I was off to Dubai for work, and so figured out how to sneak in a weekend in the Seychelles while there. Hubby wasn’t super keen to come as it is a bit far for a weekend so there I was, solo on a flight jam packed with honeymooners and couples! Flying into the Seychelles, you can see stunning beaches, wild rainforest, and huge rocks that seem to be falling from the mountain tops into the ocean. The island survives on tourism, and rightly so! I was first off the plane, and picked up a wonderfully dodgy rental car. A crapped out Kia Picanto that last saw it’s clutch in 2015, and I was going to rue the crappy engine more than once over the weekend.
I drove into town looking for the Larue apartments. There are no street numbers here, but thankfully google maps knew where I was going. The kia picanto couldn’t make it up the very steep wet driveway, and I was very embarrassed when I had to call the owner to come and get me – he drove my car up!. Apparently it happens every time a guest arrives (and don’t worry I got up fine every time after that). The Larue apartments are basic but lovely – it’s high on the hill in bel air with stunning views overlooking Victoria. Accommodation is ridiculously expensive here so I was happy to find a whole apartment for 80 Euro a night, it actually had three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The afternoon wasn’t sunny so went down to check out the bustling metropolis of Victoria. Its tiny, lovely and indisputably African. I checked out the ‘sights’ – a cute Hindu temple, the church and a replica of the clock tower in London. And then I followed the local ladies to the market to buy food for the weekend – eggs, avocado, beans, corn, tomatoes and eggs. I couldn’t resist the bakery either and ended up with some delicious deep fried fish cakes that were so spicy my nose started running, and a ‘coconut gateau’ that was halfway between the consistency of a scone and a rock, but surprisingly good. I had an early dinner of veggies and eggs, and then passed out as the jet lag hit me like a rock
I slept a solid 12 hours, and roused myself at 8am to get some hiking in. I was staying at the edge of the national park on purpose as I prefer hills to beaches. I had lined up three hikes, which should have taken me about six hours. The first – Trois freres – named for the ‘three brothers’ – huge rocks which overlook the town of Victoria. It was supposed to take 2 hours return, but took 30 mins. It was a lovely view though.
Next up the ‘casse dents’ (broken teeth) which was sadly closed due to too much rain eroding the track. So I headed next to Morne Blanc. I picked up some local girls hitching on the way. They were hilarious, as they were ‘hiking’ with their university, but effectively they were walking on the road for the whole day. They were a bit tired going up the ‘big hill’ so I gave them a ride. I have to say the Kia picante didn’t do well with four ladies on a steep incline – it was first gear all the way.
I stopped at the trail head for Morne blanc and tried not to worry about the two blokes with machetes hanging around the trail head. That ’90 minute’ trail took 30 minutes, but was wonderfully steep up and down, so it was a nice jog. To round out the morning, and as I was finished early, I also ran a few km on the Mont d’or trail for good measure (accessed from Port Gilaud). All of the trails are well marked, but you can find them on the Gaia app.
I then headed to the top of the island. I passed a big resort and a crowded beach and kept going until I found a delightful private beach to myself for a swim. Afterwards, clean and restored, I drove to the end of the road to Cap Ternay, and then turned around to head back to a nice posh resort for lunch – Constance Ephelia. It was a nice place but overrun with kids and pink tourists, and out of my budget but I did have a very good lamb kebab!
I had no plans for the rest of the afternoon, so I put some good tunes on the car stereo and cruised down the west side of the island, stopping frequently to take photos or to jump in the water to cool off. Driving here is not for the faint hearted. Your rental car is bound to be rubbish, mine ground the gears every time from second to third. The roads are narrow, slippery, and windy! I rarely got above 40km, and spent most of the time in the mountains in second gear. Add to that the local kids and dogs who will randomly dart in front of you from nowhere. I narrowly avoided running over a dog fast asleep in the middle of the road. Don’t drive here if you have a weak heart!!! The old local buses belch out black smoke, and you don’t want to be stuck behind one going through the interior or you might suffocate, I pulled over a few times to get further away from the buses and try to breathe.
It was a brilliant afternoon, I loved the drive. The west side of Mahe island is much quieter than the east side, and highlights were Grand Anse and Anse Takamaka. It was a strenuous afternoon driving with one hand on the wheel, and one arm hanging out the window ……with the music blasting I looked just like one of the locals. I rewarded my effort with an icecream and a nap on Takamaka beach. After that I cruised back into town, and had another stroll around before dinner. A perfect day as a tourist 😃
I would highly recommend the Seychelles for a weekend, and if you love beaches there is tonnes to do for a week – I am just not great at sitting on a beach all day!
That was the last lovely country of the 197…., thanks Seychelles no. 186, just 11 more to go