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Published: November 6th 2018
La Digue, Seychelles
Crystal clear waters
Oprah Winfrey once said, “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” In response we say, “we are giving it our best shot”.
Anyone on an airplane who has flipped through the free magazine in the airline pocket has likely seen a photo of Anse Source D’Argent, a beach on La Digue. It is one of the most photographed beaches in the world and with reason. Soft blues and greens of crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches with a back ground of large granite boulders make this landscape unique and breathtaking. We visited three islands on our trip to the Seychelles and each had their own personality. The main reason for our visit was of course MJ’s fascination with these granite laden beaches and of course the opportunity to kick back and relax, rid our bodies of dust for a couple of weeks after time in the bush and other great sites in the south of Africa.
The Seychelles are an archipelago of some 115 pristine islands located 930 miles east of Kenya in the Indian Ocean and northeast of Madagascar. For those of you thinking, what? Where? Really out in the Indian Ocean
A photographers dream
Seychelles are located in the Indian Ocean
in the middle of nowhere. Think four degrees from the equator…. Yes, almost on top of it so the temperatures are moderate and the breezes appealing. Daytime highs and nighttime low temps are almost the same. La Digue
The third most populated island in the Seychelles and yet seemingly finds you on small narrow concrete roads where one of the primary modes of transportation is the bicycle, which competes with other vehicles and trucks. There are no lights or even roundabouts on this small island. People come here to simply relax and bike around to see the fabulous beach made famous over the years in many a magazine. Accessible only by ferry, life is slow….just as it should be.
Walking this famous beach was rather surreal as you've seen the photos for years and consider there might be a let down as you assume they have photo shopped the pictures. As you wind your way through the granite boulders, weave through the palm trees and pick out which secluded and hidden cove would be best for you to spend your day in you realize reality is indeed as you've seen in those photos. It is truly breath
taking... you have the sense you are living in a postcard. All of the people we ran into were polite, giving others space and an opportunity to find their perfect piece of beach nestled among the granite. A photographers dream meant people we carefully venturing into the crystal clears waters with thousands of dollars of amazing photography equipment. Fortunately, this is a rather long and convoluted beach area so everyone felt they had their private space. Fortunately, people were appreciating the glory of it all and were quiet... no yelling and no unruly people. This was a pristine sanctuary for all photographer and beach lovers.
The roads are intended to be two lanes but from our perspective are wide one lane roads with two lane traffic. A few of the locals use golf carts for transportation. We liked this island as it has a quaint and primitive vibe to it. We had a great time exploring on our bikes but on an occasion or two didn’t feel that safe riding our bikes when some of the trucks went whizzing by. Most people were very happily peddling around the island so we figured we were just getting old. We didn’t
ride at night but one of the woman at our hotel says going out at night is taking your life in your hands as no one can see you as these bikes didn’t have lights on them. Another interesting thing about the roads is they drop off two to six feet into a drainage ditch. If you screw up and drive off the edge of the road you are in for an abrupt ending so you just need to pay attention. We do not want you to think this is an unsafe island as it not … most of the traffic is by bicycle…it is a great island even though we are warning you about the trucks.
You can visit a few places, including a park with a vanilla bean plantation and a habitat which houses the giant Aldabra tortoises on your way to the beach. These gentle giants are indeed quite big, but are penned in by rocks and don’t appear to be all that content with their surroundings. The tourists seem to enjoy feeding them. They are giant tortoises and look rather pre-historic. We did learn that on Cousin Island they are doing conservation work and the
Sunset on Praslin
Another great day closes.
tortoises roam free. If you want to do volunteer work there are several opportunities in the Seychelles.
This island is beautiful and well worth the visit. Restaurants : Chez Jules and La Repaire Praslin
The second largest island in the Seychelles is perhaps best well-known for the Vallee de Mai Nature Preserve. It is perhaps best known for the coco de mer (the world’s largest seed) and the elusive black parrot. We took a stroll there one day and saw the rather large coco de mer, which looks like two coconuts joined together, but unfortunately did not see the black parrot. There were also some unique frogs there, but they proved to be elusive as well. It has been reported that a general from Khartoum back in the 1800’s was convinced that the Vallee de Mai was the biblical “garden of Eden.” We’re not sure about that, but it was certainly beautiful. This was a peaceful and serene walk that filled us with happiness as we listened to the birds squak and chirp from the treetops.
In addition to see the Nature Preserve our driver drove around most of the island so we could photo and
visit the islands amazing beaches and view-points. We asked if there was anyplace we could go that the tourist buses usually don’t go and it smiled and drove us to the top point of the island near the communications towers. We were able to look down on the surrounding ocean and had amazing island views. The photos did not do it justice so sometimes you just have to enjoy and remember to put the camera away. We can report that it is indeed quite beautiful. He knew all of the great vistas on the island and the most beautiful beaches as well. Overall, it is another laid-back island where one goes to kick back to get away from the hustle and bustle.
Anse Lazio is the famous beach on this island and again well worth the visit. Mahe
The main reason for our visit is that our digs for these five days was at the fabulous Carana Beach Hotel, which had everything you could possibly want. The beach, incredible views and great service….it really does not get any better. Our room had a plunge pool with a view of the bay . We’ve never had a plunge
Always making friends
pool before and sadly this may have started something. We are beach people and water people so this was a special treat. A little bit of heaven. We spent hours a day in this pool reading and enjoying adult beverages while fellow guest snorkeled the bay and we watched multiple sail boats, cruise ships and barges wander past our view. The world was on hold for us and we watch it go by. We indulged in complete and unrestrained relaxation.
Three years ago we bought our retirement home beachfront in Florida. Due to work we have not been able to spend nearly enough time there. We hope to begin to make changes in our lives and spend more time there beginning in the next few months. Before this trip we asked ourselves how we would feel about a beach vacation now that we live on the beach? Would we still enjoy it? The answer is yes, but we learned the island needs to offer us something we cannot get at home. In this case the Seychelles had the well-known granite rocks and crystal clear waters. Although the water is almost as pretty in the Turks and Caicos if you
want to go someplace closer to the U.S. and don’t care about the granite rocks. We learned that plunge pools will be in consideration for future beach trips or huts over the water which we have not experienced yet.
We stayed in the Seychelles for 12 nights and intended to do some scuba diving. There were several reasons this didn’t happen. We suspect most of our future beach trips will be “scuba diving trips” or in search of the perfect plunge pool…. Which we suspect we just experienced at Carana Beach.
We are extraordinary beach people so we've enjoyed the Seychelles. In Mahe, each morning we had an amazing view from the dining room. Each morning we would watch sting rays swim the crystal clear waters. On MJ's birthday there were two whales way off shore performing for her and yet we let the rest of the crowd think it was for their pleasure. The snorkeling at our hotel was only fair which did not concern us at all. Our best snorkeling experience is still in Fiji... but we have not one complaint about Carana Beach!
We knew the end of our journey was near and we
Local beer of the Seychelles
needed to recharge the batteries and get ready for the long journey home and this was the place……enough said. The Seychelles are a spectacular set of islands well worth the long journey.
As we said we didn’t see much of this island but Mahe is the island with the most development. The other islands were small, quaint and underdeveloped. Even though we don’t consider Mahe over developed it does have an array of hillside homes, hotels, music, dancing, shops and touists offices offering catamarans trips, scuba, snorkeling and visits to the other islands.
At this point….we’re just going to let the photos do the talking……
Ok... too many photos but we hope you'll look at them anyway.
Where we stayed:
Chateau St. Cloud, La Digue
Indian Ocean Lodge, Praslin. We would not recommend as they have a seasonal seaweed issue.
Carana Beach Hotel, Mahe. Wow! Every moment was perfection.
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