Some people want to go to the Maldives but I have always wanted to go to the Seychelles. I feel like most people don’t actually know or have ever of this beautiful archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. This is literally one of Africa’s many hidden treasures. The Seychelles is a nation of 115 islands scattered over 400,000sq km surrounded by crystal clear blue waters. The islands were once known as a five-star destination with three-star hotels but fast forward to now and that’s far from the truth, new-look Seychelles offers areas of outstanding man-made beauty and the best of luxury!
Because each island in the Seychelles is very different, many visitors choose a two or three-stop holiday.
THINGS TO DO IN SEYCHELLES
Bird Island is situated about 60 miles from the main island of Mahe, and is easily reached by plane. Its 170 acres are covered in corals and lined with the purest white sand.
A speck about 6km off the west coast of Praslin, Cousine Island is owned by a South African businessman, who has embarked on an intensive conservation programme to restore it to its primal state. About 2,000 indigenous trees have been planted, and 12 endangered magpie robins have been introduced to share the island with a couple of thousand nesting birds (fairy terns, sooty terns, shearwaters, Seychelles brush warblers, Fodies) and four giant tortoises (each of which, apparently, command around the same market value as a giraffe). Much of the rocky island is out of bounds to visitors.
There are wonderful walks to be had on Frégate – through primeval jungle, up enormous granite outcrops and along white-sand beaches. Away from the resort, the rest of the island is given over to conservation projects (protecting the endangered magpie robin population, among others), cultivation (vegetables produced with a very sophisticated hydroponics system), livestock (pigs, cows, chickens) and recreation (water sports and scuba-diving; fishing boats, yachts, catamarans and motorboats).
LA DIGUE ISLAND
The island’s stunning beaches of silky white sand are lapped by turquoise seas. The best beach, Anse Source D’Argent, is reachable by bicycle. Other good places to swim are Petite Anse, with its large smooth boulders. La Digue’s west coast, south of La Passe, is protected by a reef, creating calm water, ideal for snorkelling. Besides the pleasures of beach life, La Digue offers horse riding, diving, fishing and boat trips. The bird sanctuary is a woodland of takamaka and badamie (Indian almond) trees, home to several nesting pairs of the rare, endemic black paradise flycatcher. Horse riding is available at L’Union Estate and diving instruction, expeditions and boat trips to tiny Félicité Island (population 12) can be arranged at La Digue Island Lodge.
Mahé is the largest island, and home to 65,000 people. It has the highest mountain ranges in the Seychelles and the world’s smallest capital, Victoria. For a stylish souvenir, Michael Adams, Seychelles’ most famous artist, has a studio/gallery at his home at Anse aux Poules Bleues (00 248 361 006; michaeladamsart.com).
The archipelago’s second-largest island is a 15-minute plane hop from Mahé. It is most famous for the Vallée de Mai (open 8am-5.30pm), a World Heritage Site home to the distinctive coco de mer palm. It is a fascinating, friendly and unspoilt island to explore by foot, bicycle or hire-car. A number of excursions, including cruises, bird-watching and photographic expeditions are available from both Mahé and Praslin.
Where to stay;
North Island, a Luxury Collection Resort
Set on the private North Island in the Seychelles, this exclusive hotel offers 11 villas along the islands beautiful beaches. The Spa on North Island boasts the use of natural herbal ingredients found on the island, while the various dining options allow you to enjoy the island’s harvest. Villas start from €7,046 (£6,195). All-inclusive. Free Wi-Fi. Children under 17 stay free, however, those between the ages of 17 and 19 years old are charged at €773 (£680) per night.
In addition to the 30-minute complimentary welcome treatment at the spa, guests of North Island benefit from various activities and services included with their stay. These include scuba diving courses and activities, snorkelling in and around North Island, sunset cruises, guided walks and the use of stand-up paddleboards, sea kayaks and bicycles. Guests can join in on the group morning yoga class and set out on a shore-based or half-day fishing trip. The use of one island buggy is available per villa.
Tell me that doesn’t sound like the dreamiest of holidays.
I have been trying to think of a new travel series for you guys for so long now and then it just clicked – I haven’t done anything to do with luxury travel in what feels like YEARS so I thought that over the next 10 weeks or so I would provide you with the most expensive travel destinations the world has to offer. By now you should all know that I am a dreamer so this is series should not be a surprise to anyone. I think it’d be so cool for me to look back at series like this in 10 years time and do updates on the places that I used to blog about once I actually go there, so in a way, I am sort of manifesting it by writing about it. If that makes sense!
So our first stop on this series is Musha Cay. Until now I had literally never heard of this place and then I found out that it’s actually a privately island in the Exuma chain in the southern Bahamas owned by illusionist David Copperfield. The island made it in the most expensive destinations, for this reason, rates start at $42,000 a day for up to 12 persons with a 5-night minimum. Imagine staying an entire week you have spent $294,000 and then 10 days you’d spend $420,00. Do you know how insane that is???? One vacation. That money can buy you a good size 5 bedroom family home somewhere in Yorkshire! Within that price, you get all meals and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, including fine wines and champagnes) and unlimited use of all island amenities including a state-of-the-art gym, tennis court, volleyball, swimming pool, and billiards. A night at Dave’s Drive-in is also included, HOWEVER transportation to and from Musha Cay, international telephone calls, massage, deep-sea fishing, special entertainment such as fireworks, musical groups, and a custom treasure hunt are not included.
Two weeks ago I spoke about the possibility of buying an entire city, so I thought why don’t we take it up a notch and go that extra mile by purchasing an island??? Naomi Campbell and Richard Branson both have one, so why can’t you? Think about it, that island could be your holiday home or even better, you could turn it into a resort for people to rent out. The possibilities are all up to you, to be honest! You could even get it as a gift for a loved one, Naomi Campbell received her island vacation home for her 41st birthday from her Russian billionaire boyfriend Vladislav Doronin shaped like the Egyptian Eye of Horus on a location known as Cleopatra Island in Turkey’s Gulf of Gökova.
“The island is always a dream: it’s not something easy, it’s not something banal. It’s something special,” says John Bracco, sales director at Immobilsarda, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. Bracco, whose business is mostly conducted in the waters around Italy, says that islands offer privacy and a connection with nature. In the Mediterranean, he adds, there is a scarcity value: “It’s not like in the Caribbean where you have hundreds.” Wherever you buy there are complications. Off Italy, almost all islands are state-owned and not for sale, says Bracco. Those that often have strict regulations governing development. Nonetheless, he says, “there are still people who want to buy islands they can’t build on”. Purchases in much of the Caribbean are governed by British law, making transactions relatively straightforward. The freeholds to many are owned by holding companies so transactions take the form of share sales, says de Mallet Morgan.
So how do you actually purchase an island?
Islands are on sale all over the world for less than $100,000, however, it’s, of course, common sense that islands that go for as cheap as $100,00 USD are ofc course probably the same sq metre as you current house. Just like looking for a house,there’s an island to suit everyone’s tastes – you can filter it to size, price range, location and of course the distance from the mainland. Apparently, bargains can be scooped up across the globe but central America, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden and Canada offer the best deals.
Farhad Vladi, president of brokerage Vladi Private Islands, advises buyers to hunt in areas with high supply. He has islands costing as much as $5 million on his books but says you can pay much less and still own a great destination.
“You still have a quality island, very usable and very enjoyable,” Vladi said.
Here are some tips for first-time buyers:
1) Make sure the island isn’t too far from the mainland. Vladi, whose brokerage manages over one thousand islands, doesn’t list properties that are more than a kilometre from shore for ease of access.
2) Check it’s set up with basic services. Islands usually rely on generators or submarine cables for power.