Yes, we planned the trip around our anniversary week - our anniversary is on 6 May. The trip was almost a year after we won the Bride of the Year 2017 competition, so it was a long wait, but definitely the perfect timing. We also did some research on the best time to visit Seychelles, and it turned out that May is a great month to visit.
We have never been to Seychelles before, in fact, we had never been to an Indian Ocean Island before. We knew it was going to be beautiful, and we absolutely love going on beach holidays, but the Seychelles Islands were so picturesque beyond our imagination. Since our honeymoon in 2017, we made a promise to only travel the African continent on our annual holidays until 2020 because we really wanted to focus on experiencing more of the diversity of what our continent has to offer.
We had never been to East Africa together before, so it feels like we really ticked an experience off our bucket list. We visited Seychelles for seven nights, so our expectations were relaxation and lazing around at the beach and the resort, but also trying out some of the water / adventure activities and learning more about the natural beauty, and lastly we wanted to experience some of the culture through cuisine, meeting the locals and visiting some historical national sites and museums.
Yes, in fact the Seychelles really exceeded our expectations. We stayed in a beautiful and luxurious five star resort called, The Constance Ephelia. On our first night we arrived in our suite and decided to take a walk outside - as we opened our sliding doors we could hear the sound of waves gently crashing against the shore and when we looked up the sky, it was full of bright twinkling stars. We couldn't wait to wake up to paradise in the morning.
The food at the resort was delicious and we tried different cuisines every night. We also treated ourselves to dinner at the resort's signature restaurant, Cyan, which was exquisite. The resort has so many things to do - we walked to all the beaches of the resort, we fed tortoises, we paddle boarded, we kayaked, we hung out by the beach, the pools and the hammocks, on some rainy afternoons we lounged by the bar and read books. We were also given some good advice to rent a car and we decided to take a scenic drive around the Island to various heritage sites and look out points before visiting the capital city, Victoria. While in Victoria, we went to the History Museum and Botanical Gardens.
Coming from a dry autumn in Johannesburg, it was initially a bit overwhelming walking into a hot and humid Seychelles, but this was all part of the Island experience! The staff at the resort were very friendly and helpful, and very international from many parts of the world. In fact, we met a few South Africans who were working at the restaurants at the resort- they were excited to know that I was the SA Weddings Bride of the Year.
Our room was lovely and spacious, and just a few steps away from the beach. The resort had a variety of restaurants to dine from, and even the buffet option at Corossol had a superb selection of food. Fortunately, there were a few excursion and tour organizers at the resort, so it was easy to get advice on how best to plan our days. The beach bars and pool areas were beautiful and although the drinks at the resort were a bit pricey, there were some beach bars that hosted happy hours into sunset. The gym and spa facilities were lovely, and nothing beat a sunset hike past the secluded private villa's for an outdoor workout with beautiful beach views. We also learnt that Constance Ephelia is adjacent to a national park and is on 120 hectares of lush forest land- so there was always an excuse to be out and about.
My highlight was definitely the surf & turf tour excursion, which included a hiking trail on the northern part of Mahe island- we saw amazing views of Silhouette Island, and North Island during the hike. The hike ended at the beach where we had a brief refreshing swim and then hopped on a catamaran for some snorkeling and diving. I have never seen so many schools of fish ever before, it was amazing to snorkel among all that beautiful marine life. We were also served a Creole barbecue on the catamaran, which was absolutely delicious. Then after more snorkeling and swimming in the ocean, we cruised around the East coast of the island and ended the trip at Eden Island.
I would recommend that they experience as much of the marine life and nature as possible. I would also recommend that they rent a car for a day or two and explore the capital city as well as the various other attractions that Mahe Island has to offer. We didn't get to take a ferry and explore the other islands, like Praslin, but we would definitely love to go back to Seychelles, so hopefully next time we can experience the other islands.
Lastly, we'd just like to say a massive thank you to Giltedge Ocean Islands & SA Weddings for this wonderful and unforgettable experience!