Xanet Scheepers
Digital Lifestyle Editor
5 minute read
23 Apr 2022
10:00 am

Seychelles – a lush, tropical paradise hidden in the Indian Ocean

Xanet Scheepers

The islands’ soft white sandy beaches, sparkling turquoise waters and tropical vegetation are as close to paradise as one can get.

Seychelles' soft white sandy beaches, sparkling turquoise waters and tropical vegetation is as close to paradise as one can get. Picture: Xanet Scheepers

Close your eyes, listen to the soft sound of waves breaking on a pristine white sandy beach…

Imagine starting your Monday morning with a long stroll on that beach, surrounded by rolling green mountains, the tops still blanketed in the early morning fog and the warm, turquoise waves lapping at your feet.

This was my reality when I was invited by Tourism Seychelles and Air Seychelles on a four-day trip to the Seychelles, a remote archipelago made up of more than 100 islands, hidden in the vastness of the Indian Ocean, to experience for myself just why their group of islands are the perfect island holiday destination for 2022.

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Mahe

My journey kicked off with a beautiful drive taking a long winding road to the fog-covered mountain tops, just below the summit of Sans Soucis, to visit the historical Mission Lodge.

Once a farm boarding school for liberated slave children in 1876, the ruins of ‘Venns Town’ can still be seen as tourists make their way to the lookout point where the beauty of mother nature will take your breath away.

The foundations of the school can still be seen in Venns Town | Picture: Xanet Scheepers

A view fit for royals, the stunning vistas of the lush green mountainsides and azure blue ocean have even drawn Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip to the site in 1972.

The queen was on the island to inaugurate the Seychelles International airport after which she went to Venn’s Town to inaugurate the viewing lodge.

Picture: Xanet Scheepers

My next stop was the town of Victoria, one of the world’s smallest capitals.

Originally called “Establishment du Roi”, the town was renamed “Victoria” in 1841 in tribute to the Queen of England, Queen Victoria.

Located in the heart of Victoria, the Sir Selwin Selwyn Clark Market gives you a glimpse into Seychellois culture.

Locals visit the market daily to buy their fish and fresh vegetables instead of visiting a supermarket to do their weekly or monthly shopping.

Sir Selwin Selwyn Clark Market | Picture: Xanet Scheepers

Now that I’ve seen where the locals get their food from, it was time to learn more about their local drink, and so my next stop was Takamaka Rum Distillery.

The distillery was started by a father and his two sons who used their backyard swimming pool as an interim cooling tower for their makeshift condenser.

Today, they have more than 23 different styles of rum spread across 200 casks, exporting their product to more than 17 countries.

Dark Spice is the international rum of Seychelles, and when ordering a rum and coke on the island, this is what you will be served.

One of my favourite rums was the Takamaka Zannannan, a pineapple rum that pairs beautifully with fruit juice or coconut water. You can also use it to make Pina Coladas.

Picture: Xanet Scheepers

With the sweet taste of the preferred local nectar of the island still on my tongue, I headed to Eden Island, an artificial island where the rich go to play.

The luxurious residential marina development is built on a reclaimed coral reef, and the stylish water-front apartments, sweeping villas and double-storey Maisons are the perfect destination for those who want to holiday in complete luxury.

Eden island is also home to various restaurants and cocktail bars with spectacular views of the mountains and the harbour with its luxury yachts drifting in the emerald green water.

Picture: Xanet Scheepers

Praslin

There are one of two ways to get to Praslin, Seychelles’ second-largest island – either via ferry or a very small plane.

For our trip there we went by ferry, which took about an hour.

After the busy day, we had exploring Mahe, the rhythm of the boat swaying on the waves had me dozing off in no time at all.

Our destination for the next two days was the beautiful Acajou Beach resort, which can only be described as the perfect honeymoon destination.

The beautiful tropical gardens and swimming pool overlooking the white sandy beach are the perfect settings to reset and take in the beauty mother nature has to offer.

Picture: Xanet Scheepers

Imagine a room with private access to the beach, an intimately lit dinner with candles while the sea breeze cools down your clammy skin while you sip on a crisp, cold glass of French wine and enjoy the local cuisine prepared by the extremely talented chef, Indika Liyanapathirage, from Sri-Lanka.

If you want to venture to a different beach than the one at the hotel, a visit to Anse Lazio beach is a must. It is paradise embodied with its crystal-clear water and soft, white sandy beach.

Picture: Xanet Scheepers

Suntanning, however, is not all there is to do on this exotic island.

A visit to Valée de Mai is not to be missed – it is said to have been the original site of the biblical Garden of Eden. Today it is one of Seychelles’ two UNESCO World Heritage sites.

This world-famous valley with its giant palm leaves forming canopies of shade over the walkways is also home to the Coco-de-mer.

This double-lobed coconut is the world’s heaviest seed weighing anything between 15 and 30kg.

Picture: Xanet Scheepers

La Digue

One of the highlights of my visit to Seychelles was spending the day on La Digue.

Measuring five km by three km, this spectacular island is home to some of Seychelles most iconic beaches, including Anse Source D’Argent – one of the most photographed beaches on earth.

Picture: Xanet Scheepers

The best way to explore the island is by bicycle, which was the most amazing experience.

I cycled across the entire island to the Anse Caiman Nature trail where I swam in the waves (strange but one of the only beaches I saw in Seychelles with waves similar to South African beaches), before making my way to L’Union Estate.

L’Union Estate used to be a coconut and vanilla plantation, but tourists now flock there to photograph each other on the beautiful Anse Source D’Argent beach with its pristine blue waters and beautiful granite boulders.

Other attractions at L’Union Estate include visiting the giant Aldabra tortoises, the traditional coprah factory and the plantation house.

If you’re looking for a restaurant to get some sustenance for your island adventure, I highly recommend the Fish Trap.

Picture: Xanet Scheepers

While the food was amazing, everything always tastes better when you have a spectacular view.