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.
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 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….”
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!
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.