Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times- Asian Proverb
For those not familiar with the country, the Seychelles known officially as the Republic of Seychelles, is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The country has the smallest population of any African state with just over 90,000 people and 115 islands (only about 60% of the islands is inhabited). The three main and most visited islands of the Seychelles are Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. The capital of the Seychelles, Victoria, is in Mahe. My trip report on the Seychelles will be in two parts as we visited the three main Islands mentioned above and it is quite a task to incorporate in one trip report the write-up on all the three Islands.
One thing most people wonder about the Seychelles is how expensive a destination is it? So let me get that out of the way and confirm that the Seychelles is expensive! You will need to budget at least double to thrice the amount you typically spend for other long haul destinations. Even if you get yourself a flight for about €300, which is possible in economy class from Europe (although it is most likely to mean 18-24 hours transiting airports), you will find that accommodation (hotels), eating out, activities, island hopping etc. are not cheap. But once you have prepared your mind and finances for this reality, be rest assured that a visit to the Seychelles will be more than rewarding.
For me the Seychelles was a random holiday choice for my birthday (not honeymoon *cough*). I wanted to go somewhere completely different where I could “reinvigorate” from the heavy workload at the office and the Seychelles seemed to fit the bill. My birthday celebration and pampering officially began with the welcome champagne on the Air Seychelles flight from Tanzania (it felt even more special as there was just two of us in the business class cabin). After a short 3.5 hours flight, the plane landed in the Seychelles.
It would have been a seamless transition from the airport to the villa, if I hadn’t forgotten the name of the villa booked and misplaced the printout confirming the booking. Well you can’t really blame me for my unusual disorganised state, the villa booking was rather last-minute due to an unexpected flight schedule change by Air Seychelles (read more about that here). It took me 40 minutes to find the villa information and to finally get cleared by immigration and customs. We then picked up our hired car and it was Helloooo Seychelles! 🙂
The first Island of the Seychelles we visited was Mahe. Mahe is the biggest and most populated of the islands (about 90% of the total population of the Seychelles live here). All boats and flights lead to Mahe and it is home to the country’s only international air and sea ports. Mahe surrounded by lush greens and stunning mountains made a good first impression on us. The high, winding roads were also punctuated with many spectacular viewing points.
Also click here for a longer video showing how beautiful and challenging it can be driving in the Seychelles.
The drive to our villa was about 40 minutes. When we got there, the very patient and lovely hostess welcomed us with much needed chilled apple juice. Her smile and open spirit was typical of the island welcome. She drove us to a nearby convenience store to get snacks and we stocked up on our munchies. Back at the villa, we got our Wifi set up, indulged on the snacks and ice cream we bought and prepared ourselves for a pretty good night at the villa.
We checked in the next morning at our hotel, Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove. The setting of the hotel on Beau Vallon beach was simply stunning and although it was just a few minutes drive from the villa, the feel at the hotel was dramatically different. It felt magical seeing the backdrop of the beautiful mountains right from the lobby. As we had arrived a bit too early, our room wasn’t yet ready so we took the opportunity to explore Beau Vallon beach and to look for somewhere to eat. A lot of the restaurants were closed at this time so we settled for a drink at one of the beach bars and returned to the hotel and our room. See the video below for the wonderful view from outside our Hilltop Suite. Click here to see the inside of the Suite.
After unpacking, we decided to see the other side of the city which was about 2 hours drive away. We arrived at Port Launay where we discovered the Constance Ephelia Resort which soon became our favourite resort on the island due to its sheer beauty and size (recommended for honeymooners). We had lunch at Del Place, a seemingly ordinary restaurant by the beach. The food bill from this not so fancy restaurant was our first indication of how expensive eating out in the Seychelles is (lunch for the two of us was about €100). After lunch we walked to the Waterfall nearby and continued our tour of the Island. We were completely exhausted upon our return to the hotel and cancelled our pre-booked dinner for the evening.
Quite frankly, we could have stayed in the hotel for the duration of our stay and not get bored cause all water sport activities were at our door step. The next morning after breakfast, my travel partner went for scuba diving. I can’t swim so I decided to catch up on much needed sleep. He really enjoyed the scuba diving experience and enthused about the new friends he also met (unfortunately, he didn’t take any picture of the fish he saw).
Dinner at the hotel was wonderful. The hotel has two restaurants- Le Bourgeois, for fine dining and Le Cardinal, a buffet restaurant. We ate only at Le Cardinal for the whole of our stay because we loved the buffet option and the ambience was very chilled out and romantic (the live music during dinner also made me feel warm and fussy inside lol).
Zip lining the next day was the highlight of our trip. It was fun from the beginning to the end and we had a blast. The original plan was for us to return to our hotel for parasailing but the weather didn’t look too promising so we decided to do more cruising and exploring of Mahe, which wasn’t a bad alternative.
Click here for video of our Zip Lining adventure.
My destination verdict: The Seychelles is definitely a must visit. It is the ultimate island paradise and like the title of my trip report suggests, the “wowness” of the Seychelles is real. There is everything in the Seychelles from beaches to gardens, to rare plants to rare birds, and lots more. For those that love adventure, there are numerous islands in the Seychelles to visit including the very exclusive North Island, where the British Royal couple, William and Kate, spent their honeymoon.
Mahe itself was a really delightful island and had a good island vibe. There is something for everyone in Mahe and not a moment to get bored. It was clear that the 4 days we spent in Mahe was not long enough as there was just too many things to do and see, but it was a good taster and I am sure to visit again sometime in the future.
The ideal holiday itinerary to the Seychelles would include the 3 main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, each having its own unique character and offering. The islands cater to budgets from mid range to ultra luxurious (not low budget) with a variety of hotels, villas and guest houses at different price points. Personally, I would recommend staying in a hotel especially in Mahe as I think this really makes a difference in the type of experience you get. You also have a choice of transfers between the islands including by plane, boat, ferry or helicopter.
A plus for those travelling from the Euro zone is that most merchants in the country accept euros which is rather convenient but be warned, I got the impression that tourists are viewed as cash cows so a lot of prices are either inflated or you might be sold tours to places such as the Waterfall that are actually free to visit. Click here for more tips on the Seychelles.