Departing Réunion we drove north to the airport along the freeway adjacent to the new, over the ocean Réunion Viaduct, which at €1.8billion is the World’s most expensive road per kilometre and is certainly impressive.
We flew due north for 2.5 hours to Mahe, the largest island in the Seychelles and home to the country’s capital city Victoria, which is the smallest capital in the World and not surprising, as the Seychelles is Africa’s smallest country by land area and has Africa’s smallest population of only 95,000 people.
For me it’s African country number 47 and after only two days I’ve voted it no. 1 for beaches. Certainly assessable beaches anyway. Kenya, Somalia and the Egyptian Mediterranean have equally as good beaches but are hard work.
The Seychelles are divided into two types of islands. The northern islands where we’re staying and where all the tourists visit are unique in that they are the only oceanic granite islands in the world. The outer islands are spread over 1500 km and are your typical coral islands.
I’m not a big fan of moving accommodation too often but to see these islands we decided to spend four days on each of the main three, Mahe, Praslin (pronounced prar-lay) and La Digue. A total of 13 days.
All three main islands have boulder-dotted coastlines with perfect white sand beaches and a rocky rainforest clad interior.
Mahe itself has 65 beaches but we only spent time on two or three of them. We visited the mountains every day and also visited the capital.
We caught the ferry to Praslin and booked into an Airbnb in Grand Anse owned by an Aussie couple who spend half their year in Perth and the other half in the Seychelles. They cooked us a delicious Creole dinner on our first night.
Wth the next day overcast we visited the Valley de Mai where the Coco de Mer Palm grows, which has the largest nut/seed of any plant in the World. A single nut can weight 30kg.
For centuries their seeds would wash up on foreign beaches, often thousands of kilometres away and no one knew what tree they were from or where they were from. People assumed they were from the sea and grew in underwater forests, hence the name Coco de Mer. It wasn’t until 1768 that Dufrense discovered them on the uninhabited island of Praslin.
The rest of our time was spent at a beach called Anse Lazio, which has been voted the world’s most beautiful beach several times.
I knew that fact before arriving so was a tad sceptical but after only five minutes on the beach, I could see why it would win that title. 500m long, powder white sand, clear warm water, shady trees and granite boulders for a bit of character. We spent two days there before catching the ferry to our final island.
Our final island was the smallest and also home to beaches that are often ranked in the World’s top 10.
La Digue is small with very few cars and a thriving bike hire business. You either walk or pedal, reminiscent of Lord Howe Island except with better beaches.
Before getting too excited about beaches we had to first head into the rainforest to see Seychelles Black Paradise-Flycatcher, La Digue being the only island in the World were its found!
The following day it rained pretty much all day, which gave me the opportunity to do eight hours of Madagascar planning. I’ve been in Africa since February and can count on one hand the day’s I’ve lost due to rain, I can’t complain.
The following day the sun came back out and we headed to a secluded beach near our villa. With all the other tourists flocking to the famous name beaches, we had this beach to ourselves all morning.
At this time of year with trade winds blowing constantly the beaches on the southern side of the island are terrible, so we kept to the protected side and tried to avoid the hundreds of day trippers that pour into the island each day.
The best beach on the island is called Anse Source d’Argent and when I say ‘best’ it’s stunningly beautiful but hopeless for swimming or body surfing but neither of those seem to matter as the main thing that people do on the beach is take selfies of themselves. Which I think is the main reason most people come to the Seychelles.
To get to Anse Source d’Argent we rode through a Vanilla plantation and past several Aldabra Tortoises, which seem to be on just about every Indian Ocean Island we’ve been to.
We spent our final afternoon on the beach and then rode into town, bought takeaway and sat on the coast watching the sunset over Praslin. Tomorrow we catch the ferry back to Mahe and the next day fly to Madagascar where we’ll spend a month.
Bye for now…