Quick Facts about the Seychelles
The Seychelles: A group of 115 islands + 7 man made islands. They are divided into 2 groups (inner and outer islands).
Location: Located in the Indian Ocean, 1,500km off the eastern coast of Africa (Kenya & Tanzania).
Population: The population is less than 100,00 and and 98% of the Seychellois live on the 3 main islands: Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
Language: Seychellois Creole (very similar to French), English and French are the main languages.
Climate & When is the best time to visit: Tropical weather means that the Seychelles have constant warm temperatures all year round, ranging between 25 and 30 degrees celsius. July and August are the coolest months and than there are the trade winds seasons. The hottest months are from December to April, with high levels of humidity. You can expect rain every day of the year, however December – February are the wettest months. We visited in March – we still had rain almost every day (for a couple of hours maximum). Even though it is hot and humid, if you visit in March, you may be lucky enough to see turtle hatchlings!
Getting there: The main international airport is on the island of Mahé and is connected with direct flights to some main airports in Africa like Nairobi, Mauritius and Johannesburg. There are also flights to the middle east like Dubai, Istanbul, Doha and Abu Dhabi and a couple of seasonal flights to European cities like Frankfurt, Zurich and Bristol.
Length of your stay: The main attraction of these islands are their beaches. Most of the visitors come here to relax, however the internal part of the main islands is tropical rainforest with waterfalls and several trails of different difficulty. The length of your trip also depends on which islands you wish to visit. We stayed for two weeks and stayed on the 3 main islands: Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
Cost of living: these islands are far from being on the cheap side. There are no hostels for backpackers and the cheapest accommodation you can opt for are guest houses or holiday homes. Dining out is extremely expensive so cooking your lunches and dinners will help you save money. Most of the food here is imported from far away and the only products that are ‘cheap’ are local fruits and freshly caught fish.
Getting around: The 3 main islands are connected by ferries that offer an excellent service. If you wish to know more about the ferries you can check out their website here. Mahé and Praslin have a good road infrastructure as well as public transport, so getting around can be done through buses or by private transport (taxis or car hire). There are no highways and getting around is very easy. It is very difficult to get lost. La Digue can easily be explored on food or by bike as there are no cars on the island. I will post further info on the other islands in separate posts.
We decided to visit the 3 main inhabited islands: Praslin, La Digue and Mahé. Our main objective was to relax and this was our first time travelling as a family of 4 with our 4 year old daughter and a 4-month baby.
Overview of our itinerary:
5 nights on Praslin
3 nights on La Digue
6 nights on Mahé
Where to stay on Praslin
Let’s start talking about our first part of the trip … Praslin
Praslin is the second largest island, roughly 38km2. On Praslin we opted to stay on Côte d’Or for several reasons: there are several accommodations to choose from. Moreover, there are some shops and restaurants. However the island is very small so you can practically stay anywhere you want and reach everywhere within 30mins.
We have stayed at Côte d’Or Footprints and I would highly recommend this place. It’s a complex with apartments and beach villas surrounded by lush green gardens that are very well mantained and we loved exploring. The villas face Côte d’Or/Anse Volbert beach which is a very nice sandy beach where you can swim. You can also kayak to the nearby islet of St. Pierre, which is an excellent snorkelling spot.
What we loved about this place:
The location – quite central with some nearby shops where you can buy essentials and some restaurants if you do not wish to cook.
The garden – we loved walking around in the garden and observe the mature trees that are home to several birds.
The beach – not the best beach on the island and we did not enjoy it as much as I would have loved to, as it was windy and there were high waves. However it is still a very nice beach where you
The sunrise – if you are a morning person (even if you are not) you will love to watch sunrise from the beach.
What we loved less:
The heat – It is not about the place as such, but the heat and humidity may become unbearable. Unfortunately air conditioning is only available in the bedroom, while the kitchen area only has some ceiling fans. The situation is the same for all the accommodation we stayed at in the Seychelles. Airconditioning is only provided in bedrooms, so while cooking and eating you have to endure the heat.
What to do on Praslin
Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
This nature reserve is a UNESCO heritage site where the largest seed in the world grows: the seed of the Coco de Mer palm tree. It is located at the centre of the island along the only inland road that crosses the island horizontally. There are 3 easy trails that you can follow here ranging from an easy 1.5km to a slightly longer trail of 4km. Anything that involved physical activity was quite challenging because of the temperatures and humidity levels, so we opted for the shortest trail.
If you would like more info on Vallée de Mai you can click here.
Snorkelling at Anse Lazio
This beach is amazing and I can say it was our favourite beach from all the Seychelles islands. Why?
- It is easily accessible
- You can stay choose to sunbathe or chill in the shade of the palm trees (like most of the beaches in Seychelles)
- There is a nearby small car park, as most several beaches are along the road with nowhere to park.
- You can buy fruits and coconuts on the beach
- It is great for snorkelling; the water visibility is very good and the best spot for snorkeling is located on the right hand side of the beach and easily reachable.
- You can also depart from Anse Lazio and explore nearby coves and beaches like Anse Georgette.
Boat trip to Curieuse
This was maybe the highlight of our stay on Praslin. You cannot visit Praslin, without taking a boat tour to the nearby island of Curieuse which is a Marine Park and is home to very diverse wildlife. You can combine the day tour to Curieuse with some swimming at other locations like the island of St. Pierre or Anse Georgette which is easily reachable by boat. Here I would like to mention the company which we used for our boat trip – Angel Tours. I cannot recommend them highly enough as we had the best service we could hope for! You can contact Angla via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Whattsapp +248 2515327
We departed from Grande Anse and we made our way to Anse Lazio which was our first stop. While we were swimming, we were greeted by a green turtle! It was absolutely a magical moment!
After some swimming and snorkelling, we left Anse Lazio towards the island of Curieuse. Our very guide was very knowledgeable and that is one of the reasons why I highly recommend this company. He knows everything about the wildlife on the islands and was able to answer our numerous questions. The boat arrived and Anse st. Jose and we went trekking in the heart of the island to reach Anse Papaie. The trek was quite easy, even though the heat was quite stifling. Along the way we managed to see the impressively gigantic mud crabs that live in the mangroves. But this was just the beginning as we consequently reached the Tortoise sanctuary. Meeting these giants was so exciting, especially for our 5 year old daughter. We were able to get very close as these tortoises are very approachable. On the beach we found a delicious barbecue waiting for us – some exquisite grilled barracuda, with some chicken and vegetables! The food was simply divine! Last but not least we had some free time on the beach and as soon as we approached the shore which was full of tortoises, we realised that more wildlife was waiting for us in the sea. This beach was full of harmless yellow sharks! Swimming with them was so ecstatic!
The final stop after departing from Curieuse island, was the islet of St. Pierre. This place is one of the most iconic of all the Seychelles and the colour of the water is amazing. We had some time for snorkelling, however I was very sad to see that only a small fraction of the coral survived blanching. Most of the coral died due to the rising sea temperatures. On a positive note, our guide explained that the Seychelles are successfully managing to regrow corals artificially and reintroducing them back to the ocean in places where they disappeared.
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