|East of Kenya||SEZ||Seychelles|
A layover in Seychelles for me is an adventure. Every time there is something new to explore. Till now, I have only explored the three biggest islands, Mahe, Praslin, & La Digue, while 112 still remain! I look forward to unearthing beautiful hidden gems in the unexplored islands. For now, I am sharing my favorite experiences of this mesmerizing archipelago.
Magical Views, Tea Estates, Bike Rides
While islands always offer sunshine beaches, Seychelles offers the full spectrum of natural adventures. The challenging hikes, the time-traveling bike rides, and aromatic tea and coconut plantations make the layover in Seychelles unimaginably diverse. Some of my favorite adventures to explore are:
Copolia Trail Hike:
On my first layover, the crew and I stayed in the Mahe Island, the largest one of all. As the international airport is on Mahe, it is one of the most convenient islands to explore. We wanted to have that one glimpse of the whole island that would say it all. The locals pointed us to Copolia Trail Hike. I still can’t thank them enough because it has been one of the most memorable hikes of my life.
This intermediate trail is just over a kilometer long and takes approx. an hour to complete, but the glorious views from the granite hilltop at 500m elevation are mesmerizing. You can see everything in just one 360-degree panoramic view – the glistening white sand beaches amidst the crystal blue Indian Ocean.
If you are a nature-lover like me, you can even head to the Saint Anne Marine Park nearby and explore some of the native species.
Colonial coconut plantation bike-ride in La Digue:
While Mahe is beautifully explored on foot, La Digue adds its cycling flavor to the layover. The island allows minimal motor vehicle use, so cycling is your best bet and also the most enchanting one.
La Digue has a cycling track ready for you, no matter your preferred difficulty level. You can choose the most challenging climbs near Anse Cocos and Grand Anse, or a flatter track near Anse Source d’Argent – The pink sand beach!
Being a more relaxed biker, I went with the flatter track, and to my utter surprise, I came across L’Union Estate. The estate was a Coconut and Vanilla plantation during the colonial era.
It’s an incredible time-traveling experience offering uncountable photo opportunities, including the beautiful French Plantation House, The Giant Union Rock, and the Traditional Copra Mill.
Morne Blanc Trail & The Tea Plantation Tour:
Yet another sought-after trails on Mahe Island, Morne Blanc offers rich biodiversity encompassing several endemic species. This 3 km trail is filled with lush forests and tea plantations.
The tea estates fall at the very start of the trail, but I would recommend that you visit them on your way back. One reason for that is you wouldn’t want to miss out on the magnificent early morning top-of-the-trail views.
Second, the forested mountainous terrain to the top offers a bit of a challenge and a warm beverage after it is rejuvenating beyond explanation.
My favorite plantation is SeyTe. Climbing those lush green tea terraces and picking some leaves yourself is a rekindling experience. Afterward, I recommend touring the factory to witness the tea leaves getting processed to end up in your warm sweet cuppa finally!
Bonfire Parties, Pink Sand & Aldabra-Cadabra!
While beaches are almost everywhere, Seychelles offers some extremely unique activities and vistas to make your beach visit an all-new experience. My favorite experiences include:
Bon Fire Party at Beau Vallon Beach:
While on Mahe, you can pick no other beach except the Beau Vallon. The crystal-clear waters and beautiful landscape are just a few attractions.
If I have a one-day layover in Seychelles, I prefer staying in Mahe. But I make it a point to explore something new on this beach. On a few occasions, I have experienced magical underwater wonders, including the coral reefs, the eagle rays, and even the sharks.
While on other visits, I have simply lied down and basked in the bright sun. The sunsets are unmatchable, and the diverse natural views of the beautiful shoreline are never-ending.
Being a foodie, I have explored almost all types of outlets, from food stalls to fine restaurants. Sometimes the crew and I have even caught our own seafood, cooked it, and feasted on it.
Also, the nights at the beach are super engaging. They have bonfires, drum beats, and local “Moutya” dance performances. These bonfire parties are so enticing that you just don’t want to go anywhere else.
Pink Sand of Anse Source d’Agent:
While you are biking around La Digue, never miss a chance to visit the most famous beach in Seychelles. The pink sand itself is enough to drive you mad if you are looking for those instagrammable clicks. The rustling palms and gigantic rock formations are nowhere behind in making it to your social media.
Just adjacent to the L’Union Estate, this beach is everything you can ask for in terms of peace, sunshine, beach fun, and so much more!
The crew and I love kayaking here because the water is so peaceful. Sometimes we simply jump into the waters for a warm and relaxing swim because the waters are shallow and perfect. The shallow waters offer the perfect snorkeling destination to witness colorful fish, including Sulphur Damsel, Butterfly Fish, and Moorish Idol.
Giant Aldabra Tortoises in Curieuse Island:
While Praslin offers award-winning Anse Lazio and Anse Volbert beaches, it is also the gateway to Curieuse Island – the paradise for Giant Aldabra Tortoises.
Just a short boat ride from Praslin is the land of amazement, home to around 500 Aldabra tortoises. They have bathtub size shells, just to give you a mental image.
I was flabbergasted not just by their sheer size but also by seeing these giant reptiles roaming freely all across Curieuse Island! They weigh close to 500 pounds, and yet they are very friendly and feed on plants. Some of these are even 100 years old!
Seychelles is the only place on the planet to present such natural habitat for these magical creatures.
Creole Food Stalls, Home Rum, Street Shopping
One of my favorite parts of a Layover in Seychelles is tasting the delicious Creole food here. Although you can find almost every cuisine, Creole is the most unique one. Also, The street markets full of unique souvenirs make the trip memorable. Some of my favorite food and shopping destinations are:
Creole Food, Seafood & TakaMaka Rum:
Seychelles exposes you to a magnificent buffet of cuisines – Indian, African, Creole & almost everything imaginable. Although spoilt for choice, I still have a few favorites.
I love eating at the street food stalls sprinkled all across the islands. Jules Take Away in Mahe is one of my go-to places to have some mouth-watering seafood and BBQ Pork.
But when in La Digue, one meal at Marie Antoinette goes unsaid. The famous Bat Curry is the crown jewel on the table, and the restaurant offers a fantastic vegetarian selection too.
Finally, I love the contemporary twist to the traditional Creole flavors at La Plaine St. Andre, along with some delicious home-distilled TakaMaka rum.
This street market is a glimpse into the colorful local culture, making it a must-visit destination. Also known by its official, Sir Selwyn- Selwyn Clarke Market, it is full of vibrant shops and food stalls.
You can check out some of the freshest seafood produce here, but I love it for its souvenir variety. The colorful sarongs and beach shirts are fantastic memorabilia, but the best souvenir to take home are the local spices, herbs, and vanilla pods.
You can also get beautiful coconut shell artifacts or offbeat and unique seashell jewelry. But if you want to buy some expensive stuff, check out the lovely black pearl jewelry in Seychelles markets.
Orevwar Seychelles: Plezir Meeting You
A layover in Seychelles is pleasure personified. I am totally smitten by its beauty and culture. It always brings out the adventurous side of me. On my next visit, I plan to go rock climbing.
Also, someone told me about this fantastic BBQ boat tour to Therese Island. So, next time I am there, I will make it a point to explore some of the smaller islands and see what they have in store.