It’s 6.30 am and the sun is starting to spill its beams over the horizon glistening across the turquoise waves that scurry towards the shore. The pristine beach is fringed by looming palm trees and luscious green bushes and I feel as though I could be stranded – the only sign of civilisation the colourful fishing boats bobbing in the ocean. My steps trace footprints behind me in the fine white sand, and I think, just maybe, I’ve found the location of Paradise.
In June I spent a week exploring just three of the islands that make up the Seychelles archipelago, located (many) miles off the East coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. These islands are some of the most beautiful in the world and generally remain undisturbed, best well known for being an exclusive honeymoon destination (so what was I doing there?!).
From glistening stretches of white sandy beaches to lush green forests and other worldly granitic rock formations exploring the Seychelles islands will leave you captivated. If the next 23 photos don’t convince you the Seychelles could be paradise then I don’t know what will.
We began our time on the island of Mahé, the biggest and busiest of the islands and home to Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles. Staying in Beau Vallon, we didn’t venture much further to explore Mahé. Hiring a car would have been useful here as taxis are expensive in the Seychelles and we didn’t fancy a second bus journey after some dodgy hair pin bends undertaken by a texting bus driver!
1. Beau Vallon Beach
On Mahé we stayed in the town of Beau Vallon on the West of the island. We spent a lot of time relaxing on this beautiful beach and swimming in the (somewhat) calm water of the Indian Ocean. The Seychelles is laced with white sandy beaches, the sort you picture a newly married couple strolling hand in hand along and the water a striking turquoise.
2. Sunset from Beau Vallon
The sunsets we watched in the Seychelles will remain some of the best I will ever see. I love watching the way the sky changes dramatically and the colours it brings, never the same as the last sunset. It was even better accompanied by delicious street food and cocktails from the night market along the edge of the beach. Make sure to try banana cakes, deepfried and smothered in sugar. YUM.
3. Trois Frères
In hindsight we should probably have hired a car to explore more of Mahé but instead we used buses to get to the start of the Trois Frères trail. The bus gave us a few hairy moments including a two point corner turn and a bus driver who wouldn’t stop texting but we made it there eventually!
4. View over Mahé from Trois Frères
The Trois Frères hike didn’t take too long but oh my days it was tiring and very sweaty. The temperature in the Seychelles stayed around 28C nearly the whole time we were there and it was humid. The type of humid where the only time you’re not sweaty is when you’ve come straight out of a shower and not yet left air conditioning! The view from the top was worth the sweat though, across the North of the island and over Victoria.
5. Silhouette Island at Sunset
Another stunning sunset from Beau Vallon beach with the sun fading behind the horizon and the clouds looking like giant wisps of cotton candy. It may look quite close but Silhouette Island is actually 20km off the shore of Mahé.
Praslin & Curieuse
After three days on Mahé we sped across the Indian Ocean towards Praslin, the second biggest island of the Seychelles. Life was considerably slower on Praslin and the vibe of the island a lot more relaxed. Unfortunately we didn’t have a huge amount of time to discover Praslin as we were hit by a tropical storm and thundering rain for a whole afternoon. I would love to return and venture into the luscious Vallée de Mai in search of the elusive black parrot.
6. Anse Volbert
On Praslin we stayed in Cote D’Or, strung along the side of Anse Volbert. Cote D’Or is a sleepy beach side town with sleepy beach town vibes making it a great place to chill out and enjoy a classic Seychelles beach complete with a perfectly positioned palm tree.
7. Sunrise over Anse Volbert
This shot made the early alarm that facilitated it worthwhile. Sunrise on Anse Volbert was peaceful, every now and then the rhythmic sound of the waves spilling onto the shore broken by the gentle rumbling of a fishing boat coming back to shore. A faint smell of freshly caught fish passing by in the wind.
8. The calm after the storm
When we arrived on Praslin the sun was shining down but as luck would have it, as soon as we stepped out of our apartment room to head out for a walk, the heavens opened and they did not close until way past our bedtime. The temperature had dipped a bit but I decided to go for a swim in the rain anyway. The beach was entirely deserted, the incessant downpour having sent the tourists lounging on the beach scurrying back to their rooms. It was an exhilarating feeling, big splashes of rain bouncing down around me and then back up into my face. The next morning the storm had cleared and left a calm blue sky in its place.
9. Chauve Souris
From Praslin we decided to take a boat tour to the nearby island of Curieuse including lunch and a snorkel stop. As the fishing boat left the shore of Praslin and picked up speed we passed the teeny tiny island of Chauve Souris, a seemingly single bungalow looking out over the Ocean. Staying at this resort looks a lot like you’d be waking up in paradise every morning!
10. Approach to Curieuse
Jetting away from Chauve Souris the tiny fishing boat flew across the stretch of ocean, spray whipping up into our exuberant faces. As we neared Curieuse, the boat slowed down and drifted along so that we could enjoy a view of the rugged coastline. Curieuse is a granitic island but is also known for the coco de mer palm trees (unique to the Seychelles) that rise up from the bare red earth that covers the island.
11. Walking over Curieuse Island
We were dropped off on Anse St Jose outside the doctor’s house. From here it was a 45 minute walk to our BBQ lunch spot. We hotfooted it past some angry looking crabs, meandered along walkways over mangrove swamps and climbed up through granite formations that made us feel as though we’d stepped onto the set of Jurassic Park!
12. Giant tortoise on Curieuse Island
The gentle inhabitants of Curieuse Island wander slowly (very (very) slowly) across the beach. Only one of two giant tortoise populations in the world, they are the main draw for visitors to Curieuse Island. Most tours to the island include a BBQ lunch and we were lucky enough that ours was in the picnic area on the tortoise beach. Seafood is not my dish of choice but how could I say no to freshly grilled fish and rice in the most glorious setting surrounded by these majestic creatures? (Can confirm it was delicious but I’ve not been convinced enough to try it again!)
13. St Pierre Islet
On the way back to Praslin we stopped for an hour of snorkeling at St Pierre Islet. In all honesty I wasn’t really looking forward to it because the last time I’d tried to snorkel I ended up with a lot of water in my goggles, in my eyes and (probably) in my lungs. But I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. The water was as turquoise as the photo above and so crystal clear. It was one of the best experiences of the holiday to swim along the surface marvelling at the multitude of creatures and life below the water.
14. Anse Lazio
Anse Lazio is frequently voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and I can one hundred percent see why. Especially so in that golden hour of light as the sun droops in the sky. The soft sand golden beneath our feet. A swathe of green forest tumbling down to the ocean’s edge. A haze of spray across the top of the waves leaving an ethereal quality to the air.
15. Colours of sunset at Anse Lazio
We had an interesting journey to make it to Anse Lazio for sunset. A boat tour operator had told me that he knew someone that could drive us. Naturally I assumed he meant he knew a taxi driver but no he really did just mean someone he knew. We anxiously clambered into the backseat of a local Seychellois man’s car and trundled off along the windy road to Anse Lazio. We made it there in one piece. And we made it back again which is probably what matters more…!
16. Sunset at Anse Lazio
This is one of my favourite photos from the Seychelles and quite possibly my favourite sunset as well. As we sat on a rock watching the sky transform into a myriad of colours over one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, the fruit bats began to fly back into the forest.
The final island we visited was La Digue and this was without doubt my favourite. Take life on Mahé, slow it down into first gear, go back in time thirty years and you’ll understand life on La Digue. The laidback atmosphere made Praslin feel like a busy city and Mahé like a bustling cosmopolitan hub.
There are only a handful of cars on La Digue and so everyone and their chicken gets around by bike. We only had a day here but La Digue is small enough that we could cover most of the roads in that time and do our best to get to know this exquisite island in its own time.
17. Taking a break at Grand Anse
We hired bikes from our B&B with fetching plastic supermarket baskets attached to the back and precariously filled with our belongings for the day. The first stop on our tour round the island was Grand Anse. The beaches on the east of La Digue are unfortunately not suitable for swimming due to strong currents especially during monsoon season. Sitting with a fresh coconut in hand and feeling the spray from the waves on our faces was a welcome relief after the sticky cycle to get here.
18. Anse Source d’Argent
Anse Source d’Argent is arguably one of the Seychelles most famous beaches thanks to its distinctive rock formations that scatter its shoreline. The palm trees spill down to the water’s edge and at high tide there is limited room to sit and enjoy this beautiful beach which some people experienced the hard way as the incoming tide lapped at their belongings…!
19. Anse Source d’Argent
To visit the emerald waters of Anse Source d’Argent you’ll have to pay the fee to make your way through L’Union Estate. Spend some time cycling around the grounds and say hello to the resident tortoises.
20. End of the road on La Digue
There are very few roads on La Digue and strangely the ones those in existence don’t quite meet. Cycling clockwise round the island you will pass various resorts and beaches until you come to the end of the road, just past Anse Fourmis. The road simply stops and you look South towards a seemingly dense jungle on your right and endless blue ocean to your left.
21. Anse Fourmis
The cycle around and down the top of La Digue becomes more remote and wild the further you go round. The last location we cycled past was Anse Fourmis which was (almost) deserted and would have been a great place to come for peaceful sunbathing and I bet the sunrise would be great as well. The cycle from the jetty to the end of the road is approximately 9km and it’s fairly exposed to take plenty of water!
22. Anse Severe
After a cycle up to the northeast of La Digue and back, stop off at Anse Severe to enjoy a well deserved rest on its brilliant white sand. Even better, cool down with a refreshing freshly squeezed fruit juice or home made smoothie at the chilled out beach bar just steps from the beach.
23. Sunset from Anse Severe
Feeling revitalised after our juices, we plonked ourselves down on the sand to watch our last Seychelles beach sunset. We knew by now that it would not disappoint. As the sun dipped lower, it illuminated a golden blanket of cloud above the silhouette of Praslin. It was a breathtaking finale to our week in paradise.
What are you waiting for? Are you ready to pack your bags to Paradise?