There’s little to prepare you for the experience of finding true paradise and, yet, that’s what makes it so rewarding when the moment finally arrives.“Welcome to paradise”, read the signs in the small arrivals area inside, and what awaited was a place we could have never even imagined.
The Seychelles is a group of 115 islands, located off the coast of East Africa and between four and 10 degrees south of the Equator. Home to a spectacular array of flora and fauna, not to mention some of the world’s finest beaches, it’s become a haven for honeymooners and holidaymakers. We didn’t stick around on the main island, Mahe, for long – we’ll come back to that later – but instead headed straight for Praslin, the first stepping stone on our journey to the country’s oasis.
From this new base, we could access everything, and wasted no time at all in visiting Anse Lazio, which is regarded as one of the world’s best beaches. We’d read beforehand that the sand is like caster sugar, and the water a special shade of blue… they weren’t lying! Several hours and some significant sunburn later, we’d truly settled in. There, we met a young Australian traveller who was sat alone, meditating at the point where the waves met the sand. It was then that we felt so in sync with the Seychelles, could this be the most relaxing location on Earth?
Make no mistake, it’s not all sea and sand – here we’d found a country that managed to balance the beauty of the beaches with unexpected hustle and bustle. We took time to explore and experience the culture, even once stumbling across a Hindu festival in the country’s capital, Victoria. We trekked through forests and swam under waterfalls, ate freshly-caught fish and then snorkeled with them.It was a meandering road, and one which eventually led us to a third and final island, La Digue.
It wasn’t until after we left that we heard it described as “The land that time forgot”, but no words could better befit the Seychelles’ third-largest island. There’s only one way to get around here, and that’s by bike. So, with the sun on our backs and two wheels at our feet, we set off around the sourthern tip of the island, past a single convenience store and church and through luscious green parks, following the signs for Anse Source D’Argent.
The traffic here isn’t quite what you’d expect either. We stopped not for pedestrians but for giant Aldabra tortoises, and later abandoned wooden huts and the country’s famous granite boulders.
It felt like paradise was just around the corner, as the bike path ended and we finished off on foot. When it finally arrived, it didn’t disappoint…
Ryan Grant and Lesley Lewis