Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

Seychelles - rock formations - a.k. photo

,, Outside of the capital, there aren’t really any towns or cities, just individual farms or little hamlets of a couple of houses, and these are all close to the main coastal road. From the houses and their surroundings, you can see that people here are more prosperous than those on the African continent 1500km away, but from a European perspective, you still wouldn’t call it a rich country. From the 19th century until 1976 Seychelles were a British colony, and that’s why they still drive on the left. Traffic, however, is negligible: Apart from a few tourists, there isn’t much besides some small vans and mopeds. There’s only one road, so it’s impossible to get lost, but we didn’t want to accidentally drive past an important stop, so I switched on the GPS. It took us to our first destination, the bay of Anse à la Mouche. The recipe here is the same as elsewhere: Take one part sandy beach, add some gigantic rocky cliffs, sprinkle on some palm trees and thick vegetation. If you’re lucky there won’t be big waves and you can take a relaxing dip, or look at the fish through diving goggles.
After a few photos, we drove on to Anse Soleil, where we parked the car. This and the neighboring Anse La Liberté is not so secluded, and we decided to travel on towards Anse Gouvernement. This is very close, but on the other side of the hill, you have to descent a steep slope. Still, the beach is so beautiful that it’s worth it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Likes&Dislikes by Nora (2017)


Likes
1. The sorts of beaches I always dreamed of seeing one day (my personal favorite is Anse Patates!)
2. Most self-catering bungalows are spacious, air-conditioned, and in perfect condition
3. There is Wi-Fi in more places than I had expected
4. Clear waters in captivating shades of blue, and much colorful fish in totally unfamiliar shapes and sizes
Dislikes
1. The chaos which reigns in the grocery stores on La Digue island – unpleasant smells, a small range of options, rotten vegetables, unrefrigerated dairy products etc.
2. The range of food offered by street vendors is also pretty thin, and what they do sell isn’t great
3. Big nettles by the roadside are an annoyance when walking in the dark
4. In April the sea is really too warm
5. The locals are not, in general, the friendliest
6. Rays lurk in the sand on the beaches along the Côte D'Or, which apparently usually only lead to minor irritation, but can occasionally – as in our case – cause more serious injuries


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Anse, by the way, is French for ‘bay’. This is a reminder that there were already French-speaking settlements here in the 18th century, which remained when the British took over. The most widely spoken language today isn’t exactly French, but rather a modified creole version unique to the islands. The official language of business and administration is technically English, but the policeman who stopped us wasn’t really able to say what he wanted, and after a few tries he decided it was wiser just go give me back my papers and let us go.
Anse Takamaka is a great place. It’s easy to park in the shade, there are hardly any people on the beach, and there’s a cheerful little seafront bar where the beer is cold and the view is first-class.
Anse Intendance is a private beach – a good one – but for hotel guests only, so we drove on to Anse Bazarca in hopes of something even better. Unfortunately, we found it too rocky. Even more remote – almost hidden away – is Anse Petite Police, which we couldn’t even get close to by car, because the road was overrun with vegetation. One of the good things about the Seychelles is that there are hardly any dangerous animals. No snakes or malarial mosquitos, but also hardly a beach that you can get to without a machete, so thick is the undergrowth that springs up thanks to the warmth and tropical rains.


From here we drove back to the east side of Mahé island, which is less spectacular, or maybe we had just started to get bored of banana trees. Certainly, there are more houses on this side and more locals on the beaches. Driving through a village we saw a church, and beside it a small school, so we stopped to take some pictures. Around 90% of the locals are Catholic, but there are small Muslim and Hindu minorities as well. A large proportion of the population is fairly superstitious. Interestingly, they don’t like personal compliments, especially towards children, because they believe that these will bring bad luck. It’s pleasant for tourists to note that the local culture has fairly relaxed views on dress code, and you can wear whatever summer clothes you like without fear of reprimand. Still, we did have the decency not to visit the churches in our beach clothes.
Close to the equator the sun rises around six in the morning and sets around six in the evening all year round, so we made a habit of returning to our hotel before dark. We would explore the capital, Victoria, at the end of our trip, when we returned to Mahé, but the next day we set off for the other islands.


Day 4: Praslin – the silver medalist


I had arranged to hand over the hire car at the harbor, so as to get rid of the Hyundai, and I was a little nervous, having heard tales of the relaxed attitude people in this part of the world have towards timekeeping. I needn’t have worried – two people from the agency were waiting for us at the appointed time to pick up the car. That same day we took a ferry across to the second largest island in the Seychelles, Praslin. This island of 38km2 has 6500 permanent residents, as well as a good number of tourists at any one time. Besides the many beautiful beaches, there is also the Vallée de Mai nature reserve, which is often visited by nature lovers who want to see the local Lodoicea, or coco de mer, which grows here in greatest abundance: the coconuts they produce look like nothing so much as a big human backside. The whole reserve is a UNESCO world heritage site. We could choose between three prepared trails, the longest of which is a three-hour walk. It’s also possible to walk along the coastal cliffs. Local guides led us through the most overgrown sections and even cooked us a lunch of freshly caught fish.


There are lively debates on online forums concerning which island is best for sunbathing, but in my own view they’re all roughly as good as each other, so it isn’t worth getting too worked up about it. There’s also one alternative way to spend a holiday here, which is to take a local cruise for one or two weeks and visit a number of islands. These can even be booked through European travel agencies. Still, it’s a good thing I didn’t choose this option – even the one-hour ferry crossing caused me serious gastrointestinal issues. There’s also a company which offers twice-daily catamaran cruises for tourists. The ticket isn’t cheap – about $115 – but at least here the sick bag is free. (I almost needed one, though I took my Gravol before getting on board.)

After disembarking, we tried to limit our expenses by taking a bus, which arrived at the scheduled time, and with our suitcases on our laps, we traveled to our hotel on the Anse Petite Cour. This bay is in fact entirely owned by the hotel. It’s a good little place, and when we stepped out of our room, it was only a few paces down to the beach. That day we didn’t go anywhere else.


Day 5: Because you can never have too much sunshine.


Many say that Anse Lazio is the most beautiful beach in the country, and as it happens our hotel was close by, so we decided to pay it a visit! We hopped on another bus and took it all the way to the northern tip of the island. The sandy beach is one kilometer from the last stop, but the warm sunshine makes it a pleasant walk. The pure white sand is made more idyllic still by the turquoise waters beyond, and I understand why they call this Seychelles’ most beautiful beach. It’s also a paradise for snorkelers, with a totally unique atmosphere, though it’s becoming more and more popular with tourists, and apparently, there are times when it gets pretty crowded. That wasn’t the case at all during our visit, though that may have been because of the stiff breeze. The bay isn’t well sheltered, so the waves were quite high. Last year there was a shark attack here, and in response, they put up nets; it’s not advised to swim out beyond them. There are no shower facilities, unfortunately, but at least there’s plenty of shade. There’s also a bar here as well, where we were able to get a cold soda, and in the afternoon the Indian staff even cooked two huge jackfish for us, as well as some curry rice. Though the guidebook cautions against eating food prepared in a shack with no running water, we risked it and survived. In fact it was delicious.


The trip back was pleasant enough, as we were the only travelers on the bus – on all our other trips it had been full. We spent the evening in front of the TV, where we caught the Hungary-Belgium game at the European Championships and relaxed after an active day.


Day 6: La Digue


The smallest among the larger islands. This really is an isolated place, without much traffic, but with wonderful nature and almost two thousand inhabitants. It’s thirty minutes from Praslin by ferry, which departs seven times daily. Instead of a ticket, they give you a plastic boarding pass, which they take off everyone at the end of the trip. Invest in an online payment method!


La Digue owes its isolation and authenticity to the difficulty of reaching it. You hardly see cars here, but there are plenty of horse-drawn carts, which are the official means of transport on the island.


You see bicycles on every corner, and around the harbor, there are several places where you can rent one for around $7-10. So we leapt into the saddle and set off towards the famous beach at the southern end of the island. Our route took us through the Veuve nature reserve, a small forest where many species of bird can be seen. The most well-known of these is the paradise flycatcher, but others including the yellow bittern, the zebra finch, and the Seychelles black parrot can also be found here (and entry is free). The flora is no less rich, with rare orchids, vanilla, Malabar almond, and takamaka all present. The takamaka is used to prepare an excellent rum, which we soon found the opportunity to sample.


Passing through the village, we came across a wedding. Not wanting to sit there like gaping onlookers, especially in our shorts and sandals, we just took a few photographs of the ceremony from a distance. After about four or five kilometers of cycling, we came to the beach, after traveling through some very pretty forest. No surprises, this too was an unspoiled, idyllic beach. I’m almost ashamed to say that we were beginning to take these things for granted. There was a forgettable restaurant there, and we ate a meal. What did we eat? I forget, but I remember that it was expensive. Neither of us was in the mood to lie about on the sand for long, so we set off again to explore the north-east corner of the island. The only problem was, it turned out there wasn’t much to explore: a few hotels dot the hillside, but the coast was steep and rocky, and at one point the path just stopped. We still had plenty of time until our boat set sail, and if it had been possible we would have settled ourselves on some sandy stretch of beach, but we couldn’t find any route onward across the sharp rocks, and the wind had picked up noticeably.


Day 7: The Capital


Returning to Mahé, we chose a new hotel in the quieter, northern part of the island. This was still close to the capital, however: Just ten minutes by taxi. The city got its name from Queen Victoria, and it surprises me that they didn’t change it after independence. Just take a look at what happened back home in Hungary after 1989! Even the word ‘liberation’ became tainted with communist connotations, never mind Stalin or Moscow. Sorry if it seems as though I’m trying to compare like with like, because that absolutely isn’t my intention: This little city of thirty thousand people is barely the size of Stratford-upon-Avon, never mind Budapest. The main attraction is a clock tower that stands in the middle of a square, which is a sheet-metal miniature copy of Big Ben. There’s also a Hindu shrine, Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar, which has an attractively colorful roof, and that’s about it. The whole town center can be explored in no more than an hour or two. We whiled away a little more time in the main square because the colorful fruit and fish on sale made good photo subjects. There are also all the usual trinkets and souvenirs.


We also climbed up to a Catholic church on a hillside, but it wasn’t anything special. The most interesting discovery (for us at least) was the seal of the Hungarian consulate on the main street. If I remember correctly, the Hungarian owner of a travel agency doubles as the consul. We walked back to the hotel along a path used by the locals, and it was pretty tough going.


Days 8-10 infinite laziness


Even to this point, we hadn’t exactly filled our days with sightseeing – though of course we saw plenty of beautiful scenery – but during the final three days, we did practically nothing. There were more bathers on Beau Vallon Beach than on the beaches we’d previously visited, but it still wouldn’t equal the numbers on a popular European beach in summer, even on a weekday. Since everyone prefers to go down to the beach, there’s no need for rows of sunbeds around every hotel swimming pool, and nobody bothers to claim one for the whole day while spending most of their time elsewhere. But I’m only writing all this so I can post some links to the photos we took.


Bazar Labrin is an event held every Wednesday evening and promised an interesting little program. The locals light a fire, then sing and play drums in cheerful groups – the atmosphere is unmistakably African. There are also market stalls and lots of vendors selling street food. One thing that makes the whole event less picturesque than it might otherwise be is the lack of street lighting down by the beach, and you’re always at risk of stumbling in the dark amid all the youngsters hanging about around the edges. Some use their car headlights to try to cast a little light on things, but this didn’t help much. Finally, we got back to the little restaurant we were using as our ‘base camp’, the Baobab Pizzeria, which has breathtaking views out across the moonlit ocean. (2019)

------------------

We suggest spending half of your vacation on La Digue and the remaining half split between Mahé and Praslin. We remind you that there are 112 uninhabited islands beside the three inhabited islands. If you can afford, visit by plane any of these: Bird, Desroches, Alphonse, Assumption or Denis islands.


Practicals

Transport

Since on Mahé and Praslin you may not get on the public buses due to COVID-rules, you need to rent a car. That especially practical on Mahé, where you can rent a small Kia for 35-40 Euro per day. (May 2021)

Driving a car

Driving is on the left, which is weird at first, but you can get used to it in 2 days. Locals drive cautiously and do not honk on you if your car goes slowly. 
There is no sidewalks or strips railing on the side of the roads. In most places, there is no street lighting.
Driving on the mountain roads is scary initially, but less of a problem after a while.

Taxi

The standard fare from the airport to the Beau Vallon area was 40 EUR, from Praslin to Grand Anse 15 EUR.


Seychelles - public bus - n.z. photo

Seychelles - public bus - n.z. photo

Seychelles - Mahe - bus station - f.j. photo

Food

x

Seychelles - beach food - Seafood pizza for 11 USD - v.f. photo

Shopping

1. Shops are usually open from 08:30 to 18:00. There isn’t a large selection, similar to what a smaller convenience store offers back home.

Seychelles - souvenir shop - f.j. photo

Fun

x

Seychelles - La Digue - Anse Source d'Argent - glass bottom canoe - s.m. photo

Seychelles - cocktail menu (around 8 Euros) - s.b. photo

Seychelles - coco rum - n.z. photo

Health

1. Bring mosquito repellent if you plan to go hiking (even in a smaller national park). In inland nature, there are plenty of mosquitos, and they are aggressive. Luckily there are fewer mosquitos in the coastal areas.

2. Bring sunscreen because it is easy to get sunburnt in direct sunlight. For those with light skin, an SPF of 50 is recommended, even if you use an SPF of 30 elsewhere.

3. Locals suggest that after boiling, you can safely drink the tap water. Boiling is only needed to neutralize the taste of chlorine.




Others

1. If you have a waterproof phone, you better bring a cordless charger.  Why? Because, even if the phone does not contact water, you'll get a warning signal as the high humidity may produce perspiration in your pocket. In such cases, a cordless charger becomes helpful at the reload. 

2. Never go on an excursion, hiking in flip-flops (thongs).

3. The beaches are sandy in most places but wear water shoes in the rocky parts, or if you want to bathe at a waterfall.



Seychelles - a.k. photo

Seychelles - n.z. photo

Seychelles - characteristic huge coastal rocks - f.j. photo

Background

Seychelles - national flag

Destination in brief

Seychelles in brief


The Seychelles is a group of islands and an excellent beach holiday destination in the Indian Ocean, 1,600 km (1,000 mi) east of the African coast. The Seychelles is considered as an African country, but it looks and feels very different from other African countries.

Size: 459 km² (177,2 mi²) – The archipelago consists of 115 islands but, by three of them are by far the largest ones and welcome most incoming tourism: Mahe (the main island), Praslin and La Digue.

Capital city: Victoria

Population (in 2020): 98,100  – 90% of the population lives on the island of Mahe. The people of the Seychelles are 90% creole (people of mixed African, Malagasy, Indian, Chinese, French, and British origins). Many among them are the descendants of a mixing, especially throughout the 19th century, of French colonists and black African slaves.
Only 8 of the 115 islands are permanently inhabited.

Seychellois society is one of the few in the world that is matriarchal. Mothers dominate the household. Women decide on expenditures and determine the future of the children in the household. Men are important for their earning ability but have little role to play in the domestic sphere.

Language: Seychellois Creole (most widely spoken), English and French are the three official languages.

Religion: about 75% Roman Catholic

Form of government: Presidential republic

Average net monthly salary: 2,100 USD (2020) – It must also be said that the prices are exceedingly high.
The Seychelles is quite a rich country. Its GDP per capita is the highest in Africa and is higher than that of some European countries.

Currency: Seychelles rupee (SCR) – wonderful banknotes with birds

The Seychelles is a left-driving country.

Safety: perfect

Optimal timing for a vacation: May-October

Most important tourist attractions: Anse Intendance (a beach) on Mahe, Anse Lazio and Anse Volbert (on Praslin), Baie Lazare (on Mahe), La Digue island, Beau Vallon Beach, Vallée de Mai National Park (on Praslin), Ste Anne National Marine Park,  Morne Seychellois National Park, the mountainous Silhouette Island


Geography

x

Seychelles- smoothed granite rocks - f.f. photo

Seychelles - Mahé - Port Glaud Lagoon area - r.h. photo

Seychelles - palm tree characteristically leaning over the sea water - f.j. photo

Seychelles - ghost (or land?) crab - v.f. photo

Climate

,, Weather is unpredictable in Seychelles, as almost everywhere else nowadays. In May, we could not forecast if the next day would be very sunny or very rainy. At the beginning of the stay, we had three rainy days consecutively, tour, Praslinon almost fell for three days, after that nights were rainy and daytimes sunny. "

Nowadays

x

Seychelles - Mahe Island - The ever-present iPhones - f.j. photo

People

The locals are very kind, helpful, calm. They are delighted with the tourists; they say hello, ask questions, talk, and mostly without commercial motivation. Everyone speaks English, French.

Seychelles - lovals - f.j. photo

Seychelles - locals - f.j. photo

Seychelles- kids - f.j. photo

Seychelles - Victoria - young women - f.j. photo

Seychelles - Mahe - market - banana seller with dreadlocks - p.d. photo

Seychelles - little girl - f.j. photo

Attractions

Victoria

Seychelles - Victoria - clock tower - k.h. photo

Seychelles - Victoria - Kovil Sangam, hindu temple - nz. photo

Seychelles - Victoria - f.j. photo

La Digue

Likes:

1. "Let's not make the mistake of spending half-day or a day only on La Digue." La Digue is the most beautiful and unique of the three inhabited islands. Anse Marron and Anse Coco will surely be a memorable experience! Since we have to hike to both of these beaches, no crowd is to be expected!

2. Climbing to the top of the Nid D’Aigle and stare at the sea birds

3. Biking around La Digue and enjoy the way the cool sea breeze caresses our faces

Dislikes:

1. Too many stray dogs. These do not even look at you in the daytime, but by evening they aggressively bay at you and they can even give you a chase.


Accommodation:

,, Fern Lodge Self Catering was our accommodation on this island. That is a self-contained little cottage with a terrace. Many shops nearby, most attractions are within easy reach, and the host is very kind. He arranged for our programs, bicycles, and even dinner for a surcharge (catch of the day on the grill). The only downside is that the wifi was very weak, the mobile network included, but everywhere on the island." (2021)

Transport:

There are cars on the island, primarily taxis, tariff 150-200 SCR (10-14 USD).
Bike rental 150 SCR (10 USD) for a day, 100 SCR (7 USD)/day for a longer rental. (in 2021)

Shopping:

,, On La Digue, we could not pay with Euros, so money exchange for the local currency is recommended. (2021)





La Digue's attractions

,, L’Union Estate National Park is definitely worth a visit. The entry fee is 15 Eur/person. You can enter for free through the water near the heliport, as the locals do. But be careful because the staff at the exit may control the visitor's wristband.  

The Anse Marron program is a must-see! The entry fee is 40 Eur/person, and very worth it! It is hard to do the trekking through the rocks and crevices without a guide. By the end, there is even a walk through the shallow water of the ocean. Not simple, but achievable. Bring along a lot of fluids. The most beautiful beach I have ever seen in my life !!! The road ends within the National Park.

The Belle Vue trail is considered medium-hard but is actually very tough. It is worth taking a taxi to the restaurant because the road leading there is also very steep. The view is beautiful.

Crystal Water kayak 20 Eur/ person for 2 hours for the rent only, or 35 Eur/ person for a 3-hour guided tour.

Coco Island 55 Eur/person for the half-day program, 110 Eur/person for the entire day. Ideal for snorkeling.
(2021)

Beaches

,, Grande Anse, Petite Anse, Cocos Anse are very wavy, almost impossible to swim, but suitable for surfing. It is probably less wavy in other months (April 2021).


Beaches of Mahé

Seychelles - Mahé - Anse Takamaka Beach - z.l. photo

Seychelles - Mahe Island - the popular Beau Vallon beach - f.j. photo

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *