Life’s a beach in the Seychelles
If you, ahem, shell out on a trip to the lovely 100-island archipelago of the Seychelles, escape the resorts and go island-hopping
White sands, blue seas ... what more do you want from the Seychelles
There are only so many really awful covers of Lady in Red and My Heart Will Go On that one man can take. And that number is eight. After eight, the saccharine sweetness played out on 1970s synths begins to wear dangerously thin. And judging from the dead-eyed expressions on the faces of the handful of miserable-looking couples stilling lingering in the hotel lobby with me, I am not alone.
The Seychelles is well-known as a honeymooner’s delight, right up there with the Maldives and Mauritius as a loved-up paradise. And it deserves its place of in that pantheon of post-nuptial bliss. There are stunning beaches and warm, crystal clear waters teeming with exotic fish to be gawped at – or eaten depending on your mood or the time of day.
The weather is perfect year round and there are dozens of high-end hotels offering breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, infinity pools as far as the eye can see and staff whose only job, it seems, is to sprinkle rose petals on duvets and deposit bottles of champagne and fruit hampers in the rooms of happy couples.
However, the mawkish “entertainment” that hotels seem duty-bound to put on every single night is a black spot. Very occasionally you might catch sight of a lone couple smooching to a house band crucifying Chris de Burgh; more often they play for an audience of none. Nevertheless, they keep going and, near, far or, indeed, wherever you are, their songs will go on. And on. And on. Luckily, such soulless tunes are only a minor distraction from the holy trinity of sunshine, sea and, ahem, shells which sees people spend big to holiday here – expect no change out of five grand for a two-week trip. Many such people seem content to stay put on in a single resort but that’s a mistake. Island-hopping Seychelles style is simple and allows you to feel you have visited a country rather than a lavishly appointed, hideously expensive hotel.
The Seychelles is made up of over 100 islands . Victoria, the capital, is “the smallest capital in the world” as locals never tire of saying. It is probably no bigger than Galway and its main attractions can be reached on foot in an easy morning. Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market sells all manner of trinkets including cheap spices and exotic painted shells that will delight you until you have to bring the ever so delicate and ridiculously heavy things through customs.
The market is aimed at the trickle of tourists which pass under its heavy wooden awnings, but it also serves as the heart of the community where locals come to buy their fish and vegetables. This lends it an authenticity, and an aroma, not to be found anywhere else on the archipelago.