Fall is here and days are getting darker – to me, this is the perfect time to escape to warm and sunny memories of our vacation on the Seychelles. We went in March 2018 for about 2.5 weeks and enjoyed the bright colors, stunning beaches and friendly people.
Our Journey to Praslin
Our flight was long and exhausting with a short stop-off at Dubai as we flew with Arabian Emirates. This was a great experience, the service and food were awesome. My personal highlight: The lights on the ceiling gradually changed from sunset to a starry sky when night time approached.
As we decided to spend our first week on Praslin, our journey didn’t end with landing on Mahé. The scenery from the plane already looked like a dream and the big rocks and green vegetation right in front of the airport were stunning. But we only had little time to admire the landscape, as our driver was already waiting to take us to the port of Mahé.
Little did we know that the worst part of our journey still awaited us. The ferry which connects Mahé and Praslin comes as the biggest catamaran I’ve ever seen. According to the captain, the sea was only a little rough. But only 15 minutes on sea and we both felt sick. And it wasn’t just us – many people even threw up. The crew was well prepared, issued paper bags to everyone who looked suspiciously pale and was always willing to help as much as they could. After the longest 60 minutes of our lives, we finally arrived on Praslin. I still felt shaky and on the way to our hotel, the sickness seemed to increase. Although we arrived around 4:00 PM, I went straight to bed and slept for the rest of the day. I was just too sick to do anything else and even would have skipped dinner if my boyfriend didn’t insist of going there. But luckily, I felt better the other day and our dream vacations could begin.
Tipp #1: How to Not Get Sick on the Ferry to Praslin
- Upgrade to the upper deck to get some fresh air during the passage
- Look at the horizon or close your eyes
- Breathe and try to relax (e.g. listen to your favorite music)
- Don’t go on board with an empty or full stomach
- Take medication against sickness early enough before you get on the ferry
Highlights of Praslin
Praslin is the best place to start your Seychelle vacation. It’s smaller and more laid back than Mahé but still more vivid than La Digue. The bus routes on Praslin are easy and fun to use – so you should definitely take a ride, e.g. when going to Vallée de Mai. Overall, it feels like the perfect place to start with and getting to know the people, culture and spirit of the Seychelles.
This beach really deserves its name. We went there totally unprepared and spontaneously on our first day at noon and it felt like getting burned within a few minutes in the sun. Still, this beach was beautiful and felt endless with almost no-one around. I dipped my toe into the sea only to find out that it had body temperature and wouldn’t help to cool down at all.
Tipp #2: Sun Protection
The sun is really strong as the Seychelles are next to the equator. We used the strongest sunscreen (SPF 50+) all the time to not get burnt. During one of our tours, we’ve seen a woman whose back was burnt very badly. I’m not an expert but it looked like a 2nd degree burn. Although we knew the sun is strong at the equator, we underestimated the amount of sunscreen to bring with us. In one of the small supermarkets, we’ve paid about 150 SCR for a really big tube of a brand we didn’t know. Most products are imported from the Arabian Emirates or Thailand – we tried sunscreen products from both countries and they worked pretty well. Western brands like Nivea are sold in tourist shops, but they charge double prices for smaller amounts.
Vallée de Mai
This is a nature reserve where the famous Coco de Mer grows. It’s also the natural habitat of the black parrot, a small bird which is rarely seen and only lives on the Seychelles. The entrance fee is a little bit higher, but most of the revenues is used for nature and animal conservation. You should definitely book a guided tour as we would have overseen so many things. You learn a lot about vegetation and animals on the Seychelles and after the tour, it’s still up to you to explore the Vallée de Mai on your own. Best is to go at morning or at least before noon, as it gets very humid and sticky later in the day.
It didn’t feel overcrowded at all, but if you’re looking to a budget-friendly and less known alternative, go to Ford Ferdinand. We haven’t been there ourselves, but many people on Tripadvisor say it’s very similar to Vallée de Mai and are very pleased with their experience there. In both parks is a lookout point, although the one from Ford Ferdinand seems to be a little bit better.
Tipp #3: Mosquitos
Mosquitos haven’t been a very big problem for us on the Seychelles and our bug spray worked much better than on Guadeloupe or Bali. When we ran out of it, we bought some mosquito repellent cream and this has worked as well for us. Mosquitos are mainly a problem at night on the Seychelles, but you might be bitten during the day when you go to Vallée de Mai or similar spots. So we only used it at night or when going “into the bush” and hadn’t got a single bite during our whole vacation.
The name says it all – this beach is georgeous! It’s been the most beautiful beach we’ve ever seen. It’s only accessible by foot or by boat, so this place is never overcrowded. We visited Anse Georgette during a day tour on a catamaran and it was an absolute highlight on the end of the day. It’s also perfect for children as the water isn’t very deep, the shore is gently-sloping and the currents are not that strong compared to most other spots.
Tipp #4: Transportation on Praslin
Getting around with a bus is easy on Praslin as there are only three lines you could take and they all have similar routes. The overall condition of the busses are OK – it’s something completely different than in Western countries and there is now real standard. Some have little fans mounted at the wall, some seats are a little bit unstable and the bus drivers seem to have fun riding as fast as they can on the narrow, steep and curvy roads. If you want the bus driver to stop, just shout “Dewa” loud enough so he can hear you through the chats and laughter of the friendly locals. Compared to Praslin, the buses we have seen on Mahé have been in a worse condition, so Praslin is perfect of getting used to the Seychelles’ transportation standards. 😉 On our way back from the Vallée de Mai, the bus didn’t come and so we ended up waiting almost an hour at the bus station for a bus taking us back to the hotel. It was OK was we didn’t have any other plans and I’m sure we would have gotten a taxi if we wanted to. So when you have to be somewhere on time, e.g. to catch the ferry, you should consider taking a taxi instead.
Accomodation on Praslin: Chateau Sans Soucis
We spent our time at Chateau Sans Soucis and enjoyed our stay. The infrastructure is quite good: There are two supermarkets, a little bakery and a takeaway. Also, there’s a bus stop right in front of the street. Still, it can feel a little bit remote at night, so if you want to go out for dinner you should rent a car or choose another place more at the center of Grande Anse or Cote D’Or.
The food at the hotel restaurant is great and the friendly staff has made us feel very welcome. Try the local Jambakka (roseapple) jam for breakfast, I found it delicious 🙂 Still, we missed some variety – the same breakfast 7 days in a row felt a little bit dull. But the hospitality and friendliness of the staff made up for it and the dinner à la carte had some great options to choose from. The chef always came for a little small talk to our table and sometimes we got a little surprise as dessert.
One Important Note about Chateau Sans Soucis:
If you want to spend most of the time at the beach, you should rather go to Grande Anse or Cote D’Or as Chateau Sans Soucis is not located at the beach. You can go to the shore by passing the ground of another hotel, but there’s no beach where you can put your towel and relax in the sun. The current and surge are very strong and although the narrow beach is very steep, the waves are running over the whole area and leave no place where you could put your towel or bags. If you’re brave, you can still have some fun jumping in the waves – but you’ll definitely need neopren beach shoes with a hard sole because of rocks and stones. It felt adventurous and we had much fun, but wouldn’t recommend it for kids or poor swimmers.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found my tipps useful. On my next post I’m going to write about our day trips from Praslin, so stay tuned and subscribe to be the first one to read it 🙂