Life, the Universe and Everything


Date2010/11/27 - 2010/12/11
LocationVarious islands of the Seychelles
Links Small selection of photos on Flickr / Sunset Beach Hotel / Travel information

Diesen Bericht gibt es auch auf Deutsch.

Here you will find the extensive report of our very nice vacations on the Seychelles.

Bigger version of the pictures are available.
Just contact me with links to the photos you want in higher resolution.

You can view the photos by clicking on a day.
You can also view all photos and videos as a Slideshow.

Here's a map of the islands we visited during our stay.
Islands Map
And here a map of the places we visited on the main island Mahé.
Mahé Map

Day 1 - Saturday 2010/11/27

There's not much to tell about this first day. We went to the airport in the early afternoon and had a short flight to Paris. Luckily we arrived at the same terminal which we were leaving from, so we didn't have far to our next gate. At the passport control and the security check people were getting jealous when they saw the destination on our boarding pass. In the evening we boarded the big Boing 737-300 for our over-night flight to the Seychelles. After a small dinner, where we got our first taste of creole food, still a long flight was ahead of us, with little to no sleep possible.

Day 2 - Sunday 2010/11/28

After breakfast on board we were already able to catch the first glimpses of some islands of the Seychelles. At 08:30, almost an hour ahead of schedule, we landed on Mahé and were welcomed with comfortable warmth. After getting all entry formalities behind us, we were greeted by a tour guide and brought to a bus for transfer to our hotel. And as a special welcome we also experienced our first short, but heavy monsoon rain.

During our bus ride to the hotel we were able to see some parts of the island Mahé. The nature is beautiful - the trees, the mountains, very impressive. Unfortunately we were driving on a road, which was lined with houses on both sides. We will have to get away from the big streets to fully enjoy the nature of the island.

On the way we saw Eden Island, which is an artificial peninsula where foreigners can buy villas. It looks quite ugly despite what advertisements show you. Next we came to Victoria, which is the capital of the Seychelles. It seems very crowded and not really like a place we would want to spend much time in, even though it's still better than many other "big" cities.

From Victoria the bus took the steep and winding road through the mountains to Beau Vallon on the other side of the island, and after dropping off some people we went north along the coast to our hotel, the Sunset Beach Hotel. There we received a friendly welcome with a (non-alcoholic) fruit cocktail and a nicely smelling flower garland for Anna. Our room was also nicely decorated with fresh flowers everywhere. The room (No. 2) is situated on the left side of the hotel above a rocky shore, and we have a nice view on some palm trees and the sea.

Soon we met our tour guide Hubert, who was born in the Seychelles but lived in Germany for 17 years, so his German was perfect. He told us some things about Mahé, like what to see, where the next shop is, and how to get around the island with the buses. We also talked about some of the trips that Mason's Travel was offering.

After that we took a short walk across the nice, small beach which is right next to the hotel, and then we went to the shop to get some mineral water and juice. Walking along the street can be dangerous because there isn't much room for pedestrians and there's a steep slope on one side. And we still had to get used to left-hand traffic.

With our fresh supply of water we were ready to hit the beach and the sea. The water was nicely warm and the waves were rather high, which was okay as soon as we were far enough inside as not to be caught by breaking waves. "Riding" on the high waves is a lot of fun though. Even without snorkelling we were already able to see a lot of fish in the sea, and on a rock near the sea we found some funny rockskippers.

During a short rest in our room someone from the staff offered to bring us some coconuts to drink, which were nicely decorated with (inedible) flowers and tasted nice.

After a short walk on which we found a ripe, yellow mango (there are mango trees everywhere) which tasted delicious, we went back to the beach for some snorkelling and testing our underwater camera. The number of different fish we were able to see is amazing, and we didn't even have to swim that far away from the beach to see some rather big fish as well. While we wanted to get out of the sea, Anna was suddenly attacked from behind ... by a small, ripe banana. As a punishement the banana was eaten right away.

After showering and getting dressed for dinner (long trousers are obligatory for men), we went out to watch our first sunset at Sunset Beach, which unfortunately was rather cloudy. We were able to watch some rockskippers and crabs chasing each other down on the rocks though. And we found cute geckos on our balcony when we returned to our room.

Before dinner we tried to upload a few first photos to share, but the internet connection was so frustratingly slow that it took us half an hour to upload 5 small photos. We decided not to try that again and wait until we were home for the rest of the photos...

Dinner that evening was in the form of a buffet with a big grilled red snapper as its main attraction and various different salats, curries, side dishes and desserts.

Since we had a long day behind us we were already very tired when we fell into bed. But we were woken up soon after by a loud, heavy monsoon rain pounding down on the roofs. After a short while we were able to fall asleep again though...

Day 3 - Monday 2010/11/29

After getting up in the morning one of the first things we saw were some cute geckos on our balcony. At the breakfast buffet we had some (freshly prepared) scrambled eggs, porridge, fresh fruits and fruit juices. Unfortunately the coffee and hot chocolate were undrinkable.

Since we had some time before our meeting with Hubert, the tour guide, we went to the beach for some swimming and snorkelling. Again we saw many fish, like some amazing triggerfish. Then heavy rain forced us to quickly leave the beach and take shelter in our room. The rain stopped again soon and we went to the lobby to meet Hubert to fix some trips to other islands we wanted to make.

With still some light rain we then went to the bus station to wait for a bus to take us to Victoria. We decided to take the longer route with bus No. 22 along the north coast to see a bit more of the island. Riding buses on Mahé is a lot of fun. They are small but very comfortable buses and the drivers are driving rather fast along the winding roads, which makes a bus ride almost like a roller coaster ride. It's also very cheap with 5 SR (~EUR 0.3) for one ride.

We went around Victoria for a bit, buying some postcards and souvenirs on the way and some stamps at the post office, before we reached the market. Unfortunately many of the stands were already closed and there wasn't much to choose from. We still bought two different kinds of bananas - a bunch of small ones and two rather thick, triangular ones (which we ate right away, delicious) - and a bag of fruits we didn't know yet which turned out to be java apples. The most amazing thing of the market was the choice of fresh fish, and the egrets walking around the fish stands to catch flies.

After the market we went to the tourist office to get some information and maps for hiking trails and bus routes. As it turned out they didn't have much information and only directed us to other places where to get it.

Our next stop was the botanical garden, where we were able to get a map of the hiking trails in the Morne Seychellois National Park.

Some of the things we saw in the botanical garden:

After the botanical garden we went to a super market to get a small snack, and from there to the bus terminal to find our bus back to the hotel. There were already many people queued for our bus so the ride back was rather crowded. We saw a (still cloudy) sunset from the bus before arriving at our hotel.

Before dinner we tried the Java apples, which we didn't really like so we gave them to someone from the hotel staff later on, who was very happy about it. Dinner was served as a menu with some choice possible.

After dinner we looked around the hotel a bit before going to sleep.

Day 4 - Tuesday 2010/11/30

Getting up in the morning we noticed that it was very cloudy outside. We sat on the balcony for a while hoping for the sun to come out. It remained cloudy and we went to get some breakfast, where we were welcomed by one of the hotel's managers.

After breakfast the clouds started to disappear and we started our hike to the water reservoir La Gogue. For that we first had to get to Glacis which is a short walk along the street to the north. On the way we got some snacks at a shop and also found a ripe mango next to the street. From Glacis there's a steep, paved road going up into the mountains, to a height of about 200 meters. The sun was shining very strong by then, which didn't make the ascent any easier.

There were still houses every now and then, but there was also a lot of nature between the houses, especially banana plants. On one banana plant we found a gecko sitting on the banana flower, which we didn't notice until we wanted to take a photo of the flower.

From the highest point of our hike it was a bit downwards again before we reached the water reservoir, which was rather empty. We were told before that there were problems with water supply because there wasn't enough rain for this season.

At the reservoir we met a nice local, called Jude, who offered to us follow him back to the Sunset Beach Hotel on a "bushy" path. It turned out to be a non-visible path straight down through the jungle, which was more like we hoped our hike to be, it was great. Along the way we came across a jackfruit tree, and when we mentioned that we haven't tasted this fruit before, Jude quickly climbed up the tree to get one for us. He opened it with a rusty machete and explained us how to eat it. It tasted delicious.

Many of the trees were full of fruit bats and sometimes also the sky would be full of them, which was amazing to watch.

We reached the Sunset Beach Hotel rather quickly that way. Jude offered us to contact him in case we wanted to take some more trips into the jungle before we parted way. Before going back to the hotel we went to the shop to buy some water.

After resting a bit in our room we went to the beach for some bathing and snorkelling. Unfortunately the waves were so strong that one of them snatched away Gerwin's diving mask while trying to get into the water and it had disappeared before we were able to retrieve it. We could save the snorkel though and we borrowed a new diving mask from the hotel later on.

We spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach, bathing in the high waves and resting. The sunset was once again not visible due to clouds.

Dinner menu:

Day 5 - Wednesday 2010/12/01

After breakfast we took the bus No. 20 down to Beau Vallon, and from there bus No. 21 to Bel Ombre, the last bus station in this direction. From there we started our hike to the Anse Major which at the beginning was on a paved road with many houses and more houses being build directly into what is supposed to be a National Park, destroying the jungle and the amazing rock formations. Along the way a woman showed us a fruit bat which she had caught and trapped in a small cage.

The path was getting really beautiful once we had left civilization behind us. It was going along the coast high above the sea through a mixture of jungle and rocks. There were some very interesting plants along the way, like some wild ananas. We also picked up a geocache along the way.

After about two hours we managed to find our way down to the quiet, and almost empty beach Anse Major, where we spend some time bathing and snorkelling, watching the crabs and playing in the sand. Before leaving the beach we shortly thought about checking out the next beach right next to this one, but since we were already very tired and didn't have much water with us, we decided against it and started our hike back along the way we came. We were happy about some light rain to refresh us along the way, but we still were very exhausted when we reached the bus station.

This time we got of the bus in Beau Vallon, to check out this place a bit. At the beach there was a stand offering fresh fruits and we bought and drank a coconut there, and when we were finished the salesman opened the coconut for us so we could eat the young flesh. There also was supposed to be a bazar, but we were a bit early and the stands were only just opening when we went through. There were mainly stands offering various things to eat (mainly fish) and trashy souvenirs.

Afterwards we took the bus back to the hotel, watched the sunset (still a bit cloudy) and went for dinner.

Dinner was buffet again this time with grilled fish, chicken and beef and some really nice fish satay.

Day 6 - Thursday 2010/12/02

On this day was our planned trip to the islands Praslin and La Digue. We got up at 05:00, had a small breakfast and then were picked up with a bus at about 06:00 and brought to the harbour in Victoria where our ferry to Praslin would be leaving. On our ferry there was also a funny Japanese film crew who were apparently creating a documentary for kids.

There were quite strong waves on our trip and when we arrived about 45 minutes later, there was heavy rain on Praslin. Luckily we didn't stay long because we only switched boats to get to La Digue where we arrived after another 15 minutes trip with the sun welcoming us.

On La Digue we switched from the boat unto ox carts, which brought us to L'Union Estate, which is a Copra factory. There we were shown how coconuts can be opened with a sharp stick. The coconuts will then be dried and the resulting copra is processed in a mill to get coconut oil.

Nearby is the Anse Source d'Argent, which is the famous beach on which many commercials like Bounty are shot and which has also been used in an Emmanuelle film. Since it wasn't cleaned when we were there and was full of seaweed it didn't look all that impressive. There is also the house used in an Emmanuelle film and an enclosure with some giant tortoises which can be fed and petted.

From there we went further through a vanilla plantation (which didn't smell at all because vanilla only gets its smell after a long process of drying and fermentation) to a very nice beach. Since we didn't have much time we didn't go swimming but spent our time walking along the beach with some amazing rock formations. We then were brought back to the harbour and took the ferry back to Praslin, where by now the sun was shining as well.

Our first stop on Praslin was at a restaurant for lunch. It was a buffet with different curries and some grilled fish. Since we had announced Anna's allergy to cinnamon before this trip, they were nice enough to prepare all the curries without any cinnamon.

After lunch we made a short stop at a waterfall to take pictures and then went on to the Vallée de Mai. We got a very thorough description of all the different parts of the Coco-de-Mer palm tree and then walked a bit through the forest, getting explanations about different plants and animals along the way. There were some small geckos on the male parts of the Coco-de-Mer which are important for the pollination. We also saw one very large, brown gecko which was eating white slugs on another male Coco-de-Mer. There're supposed to be endemic black parrots but we only heard this one. We also didn't see the chameleons or snakes which are also supposed to live there.

Afterwards we were brought to Anse Lazio which is a wonderful beach with unbelievably fine and white sand. We spend some time swimming and watching the rockskippers on the nearby rocks. With this our day on Praslin ended and we took the ferry back to Mahé with the sun setting while we were on board. We were brought back to our hotel just in time for dinner.

Day 7 - Friday 2010/12/03

Since we had some busy days behind us, we decided to have a quiet day at the hotel. So after sleeping in and having breakfast we spend most of the day at the beach, swimming and snorkelling. Unfortunately the water was rather murky in the morning so we didn't see much, but it got much better in the afternoon. We watched the sunset from the beach with our feet in the sea and went for dinner afterwards.

Day 8 - Satuday 2010/12/04

After breakfast we packed our bag for the hike to Mt. Copolia and went to bus station. A nice local couple who were going to Victoria with their car took us along to the market in Victoria. Since it was saturday morning the market was much more lively than the last time we've been there. At the bus station we finally picked up the bus schedule we've been wanting for a while already and checked that we needed to take bus No. 14. Some passengers were nice enough to tell us where we had to get of the bus.

We started our hike at a height of about 300m to get up to Mt. Copolia at about 500m which would take about two hours. The hike was very nice, a small, sometimes very steep path through the jungle with some stairs and bridges laid out to make it easier. At a height of about 450m the vegetation suddenly changed abruptly from jungle into a more sparse rock vegetation. We picked up a geocache along the way and over a small ladder reached the summit of Mt. Copolia, which is a huge rock plain with funny pitcher plants and a great view down to Victoria, Eden island and the airport, but also up to the higher mountains Mt. Seychellois and Trois Frères.

After spending some time on the top we started our way back down. We then walked down the street a bit until we reached a bigger bus station, with several people already waiting there. With the bus we got back to Victoria and further to our hotel where we had dinner later on.

Day 9 - Sunday 2010/12/05

Normally we would have had a trip to the Ste. Anne Marine National Park on this day but it was cancelled because there weren't enough participants. So while waiting for our tour guide Hubert to talk about alternatives we went to the beach and watched some of the sea life happening on the rocks right next to the hotel. There were starfish, sea urchins, rock skippers, small fish, a sea cucumber and even a small, blue moray eel.

Hubert made a private arrangement for us to go on a boat trip to the Ste. Anne Marine National Park together only with a German family on monday. After the meeting we took a bus to Victoria, and from there further down to the south to get to the Jardin du Roi. The bus ride there took about an hour.

From the bus stop it was a steep road to get up to the Jardin du Roi which was very exhausting. On the way we found a carambola tree and took some fruits with us. The Jardin du Roi itself is very nice and interesting. At the entrance there is an amazing Avocado tree. We got a map of the whole area including markers for the different plants in then garden.

Some of the things we've seen in the Jardin du Roi:

After our walk through the garden we sat down in the restaurant and had coconut nougat and banana pancakes with ice and fruits as a snack. We also got to try some sugarcane when we asked about it. On the way back down to the bus station we picked up a soursop which seemed ripe from a tree. On the way back to the hotel we saw a very nice cloudless sunset.

Dinner menu:

After dinner we went to the bar to have a cocktail. The bar is right above the sea which is illuminated so you can see the fish that you can with bread. Since the sky was very clear there were a lot of stars to be seen.

Day 10 - Monday 2010/12/06

Boat Trip to the Ste. Anne Marine National Park - Description coming soon...

Day 11 - Tuesday 2010/12/07

Trip to Bird Island - Description coming soon...

Day 12 - Wednesday 2010/12/08

Trip to Bird Island - Description coming soon...

Day 13 - Thursday 2010/12/09

Trip to Bird Island - Description coming soon...

Day 14 - Friday 2010/12/10

Last day at Sunset Beach - Description coming soon...

Day 15 - Saturday 2010/12/11

Flying back home - Description coming soon...

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