Seychelles – Sun, Endless Beaches and More...
Incredible, isn’t it? I can’t recall another country’s name that brings to your mind so much good energy, so many positive messages and not for a moment any thought of doubt.
If the name Seychelles crosses your mind even for a brief moment, your imagination bursts with hundreds of images of exceptional, endless beaches, covered with white, flour-like sand which is never hot and is always so clean. So far, so good! And indeed, only mentioning the name of this island country in the Indian Ocean, not far from Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion (other island countries), makes any further explications unnecessary. You are in the company of friends, just relaxing and talking, then someone casually mentions only the name of the island republic… and suddenly sun, palms, white sands and smiles, many smiles invade the conversation!
Actually, I will start exactly with the people of Seychelles. I have traveled in over 80 countries and everywhere I go, I always start by getting to know the people. But in Seychelles they are truly special – calm, smiling, positive, always helpful and I would even say with European attitude and education. And that makes sense – practically when the islands were first discovered in the middle of the 17th century they were uninhabited and the first people to settle here were Europeans that came with their slaves from Africa. On the other hand, at least 80% of the touristic flow in Seychelles is also from Europe.
The European attitude, however, can be expressed in many different ways, as you might guess. Yet, only the best of it has left its mark on Seychelles, that’s why people here are always smiling, helpful, honest and positive. It won’t be a problem to catch a taxi from the airport, you will be able to buy a SIM card for phone calls and data immediately. Everyone, even a stranger on the streets of the capital Victoria, will guide you on how to do it in minutes.
This might be the most important question you have to ask yourself before you start planning your exotic trip. There are hundreds of similar beautiful destinations around the world and if I start listing them I would probably have to write a whole book. The most common comparison made by Bulgarian people is between Seychelles and Maldives. And certainly, without being tendentious, I guarantee you there is no room for a comparison! Each of those countries has its own advantages and charms and without a doubt, the clean, preserved nature, the untouched or sometimes even unseen beaches, the rocks and the beautiful hills of Seychelles give you the feeling of something really exceptional and even historical…
And the most solid argument – Seychelles is a one-season country, with constant temperature – approximately 32 degrees during the day and 26 degrees at night. No mosquitoes or any other insects, incredibly clean and well maintained magnificent long beaches.
For a 90-day stay in Seychelles, a visa is not required, nor are special vaccinations. However, this stay does not grant you the right to work there and the law is very strict. The languages that will make your visit easier are English and French which is really really close to the local Creole language.
Where in Seychelles?
That’s a really easy question – on every island, on every beach, on every nook. It is equally beautiful everywhere. Of course, the majority of tourists is on the main island – Mahé or Maé, as it is pronounced in the local Creole language. Although it is small for the European standards, a tour around the narrow mountain trails of the island (yes, mountain!) can sometimes last for up to 2 hours, because the traffic jams here are not a rare occurrence at all and in the rush hours they can be compared even to the ones in Sofia. Generally, on Mahé there are 5-star hotels from big chains. The only international airport in the whole country is situated here. The capital, Victoria, is here as well. It is the smallest one in the world with only 8 000 citizens.
Actually, Seychelles is composed of 115 islands, situated on 3 archipelagos, and the population is around 90 000 people. The last 116th island, Eden Island, was recently built with dutch technique and is connected to the main island Mahé by a bridge, but there are only luxurious houses, yacht harbors, and entertainment establishments.
Almost each of the inhabited islands on Seychelles is perfect for one or two weeks holiday. Of course, that depends on personal preferences, desires, and budget, as well.
Mahé island offers the greatest variety of opportunities, but it is also the one with the largest population, the nosiest one and the one with the slowest transportation. The smaller islands such as Saint Anna and Silhouette are very close to Mahé and are far more peaceful but the chance to get bored is higher. The next most popular destinations except for the main island are Praslin and La Digue, where you can get by boat or by plane with the local airline “Air Seychelles”.
The next important question you have to ask yourself is in which hotel you would want to stay, choose the price category and measure the differences. For over 15 years of service to the Republic of Seychelles I have visited all the main islands and have stayed in all 5-star hotels. I have helped to organize the holidays of thousands of people. This experience helped me come up to the conclusion that there never are two equal opinions. If you prefer the luxury and the glamour, then hotels such as Banyan Tree, Ephilia Resort, Savoy, Hilton, Eden Blue, Maca and many others would be very good choices for you. However, you should know that while a night in Savoy will cost you between 350 and 450 euros depending on the season, the prices in Maia on Mahé island or in Lemuria on Praslin might go up to 3000 euro per night.
As you can assume, the beaches are equally beautiful in all the hotels, there is no difference in this aspect. In general, the guest houses are clean, tidy and in a great number of them, the hosts will prepare a delicious breakfast for you composed of various exotic fruits, a long hot American coffee, and tasty french toasts, all included in the price.
The food – Creole or…
You will be able to choose from a variety of food because most of your time you will spend at the hotel, each one having several restaurants inside. If you still wish to cook your own food, there are numerous little shops on every island. They are managed mainly by Indians and you can buy everything that comes to mind from them. Creole meals can be ordered in every restaurant and I would recommend Boat House in the Beau Vallon region in the North-East part of Mahé. This is the only place where for the price of 25-30 euro you eat all the food you can, something that is called a buffet here in Bulgaria. In Mahé, there are several Italian and French restaurants, the most distinguished one being La Plage, located in the same area, Beau Vallon, with a phenomenal view over the ocean and delicious French cuisine. Creole food is slightly spicy. There are many similarities with Indian cuisine. The local exotic fruits are one of the most extraordinary and unique things about Seychelles. There are hundreds of them. Each one is absolutely delicious and unforgettable and you should certainly try as many as you can. If you want to taste the authentic Creole food, you should definitely hit the walking alley between Beau Vallon and Savoy Hotel after 6 pm. There is always fresh fried fish, curry sausages and other typical Creole delicacies prepared with hot spices and garnished with local steamed vegetables and freshly picked fruits. Everything is at very very reasonable prices.
Of course, only pronouncing the name Seychelles makes an association with the beaches. They are truly impressive and unforgettable! Immense, magnetic, with extraordinary sunsets and always warm, velvety soft sand… But there are beaches in a thousand more places around the globe. When you are already in Seychelles, you certainly need to go on a tour around the main island of Mahé. Let’s begin with the capital, Victoria. It is so small that it will take you only about 2 to 3 hours to walk it around. You should see the central square with the clock tower, a present from the Queen of Britain, Victoria, the fish market, the botanical garden, the shops on the main streets, the several cafes – and that’s pretty much all. After that, of course, visit The Mission – the place where the first colonizers settled, with the thoroughly renovated remains of their houses, the exceptional views from the gazebo, built especially for Queen Elizabeth II, who was enjoying the magnificent scenery from here during her stay here in 1972.
If you have the time, you can go down to the South part of the island, but except for other beaches, several more restaurants and hotels, there is nothing much impressive.
I highly recommend going on a one day trip to Praslin and La Digue. You can organize this excursion at the reception of literally every hotel and without a doubt, the agency I would suggest to book with is 7South. There are representatives of theirs at the airport, but you can meet them in the big hotels as well. The departure for the trip to the two islands is very early – at around 6 am from the central harbor in Mahé and the return is at around 8 pm in the evening. That is more than enough time to create breath-taking memories and take hundreds of pictures for your archive. Praslin is the only place in the world where the unique fruit Coco de Mer grows. It is a coconut that remarkably reminds you of a woman’s torso and is one of the country’s symbols. Its shape can be spotted at the very entrance of the border checkpoint and on the stamp in your passport. On La Digue, you should definitely visit the presidential residence, where the first erotic movie in the world – Emmanuelle – was shot during the governance of the legendary Sir James Mancham, who was a dear friend to Bulgaria. Near the residency, there is a phenomenal pool with huge turtles and if you go there, by all means, ask for my friend Josefin, who is already over 160 years old…
Besides, here are a couple more ideas. I highly recommend a fishing day with a motor yacht. Get ready to go deeply into the sea and prepare yourself for a bouquet of emotions but be sure that your safety, as well as a large tuna fish catch, are guaranteed. When you return to your hotel or guest house, ask the cook to prepare the fish and definitely order the exceptional Creole soup and the grilled tuna fillet, too. You can also spend your day doing something far less extreme – going on a half-day trip around Mahé by a little boat. Several coconuts and a well-deserved rest on a wild beach are always included, and the longer version involves a barbecue on the beach as well.
For how long in Seychelles?
Everyone can make a decision for themselves but if you are on the islands for the first time, my advice is to stay for at least 10 days. If you depart on Friday and return next Sunday, you will use only 5 days of paid leave, but you will spend an unforgettable short holiday. For less than that it is not worth the way. The transportation itself is easy – the most convenient flight is trough Istanbul by Turkish Airlines. You depart from Sofia in the evening, then have a short time to spend at the airport (but enough to do some shopping) and the next day before noon, you are in Victoria. The time difference is only one hour which means that right after you check-in at the hotel, you can dive into the ocean or start checking your emails and missed calls (you might want to leave that for later).
There are flights through Dubai or Doha as well as more distant connections through Addis Ababa or Johannesburg.
And before you leave, by all means, visit www.seychelles.bg or if you have any questions write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will definitely get an answer!
I wish you have a nice time, sunny weather and return with thousands of pictures.