees which is about a quarter in US currency. There’s really no other cost effective way to get around! There are yellow square bus shelters throughout the roadways which post the schedule. You hop on and pay cash and enjoy the ride and views until you reach the city.
Drive-by view of the beach from the bus
Victoria is the bustling center of Mahe and there are quite a few things to see and do here! The most famous is the Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market where you can pick up fresh fruit, seafood and souvenirs. There’s a botanical garden with more of the Coco de Mar palms and a small Natural History Museum which highlights the islands unique flora, fauna and environmental challenges.
Outside the Natural History Museum
Downtown Victoria’s Famous Clock tower
Take a walk around the town and check out the iconic Victoria Clock Tower. Installed in 1903 as a memorial to Queen Victoria who passed away two years earlier. The clock is in the heart of downtown and is referred to as “Little Big Ben” as it’s made in the style of its famous counterpart in London.
Watch the Seychelles Fruit Bats
I hope you won’t be afraid of these adorable bats! They look like fuzzy flying foxes with inquisitive faces nut and are scientifically referred to as “mega bats.” It’s a critical part of the island’s ecosystem as it spreads seeds of the native trees through out the island chain. They are hanging from the trees and flying around day and night but seem to be most active at dusk.
Open Fruit Bat
Closed Fruit Bat
Try the Local Food
The cuisine in Seychelles is influenced by the many ethnic groups who have lived on the islands for decades, as well as, the fresh seafood and fish available. Marie Antoinette came highly recommended by everyone we met if you are looking for a nice dinner on Mahe Island. We did make to Coco Blue for some bar snacks and beers and overlooked the Victoria Clock Tower during the evening rush hour in downtown. My favorite spot was Maria’s Rock Cafe in Baie Lazare. The restaurant is attached to an art studio and pirate ship and has nice views overlooking the palms. The food is authentic creole which you cook yourself over heated rocks. It was delicious!
Shrimp at Maria’s Rock Cafe