Mr Nomad had been working so hard that we felt a holiday was in order. My riding activities had been severely curtailed with the relentless rainy season so we booked an escape to the Seychelles. We had seen the most remarkable pictures of beautiful beaches with pristine white sand and clear turquoise sea and the idea of ultimate relaxation was more than appealing. We also longed to visit the sea again, having not been on a beach since our arrival in Kenya well over a year ago.
The flight from Nairobi to Mahe Island was thankfully short and uneventful and when we disembarked from the plane, we were immediately hit with a wall of humidity and blazing sunshine. It was a refreshing change as the rainy season in Kenya had seemed never ending, with many parts of Kenya suffering from severe flooding. Mahe Island is the largest island of the Seychelles with a population of around 95,000. Officially, the Seychelles is actually the Republic of Seychelles and it is an archipelago country in the Indian Ocean. The constitution lists 155 named islands, and Mahe is the main island where the capital city of Victoria can be found. We were to stay on Mahe for two nights before we would board a ferry and travel to the second largest island known as Praslin.
We were greeted at the airport by Bernard, an endearingly cheerful chap who was to transfer us to our accommodation on the North East tip of the island. He drove us carefully around the streets of Victoria, towards the villa where we were to stay. The streets were clean and the driving civilised, unlike the chaos of Kenya and a mere 20 minutes or so later, we arrived at Le Bonheur Villa.
The villa was stunning. It was surrounded by coconut palm trees, and Casurina and Takamaka trees so it looked suitably tropical. We were the only guests staying at the time and we were lucky enough to be upgraded to the penthouse apartment which was simply huge. There was a wonderful view of the swimming pool which was clean, well maintained and beautiful. Mr Nomad and I could not resist taking a dip in the pool after a delightful dinner of fish in passionfruit sauce, cooked by Bernard who it turns out is the chef.
Our first evening on Mahe was exactly what we had hoped for in that relaxation was achieved in the most serene setting.
When we arose the following day, we realised that the beach was a stone’s throw from the villa. We walked for less than two minutes across the road and we were on a picture postcard beach where the waves of the Indian ocean were lapping invitingly against the white sand.
It was breath taking how beautiful the beach was. And it was quiet and peaceful. The only sounds to be heard was the lapping of the ocean and the odd bird. We had noticed on the previous evening when we were lolling around the pool that there seemed to be a large bat population and these massive fruit bats were flying around both at night and during the day. They seemed more common place than birds. We hired a car so that we could explore the island so after taking in the beach, we set off in the car having been assured that we could easily get around the entire island in a day or less.
We set off on a jaunt loaded with our swimming attire and we firstly stopped at the capital city, Victoria. The city was small and quaint but bustling with life and all the while, never far from the beach. The main languages spoken on the island are French, English and Creole and there was definite evidence of a European influence. Although the currency is Seychellois Rupee, euros were also readily accepted.
We continued on our journey around the island, taking in the sights which consisted of the beaches on one side, and green dense jungle on the other side. We decided that we would take the opportunity to stop at as many beaches as we could as we had been told that there were many for us to see. There are over 65 beaches on the island and from what we could see, they were all beautiful. We also hoped to do some snorkelling. We snaked our way around the island and stopped at a beach called Baie Lazare. The beaches here looked better than any postcard, or brochure and exceeded all expectations. The sand was so white it shimmered and the ocean was crystal clear. It was truly paradise.
There was no congestion at all with very little traffic in general, and there was a distinct lack of people which gave us the peace and tranquillity we craved. There was also a lack of mod con’s so our mobile phones became redundant which was a much welcomed respite from the realities of our normal lives. The place was dreamy and we sunbathed on the beach in the baking heat oblivious to anything around us.
We set off on our travels around the island and it was only a matter of an hour or so when we came upon a viewing point on the island. We took a look and the view was unreal.
We could see the boats and yachts in the harbour and we could see other islands, as well as the city and the jungles. The bats flapped around us as we caught our breath. The heat was relentless and whilst the view was compelling, so was the air con in the car.
We drove on to find ourselves at Beau Vallon Beach. Here, once again, the beach was stunning.
The immaculate white sand stretched for a couple of kilometres and after catching some rays, and romantically watching the sun go down, we sampled a cocktail on the beach, followed up with pizza at a nearby restaurant. Mahe Island was everything we had hoped for and more, and as we made our way back to Le Bonheur Villa, we were excited to see what Praslin had to offer.
The following day, we boarded the ferry to our next destination. Onwards to Praslin!