Mark on a rocky point at our lodge on Félicité Island
Our last six days in Africa were on the island of Félicité, in the Seychelles. To get there required a taxi from Fisherman’s Cove on Mahe to the airport, a 15-minute flight to Praslin Island, a 20-minute taxi ride across the island and through the Vallée de Mai (a World Heritage Site), and then finally a 30-minute boat ride on to Félicité.
Our route to Félicité took us through Vallée de Mai (May Valley) on Praslin Island. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Vallée de Mai is home to the cocoa de mer, a massive palm that has the largest seeds of any plant in the world.
Once we got there though it was something close to paradise. Félicité is a private island, with the resort taking up only a small section of the land. And while technically the Seychelles are part of Africa, this felt nothing like Africa at all. In fact, one of the things we were surprised to find there was how American it felt. Not that the staff were American; they were from all over the world. The clientele, however, had a distinctly American cast, quite a change from our experience in Madagascar, Réunion, and Mauritius.
This five-night stay was definitely in the category of “luxury splurge” – a beautiful villa, great views, good food, utter relaxation. Even one long rainy day couldn’t detract much from the experience. There was one downside: our villa was way up the hill from the public part of the resort, the beach and restaurant and all that. It made for great views but was a really tough climb. Now, they had carts to take you up but that just seemed so lame. On the other hand, the climb was tough.
The view from our villa. We were way up on the island, which made for great views but an almost stunningly steep climb if you were walking.
The only other downside is that we kept comparing it to our stay in the Maldives earlier this year. They’re alike in many ways – the Maldives are a few degrees north of the equator in the Indian Ocean a bit east of here, while the Seychelles are a few degrees south of the equator – but as much as we loved our stop here it was constantly in our heads that this just wasn’t quite as nice as the Maldives. You have to admit to being very lucky men when you can come to a paradise like this and say “Oh, it’s nice but it’s no Maldives….”
You really can’t complain about a sea like this, though “It’s not the Maldives” was always on our minds
When you read TripAdvisor reviews of places like this you always read people saying things like “It was beautiful, but the wonderful staff made it special.” Really common and often reasonably true. The staff there were great. But what can make a stay even more memorable for us is meeting other interesting travelers and this was a great example. On our first day there we met Rob & Mel, a couple from Houston. Now, when I heard “Houston” my warning signs went off but as you might expect from an interracial gay couple they weren’t your average Texans. Rob is a surgeon, head of trauma if I remember correctly at Baylor Hospital, and Mel sells real estate. Both fun, fascinating, interesting people. They were there to celebrate Mel’s 50th birthday and then, to top it off, Rob proposed. (Mel said yes.) And we got to celebrate all that with them. Such fun!
Mark, Mel, and Rob on our last day. By now Mel has turned 50 and they’re engaged!
All that was a nice way to close off Africa, though as I said in most ways the Seychelles couldn’t be more different from real Africa. From here we fly through Istanbul on our way to Rome and some Sullivan family time in Tuscany.
My favorite spot in the resort, a couple comfy chairs on a rocky point, perfect for reading and napping
Here’s what it looked like from my vantage point
And what it looked like when Mark came looking for me
Swimming right near there wasn’t too bad either
Our villa with some of the massive rocks that the Seychelles are known for
Another thing the Seychelles are known for are their giant fruit bats. These things are huge. Huge. In fact, apparently they’re known as “megabats” and we were told they are the largest bats in the world. As we would sit outside our villa they in the late afternoon they were flying all over, often surprisingly close. And did I mention that they are really big?
Another bat. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the locals eat the bats around here. Supposed to be quite a delicacy. I honestly think I’d have tried one if given the chance but they weren’t on the menu at our fancy resort.
The hills near our place in the early evening sun with bats flying around
OK, one last bat picture, taken on our rainy day in paradise
And speaking of cuties, someone pointed out this little baby bird nestled into a tree right in the middle of everything at the resort. I was surprised its parent would let us get so close….
The rock formations in the Seychelles are pretty spectacular. I kept expecting some Jurassic Park creature to climb out.
A different day, same view from the villa. I couldn’t decide which picture I like better….
Mark’s selfie to say goodbye to Africa