Where: La Digue, Republic of Seychelles, Indian Ocean
When: May to November
Activities: Go game fishing, snorkelling, or just laze among the pink granite rocks, palms and white sands of the most filmed and photographed beach in the world
Getting to La Digue
La Digue island lies forty miles north-east of Mahé. The common way to get to La Digue from Mahé is by taking the Cat Coco catamaran: first to Praslin and then to La Digue by schooner. The Cat Coco only takes an hour and costs about a hundred US dollars each way. 2,000 people live in La Digue and they make their living leisurely – a bit of fishing, some farming and a lot of enjoying the fruits of a very good tourist trade. With coasts of sugar-white sand and dazzling emerald waters, La Digue is an indisputable paradise on earth.
L’Anse Source D’Argent – A Garden of Eden
Life here is so relaxed; it’s as slow as an ox-cart which is the traditional public transport. There’s usually a few waiting by the pier and they cost around 300 rupees ($56 US) to rent for half a day. But it’s not the slow pace that tourists throng here for: according to the Travel Channel and a heap of celebrity tourists, L’Anse Source D’Argent is the best beach in the world, with its huge pink granite boulders (which appear to change colour throughout the day), pretty coves, forty foot high palm trees, and white sandy beach. It’s been called a Garden of Eden by journalists and travel brochures and it’s the most photographed beach in the world. L’Anse is where the Bountychocolate and Bacardi adverts were filmed; in fact, it’s also one of the most filmed beaches in the world. There’s a segment of the beach which is used to perform weddings and it’s as gorgeous as a film set.
Although it’s a public beach, you have to go through a National Park to reach it, which costs five euros per person. There is no hotel on the beach as it’s a protected site, however you can sunbathe (no topless or nude bathing, though), have a picnic, or go snorkelling. The waters are so transparent you don’t need a snorkel mask to see the fish swimming over the coral.
Go Game Fishing in the Seychelles
If all that luxurious gets to much, try a more active day out on the ocean waves. Because of the superb visibility, this is a fantastic place to do a tour by glass-bottomed boat. Or for a taste of working island life, take a trip on a fishing boat. Game fishing is big in the Seychelles because the deep seas of the Indian Ocean are bountiful with tuna, sailfish, and that much lauded Ernest Hemingway catch – the Blue Marlin. The best fishing grounds are at the drop off point on the edge of the Seychelles Plateau, some twenty miles offshore.
Fish is the staple diet of the Seychellois and the tuna canning industry makes more money than tourism. On average, fishermen guys can catch 50 to 55 fish a day, but the waters are so good around here that even a novice can notch up about 20. You can expect to net bigeye, dogfish, yellow eye tuna, dorados, and sailfish thrive in the post-monsoon season. But the marlin is the fabled catch; they are awesome and can weigh up to as much as 330 pounds.
Where to stay:
Domaine de L’Orangeraie
La Digue, Seychelles
Telephone: + 24 8 234 444
Email: reservations *at* orangeraie.sc
Situated on the idyllic island of La Digue, where you travel on bicycles or ox carts, the Domaine de L’Orangeraie offers self-catering bungalows in beautifully landscaped garden. Built in the architectural style of La Digue, the owners have added a touch of zen with craft from Indonesia. Bicycles are available for hire.
By Susi O’Neill