The perfect escape
I had the good fortune of being invited to Alphonse Island in the Seychelles. This atoll is part of an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, just off East Africa. It’s the tranquil and picturesque home to untouched, beautiful coral reefs and nature reserves, as well as rare species of birds and animals (such as the giant Aldabra tortoises). An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef, including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon.
I flew into the capital, Mahé, from Johannesburg – an easy 6-hour flight North East on Air Seychelles. I landed in the thriving little airport, was met by my rep from Blue Safari Seychelles, and then hopped onto a short, scenic flight to Alphonse Island. (I was lucky to be on a flight with a very famous South African cricketer and his group which was rather fun!)
Arriving at my villa, I felt an instant feeling of relief, comfort, welcoming and relaxation. Here, I had a huge verandah and swimming pool, right on the edge of the beach. I could walk, coffee in hand at sunrise (as I do – I’m a 4am waker-upper), wander to the shore, and watch the sunrise. It’s hard to put the experiences I had into words, but I’ll keep it short and sweet and go through the activities I did during my stay.
Water activities in the Seychelles
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling: I don’t scuba dive myself (although I do love to Snorkel), but the lovely French family I befriended explained that this is one of the best dive sights IN THE WORLD.
Pelagic fish and big predators can be spotted daily. Green turtles, Hawksbill Turtles, 15 kinds of moray Eels, barracuda, trevally, batfish, emporer, snapper and many more all live within these pristine and untouched coral reefs. Predator-lovers can see tuna, wrasse, Giant sweetlips, cod and grouper. And, there’s a range of sharks such as hammerheads, bull, silvertip and grey reef sharks. It’s fish heaven!
Paddle Boarding and Kayaking: As you can see from this very inelegant photo of me, I got off to a rocky start on my kayak! Determined to get out onto the sea on a windy day, it nevertheless turned out to be just the most stunning trip around the island. With turtles swimming underneath me in clear, blue waters, I could see far into the distance and deep into the water at the beautiful coral and abundant marine life.
The Paddle Board was MUCH more fun. I intended to circumnavigate the whole island, but after 4 hours, with the wind pushing against me, I stopped at the boat jetty and had a lovely solo-swim. Paddling was an excellent way to see the less-explored jungle regions of the island and allowed me to paddle far out into the ocean where I could see boundless coral gardens, turtles galore, and spinner dolphins! What could be better!
Ocean Safari: There had to be a safari here!! So we did one on the ocean.
A speed boat takes one offshore to see the aquatic wildlife of the island. Our guide armed us with snorkel gear and our own binoculars, and we had a chance to snorkel, learn, watch the horizons and the water and ‘ocean safari.’
We learnt about a plethora of marine animals – which makes every safari unique. Highlights included sightings of Spinner Dolphins, migrating Humpback Whales (in mother-calf pairs), Melon Headed Whales, Risso’s Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, Pilot- whales Beaked whales, Manta Rays, Milkfish feeding at the surface, tuna leaping about and my favorite: the turtles.
Conservation & Island Experiences
Alphonse Island is a true haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Endless stretches of blissfully secluded beaches, lush, colorful forests and protected coral reefs beckon you to explore their untouched beauty.
Along the way, you might make friends with one of the ancient free-roaming Giant Aldabra Tortoises. You may even be lucky enough to see tiny turtles as they make their way to the ocean after hatching.
Conservation-guided nature-walks and cycling: I had the good fortune of spending a morning with the head marine biologist at Alphonse on a guided nature-cycle. We enjoyed a fun and informative nature-cycle around the island, while learning about current research, conservation projects, and the fauna and flora of the island.
The Island Conservation Centre has ensured that key aspects of the ecosystem around Alphonse Island are well-maintained and cared for. The staff and owners of the island passionately ensure that the sensitive ecosystem on the atoll is respected, nurtured and cared for correctly. Personally seeing the life cycle of Green Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles -from hatching to laying their own eggs was a rare privilege. (Both the Green Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle have been legally protected in Seychelles waters since 1994).
The hotel, the spa and the epic Beach Bar!
The SPA!!!!: The spa was magnificent! I experienced some of the best treatments I’ve ever had – which is saying something after all my years spent in Asia! The spa tailors their treatments to their customer’s preferences. They also have special packages – such as the Fishermen’s Massage – which focuses on crucial muscles and pressure points that may have been overused while doing specific activities.
The Beach Bar: This is a DANGEROUSLY fun spot, where a BBQ is held on a Tuesday and a Friday. The set-up is just magnificent. With tables looking out onto the ocean, a simple barefoot luxury bar is set up. Magically, the night turns into a feast of fresh fish, delightful conversation with staff and conservationists, fun music, and beach games that go on late into the night. Champagne, tequila, and finally, a wobbly walk home (the bike was not an option!).
I was lucky enough to spend 7 magical days in the Seychelles, with marvelous, passionate people, in a paradise like no other. That you see in these pictures is unedited, unfiltered and just as it was taken.
It was like a dream that I never wanted to wake up from!
- The Beach Bar & swimming pool
- Surprise island lunch in the middle of the atoll
- The gym, yoga sessions & tennis
- The best, fresh, sustainably-caught fish I have ever eaten
- Different food themes daily & excellent cocktails
- The Giant tortoises EVERYWHERE (and one that likes his chin scratched)
- The incredible staff
Start planning for 2022!
To find out about the Seychelles and Alphonse Island, contact email@example.com.
We have some SUPERB packages with flights included and discounted rates and specials.
Best times of year to travel are end of March through May and then Sept – December.
Let Danni be your guide
“Some of the best memories are made in flip-flops”