Tag Archives: road trip

The Beaches and Mountains of Seychelles – Part Two (Mahe)

Before we get started, don’t forget to check out Part One here.

Done? Let’s begin!

We took the morning ferry to Mahe (details on the boat and bookings here). We had booked a car with one of the rental agencies here and our Hyundai i10 was waiting for us at the parking.

To get you started, here is a map of Mahe and the routes we took.

Day 1: Explore the Beau Vallon area

Our homestay was close to the Beau Vallon beach. It was up a steep slope and we were glad we got a car. This also meant that we got a beautiful sunset view from our room!

After checking in, we headed straight to the beach. There are quite a few street food stalls here serving Creole food, coconuts, grilled seafood, banana fritters and cakes and many more. It was a beautiful beach, and we spent a lot of time in the water enjoying the waves. In fact, we spent the whole afternoon and evening here!

We picked up some pizza from Baobab pizzeria on the way back and called it a day.

Day 2: Visit Victoria, Hike to the peak of Morne Blanc, Have some amazing Creole food

Our first stop for the day was the capital city of Victoria. We parked our car in the parking area, collected a parking coupon from a nearby store (Sinnasamy Snack Shop) and put it on the dashboard. We visited the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market, walked around the Little Ben clock tower and covered most of the city by foot in under an hour.

We grabbed some snacks and headed straight to the Morne Blanc trail. You need to take the Sans Soucis Road to the starting point of the trail – there are boards and maps along the way, so you won’t miss it. We wanted to make it to the top before noon – island weather can be very unpredictable especially with mountain-top viewpoints. The signboard at the beginning classified it as a hard trek which would take about an hour (Nam decided to skip this and went for the Tea Tavern Nature Trail instead). They weren’t kidding – the forest was dense and in some parts the trail went missing between fallen trees. Luckily, I could see a couple of people about 200 m ahead – all I had to do was ensure that I don’t lose sight of them!

In the end, it was worth it – the view was stunning!

We then drove down to the west coast, upto Port Launey and back down to Grand Anse beach. The beach was beautiful, and we spent some time here.

We drove back to Victoria along the La Misere road. Our lunch stop was Marie Antoinette, arguably the most popular place in Mahe for Creole cuisine. In fact, a sign on the wall claims that it was declared a national monument of Seychelles in 2011. They had a wide variety of dishes – fish, chicken and vegetarian.

Some of them we loved, a few did not appeal to our taste buds.

Maps told us that the road back to Beau Vallon had a lot of traffic. So, we decided to take the long path along the North Coast Road – it was a long drive but a very beautiful one!

We grabbed some food from one of the supermarkets on the way and headed back to our room.

Day 3: Drive along the coastal roads covering the south of the island

Our last day in Seychelles – we checked out of our room and drove straight up La Misere Road to the viewpoint of the east coast. This point is perfect to check out the city of Victoria, the port and the small islands on the sides.

Our drive then took us along the West Coast Road all the way down to Anse Intendance. Yet another stunning beach – we spent a good hour here!

We were lucky that most of the beaches we visited in Mahe did not have any annoying seaweed strewn all over the sand. For lunch, we stopped at Maison Marengo and had the most amazing seafood pizza and calamari!

Our last beach in the trip was Anse Royale – it was a beautiful one for snorkelling with many different types of fish swimming around.

Having covered the entire South and East Coast Roads, we headed up the Providence highway to Eden Island – the poshest area here.

It was too posh for our liking and we drove right out. We went back to Victoria to complete our loop all around the Mahe island! Our last stop – the airport for our flight back home!

Though we didn’t know at the time, Seychelles ended up being our only trip of 2020. Considering that, it was definitely worth it – it was relaxing, exciting and had some of the most beautiful scenery we had ever seen. Read all about our excursion to La Digue and our Seychelles itinerary in our other blogs.

If you like reading our blog, do drop in a comment and share with your friends – it will take us one step closer to inspiring more people to travel! Check out more pics and our latest travels on Instagram @fridgemagnettales

Five Days in Paradise – On A Budget!

Roughly a thousand kilometres off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean lies the island nation of Seychelles. With human occupation coming relatively late in the 16th century, Seychelles is a “young” country with a cultural mix of French, British, African and Indian influences. There are around 115 islands which consist Seychelles – these are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world as well as really diverse landscapes and ecosystems.

As we scoured the map for possible “5-day trip” destinations, we didn’t think beyond a domestic location initially. We happened to stumble upon Seychelles while looking for flights. It ticked all our criteria for a short trip – can be covered properly in a 5-day trip, cannot be clubbed with any other country nearby, Visa on arrival, a 4-hour flight – it was perfect!

Some quick research and bookings later, we were on our way. We were planning to visit three of the main islands – Mahe (which has the airport and capital – Victoria), Praslin (home to the Coco de Mer) and La Digue. So, let’s get started on how you can plan your perfect holiday in Seychelles!

Best Time to Visit

Being very close to the equator, Seychelles experiences warm climates throughout the year. Peak tourist seasons are December-January and July-August. The best months which are generally recommended are the shoulder months between the switching of the trade winds – April-May and October-November. The trade winds can also determine the amount of seaweed washing up on the beaches – keep an eye out for this if your hotel is on the beach.

We visited in early March and the weather was pleasant and perfect for a beach holiday!

Getting Around Seychelles

There is a direct flight of Air Seychelles operating from Mumbai – which is the one we took. You can also find direct flights from Dubai, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, South Africa and London (and some more locations).

Once you are in Seychelles, you can choose any of the following four modes of travel: flight, boat, bus and car.

Domestic Flight: You can fly from Mahe to Praslin (and back) on one of the tiny Twin Otter 19-seater planes operated by Air Seychelles. The flying time is hardly 20 mins and is definitely a ride worth experiencing! To reach other more remote islands, you can opt for charter planes as well.

The last time I sat on a plane this small, I jumped right out at 13,000 feet.

Boat: There are ferries operating between all the main islands – you can easily book them online here. It takes about 60 mins to travel between Mahe and Praslin. Praslin to La Digue is about 15 mins – the ride is so smooth that it gets over before you realize it!

Bus: There are buses running in Mahe and Praslin which you can climb on and buy tickets. Praslin is very simple – you either go around the island or take the route which cuts through the hill in the middle. Mahe is relatively bigger – grab a route map and get started. Buses are sparse and run on limited frequency during weekends – you can beat that by taking a car!

Car: One of the more preferred options to explore the islands is by renting a car. You can easily get one at the point of arrival – ferry jetty or airport (advance booking would be good as we found that most agencies run out of cars on the travel date). We went with Scenic Car Rental. It was a good decision as we discovered that our homestay was on the top of a steep hill and we would have struggled to walk all the way up! A car also gives you the flexibility to stop wherever you find a nice spot and explore the island better. We recommend this!

Visa and Currency

Indians have Visa on arrival at Seychelles along with 140+ more countries. So, you don’t have to worry about the hassle of applying for visas! The currency of Seychelles is the Rupee (SCR). 1 SCR = 3.5 INR as of Dec 2020 (it was 5.25 INR in March 2020 when we travelled).

How many days to spend in Seychelles?

The BIG question when it comes to any itinerary – how many days is good enough? For Seychelles, it depends on how many islands you’d like to cover. For Mahe, we would recommend atleast 2 days – you can spend upto 4 days for a relaxed vacation. Praslin is more laid back – you can spend 1-2 days here and add one more day for an excursion to La Digue. Our itinerary covered these 3 islands over 5 days. If you have more days in hand, you can visit the giant tortoises at Curieuse Island (day trip from Praslin), the Bird Island or the Cousin Island.

Our Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Mahe. We flew in from Mumbai. Fly to Praslin. Explore the beaches – details in our blog on the beaches and hills of Praslin and Mahe.

Day 2: Morning boat to La Digue. Explore the island on bicycles – this is a must-visit island and a one-of-a-kind experience. Say hi to the giant tortoises and the most photographed beach in Seychelles.

Back to Praslin and bus to Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve (home of the Coco de Mer). Explore more of Praslin (bus to Mt. Plaisir) and back.

Day 3: Boat to Mahe. Spend the evening exploring the Beau Vallon beach area.

Day 4: Explore Victoria and the local markets. Hike to the top of Morne Blanc. Enjoy a swim at Grand Anse. Have an authentic Creole lunch. Drive around the northern roads of the island.

Day 5: Explore the beaches in the south of Mahe island – Anse Intendance, Anse Royale. Complete the drive along the entire periphery of the island. Fly back at night.

You can pay a visit to the Takamaka Rum Distillery or visit some of the art galleries if time permits. There is also the Victoria Botanical Garden – you can check out the tortoises and Coco de Mer if you missed them on the other islands.

This should help start your planning for that long-awaited trip to Seychelles. You can read more about each of the islands and the must-visit places in our other posts – Mahe and Praslin, La Digue.

If you have any questions on how to plan your trip, please leave a comment below and we’d love to help! You can subscribe to our blog for all the updates and travel tips. For a lot more pics and stories about our latest travels, follow us on Instagram @fridgemagnet.tales

Weekend Escape – Hogenakkal Falls

It was one of the weekends when Spilla was here for his project. We decided to rent out a car and go for a drive somewhere nearby. After a lot of research and debate, we decided to make for Hogenakkal Falls which was on the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. We first tried Zoomcar but couldn’t get the car we wanted. Then we decided to explore other options if available and found Carzonrent who also offered self-drive cars. We did a quick check of how much the rates added up to with the distance and mileage and found that for longer drives, Carzonrent made much more sense as it was the cheaper option. We booked a Swift for our drive on Saturday.

Continue reading Weekend Escape – Hogenakkal Falls