Expat Travels: Seychelles

Friday, August 23, 2019

I went back and forth about taking this trip, in fact, I thought I'd canceled it (shout out to Qatar Airways' raggedy app) but I actually made it to the Seychelles.




I think this was another one of those "if I can't go with 'bae', I aint going" type hesitations. I quickly got over that notion once I found a reasonably priced flight outta Doha; by reasonably priced, I mean less than $1k. Yeah, they still gouging. Nevertheless, I couldn't pass up the $780 RT ticket purchased just one month in advance.

Anyway. I didn't need to do much planning for this trip, as there wasn't much I desired to do other than relax. Beaches are the thing to do in Seychelles, and goodness are they gorgeous! The Indian ocean is unrivaled in beauty.

Of course there are your run of the mill water sports and outdoor activities, none of which I'm equipped to do at the moment. But if that's your thing, Seychelles is the perfect place.

The People

Seychelles remained uninhabited until the 18th century, when French colonialists arrived with east African slaves and indentured Indians. The islands would eventually end up under British rule, but French (and Indian) culture remain prominent in Seychelles. The people speak creole, French and English. Their English reminds me of Caribbean patois. Seychelles reminded me a lot of the Caribbean, namely the TnT islands. The majority of the inhabitants are mixed Black and French; there is also a sizable Indian descended/mixed demographic. It's quite fascinating.

Transportation

I rented a car while in Seychelles and despite my fear of driving on the right steering wheel side, I highly recommend it. There is a public bus on Mahe and Praslin, but they don't run on a schedule and they have no a/c if that matters to you.  They are cheap, and they run the entire island.

Yikes, this damn car didn't even have a proper gear shift!!
See if you can find it! 😜


The sKreets are narrrrow af!!! OMG! I seriously don't know how I made it without major incident! Very narrow streets, coupled with new driving patterns for the first time ever in life?? Definitely made for an adventure! Honestly driving was scary as hell here, only do it if completely comfortable and of course take your time. The locals will pass you if they need to, they're used to us slow behind tourists.

Lodging

I rented an apartment on each island. It was still a bit pricey (everything done solo is) but cheaper than staying at a resort or hotel. My accommodations were super comfortable and I highly recommend it. Both of my stays were owned by Seychellois Black women, and I'd rather contribute my coin to Black folk over corporations any day of the week.

View from my apartment in Mahe
Armony Residences, could've stayed here the whole time honestly


My apartment in Praslin was homey, comfortable and conveniently located


Food

The food is just okay; not bad, but nothing to write home about. It reminded me of the options in Maldives, limited and too focused on tourists. There are sit down restaurants, which are expensive; and then there are "takeaways" which are local grab n go spots. The restaurants have very western menus (American, Italian, French, seafood and the like). The takeaways offered local fare, which is basically Indian food (meh). No shade, but Indian food is plentiful in Doha and I rarely crave it as such. So you need to have a taste for seafood, Italian or curry to be great here.

Actual Seychellois cuisine!
Catch of the day (bass) in creole sauce with crispy breadfruit and coconut rice! 😋
((see my Seychelles InstaStories for the yummy Seybeer cocktail!)


Mahe

Mahe is the main island. It is the most populous and the busiest. Mahe is where the main airport is for international flights.

At Beau Vallon beach in Mahe

Beau Vallon 

Anse Royale in Mahe
MANY of the beaches are too choppy for swimming!


As expected, Seychelles is expensive as fuck. Most things are imported, so they'll cost more. Mahe was cheaper than the other islands, and it was also my favorite. I like seeing the hustle and bustle of any place. As an observer, it was cool to watch people go about their daily lives, and watching tourists ease ever so slowly down the road 😂I don't do nightlife when I'm solo, so I can't speak to that aspect. But Mahe was a vibe for me.

Praslin

Praslin was the most laid back and the most beautiful of the islands that I visited. It's smaller than Mahe and not as populous; it is also more expensive. I paid more for lodging and the car rental here, like, a lot more. But I'm glad I went because it was home to the most beautiful beach in Seychelles, Anse Georgette.

Loved me some Anse Georgette!
Even stayed when a thunderstorm rolled through!


Praslin is also home of the Valle de Mai reserve. It's a national park served to protect the rare coco de mer plant that is native to Seychelles. While the experience itself was anticlimactic, the park is lovely and a great place to catch some shade from the Seychelles heat.



Though I rented a car, I could have definitely gotten away with riding the bus. Praslin is small and the main sites are right off the bus line. I saw buses more frequently on the road, too. My apartment was walking distance to food and shops, so I really only drove the coast just because. 

I came to Praslin via ferry. I prebooked a ticket thru Cat Cocos for 55euro one way, for an upper outdoor seat. The ferry is covered, but the ride is rough, rough, rough. They have bag boys on board whose sole job is to pass out puke bags-and these guys were busy. Fortunately, I have a steel stomach and rarely experience motion sickness. I still took a dramamine just to be safe, and forewent eating until I got to Praslin. If you know you're prone to motion sickness, you can fly into Praslin via Air Seychelles. I flew back to Mahe from Praslin, and while the plane is one of those little puddle jumpers 😩 the ride was fine for the most part. Landing is kinda bumpy due to the winds, but that's to be expected. So, I have now survived 4 puddle jumpers without dying.

The puddle jumper that brought me from Praslin, parked in front of the jumbo jet that took me home!


La Digue

La Digue island is what most people travel to Seychelles for. It is home of the world famous Anse Source d'Argent, the most photographed beach in the world. It is the tiniest of the 3 islands, the least populous yet crowded due to the large numbers of day tourists. I only spent a day here, so I can't speak to the true vibe of the island. I do know that Source d'Argent and La Digue itself was too, too crowded for me. La Digue is a quick albeit extremely rough ferry ride over from Praslin. There are less than 30 cars on the island, everyone else gets around by bicycle. Source d'Argent gets very crowded during the day, and it was the smallest of all the beaches I ventured to. Everyone is there to get their Instagram pic! If you're staying over, I've been told the late afternoon is the best time to go.



crowded Source d'Argent (there were way more people than pictured)

The bikes all look the same, so I left an empty bag in to differentiate

Anse Source d'Argent



I use the been app to recollect the countries I've visited, and Seychelles was my 60th! I don't have any special commemorative anything to celebrate the ordeal. I am simply blessed to have been able to experience these gorgeous islands, which at one time seemed so far away and so unattainable.


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