Are you lucky enough to be travelling to the Islands of The Seychelles this year? Or perhaps you are planning your trip of a lifetime? Travel writer and Coco Bay shopper Lizzee Leedham is here to give us her low down on the very best things to do while you are there…
“She sells Seychelles by the Sea Shore”
by Lizzee Leedham
Perhaps it was the regular inclusion of Seychelles’ beaches in the top 5 in the world? Perhaps it was your urge to go somewhere less commercial than European or Caribbean destinations? Perhaps it was to see endemic species like the black parrot and coco de mer which are found nowhere else on the planet? Whatever your reasons, you’ve bought a ticket to one of these tiny specs of palm-topped granite which spring out of the sea off the east coast of Africa.
Now you stand in front of your wardrobe with an open suitcase, begging to be filled with gorgeous beachwear and you suddenly wonder: what will I be doing there? Will I need trainers, high heels or even hiking boots as well as my Havaianas? Should I bring a warm cover up for the night? Just how elegant should my evening wear be? (I imagine you twirling a tiara around your fingers thoughtfully at this point.)
Fret no more! Having lived here for 18 months, I will happily share my advice and give you some examples of potential activities. There will be enough to keep you busy no matter what your favourite holiday hobbies are. I should mention I have a slight bias towards the smaller islands and refer a lot more to Praslin, La Digue and Curieuse in this article than the main island of Mahe. They are well worth making the effort to explore.
Travelling to The Seychelles
As your plane flashes over the turquoise ocean you will see a crest of emerald hills encircled by white-gold beaches. The plane which flies into Mahe International Airport will be safely protected by these vast granite outcroppings. The sight-seeing has begun!
From a practical point of view, you should already be in light-weight, breathable clothing. Beach trousers or a summer dress, flip-flops, and sunscreen. Have a hat and sunglasses ready to put on immediately, even if you are a seasoned sun-lover. Year-round, the temperature fluctuates only a few degrees. You will feel as if you are in a warm bath, just above body temperature, and the sun will be shining out of a perfect blue sky.
Where are the Best Beaches in the Seycelles?
Several Seychelles beaches vie for number one beach in the world. Most recently, La Digue’s Source d’Argent was awarded top for “wow factor” and was one of the locations where Bounty adverts were filmed!
Anse Lazio is fantastic for snorkelling and playing in big waves, but it also has a hidden treasure: The Honesty Bar. If you follow the beach to the left, duck between two huge granite boulders and then walk to the end you will see small steps cut into the rock. From the rustic seating area you peer between gigantic mango trees at the brilliant blue water and feel as if you’re the only person in the world to ever discover it. Just don’t tell everyone else.
Swimming in the Seychelles
Coming to an island chain renowned for its crystal-clear seas will encourage you to spend some time in or on the water. Some of the most beautiful places here are only accessible by water, so you will need to be prepared.
Top Tip: Whatever your plan, take twice as many bikinis as you think you’ll need!
Seychelles is all about sea, sand and sweat! You may find yourself having a morning swim, getting changed, going to the beach, getting changed, going to lunch, swimming in the pool and then getting changed again before dinner! Personally, I hate the feel of a wet swimsuit going back on, so having six to eight sets of swimwear means you never suffer that horror before the first set is fresh and dry again.
Top Tip: This is Instagram heaven, so be prepared to pose!
This Seafolly bikini made me feel so comfortable, I couldn’t stop snapping!
Cote D’Or has one of the longest beaches on Praslin with perfect swimming water in a safe environment. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and places offering boat trips or renting pedalos, paddleboards and kayaks. Go see Jose near Paradise Sun and tell him I sent you.
For a fun and active day like this, a kaftan and shorts and loose-fitting top will allow your bikini to dry without sticking to you and without rubbing you raw with sand. Flip flops, sun hat and nail varnish will complete your look and keep you picture-ready!
Hotels and Spa Days in the Seychelles
Quite simply: there are too many wonderful hotels to choose from in Seychelles. Lemuria’s three-tiered pool built from the natural pink granite boulders, and Constance Ophelia’s infinity pool are both worth a visit. This is the perfect moment to shine in your most glamorous outfit!
Top Tip: If you have booked a private villa or are staying at a different hotel, a quick phone call in advance to say you are planning to come for lunch or dinner will secure you use of the beach, swimming pools and spas.
It is well worth exploring as many of these as you can fit in if you enjoy cocktails at the poolside and some of the most elegant surroundings you could want.
Fisherman’s Cove has opulent surroundings and quality food as well as a beautiful rainbow-lit pool stretching along the coast. Even in these luxurious surroundings the heat and humidity mean that formal wear is still relaxed and comfortable. A beach dress like Watercult’s Bandeau Maxi Dress or Coco Bay’s Seaglass Baydress will ensure amazing service!
Raffles do a wonderful breakfast and yoga in the evenings, so make sure to pack some of Coco Bay’s gorgeous new activewear if you want to salute the sun with a glorious view over the Indian ocean or if you are planning to keep up fitness with a sunrise beach run in the morning.
Not every hotel you go to has to be huge. My friends and I recently fell in love with a quiet spot: Isle de Palm. This small, family-run hotel has an excellent seafood menu, friendly, welcoming staff and a stunning view for sunbathing in my new Banana Moon bikini!
Eating and Drinking in the Seychelles
Mahe has without a doubt the widest range of beachside bars and restaurants and one can spend an entire evening walking the beach and popping into hotels for drinks, dancing and live music.
Most hotels have fantastic food and most private villas have staff who are eager to show off their cooking skills. Being able to cook and barbecue is a matter of pride for the Seychellois men and fish is always on the menu. For something more cultural than most international hotels, go to Laurier Eco-hotel, run by the larger-than-life Edwin, on Praslin’s Cote D’Or. This has real creole cuisine: freshly-caught fish, chicken curry, breadfruit, and papaya salad served buffet-style.
Top Tip: Coming straight from the beach is fine, but baring your bottom while other people are eating is not the best idea, no matter how lovely a beach bum it is!
I loved wearing Seafolly’s Vintage Wildflower Kaftan for the perfect quick cover up for a day of popping between restaurants and sunbathing.
You’ll want something delicious to drink. If you want to be in the know, there are two local beers: Seybrew and Eku, but Takamaka rum is the locally brewed spirit I’d recommend. Dark Takamaka with ginger and pineapple or a Takamaka coco generously poured over ice are both sweet and refreshing. I also love a vanilla milkshake made with locally-grown vanilla. It’s hard to stop at just one!
Nature Highlights in the Seychelles
Some of the highlights for nature lovers:
- Praslin’s Valley de Mai. If you want the pleasure of a tropical rainforest without ever being too far from civilisation, this is a must-see. You will be advised to wear trainers on a tour of the Valley de Mai, but there’s nothing on this hill walk which a pair of Havaianas can’t handle. There is no need to over-prepare: this is not an Amazonian trek. A bag for a bottle of water, shorts and short kaftan and a sunhat will more than suffice.
- One of the country’s most interesting islands, something like Jurassic Park but without any inconvenient velociraptors. It boasts fantastic deep-water snorkelling and white coral beaches, a bridged walk over the mangrove mudflats and friendly free-roaming tortoises the size of go-karts (though not that speed!) Pass them one of the tastier flowers from the trees and then stroke their long necks and they‘ll be your friend for life.
You will inevitably get soaked on the boat trip over, so light-weight fabrics are important and Havaianas will be flexible for the beach, boat and any walks.
- Snorkelling and scuba diving. Book an excursion on a small boat or a catamaran to experience the incredible underwater world teaming with life! A swimsuit with straps such as Seafolly’s Malliot swimsuits will look glamorous while keeping you secure as you dive from your yacht into the sparkling sea.
Climate Tip: Jettison plastic macs and ponchos from your suitcase!
December to early February is the rainy season, but even then there will be more sun than rain and temperatures are still in the twenties. The same light-weight fabrics and flip flops you wear on a sunny day will be perfect and, if you do get wet, the heat will dry you fast enough. A small umbrella in your travel bag will be plenty of preparation.
Want something to do in the rain? Go swimming!! Whether in the swimming pool at your villa or in the ocean, the feeling of warm rain while you swim is a joy!
Worried that it will water down your Island Sling? Relax on the veranda and watch the panorama unfold: the rain clouds swirling over the hilltops and the soothing sound of rain on rooftops. Bliss.
If you are heading to Seychelles and have any questions, please ask in the comments and I will get back to you. See you there!