02 – 07 AUGUST 2016:
The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean off East Africa, known for its beaches, coral reefs, diving, nature reserves and rare wildlife such as giant Aldabra tortoises. Mahé island, with an international airport, is a key transport hub, home to capital Victoria, the mountain rainforests of Morne Seychellois National Park and white-sand beaches including Beau Vallon and Anse Takamaka.
Last year when my good friend Holly invited me to her wedding in Seychelles, I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist. Being one of my closest friends, I simply couldn’t miss the opportunity to be part of her special day. However a trip to the Seychelles is very expensive! So to kill two birds, I decided to bring my mum along too and we would make a 10 day holiday of it. We flew with Emirates so to get to Seychelles we had to catch a connecting flight in Dubai. We decided to use the opportunity to spend a five days in Dubai and then fly to Seychelles for 4 days afterwards.
We had a couple of spare days in Seychelles prior to the wedding. I didn’t have much planned as we expected our time on the island to be about relaxing rather than exploring. We had done a lot of sightseeing Dubai and wanted to just chill by the beach with a cocktail.
We had some difficulty obtaining Seychelles currency (Seychellois Rupees) in the UK beforehand (not sure why!), however there are many ATMs at the International airport when you arrive where you can withdraw local currency.
The capital of Seychelles is Victoria. We had planned to visit there on the Saturday before flying back to the UK but then realised that the shops all close very early on Saturdays and most, if not all, are closed on Sundays. We did however manage to drive through Victoria on our way to the aiport to fly home. Victoria is one of the smallest Capital cities in the world and can be easily explored on foot in less than a day so it’s worth a visit if possible.
Random Fact: Breadfruit is very popular in the Seychelles and can be eaten in a variety of ways from fried to boiled. Legend has it that anyone who eats it while on the islands will return someday. (Unfortunately I didn’t get to try it!)
Lying 4°-11° south of the Equator, in the western Indian Ocean, Seychelles has a tropical climate: warm and humid with strong maritime influences. The temperature is consistently 24-32°C, there is no distinct dry season and there is some humidity at all times.
There were two things I particularly liked about Seychelles – Firstly, the lack of mosquitos. I absolutely hate being on holiday and getting eaten alive by those little buggers so I was very happy to have not seen a single one during my stay. Secondly, the climate was perfect. It was consistently around 22-28°C. There were plenty of opportunity to bask in the sun, however there was often a nice breeze to cool you down.
CORAL STRAND HOTEL
Set 4km from the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple, this casual beachfront hotel is also 5 km from the State House monument and 6 km from the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens.
The relaxed rooms provide furnished balconies with ocean or mountain views, free Wi-F and satellite TV, as well as tea and coffeemaking facilities. Minibars are available by request. Upgraded rooms have seating, and some feature 4-poster beds. Apartments add kitchenettes and dining areas. Room service is available.
Parking is free. There’s also an outdoor pool, a relaxation spa, and 5 eateries, plus 2 live-music bars. Scuba diving, tennis and yoga are available.
We enjoyed our stay at the Coral Strand very much as it matched our needs. The hotel is located within walking distance from a small supermarket so that was very useful. However, everything on the island is expensive so don’t be surprised to pay the equivalent of £5 for a can of coke! A short stroll from the hotel is a local market which is held every Wednesday evening between 4pm – 8pm where you can purchase cooked street food and other souvenir items.
The hotel is what you would expect from an island hotel, it’s not elaborate but has everything you need, including a good variety of restaurants. It’s situated on the beach which is ideal! One thing that I particularly liked about the hotel was that they provide you with a waterproof wrist band instead of a key to enter your room. Presumably it uses some kind of RFID technology in the same way that a room key card does but the watch felt a lot more practical.
Our hotel was situated about 40 minutes drive from the hotel resort where the wedding was taking place – Constance Epehelia. I knew the cost of living was expensive in the Seychelles and that taxis would be very expensive so I had considered renting a car. I later decided against it as i’m not a massive fan of driving in other countries. As soon as I arrived in Seychelles I knew I had made the right decision! Despite driving on the same side as the UK, I would have found driving there very difficult as the roads are extremely bendy and through some very steep mountain roads. Renting a car is good value if you really want to explore the island but I personally think taxis are a much safer alternative as the locals are obviously much more used to the roads.
The evening before the wedding, Holly had invited us all to join them on a sunset cruise on a Catamaran departing from their hotel. A few hours sailing around the Indian Ocean was a great pre-wedding get together and gave everyone a chance to get to know each other.
CONSTANCE EPHELIA RESORT
The refined rooms feature flat-screen TVs, minibars and tea and coffeemaking facilities, along with safes, ceiling fans and balconies. Suites add sitting areas, while villas add private pools. Some villas have gardens, spa facilities and/or 24-hour room service. Wi-Fi is free.
Along with beach access, the resort’s amenities include 5 restaurants and 5 bars, plus an outdoor pool, a spa with tropical garden views and an on-site dive center. Children’s activities are offered.
THE BIG DAY
Having a wedding abroad is usually a lot cheaper than getting married in the UK and you get a lot more for your money. The downside is that the guests are obviously contributing to the wedding themselves by paying for expensive flights to get there. As a result, there were only around 25 guests so the day was very intimate. After a short ceremony by a secluded spot on the beach, we had a lovely dinner reception followed by dancing in one of the function rooms. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and the weather was good all day. Despite one stupid lady walking past the wedding ceremony in her bikini…twice – what an idiot!), the day was pretty much perfect! The bride and groom seemed very happy with how everything had gone and I wish them both many, many years of happiness together.