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Seychelles

Curious what backpackers do on the Seychelles? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • So it has been a while since I had the time/energy/internet connection to write, but better late than never.
    My colleague left finally, so today was my first day alone. Managed to drive on the left side without damaging myself, others or the car...that's already a good start. I have a pretty Kia Picanto, as the name suggests it is small. For now I just call him matchbox, but I am thinking about a proper nickname. It is pretty funny to drive on the "wrong" side, because it's not only about where you drive, but that inside the car everything is placed the other way as we are used to. So instead of blinking, I usually wipe my window. To change the gears with left hand is also a challenge. The roads around the island are very curvy and steep, and when it gets dark, then there are no lights near the roads, so good luck with surviving here. As we are in the rainy season, it really rains a lot....like I have never seen so much water. I also had to move from one room to another in the hotel where I stayed before, because the first room was under water because it rained so much. So yes, there is really a looooot of rain, so when it rains a lot then the small Picanto turns into a boat.

    I also moved from the horrible hotel (aka youth hostel) where I stayed, so now I have my final residence in Coral Strand Hotel in Beau Vallon. I have a balcony overlooking the mountains and a nice room, so far so good. The front office manager also speaks Turkish, which is cool, like this I won't forget the language and feel a bit closer to my beloved Turkey.

    The first day at the office was quite challenging. A couple of interesting cases to solve and of course, the law of Murphy..nothing seemed to work on my laptop, there are still some things to be set up and sorted out. Me and IT are maybe not that good friends after all...:)
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  • Sunday I went to Anse Major, it's not far from Beau Vallon, where I live. There is a quite easy trail, in approximately 45 minutes you can go through the forest and find yourself on a postcard picture-like beach, called Anse Major. There are spectacular views of Beau Vallon bay and Silhouette Island on the way. There are massive granite rocks and the trail leads you to Anse Major in the shadow of Morne Blanc, the highest peak of Mahe (on the bucket list...next thing to check out). There is a small waterfall on a huge granite plateau. Locals were enjoying washing themselves on the way back from the beach. There is also a cave, formed by several rocks. On the way there, I took like every two minutes a picture: the lush vegetation, the different plants, trees, wonderful views...not to mention the beach: it really looked like those beaches on the postcards and in the catalogues. Anse Major consisted of two small bays bordered by granite rocks. Behind the second bay, there was also a kind of a lagoon. There were quite big waves, so probably it is not the best for snorkeling, even if the ocean is that perfect turquoise color. But again, maybe around march/april it is calmer. Small note here for myself to come back and check - it is really so close anyways and then by walking to Anse Major and back, I also get my daily dose of sport. And you don't need sunbeds there... the granite rocks provide you a great place to relax, read a book, admire the ocean.
    This trail through the woods and the perfect beach without tourists made me feel really lucky to be here. There is so much beauty here...if you are a nature lover, then here is your untouched paradise.
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  • Early morning at 6 my flight landed on the airport of Mahe Island, Seychelles. There was so much humidity, that I could barely see the mountains around and the small airport building. In the last couple of days it has been raining so much...but the weather was gracious with me upon my arrival: although it was pretty cloudy and humid, it hasn't been raining. I take this as a sign - a good start!

    After a small tour of the airport, and a "business breakfast" talking with my colleague about some work things, I could settle in the hotel where I will stay till my colleague leaves the island. Then I will move to where she used to live, which is called Coral Strand Hotel.

    I slept a bit, because i was up for more than 24 hours, and then I went on a discovery tour around Beau Vallon, where I am staying. I have some quite sharp memories from Beau Vallon, I was visiting a friend of mine 2 years ago here. The only change what I saw for the first sight, was 1-2 new restaurants and a brand new jungle gym not far from the Savoy Hotel. I was quite impressed with the jungle gym overlooking the ocean...Miami is definitely coming to Beau Vallon!

    What I really liked the first time I was here, was this breadfruit chips. So when I saw it in the supermarket, I was happy that already on my first day I can eat something local, something typical. Another funny thing from the supermarket, or better said a funny thing about prices on the Seychelles was that this breadfruit chips, some bread and some cheese cost the same as a bottle of Malibu black bought in the duty free. It's somehow a strange price equality, especially compparing to Turkey, where alcohol in general was quite expensive. I'm excited to go local and explore what they eat, drink, how is their culture, their way of life. Mission to be completed: how to be a Seychelloise.
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  • Before getting to the serious work, I had the chance to spend my Sunday on a boat trip. The St Anne Marine Park consists of several small island and coral reefs with plenty of fishes. Each small island is known for something else: one of them, Long Island used to be a "quarantine island" where ships had to stop and the people coming from the ships were examined to detect if they had any disease or illness before debarking on Mahe Island. Then later there was a prison there...the Alcatraz of the Seychelles! I'm sure prisoners had quite a nice sea view from their prison cells. After the not so brilliant past of the island, it will finally be known for something nice: currently they are building a Shangri-La hotel on the island. My favourite island was Moyenne Island. Huge turtles are living on the island and the island was once also a home for a dog shelter. The dog shelter was founded by a British woman: she took the stray dogs from the main island Mahe, and took them to Moyenne Island. When she opened the shelter , it provided home to 5o dogs and later when she died, there was 70 dogs living there. The dogs are not there anymore, but the giant turtles are still there, more than 120 of them. They are strolling around the island freely, we were even feeding them - they like all kinds of leaves, they are not very picky. There is a trail going around the island, takes about 45 minutes to go around, the first half of the trail is easy, the second half needs a little bit of climbing skills, but it's nothing that wouldn't be manageable in sandals or flip flops. There is also a small cemetery where the owner of the island was buried when he died in 2012. The owner was Brendon Grimshaw, also a Brit, who bought the island for 8000 pounds roughly 50 years ago. Thanks to him, the island is untouched, no hotels, just untouched nature.
    We were travelling with a glass bottom boat so we were able to see the corals and the different fishes, the zebra fish or the sergeant fish. The corals were a bit destroyed by El Nino, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures. The corals are very sensitive, the water can't be either too hot or too cold, otherwise they die. There was also a submarine tour planned on our excursion but it was too wavy to move from our boat to the submarine, so we had to skip that.
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  • I have noticed something here...it's like you have a bad hair day every day. It's impossible that your hair looks anything like back home, nooo...I have the feeling I look like a lion with all my fur around my head because of this insane air humidity. Or maybe I just feel like an untamed lion now after my 12 hour work day.
    Today we spent the whole day at the office with my colleague, I was trying to get to know the destination, meeting people from the agency we work with...a lot of things to see, learn, understand.
    Nice thing about our office, it is located right downtown Victoria (the world's smallest capital)...If I step out of the office, then I can see the famous Clocktower, aka the mini Big Ben of the Seychelles. But the absolute best is that there is a cute little coffee house called La Dolce Vita right behind the office! And the owner is Italian, so there is real good coffee. And there is even more...cakes, ice cream. In one word: Happiness! Mondays are almost fundays (NOT).
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  • Yesterday and today were another two days with a full work program. Usually the evening when we finally finish work, I just try to be strong enough to clean my make up, take a shower, brush my teeth and fall into my bed. The handover with my colleague is really very intense, and when I think "oh but tomorrow must be a bit more relaxed", then actually the next day is just even more exhausting.
    Today we went to the other two bigger islands, Praslin and La Digue so that I get a picture about the hotels there. Thanks god the ocean was quite calm, even if in the rain season which is now, it could have been a lot more agitated. From the main island Mahe to Praslin it tooks around an 1 hour with the ferry line Cat Coco (cute name, isn't it?!) and from Praslin to La Digue with the ferry line Cat Rose maybe another half an hour.
    La Digue is the smallest from these 3 islands, and it's also known as the calmest. There are no cars, just bikes. You can rent bikes in the several bike rental places or at your hotel. There are also donkey carriages, so it's like as time stood still on this island and that you are actually living in the past century.
    The hotels are also smaller, there are some boutique style hotels for romantic getaways and also some guest houses for young people who like to be close to the nature.
    I really liked Le Domaine de l'Orangerie which is in a picturesque setting in a garden where it smells like orange flower. I also loved the rooms with the open showers, very nicely designed. There was an amazing view from the spa: the massage beds facing the wonderful ocean view from the top of the property. It really took my breath away.
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  • On Praslin there are also very nice hotels, big, small, boutique hotel, guest house, luxury hotel: there is something for everyone. My favourites were here Le Duc de Praslin and Constance Lemuria. Le Duc is a boutique hotel nicely decorated with the work of local artists, a tropical little garden, a cool surf style beach bar and tapas bar with amazing view of the bay, where you have live music and entertainment almost every day.
    Constance Lemuria is a classical posh golf hotel, with an 18 hole golf course, 3 different beaches (all of them beautiful), great restaurants, a nice spa and luxurious rooms.

    Praslin is also home to the famous “Vallee de Mai” National Park. Unique to Vallee de Mai and to Praslin is the “Coco de Mer” - or Coco de Fesse: it’s a butt shaped coconut. It’s illegal to poach these coconuts. It’s possible to buy them - they are very very expensive and each of them has a barcode. It’s the Louis Vuitton, or the Manolo Blahnik of the coconuts. I remember there is a shop on Eden Island also, where you can buy them. By the way Eden Island is not far from the airport of Victoria, on Mahe Island. It is a man made island where you have a shopping centre, a yacht harbour, some good cafes and restaurants, a hotel called Eden Bleu and also you can buy property there.
    Since this was a business visit with site inspection and tight program, I couldn’t visit the national park yet, so later I will tell you more about Praslin.
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  • We were served a delicious dinner at Acajou Hotel, and finally there was good service. Yes, the first time since I arrived on the Seychelles! Later on I will write detailed about tourism and hospitality on this island and I will explain why is it a “Wow” moment, when something works how it should work. Pretty little hotel with rooms directly on the beach...it's amazing that each hotel is so different here. On the beach of Acajou I had the feeling like it looks like a bit of the beaches in Florida.

    Colourful little birds were flying all over, and there was also an angry bird with a punk hair, I read about that one that it's a local species.Not my fav one though. But there was also a cute green mini lizard, far more friendly than the punk bird. There are also many different kind of insects on the Seychelles, but about those ugly little thing I could write a whole chapter...

    The way back with the ferry was not as peaceful as the onward journey, the ocean was not at his best, so I really had to concentrate to survive the last 20 minutes.
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  • Finally some time to relax (read an interview with Alexis Bledel about Gilmore Girls on the beach...yes I am a big fan!) and do some sports during the weekend. The gym of Savoy Hotel which is located right next to where I live, is just amazing. There is also a spa with sauna..or Russian Banya, as they call it. Steam room, pool, relaxation area. Just what I need! I also bought a yoga mat. Life is good:)Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Seychelles, Seychellen, Seychelles, Seychelle, Seyhyɛl, ሲሼልስ, سيشل, Seixeles, Seyçels, Сейшэльскія Астравы, Сейшелски О-ви, Sesɛli, সিসিলি, སཱ་ཤཻལ།, Sechelez, Sejšeli, Seychely, Seychellerne, Seshɛls nutome, Σεϋχέλλες, Sejŝeloj, Seiiellid, Seychelleak, سیچلز, Seysel, Seychellit, Seyskelloyggjarnar, Sêch·èles, Na Séiséil, શેશેલ્સ, Saishal, איי סיישל, सेशेल्स, Սեյշելներ, Seycheli, Seychelleseyjar, セイシェル, სეიშელის კუნძულები, Shelisheli, សីសែល, ಸೀಶೆಲ್ಲೆಸ್, 세이쉘, سیشێل, Seychellys, Insulae Seisellenses, Sesere, Sɛshɛlɛ, ເຊແຊວ, Seišeliai, Seshele, Seišeļu salas, Seyshela, Сејшели, സെയ്ഷെല്‍സ്, Seychellene, सेचेलेस, Seichèlas, ସେଚେଲସ୍, Seszele, سیشل, Ilhas Seychelles, Seychellas, Amazinga ya Seyisheli, Сейшельские о-ва, Seychellsullot, Sëyshêle, Sishelis, Sejshellet, Seychellerna, ஸேசேல்ஸ், సీషెల్స్, Ҷазираҳои Сейшел, ประเทศเซเชลส์, Seyshels, ʻOtumotu Seiseli, سېيشېل ئاراللىرى, Сейшельські Острови, سشلیز, Xây sen (Seychelles), Säceluäns, Orílẹ́ède seṣẹlẹsi, 塞舌尔群岛, i-Seychelles