Seychelles ~ a surreal haven by Rachel Gill

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SEYCHELLES ~ A Surreal Haven

Prepare to have your breath taken away and be whisked into a dream with Rachel Gill & Cameron Hammond as they reflect on the picture perfect shorelines and awe-inspiring sunsets renowned for the archipelago of Seychelles.

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La Digue, a small island in the Seychelles which is home to some of the prettiest beaches on Earth, possesses an indescribable pull that makes you feel almost immediately at home.  Friendly locals, crashing waves against curving granite boulders and the sounds of the palms blowing in the breeze set the scene as you wander the seaside streets on foot or by bike (no cars allowed!), stopping to pat the giant tortoises wandering past.  Cameron and I can’t wait to go back, but in the meantime we will let you in on the secrets of our exploration.

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Everyone arrives via the main island of Mahe.  La Digue is a 1.5 hour ferry ride away (Book Here), and depending on the time of the year be prepared to hang on tight, get splashed and ride the sizeable waves! It’s just a part of getting to a place that is so remote and idyllic.

We checked into La Digue Self-Catering Apartments, which is just a 3-minute walk from the ferry port.  The location is perfect, right in the middle of the  only small town on the island and walking distance from pretty much everything.  The pizza place downstairs is definitely worth a try, as their pizzas are fantastic.  Fish Trap across the road is a good spot for sundowners, but skip the food there which is overpriced and underwhelming.

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Cameron and I wandered every street on the island, and the winding roads always afford spectacular views of beaches, lush vegetation and those signature curved granite boulders.  The island is rustic and unspoiled.  Locals wave and smile, or else seem to not even notice you at all, which is somehow equally wonderful. Tourism seems to be acknowledged, but it’s not overpowering just yet, so the local culture is rich and alive in it’s majority.

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Traditional local homes line the roads snaking their way through the jungle towards the mountain, and vanilla and coconut trees hug dirt paths leading to some of the most perfect beaches I have ever seen. Children finish school and hit the street in droves, winding their bikes around you, turning back for a wave or a stare while expertly navigating one-handed through the momentary chaos.

Rastas lean against the wall next to the local cafe, enjoying a smoke and a laugh with whoever happens to be nearby.  The energy and happiness is infectious, and you can’t help but wonder if this might be the closest to heaven that exists on earth.

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A must do on La Digue is visiting the L’Union Estate which is home to the famous Anse Source L’Argent Beach.  This beach is so much more than just one beach, but several beaches to discover along one of the most beautiful paths.  Colossal mounds of granite and coconut palms give way to little beaches all along the way, each with a different rock formation to discover.

It’s hard to imagine that a location like this is crafted by nature, as one couldn’t envisage a more perfect arrangement of rocks, palms and beach if it had been engineered after years of careful planning! The colour of the water at Anse Source L’Argent is so bright it almost doesn’t look real.

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The only sound is the rustling of palm fronds and gentle swoosh of the ocean caressing the boulders, mixed with the occasional joyful laugh of a fellow reveller, or the gentle music of the Rastas running the few cocktails stalls.

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Grab an amazing rum and fresh fruit concoction, or an icy cold Seybrew from Mr. Vitamin who runs the Fruita Cabana Bar and lose your self wandering through the rocks and wading in the glowing water.  Sleep off your rum buzz with a nap on the beach, and wake up to stave off your hunger with a delicious coconut designed for eating.

After a perfect day of sunbathing, swimming and exploring, head to the ultimate dinner experience and enjoy a local’s style feast with Hezron and Tommy at Tommy’s own home just off Anse Severe (to book email here).  This place isn’t even yet a proper restaurant, but get in quick before it blows up and you have to book months in advance.  Hezron cooks a mean barbecue and his curry is to die for.  While he tends to the fire, spurred on by coconut husks, Tommy searches his own garden for the freshest possible produce, coming back with his arms full of little limes, bananas and golden apple, a local delicacy.

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His sister comes around to help and pretty soon it’s all you can do but beg these amazingly hospitable people to join you for food and rum.  Luckily they eventually could be pressured into at least sharing our delicious bottle of local Takamaka rum, and soon the conversation is flowing. The food is incredibly delicious, plentiful and fresh and the experience just can’t be beaten.  We all lose track of time, just lost in laughter and stories before eventually the night has to come to an end.

As Cameron and I bike back home in the moonlight, we are thankful to these amazing locals for sharing their world with us, even for a few hours!

La Digue left a lasting impression on Cameron and I, and to sum up our time on this slice of paradise, I’ll leave you with a quote from Hezron:  “La Digue is a place where your only worry is whether or not a coconut will fall and hit you on the head on your way home.”

Written by Rachel Gill + Photos by Cameron Hammond 

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