Swimsuit Season

Large umbrellas up. Cocktails by the many. Sunglasses on bridge. It’s time to party! Strip- No wait, that’s too far. It’s summer. It might not be summer where you are but one little thing…it’s always summer in Seychelles. Grab a beach bag and throw that swim suit in with a few bottles of liquid courage and some top notch sunglasses because in Seychelles when it’s time to party, we say let’s go to the beach.

However there’s one thing you won’t really find in Seychelles. Seychelles doesn’t have a nude beach, it is not something that has been talked about or might be talked about, maybe in the farther, farthest future, but at the moment it’s considered indecent to expose everything and walk down the beach in your birthday suit. However there are moments when tanning, tourist decides to go topless, the locals understand that for tanning purposes this may be necessary.

In addition Seychelles is free from plastic bag. Yes you heard me right! The use of plastic bags in Seychelles is illegal, okay maybe you’ve seen some people with a plastic bag and thought. Oh well he has one. Well guess what? These plastic bags are degradable one’s which means the harm it will have to the environment will be almost nonexistent.

One of the main reasons Seychelles is free from plastic bag is because Seychelles is a touristic destination and plastic bags were pollutants and it was affecting the ecosystem in general from harming turtles to being an awful sight to see. This decision will ensure the purest air in the Seychelles and the purest environment you may ever experience.

Now grab a snack and your reusable bag and lay your towel under the shade of a Takamaka palm and look over the water because you’re in Seychelles and guess what? It’s always swimsuit season!!!

Souvenirs

 

 

Have you really been somewhere if you don’t have evidence to prove it? Nowadays even pictures can’t be trusted; with professional apps and Photoshop at anyone’s disposal. However what’s the best way to show that you just came from the Seychelles? You got it right! Souvenirs.

Souvenirs are available everywhere in the world however Seychelles takes it to another level because first of all Seychelles is a tourist destination and it is a country trying to promote culture and heritage. The souvenirs in Seychelles ranges from shark tooth to a Coco-de-Mer pillow. Most of the souvenirs are made out of natural resources such as corals, shells, wood and large majority is made out of fish bones or their teeth. These souvenirs are representations of Seychellois using the resources at our disposal and having a ‘give-and-take’ relationship with the ocean.

Where do you get the best souvenirs from Seychelles? There’s no such thing. Because they are all well thought out pieces of art, however some places that are more common; along the Francis Rachel street opposite the stadium or the buildings cable and wireless, chaka bros, or the mosque. The chain of shacks along the street is more than an attraction for a large majority of tourist and they provide one of the largest selections of souvenirs. Moreover, the shacks are painted in light pink, yellow and green colours, and the tone is a clear representation of the Seychelles culture.

In addition, if you are not in Victoria but in the south, don’t worry because one way or another you may find a souvenirs shack specialising in your desired jewellery, hat, t-shirt or any other creative selection.

The currency used in most souvenir shops are Seychelles rupees however there are instances where other currencies are accepted.

Now, I’m guessing you’re thinking about if you want to get a souvenir before you leave but you forgot to buy one around the island, well you’re in lick because whichever way you’re living Mahé, there will be a souvenirs shop nearby; from the airport, jetty to the port for the cruise ship.

You can say you’ve been to Seychelles and you took a piece of it with you!

Mare Au Cochons, Au Seychelles

Strap on your sensible walking shoes. Grab your cap. A bottle of water. Sun spray. Mosquito repellent and as much food as you would like because we are going on a trail! Oh and guess what? You’re coming along with me! Nature lovers will always be nature lovers right? You’re in Seychelles and you want to go on a hike because the only place you feel at peace is on a trail surrounded by a variety of green pastures. You want to leave the sound of the wave behind, or your parents made you tag along because they are nature lovers. Or maybe you simply want to see the island.

Mare Au Cochons trail is one of the most well-known trails in the Seychelles. The trail starts at Le Niole or Bel Ombre, depending on your location and it leads through the forest of the North. Along the way there are points where you can stop and admire the timeless beauty that is the coast of Bel Ombre opposite the Silhouette Island. The view is vast and beyond words to describe its beauty. The white foam of waves caresses the white sandy coast and the green pastures highlight its splendour. It is truly a picture perfect frame with a 360 degrees panorama of the mountains up above and the ocean and islands completing the masterpiece.

While walking to Mare Au Cochons there are streams of fresh water flowing either along the walls of the path you’re walking next to or on the granite rocks, flowing to complete the water cycle. The smell of nature is more than just refreshing when you’re surrounded by the sound of dripping natural mineral water. There are multitudes of river coming from the mountains and you will see them along the way but if you don’t, you’ll certainly hear it.

There are tiny wooden kiosks that you can sit at and have some refreshments and a chat; however this is not the end of the trail. You will meet a large patch of extremely green grass coating the mountains, and these grasses are picture perfect and soft to lie down on and take the most scenic pictures you can imagine as it’s dotted with palm trees.

The trail doesn’t end there with more than a few back stories of how they used to produce cinnamon in bulk. There are evidence of the ruins along the way and a large variety of introduced crops such as Banana and sugar cane planted in neat rows, will show such a settlement.

You’ve seen all that can possibly be seen; now you’re on your way to the Mare au Cochons itself. The name is in French and translated to the ‘marsh of pigs’, however this must either be a legend or it has been said that the marsh was full of pigs at one point. Whichever story is true, nowadays there are no pigs in the marshy area of the Mare Au Cochon Trail. Once you’ve reach the marsh there will be a bridge to walk across and a small shack like kiosk to sit at and have your lunch or maybe your snack, depending on how fast you walk.

One known secret is that you can continue into the deep unraveling trail that is Mare Au Cochons, however you need to be with someone who knows the way because I am a hundred percent sure you do not want to be stuck in the dark mist of Mare au Cochons. Moreover if you don’t have a guide that can lead you down the steep mountain to the Grand Anse side of the trail then you can turn back and start walking home.

The Mare au Cochons connects to other trails such as Copolia. Spending a day in Nature will never be the same after the trail!

Positive Vibes

Happy New Year everyone!

Just like every New Year I think it’s important to settle on some goals and resolutions for the following year. And yes maybe I forget these things after the first week but it’s still important to set them ahead of time to figure out the kind of year that you are going to have.

Now the usual type of resolutions people always have are “go to the gym” and “drink less” and “work hard”. I have been told that these shouldn’t be resolutions; they should be a normal task that you do every year!

Due to my busy schedule last year – of working and watching TV shows till I passed out of course – I couldn’t go to the gym as often as I wished. And despite hearing it should be part of my normal routine, I still make it my New Years Resolution.

What a lot of people don’t seem to be able to do is empathize with others, especially nowadays. When I told my friend that I couldn’t find the time to go to the gym every week, I was laughed at and asked what was so important that I couldn’t give a couple of hours to working out. Sure! I could’ve have taken the time I spent watching shows and reading books and spent at the gym. However, a lot of people don’t seem to realize is that not everyone is the same. A job that others might find easy and not tiring, can be seen as exhausting for others where all they feel like doing is shutting down once they reach home.

I am one of those people.

Now your personal goals or resolutions for the year shouldn’t be made in haste. You shouldn’t define your year based on the choices of others. Just because you see other people posting their gym selfies and their vacations doesn’t mean you have to do the same.

Don’t feel pressured into taking a new hobby or throwing your life savings away to have an amazing holiday.

Your goals should be your own.

What you wish to complete this New Year should be completely up to you and you alone.

What you should definitely do though, is make sure you continue living your best life. Be the best you can be and the happiest with whatever you choose!

 

Wrapping Up The Year

Shopping at the last minute for Christmas is the most stressful activity concerning this holiday month that I can think of. The only thing that makes it easier is that I more or less know what I am going to buy for each of my friends and family.

The best thing that you can do if you know you will be late on shopping, whether you get paid late or you don’t have enough time, is to go around town and window shop. If you see something that sticks out or you know someone will enjoy, pop by and put it on hold. Another thing that helps with this dilemma is that town will be opening till late the closer we get to Christmas Day.

Now if you want to be super organized like me, I suggest getting a wrapping paper from Cosmorama that you can use for only the gifts you are giving. This helps to eliminate any confusion between who bought what when it comes to gift giving.

This year between my friends however is that we are going to try and do a Secret Santa gift giving; not only is it more affordable but also less stressful. When you only have one friend to focus on, you won’t end up messing up and buying the wrong gift for the wrong person.

My only problem is that I enjoy buying gifts for people. It is one of my favorite things. I know my friends so well that when I see something I know one will like, i get the impulse to just buy it, despite not knowing whether they reciprocate. I don’t mind not getting anything in turn, it’s the happiness that is enough for me.

Bake Off

Creativity and craft is something that comes naturally in my life. My maternal side of the family is composed of mainly women; all of which are talented in many ways. We have artists and jewelers, bakers and chefs and I wouldn’t change it for a thing.

Because of my family, I also have seemed to inherit this skill. Mine is art but I do dabble in baking.

This year, my baking skills have been put to the test for Christmas. My mom, whom I am still convinced is a event dictator, has put me in charge of all the cookies and cakes that will be given as gifts, tokens and charity for the month of December.

No pressure.

Every day after work, I spend my time elbow deep in flour and sugar, whipping up cream and frosting and burning my fingers on the oven. I think it’s worth the outcome though.

So far I have completed my batch of Chocolate Crinkles (recipe below.)


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar or cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable (or canola) oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • (optional: 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, for coating the cookies

DIRECTIONS:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the oil and granulated sugar. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs one at a time, beating on medium-low speed until combined.  Add in vanilla, beating on medium-low speed until combined.  Then gradually fold in the flour mixture, and beat on medium-low speed until combined.

Form the dough into a large ball, and place it on a large sheet of plastic wrap.  Wrap the plastic around it so that it is sealed tightly.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 24 hours) until the dough is chilled completely through.

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Scoop the sugar into a small bowl.

Remove and unwrap the dough.  Then roll the dough into 1-inch balls, dip each ball in the powdered sugar until it is completely covered on all sides, and then place the dough balls at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack, and let them cool until they reach room temperature.

Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 5 days.  These cookies (either in dough form, or baked) can also freeze for up to 3 months in a sealed container.


It took me a while to perfect this recipe but I think I have the hang of it. Next on my baking list is Sugar Cookies and Russian Tea Cakes.

Wish me luck!

If you don’t feel like getting dirty and would rather have a pre-made cake, then check out Chatterbox and their Christmas Cakes.

Eat Up

With December finally making its way onto our calendars, it’s time for me to share with you my not so busy schedule for this month of madness.

This week is definitely going to be the busiest of all my weeks. Since Christmas is right around the corner, I’m reminded that my friends are not as available to hang out as they usually are. That’s why in the spirit of Christmas, and also a really late Thanksgiving, I have decided to throw a Friends-giving party at my house.

This small event will host around fifteen people and the food must be a plenty because these people can eat! I’ve decided to go in a more traditional American direction when it comes to the menu; from turkeys and glazed ham, to collared greens and corn on the cob, and all the way to pumpkin pie. This whole week will be spent shopping and preparing for the meal.

Whilst I’ve been organizing this, I have also spent time thinking about what my table is going to look like for my actual Christmas meal. The 25th is usually spent with my family, the eve being with my friends. This year the menu will contain seafood; a nice match to our sea themed decorations of course.

Crab will be curried and prawns will be grilled. Fish will be fried and mussels will be sauteed and the table will be set with a large serving platter, perfect to pick from like a small buffet. Having only three people in total to celebrate with means more food!

What will you be eating this Christmas? Are you spending it with family or friends or both?

 

Travel Essentials

When you are making your way to the beautiful islands of Seychelles, make sure you have fully researched all necessary items and papers you may need as well as other essentials when arriving.

Visas

Visas are not a requirement for tourists to come visit however you will need a valid passport from date of entry to exit from Seychelles, a return or onward ticket, contact details for your stay as well as sufficient funds for your duration of your stay. Once you have presented this information, a Visitor’s Permit will be issued to you upon arrival by the Department of Immigration. This Permit is free and valid for up to a month and can be extended to three months. After the three month duration, renewal of the Permit will cost SCR 5,000.

duty free

Now that you’ve made it through customs, you should head over to the Duty Free, but not before being aware of what you can buy and how much. Each person is allowed the following.

  • 2 liters of spirits
  • 2 liters of wine
  • 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco
  • 200ml of Parfume or Eau de Toilette
currency

Once you’ve left the Duty Free you probably want to change currency. The Seychelles Rupee is the local currency; coins come in 5, 10, 25 cents and 1, 5, 10 Rupees. The notes are available in 25, 50, 100 and 500 Rupees. When exchanging foreign currency, it is highly advised to do so at banks, authorized money changers or other licensed operators. Do no exchange money with random individuals as it is a criminal offense!
If you prefer to handle your money in card form then you should know that Visa and MasterCard are accepted anywhere with a card machine. ATM’s can be found in a variety of places around Mahé, Praslin and La Digue and dole out cash in Rupees only.

public holidays

Another thing that might be important to note is Public Holidays due to the fact that a majorty of businesses in town are closed for business on those special days.

Official:
New Year – 1st & 2nd January
Labour Day – 1st May
Constitutional Day – 18th June
National Day – 29th June

Religious:
Good Friday – 14th April
Easter Sunday – 16th April
Corpus Christi – 15th June
Assumption Day – 15th August
All Saints’ Day – 1st November
Immaculate Conception – 8th December
Christmas Day – 25th December

Find various medical practices here, information here, and transport here.

 

La Digue Lounging

Get your luggage ready for some great activities to keep you busy while vacationing in the Seychelles Islands, specifically La Digue.

In this post I will be splitting up itineraries between three different holiday lengths on La Digue as well as appealing to people of all tastes.

4 DAYS LONG

Take it easy for your short holiday with these small suggestions.

  1. Beaches: Like every itinerary before, beaches are at the forefront of every trip to the islands. The pride of La Digue is Anse Source D’Argent and it’s not difficult to see why. This beach is an ideal spot for weddings and honeymooners. The clear turquoise water is relatively calm and perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
  2. Hiking: Get your hiking shoes on and head on over to the highest point on La Digue called Nid d’Aigle. You’ll be spending an average time of 3 hours on this trail, to and from, depending on how fast or slow you walk. Capture the most spectacular views of La Digue and neighboring islands from this point.
  3. Art: A definite must see on La Digue is the art gallery of George Camille, a famous artist here in the Seychelles Islands.

1 week vacation

One weeks seems like enough time to do some more activities and delve into the deep rich history of the island.

  1. Beaches: Go and relax on one of La Digue’s many secluded beaches for prime tanning and privacy.
  2. L’Union Estate: This piece of land covers over a third of La Digue and is a big tourist attraction. Here you can find an accumulation of local life activities and places of interest. The coconut farm which is found here shows demonstrations of extracting oil which is a staple in most Seychellois homes. Another tourist favorite is the tortoise park where you can take pictures with the giant land tortoises.
  3. La Digue Cemetery: Another small tourist attraction is the cemetery. This plot of land isn’t relatively spooky but it is home to many of the first settlers on the island.
  4. Ox Ride: Ride in style on carts pulled by large oxen, something that was very common for newly weds leaving the church back in the day. It may be a slow mode of transport but it is an experience, once you reach your destination you can carry on by foot or the preferred transport: bicycles.
  5. Eustache Sarde’s House: This beautiful house is one of the last remaining homes made out of timber in the whole of Seychelles.

2 weeks stay

Try different things while you extend your stay.

  1. Beaches: Lengthen your summer tan on the various beaches La Digue has to offer.
  2. Veuve Reserve: Find out more about La Digue’s endemic animals and plants at this small but beautiful nature reserve in the forest.
  3. Island Hopping: Find yourself a boat charter and check out the other islands that surround La Digue. Find out about their specific history and facts!
  4. Restaurants and Bars: Entice your taste buds with delicious creole cooking from a large variety of restaurants and bars.
  5. Helicopter Rides: See the island from a birds eye view with a lovely helicopter ride that takes off from La Digue.
  6. Lafet La Digue: This event more commonly known as the Feast of Assumption in English, is a major event that is marked in every Seychellois’ calendar from every island. On the 15th of August everyone comes down to celebrate the Virgin Mary and partake in the open-air mass and procession. The festivities continue with street parties, live music shows and food-stalls for both locals and visitors alike.

Find a full list of beaches here.

Find the Mahé itinerary here and the Praslin itinerary here.