We are  going to Seychelles.

That was my reaction when I found out I was heading to this magical place. I was excited! Located in the Indian ocean about a thousand miles off the coast of East Africa, its where paradise comes to life. I have always wanted to go here. I mentioned Seychelles as a possible destination when my partner asked where we should travel, only jokingly, because I love beaches. When he had a look into it, he got interested as well.

We started planning last June for a December trip, and soon discovered Seychelles is one of the most expensive areas in Africa. Its capital city – Victoria – is especially pricey. So we did intensive research and planning so that we could get great deals on accommodation and things to do. The best way we could cut down on huge hotel prices was to rent holiday apartments. Now, these apartment weren’t cheap either, but there was a difference in price. Finally we had everything booked for our holiday and we were just waiting for an island getaway.

We flew out from Entebbe using Ethiopian airlines, its the only cheaper flight you can find heading to Seychelles, the rest are crazy expensive. It was a pleasant flight to the island and I got excited when we were about to land. The islands are so small and very beautiful from above the sky, little pockets of land nestled in aqua blue waters.

I was so excited to get off the plane! The airport was tiny and clean, full of honeymooners locked hand in hand. As we anxiously waited for the cab to come pick us up, we learned that Seychelles operated on island time. The driver was very friendly and mostly the cabs here here look so fancy compared to what I see in Kampala.

The drive from Victoria to our first holiday apartment was so amazing! As we cruised idyllic beach roads, I was refreshed by the scent of a lazy ocean breeze which tickled the palm trees. At times the topography was quite hilly, with the road snaking to an apex to reveal breathtaking view. My eyes feasted on the mountains which seemed to kiss the clouds. Some buildings looked quite smart, old fashioned and colonial. I love that look. When we got to our apartment, it was so nice and homely. A friendly woman -the manager- welcomed us with open arms. The apartment had a big kitchen, with cream colored walls for the bedroom and a tiled oasis decor for the bathroom. There was also a large living room with couches, a big backyard and front sitting balcony with comfy chairs.

Views along the road in Seychelles.

Seychelles has a population of 90,000 of nice and friendly people who are quick with a smile. On this holiday we had planned to go hopping on three of Seychelles’ principal islands; Mahe, Praslin and Ladigue, So our first visit to Mahe was just for one night but we would be back later, we wanted to see the island in reverse; La Digue, Praslin and Mahe.

We had our first creole meal at a good restaurant called Kaz creole (located on the West coast of Mahe). Our seating was on the beach, and the decor was an idyllic island hut. It gave us a good impression of the meals prepared here (seafood based) and we were excited for more during our stay.

Our taxi in Praslin.

We decided to go zip lining the next day and there was no better way to appreciate the jungle-like forest than by flying high above. The trees were so tall. In some locations you could see the beautiful green/blue ocean. I had never done this before and I was quite nervous at first. However, the professional staff at SMAC Adventures relaxed my fears with their attention to detail and safety.

One of the views to the beach.

Zip lining.

Later after zip lining we headed to the Port to get out next boat to La Digue. There is only one shuttle ferry that goes to the three islands (Cat Cocos Ferry), meaning there are no cheaper options. La Digue was the best part of this holiday, so small and simple. It really felt like you knew everyone. Virtually no cars on this island, everyone was riding a bicycle. Upon checking in at our apartment, we were given our own set of wheels. On La Digue Island, you can have a walk anywhere and the most interesting part is that you can cycle from one beach to another, it is only 10.08 km, I covered the whole of it during our stay. I am not a great cyclist, but I’m functional. I got better as the time progressed. If you are looking for a scrumptious place for a meal, check out Chez Jules located at Anse Banane on La Digue. They serve an amazing creole octopus dish and have savory smoothies. Our holiday lodging here was by far the best, with a bubbly Jacuzzi and everything else was on point. It was nestled in a somewhat forestry area.

The jacuzzi.
Feeding a tortoise in the marine park
Anse De A’rgent beach.

The apartment garden.

My favorite beach, Coco Anse.
The next day was about discovering the island. We rode our bikes to a gorgeous marine national park. It’s a breath-taking reserve, with big bouldering rocks, vanilla plantations, and a tortoise farm where you can feed the turtles if you want to make some new friends. Did I mention in this same park is the entrance to the most photographed beach in the world, Anse Source d’Argent? CAN U SAY SELFIE? The beach has pink pale sand and a rocky scenery that’s more beautiful than words. If you want to relax and be away from everything, La Digue is for you.

Praslin is bigger than La Digue, but equally beautiful. Our stay was at a log cabin high above the trees. From our balcony we feasted on a spectacular view of the ocean and city. Praslin was a little busy compared to La Digue, but nonetheless a must-see. We went on a walking trail at a place called Coco De Mer where we learnt about flora and saw Seychelles’ world famous coconuts. One of the locals advised we go here instead of Valle de Mai because it is very touristic and expensive but everything is the same. On our last day we cooled off at one of the best and famous beaches, Anse Lazio. It’s a very wide terrain with ivory white sand. There’s a big crowd here, but it’s worth it. But be careful—the tide can sometimes be fierce.

While at Praslin, we went to Cruieuse Island at Anse Jose and were also able to visit the Marine national park and fed some tortoise . We took a walk through the reserved coco De Mer  mangrove forest all the way to the Doctor’s house. This trail was well worth it because there was a lot to see until our destination. This island was used as a leper colony till 1965. The doctors’ residence which dates back from the 1870’s is a museum and educational center today. Cruieuse and Praslin are the only places in the world where Coco De Mer grows naturally. The plant holds three world records, including the heaviest seed at 17.6 kgs and the largest fruit at 42 kilograms. After this walk, we were sweaty and it was the right time to go soak in the ocean at Anse Jose which was right in front of the doctor’s house.

View from top of the hill at end of the walking trail

Having a stroll at Anse Lazio.

Our lodge far up the hill

Ccoc de mer

Feeling the nature vibe in the forest.

We saw some baby sharks during snorkeling.

One of the trails in the mangrove forest.
Having a good time at Anse Jose.

Mangrove trees.
Our final days were spent discovering Mahe, the largest and most populous island in the country. I loved Victoria, the capital. It’s clean and organized and the restaurants have great food but pricey. There was one favorite spot we ate at twice (Café L’Horloge), the tuna seafood was too yummy to resist. We had scheduled to have a cruise on the ocean and it was well worth the price. The tour—a reef safari provided by Mason’s Travel– started in the morning and ran until late afternoon. The catering was delish (BBQ fish and rice) and we were even serenaded by the captain who played guitar and sang. Not only did we cruise the seas, we also fed the fish and switched boats to a submarine where we plunged the great barrier reef at the Sainte Anne Marine Park. The vessel had a glass bottom though this was a disappointment because the water was not very clear to see much fish. We ended the day by going off to swim and bathe under a palm tree while baked by a fiery sun.
One evening we were fortunate to catch the Mr. Seychelles bodybuilding competition held at the International Conference Center in Victoria. I never imaged I’d see a dozen oily, beefy Adonis’ in person strut their stuff wearing only a Speedo. Quite a sight.

The last day in Mahe, we said one last goodbye to this paradise by ordering a taxi drive around the whole island while committing blue and green seas to memory.  We did some sightseeing in Victoria, did some shopping and had the best Italian ice cream at a place called La Dolce Vita located on State House Avenue (the President’s office was located just steps from the ice cream shop).

Victoria at night.

Delicious Sea Food.

Mr. Seychelles 2015

Boat Cruise

One of the great views from the mountains.

View from one of the high points.

Hindu temple in Victoria.

Beautiful beach in Mahe.
Seychelles is true kaleidoscope of colour. The forests are emerald green, with the waters a warm, ivory blue. But its the people,welcoming and kind, who really make this pl;ace so memorable. During the past year, Leonardo DiCaprio donated millions to Seychelles for marine life preservation. This country isn’t immune to the threat of climate change and a rising sea level. So, support Seychelles. Visit, experience it, support it. You won’t regret it.
Let me know if you need more tips, if you are planning to visit.

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