In February Go2Africa Head of Marketing, Nadia Coombe, set out on a babymoon to the Seychelles with her husband. Having been to many African island destinations before, it was their first time to the Seychelles and this is what these well-travelled island hoppers had to say about their experience.
Tell us about your itinerary?
My husband and I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful islands of the Seychelles for 10 days in February. We’ve visited the Maldives, Zanzibar and Mauritius in the past and the Seychelles have always been on our bucket list. It was, by far, the most beautiful out of the island destinations we’ve been to. The landscape, greenery and clear blue water really make it the perfect holiday destination.
After landing at the international airport on Mahé Island, we caught a 20-minute flight to our first destination, Coco de Mer Hotel & The Black Parrot Suites on Praslin Island. We spent four nights on Praslin, and also did a day trip to the beautiful island of La Digue (which is just a 15-minute ferry ride away).
We then returned to Mahé on a high-speed catamaran – this ferry service operates daily and takes 45 minutes to an hour (drinks can be bought on board). On Mahé we spent three delightful nights at Constance Ephelia Resort.
What were the highlights of your trip?
We had cloudy skies for most of our visit but that didn’t spoil the experience at all! The Seychelles islands are as beautiful as I always suspected. There is a lot to do – you won’t get bored and I learnt this is a destination that is not only for honeymooners (although it’s absolutely perfect for them!). The Seychelles has the best beaches I have ever seen, diverse vegetation, colourful architecture and incredible snorkelling.
During our stay on Praslin, we hired a car for the day to explore the island and visited a couple of beaches. With so few visitors and a small local population, it feels like you have found a private paradise. There are no crowded beaches here! The interior of Praslin takes you from the beaches into a mythical rainforest. At the Vallée de Mai palm forest there are loads of trails and hikes. You will be rewarded with seeing the coco de mer palm tree and its famous nut, which is the largest seed in the world. The nut is the official symbol of the Seychelles – it is even the passport stamp on your way into the country!
We also did a day trip to the third smallest Seychelles island, La Digue, were we rented bicycles and explored the island. For those who are moderately fit, I can highly recommend the 45-minute hike to Anse Coco beach. At this hidden treasure, there was only one other couple when we arrived. Grande Anse is where most people tend to spend the day. The world famous Anse Source d’Argent – the most photographed beach in the world – is also on La Digue, and has magnificent granite boulders that create a unique landscape with the island’s white sands and crystal-clear waters.
What did you eat?
Creole food is delicious. The seafood and curries at the Coco de Mer Hotel were incredible. Breakfast at Constance Ephelia Resort offered an out-of-this-world spread with virtually anything you can think of. They have five different restaurants, four of which have an á la carte menu and need to be booked in advance for dinner. The main restaurant is where breakfast is served, and dinners are themed, buffet style.
Best moments at your hotel or resort?
During our stay at Coco de Mer on Praslin, we did loads of snorkelling just off the wharf right in front of the resort and even saw a huge stingray. Again, the waters were beautiful and clear.
Our time at Constant Ephelia Resort was amazing. We made use of most of the facilities – a free fully-equipped gym, four tennis courts, a squash court, and a boat house with non-motorised equipment such as pedal boats, catamarans, windsurfing and kayaking that are all complimentary to guests. The spa is open to all guests between 11am and 2pm, regardless of whether you have a treatment booked or not. This means you can enjoy the thermal pool, sauna and steam room.
There are numerous areas for guests to lounge in and enjoy, as well as five bars, four swimming pools and access to two lovely beaches. Spacious contemporary rooms are surrounded by lush landscape and scintillating lagoons. The staff were excellent and welcoming – nothing was too much to ask. I can highly recommend Ephelia for all kinds of travellers – solos, couples and families. The kids’ facilities and specialized club looked amazing, and there were lots of families enjoying resort life.
Top travel tips for visiting the Seychelles?
During the day, the dress code at both hotels was shorts, T-shirts or polo shirts with footwear – they request that swimwear be covered at all times in the communal areas when you’re not swimming. In the evening, lightweight trousers, tailored/Bermuda shorts, long or short-sleeved collared shirts (such as polo or button-down) for men. For ladies, it’s important to note that swimwear or sleeveless shirts are not permitted. Proper footwear is required – no flip-flops or slippers. Men are requested to wear long trousers for dinner.
The locals are extremely friendly, speak perfect English, and are happy to help with food recommendations and directions.
We often get asked about which Indian Ocean islands are best to visit after an African safari. If you’re travelling in Tanzania or Kenya, the Seychelles should be one of the destinations at the top of your list – the islands are small and uncrowded, and the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. Other great options are Mauritius, Zanzibar and, if you’re travelling in Southern Africa, Mozambique. Each of these paradise island destinations have benefits of their own, with options to suit every travelling type and budget.