Amongst every worldly traveler there is always a personal choice and particular preference to the type of vacation that we each wish (at the time of planning), to take. Perhaps it is a cultural experience that is sought, perhaps an adventurous experience…and then there is the vacation that is sought out and chosen for the purely blissful purpose of just getting away from it all. In my hospitality experience, as well as in my own experience, ‘getting away from it all’ can mean only one thing – an Island Escape – long, lazy days with nothing to do other than soak up the rays of the sun on an endless white beach and float in the deliciously cool waters of an azure blue ocean. Seychelles travel is one place that meets this criterion. The unique islands of the Seychelles do not fail at all in providing all this and then so, so much more…
For any traveler interested in Seychelles travel, as a point of interest, this blog has been divided in two sections : the first being information pertaining to my knowledge of the island country itself and the second being an account of my personal experience and subsequent guidelines to having chosen the Seychelles as my destination of choice in which to get married.
Those who have read my earlier blog on the island of Mauritius will no doubt note my definite love and passion for the paradise islands of the Indian Ocean. And yes, these islands are indeed nothing short of being Paradise in their description, but a further wonderful aspect to note is their close proximity and ease of access from the major cities of South Africa. As such, these islands, more specifically Mauritius and the Seychelles, make for the ideal vacation ‘add-on’ for tourists visiting South Africa.
Just 2,269 miles (4,457 kilometers) from the coast of South Africa and a mere 5 hour, hassle-free plane journey, it becomes almost hard to believe that a paradise destination so beyond your wildest dreams in its breathtaking beauty, is in fact, literally on the doorstep of the beginning or end of your African vacation itinerary.
The mainland is called Mahé, with the capital being Victoria, the Seychelles has a population that is the smallest of any other African state. Made up of 115 granite islands it is only the islands of the Inner Seychelles that are inhabited. The Inner Seychelles comprises the following:
- Mahé (Sainte Anne Island, Cerf Island, Marnelle Island)
- Praslin (Curieuse Island, Aride Island, Cousin Islands)
- La Digue (Felicite Island, The Sisters, Marie Anne Island)
- Silhouette (North Island)
- Inner Corallines (Denis island, Bird Island)
Whilst there is little doubt that each island is as wonderful as the next, I am only able to give comment to the Mainland of Mahé and the Sainte Anne Island Resort (a 10 minute boat ride from the mainland), as these remain, for now, to be the only areas that I have visited on my Seychelles travel trips.
Sainte Anne Island Resort and Spa
The Sainte Anne Island Resort and Spa is heavenly and the waters surrounding its shores are known to be home to the largest Marine Park in the world making snorkeling and scuba diving the most ultimate and sublime of aquatic experiences. Should you choose to visit this island resort be sure to book a Private Villa – these beachside villas come complete with private swimming pools and are the height of sheer luxury.
Another highlight of the resort is that it is the favoured nesting ground for the Green Sea Turtle.
I would highly recommend that any traveler should rent a car on the mainland of Mahé for at least a day. There is so much to see which is hard to believe for a country so small…a visit to the plantation regions where goods made from Vanilla and other Spice products can be purchased. Further to that, it is of great interest to visit the areas that are home to The Giant Tortoise – a tortoise that was once once believed to have been extinct.
Considering a Seychelles Wedding?
Many years ago, when planning my wedding, my parents asked me and my husband to be what type of wedding we wished to have. Our answer was a simple one. We both wished to forego the pressures and stress that planning a conventional wedding demanded – our feelings being that big weddings and the organization that they involved seemed to steal from the Bride and Groom the true enjoyment of their special day. In the back of my mind I always believed that many guests agreed to attend purely for the free food and a good excuse to drink excessively at the expense of someone else, forgetting, quite sadly, that their attendance was in fact meant to be in light of a shared celebration of the union between a man and a woman.
Of course, this is not necessarily the case for everyone, but my fear of this was enough to make the choice to celebrate our union as WE wished to celebrate, not in conformity to anybody else’s wish. As such, with both the wish to ‘get away from it all’ and the wish to have our dream wedding, my husband and I decided to say our vows on the idyllic, romantic Indian Ocean island of the Seychelles. At the time I had not yet visited the island, but the Seychelles travel brochure pictures that I had perused conjured up the most unbelievably romantic visions of what was to become THE PERFECT WEDDING!! The beauty of our choice was also having the knowledge that those of our friends and family that were able to afford their own costs, would be there with the distinct and genuine purpose of celebrating with us because that was what they wanted.
Our decision and wistful notions of a white wedding gown and white sands did not however prove itself to be the easy fait accompli that we would have imagined. We did not wish to exchange our vows simply by means of a civil service…we had a somewhat more difficult requirement – a Catholic service in a Catholic church!! And so the preparations began and as such my experienced and hopefully informative guideline within this blog for anybody wishing to plan their own Seychelles Nuptials.
- a church service in the Seychelles is not recognized or considered legal without a prior civil service
- the couple must be present on the island at least 2 days prior to the civil ceremony
What we found out very quickly on arrival in the Seychelles was that not too many foreigners choose a religious ceremony and you’ll be more than pleased if this is the route that you decide to go – the locals pull out all the stops and view it as a huge honor should you choose one of their churches to marry in. My ceremony became complete with the local choir singing for us and the mayor of the island loaning his vintage Rolls Royce as our means of carriage from our hotel to the church. It was a magnificent affair that was enhanced by the incredible hospitality of the owners and staff of the Sunset Beach Resort who crowned my head with a wreath of flowers from the Vanilla tree and made my bouquet from the flowers of the local coffee plants.
Important contact for more marriage requirements and wedding information:
Good to know:
- Official languages are French, Creole and English.
- There is no visa requirement for traveling to the Seychelles.
- Average yearly temperature is 84ºF (29ºC) -humidity is high and there really is no right or wrong time of the year to visit as it is warm all year round, although the warmer months are considered to be November to March and the cooler months May to September.
Interesting Seychelles Travel Facts:
The Seychelles is well known for the unusual “Coco de Mer”. This is a sea coconut that is shaped on one side like that of a womans buttocks and on the other side like that of a womans belly and thighs. It is also called “The Love Nut” and legend is said that this nut is believed to have magical properties….