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Seychelles Trip Report

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SEYCHELLES TRIP REPORT – Oct. 23-30, 1999

Day 1 – We arrived in Mahe from Johannesburg after a 5-hour flight. We were met and taken to our hotel –Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove. The lobby was nice, so we were shocked when we were led into our room. It wasn’t much better than a Motel 6 room, except that Motel 6 is cleaner. The décor was terrible – large bright plastic fish on the walls, a cheap, ugly bedspread, a small pink rug that was stained and had cigarette burns in it, and curtains and a chairs that had stains on them. The bathroom was equally dirty. There was also a distinctly moldy, bad smell throughout the room. I went back to the desk and asked if they had another room we could stay in. The next morning they gave us another room that had the same décor, but was cleaner, closer to the beach, and had a nicer bathroom. Not enough of an improvement for me to recommend the hotel based on the exorbitant amount we paid – but it was ok. I think that you will get more for your money if you stay somewhere that’s cheaper, but I didn’t see other hotels’ rooms.

Day 2 - We went out to the main beach, Beau Vallon, and sat and read. The beach was very nice, and the water was beautiful. We had lunch at the Berjaya Beau Vallon’s pizza place, which was fine. Their buffet looked good. We ate all of our dinners at the hotel. The food wasn’t great, but it was fine.

Day 3 – We rented a jeep for the day ($80) and drove around the island to various beaches. Anse Intendance was the most beautiful, but it was too rough to swim. We ate lunch at Anse Takamaka (ok, not great), and continued around the island.

Day 4 - We went scuba diving in the morning at a site called L’Ilot. The diving in the Seychelles used to be very good, I’m told, but the water has warmed in the last couple of years and a lot of the coral has died. We had read some reviews of this dive site that were very good, but we didn’t see too much. You could see where there used to be a lot more coral. So, we decided not to do any more diving on this trip. In the afternoon we took the ferry to Praslin (1 hour). We arrived at Praslin and were met and taken to La Reserve. It was a great improvement from our previous accommodations. We had a room in the back villa that is on a hill. Nice bathroom, balcony, bed. There are a few too many stairs, and I would recommend that you request the front villa that’s right next to the ocean. There are also some beautiful little cabins next to the ocean, but they are not air conditioned. The hotel has its own little cove next to the main beach.
Again, we paid for the half-board plan, so we ate all of our dinners at the hotel. The outdoor dining area is a lovely setting – a pier that juts out over the water. Get there right at 7:30 if you want a table closest to the water. The food was ok, but not great. A lot of people said L’Archipel had great food, but we did not go. We only had one really great meal during our trip – at the restaurant at Anse Lazio.

Day 5 – We took a cab to Anze Lazio ($30 for a 6km round trip). This was our favorite beach of the trip. Beautiful water, the finest grains of sand I’ve ever seen, and some little coves to wander through. Our best meals of the trip were at the restaurant here (but as with everything else – not cheap!). we spent most of the day here then went back to the hotel and hung out by our cove.

Day 6 – We took the ferry to La Digue for a day trip. We rented bikes and drove to Anse Source D’Argent. This is a famous beach – apparently a lot of swimsuit calendars are shot here. The beach was beautiful – lots of large, smooth boulders. However, it was very crowded by Seychelles standards, and the water was too shallow to swim in. We moved on and biked through the plantation, stopping to feed the giant tortoises. It was a beautiful bike ride to get to Grande Anse. Another beautiful beach, but the surf was very strong so you had to be sure not to go out too far. We had lunch at Grande Anse, which was good. Then we rode back to catch our ferry.

Day 7 – We got up early and took a cab to the Valle de Mai rainforest and spent 1 ½ hours walking around the trails. It was very pretty, with lots of interesting plant life. Then we went by our hotel to pick up our beach stuff and headed back to- where else – Anse Lazio. Another day of hanging out on the beach and eating good food.

Day 8 – Got up very early and flew back to Johannesburg and then to San Francisco.

Summary thoughts – The Seychelles were very nice, but not something you couldn’t find in the South Pacific or certain islands of the Caribbean at a lower cost for better quality of lodging and food. It was different from a lot of tropical islands in that it was very lush. If I were to go again, I would spend all of my time on Praslin (and maybe La Digue) and skip Mahe, it was more developed and not as idyllic. We went because we were coming from safari in Africa (which I HIGHLY recommend!) and wanted a nice place to end our honeymoon. Someone told us that most South Africans go to Mauritius, or even the Maldives, because though the Maldives further away, they’re cheaper to get to and cheaper once you’re there. Feel free to e-mail me with questions.

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