"Seychelles: a country without winter! Being close to the equator, the country is never cold. It's never too hot either. The temperature remains between 24-30°C all year. This small African nation, with the smallest capital city in the world, has gorgeous beaches, warm clear sea, varied scenery with special plants, animals, and birds.
With the help of Abbotts Travel, my wife and I planned a ten-day trip to the Seychelles with Premier Holidays. According to the guidebooks, November is a good choice with calmer sea and no rain. We booked hotel stays for 5 nights in each of the two main islands of Praslin and then Mahe. The Foreign Ministry of Seychelles introduced a rule in August, asking visitors to apply for travel authorisation a few days before arrival and exit. The friendly Abbotts Travel team helped us apply online and uploaded our photos and passport pages.
Arriving at the small Mahe International Airport, it took just minutes to get passports checked, suitcases collected and to check-in. Then we were told our flight would be delayed because of heavy rain and high winds! After a long wait, we boarded our domestic flight to Praslin. Our aim when booking this 15-minute flight from Mahe to Praslin was to see the great views of the shores around both airports but nothing was visible due to rain! Everyone said rain was not expected in November and it was due to climate change. However, we arrived safely at Coco De Mer Hotel in Praslin, and within minutes we forgot our losses of the day and were delighted with what followed...
The reception staff escorting us to our room showed us the special palm tree called ‘Coco de mer’ which is also the name of the hotel. This tree is found only in the Seychelles and grows naturally in Praslin. There are separate male and female trees– only the female trees grow big coconut-shaped fruits, and inside there is a bi-lobed seed or nut which is the largest and heaviest of any fruit in the world. We also saw whistling black parrots, the national birds, which are indigenous in Praslin. We were thrilled to see the special tree and bird of Seychelles within minutes of our arrival!
The next thrill awaiting us was the spacious room with a full view of the sea through the bedroom doors. On opening the glass doors, we were right on a small lawn by the sea, with coconut trees, flowering plants, beds, chairs and hammocks - all for us! In between the reception and sea-view rooms, was a lovely swimming pool by the sea.
The hotel provided a free shuttle service to and from Anse Lazio Beach, which is probably the best beach in the Seychelles. We enjoyed the natural beach with coconut trees, clean white sands, and a warm clear blue sea. We had a swim followed by lunch at a beachside café with a refreshing chilled drink of green coconut water.
A day trip to La Digue island, just a 15-minute ferry crossing from Praslin. We arrived at the port and only town La Passe, where our driver/guide was waiting with a buggy. There are no cars on La Digue island - tourists can either walk around this small island or hire bikes, so with my mobility problems, we hired the buggy.
The driver showed us several beautiful beaches (some with raised boulders in water), lovely trees, landscapes, giant 100-year-old tortoises, and coconut oil production huts. The driver picked from the trees ripe, juicy purple water apples (not apples–a kind of large berry) and ripe star fruits; both fruits were very tasty!
The next day, we visited Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, one of two UNESCO World Heritage sites of Seychelles. A large protected natural park housing 6 varieties of palm trees, including 4000 coco de mer trees and other special plants. We heard interesting facts about the trees, and a chance to hold and feel the 15-20kg weight of each of these seeds. Large Takamaka trees are seen in many areas of the large islands. There are special animals: brown lizards, green and brown geckos, tiny green frogs. Birds: Seychelles bulbul, blue pigeons, and black parrots. Every day, after sightseeing, we had a refreshing dip and swim in the pool, and gathered at hotel viewpoints to watch the beautiful sunset. Five nights passed rather too quickly!
We moved to the main island to Victoria Port in Mahe, via ferry from Praslin, which took just an hour. Through the small town of Victoria to Beau Vallon Beach area in the northwest part, where our Fishermans Cove Hotel was located right on the sea with a large sea-view room on the front. We explored the garden, swimming pool, sea, and beach attached to the adjoining sister hotel Story. A lovely beach, part of the well-known Beau Vallon beach of Mahe. We enjoyed walking, swimming in clear warm sea water, and reclining on beach beds. On our way back to our hotel room, the guard patrolling the beach showed us groups of baby sharks swimming happily and stingrays.
We hired a taxi to show us around Mahe Island and the capital city of Victoria over 6 hours. Arriving in 15 minutes to the smallest compact capital city—Victoria, the only city in Seychelles. Victoria has only two traffic lights and the main landmark is the four-faced Clock Tower at the junction of four crossroads. Everything is within a few minutes’ walk–all shops, offices, banks, hospital, pharmacy, etc.
Other landmark sites are a South Indian-style Hindu Temple, National History Museum, Victoria Market selling local fruit, vegetables, and fish, and the beautiful Bicentenary Monument within a traffic roundabout. The structures in this Monument are three large metallic crescents, representing Africa, Europe and Asia, which were the sources of the Seychelles population. The Botanical Garden of Mahe would be of interest to those who had not visited the Vallée de Mai in Praslin which had similar plants.
After visiting Victoria, the driver took us to various areas and viewpoints of the Mahe Islands. Driving up Morne Seychelles, the highest mountain of Seychelles, we saw a small tea plantation and tea factory, many beautiful beaches, a man-made island for the rich called Eden Island (connected with the main Mahe island by a bridge) and a village fruit market selling tropical fruits roadside. For the last days, we chose to relax in the hotel, spent time at the pool, and beach, spotting fish, baby sharks, and stingrays.
The food in both island hotels was interesting and varied–mainly French and Creole cooking with various Arab, Indian, or Mediterranean menus. Many varieties of fish and seafood, fruits like banana, pineapple, papaya, melon, and varieties of puddings at breakfast or dinner were very tasty.
A holiday in the Seychelles is not cheap. But we enjoyed it thoroughly as a lifetime experience and for our 50th wedding anniversary year, it was well worth it!
Thanks to Abbotts Travel for all your help."
Dr Mustafiz Rahman, November 2023
To book your holiday, contact Abbotts Travel
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