Seychelles is our first exotic destination that, however, we visited many years ago (more precisely in 2008). So in this article, we will talk more about the feelings and emotions we felt and which are still alive in our souls and less about “technical” or organizational details. I will tell you about the experiences that I still have in my mind and that I will probably never forget … We have invested enormously in this journey and I do not mean primarily the financial part but the hopes and expectations we have set. And we received much more in return.
The first thing I remember is my flight descending over a massive granite hill, covered with rainforests and landing on a concrete strip just two steps from the glow of the Indian Ocean. And immediately after I came in contact with two other things: the high humidity and the joviality of the people. You wouldn’t be able to be different when you live in such a place … where even the check-in offices are outdoors, in front of the airport, among the palm trees. With the first dose of enthusiasm and joy we have already taken, we took a taxi to take us to the hotel. The road was charming: enchanting landscapes that I never got tired of watching, the driver who told us with joy and excitement about the wonderful places we were going to see and … the music. The local music that you hear everywhere and that has something from Seychellois Creole which together with French and English are the national languages in Seychelles… that delights your ears and from that, we took a small part with us at home.
I remember the lush garden of the resort where we were staying (on the main island of Mahe, somewhere in the Beau Vallon area) and the local food. Staple foods include fish, seafood and shellfish dishes, often accompanied by rice. Fish dishes are cooked in several ways, such as steamed, grilled, wrapped in banana leaves, baked, salted, and smoked. Curry dishes with rice are also a significant aspect of the country’s cuisine. I will never be able to forget the local who on the beach asked us every day if we don’t want to go with him on a glass-bottomed boat ride as I will never forget the kid who was trying to sell me marijuana or the trickster who told me that I didn’t have to change money at the airport because he would have given me a better exchange rate …
I promised you that today I will tell you, especially about my experiences. It’s just that the experiences lived are not always pleasant … It’s as if I’m still sitting comfortably in the seat on the top deck of the catamaran that was going to take us on a day trip to the islands of La Digue and Praslin. What I didn’t know is that a catamaran going at a very high speed through the rough Indian Ocean gives you a not at all pleasant experience, especially on the upper deck of the boat. So I sincerely recommend that for the transfer between the islands you choose the plane (especially for Mahe – Praslin, because from here to La Digue is a short distance and you will survive the catamaran) or possibly a ferry boat.
From the island of Praslin, it is impossible not to remember the nature park and UNESCO World Heritage Site Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve (“May Valley”). It consists of a well-preserved palm forest, flagship species made up of the island endemic coco de Mer, as well as five other endemic palms. The coco de Mer (Lodoicea maldivica), a monocot tree in the Arecaceae (palm family), has the largest seeds (double nut seed) of any plant in the world. Also unique to the park is its wildlife, including birds such as the rare Seychelles black parrot, mammals, crustaceans, snails, and reptiles.
There has been a determined effort to eliminate all the introduced exotic species of plants from the area but this has not been successful in eliminating coffee, pineapple, and ornamental palms thus far. This forest, with its peculiar plant and animal species, is a relic from the time when the supercontinent of Gondwana was divided into smaller parts, leaving the Seychelles islands between present-day Madagascar and India.
As for the island of La Digue: white sand, palm trees, turquoise water, and impressive granite rocks – a postcard setting that’s famous all over the world. In other words, that’s how I remember Anse Source d’Argent beach. The beach is ideal for newcomers to snorkeling: unlike most of the other Seychelles spots, it is sheltered by a coral reef. Although the lagoon is shallow and there is little coral, you can still see much fish. Only the more experienced snorkelers can adventure out on the other side of the reef when the sea conditions allow.
When I think of Seychelles, I remember the immense diversity of exotic fruits that I saw and tasted. I hadn’t even heard of many of them before. And I will never forget that little bird, cute and brightly colored with which I shared the croissant every morning on the terrace of the restaurant for breakfast …
If you arrive in Seychelles you can’t miss a walk on the streets of the capital Victoria using a local bus to get here, as you must experience a tour of the island of Mahe by renting a car with a driver. He will take you to special places that will offer you enchanting experiences: plantations and a tea factory, brewery, vanilla plantation, high observation point to observe the Indian Ocean in all its splendor, mangrove forests, places where you can enjoy delicious local food and much, much more. This while he is telling you about the French, the English, slavery, education, and independence. That is about the history of the people of the Seychelles archipelago. Aaa… and about the turtles here that you will see everywhere.
And in the end, it is impossible not to remember that here I ate banana chips for the first time…