March 2022: As part of a larger trip to visit the last of my African countries, my wife, friend Jimmie and I visited the Seychelles islands. From my home in San Diego, the Seychelles are about as far away as any destination in the world. To get there, we flew to Ethiopia and then took another 3 hour flight to the main island of the Seychelles-Mahe Island. We spent 3 nights and 4 days in the Seychelles.

About the Seychelles Islands

The Seychelles is an archipelago of over 100 islands sitting in the Indian ocean off of the coast of Somalia. Prior to when the French and British arrived to colonize it in the 1600’s, it was un-inhabited. As my taxi driver said, the only natives were the tortoises. The islands are a natural paradise with jungle clad interiors, white sand beaches clad with giant granite boulders. The islands since they were only recently inhabited by people, have managed to maintain most of their wildlife  compared to other islands such as Hawaii. The most famous of the  species of wildlife found on the Seychelles is the giant Aldabra tortoise, with the largest population of 100,000 tortoises found in the Aldabra atoll but smaller more isolated populations found on other islands like on Moyenne Island, where we visited to see them from Mahe Island. The Aldabra tortoise can reach 250 lbs and live for hundreds of years. In recent years, the Seychelles have become widely popular with international tourists and luxury hotels and million dollar houses have become common throughout the islands. Despite this, there are still many places in the silands to escape the crowds and to find nature and serenity. One area on the main island of Mahe that is still very wild and un-developed is the South. 

Map of Location of the Seychelles Islands

Staying in the Wilder Southern Half of Mahe Island

The Seychelles is not wild like Borneo or New Guinea in any way but there are many protected areas of the islands and with 3 total days and being restricted from being able to wonder too far by having to obtain a Covid test, we chose to stay at the South of Mahe Island, which is relatively un-developed compared to the north of the island with jungles, and un-developed pristine beaches. We rented a car at the airport and drove to our hotel, a fancy boutique hotel on Takamaka Beach with a seaside room. Hotels in the Seychelles are not cheap but we were able to find an affordable deal at our hotel, Chez Batista. Chez Batista is small and cozy, only housing a few guests, built into huge granite boulders and overlooking a white sand beach with no other development on it. The pool overlooking the beach was my favorite place to relax and admire the beauty of the Seychelles. Takamaka beach was also a good base from which to explore the north end of Mahe Island with our rental car.

Takamaka Beach-the beach where our hotel was located and view from our pool

Our seaside room with a view

Day 1: After a few exhausting days of travel, arriving at the Chez Batista on time to watch the sunset over seafood and a few drinks was a Godsend. The golden sunsets of the Seychelles are some of the best I have witnessed anywhere in the world.

Takamaka Beach Sunset

Aside from the infinity like pool, our room’s balcony was my 2nd most favorite place to relax. Our balcony loomed alnost directly over the ocean and on our 1st night, Paula and I fell asleep on the patio chairs staring at the stars while being hypnotized by the lapping of the waves. 

Takamaka Beach

Day 2: In the morning Paula and I awoke early to explore the area. We walked the length of the beach observing the fruit bats and crabs, climbing the giant granite beach boulders. The jungles along the beach were also interesting and we found a few mysterious buildings that were now reclaimed by the jungle.

Abandoned Building reclaimed by the Takamaka Beach Jungle

Jungle End of Takamaka Beach

Boat Trip to Surrounding Islands

We arranged for a private boat trip to the islands and reefs along the northeast of Mahe Island. We snorkeled the reefs at a few different spots, but the bleached and mostly lifeless reefs were not as spectacular as the beaches we visited. According to our boatman, the reefs have suffered from global warming and the big tsunami that originated from Indonesia a few decades ago. Our favorite place we stopped at was the protected island of Moyenne, which had incredible boulder clad beaches but also a free roaming population of giant Aldabra Tortoises. 

Incredible beaches of Moyenne island

Incredible beaches of Moyenne island

Paula at Moyenne island

Giant Aldabra Tortoises at Moyenne Island Protected Reserve

Moyenne island is a protected island with no hotels. it is a reserve to protect the native vegetation, beaches and free roaming giant tortoises on the island. Our favorite was visiting the tortoises. Some of the tortoises were in their 90’s and for them are just middle aged. Despite being used to visitors, the tortoises are wild and some of them are quick to voice their opposition to un-wanted petting by hissing.

Aldabra Tortoise

Paula and I making friends with the 90-Year-Old Tortoise

Petting a Tortoise

Aldabra Tortoise when they sleep sometimes lay their head on the ground in a snake like fashion

Hike to Rock Pool at Takamaka Beach

Day 3: On our last full day in the Seychelles, we awoke early to hike to the rock pool on the other side of the cape near our hotel. The rock pool is a natural formation in the sea cliffs overlooking the ocean of a tidal pool of crystal clear salt water that is about 30-60 feet deep. The pool is open to the ocean at the bottom allowing small ocean fish to enter the pool. Hotel staff advised us where to start the trail but there wasn’t any real information on how to get to the rock pool and the trail was not well marked. As a result, we ended up wandering lost through the jingle, scaling dangerous cliffside boulders trying to find the rock pool. We finally found the right trail, which led us through cracks and caves inside boulders, up and over ladders and through steamy jungles before we finally arrived at the rock pool and had a refreshing swim. 

Hike through the jungle to the rock pool

Hiking in between giant boulders

Swimming in the tidal rock pool

Even thought the hike to the rock pool is only supposed to take an hour, it took us three mostly because we became lost. In the end getting to the pool made the adventure all worth while and we had fun jumping into the pool and having a swim. 

An Afternoon on one of Mahe Island’s Most Beautiful and Wildest Beaches-Police Beach

In the afternoon we drove to the Police Beach, which is only accessible by foot. The small rough dirt tract to get to the trail head was almost more than our fragile little rental car could handle. We lazed around in the shady end of the beach under the jungle canopy and enjoyed the beach mostly to ourselves. The beach I read is slated for hotel development but too many locals protested and any plans to build a hotel are on hold for now. 

Isolated Police Beach

Isolated Police Beach

Paula on Police Beach

Day 4: On our last day, we had a late morning flight to Mauritius via Air Seychelles. We drove to the airport spending an hour in rush hour traffic near the airport in the capitol, Victoria. Sadly, even in tropical island paradises like the Seychelles there are people that have to go to work, there are rush hours and traffic jams. 

3 + 4 =

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