The Seychelles is the kind of island paradise that you simply can’t get enough of. So in April, I took my family along on my fourth visit to these tranquil Indian Ocean islands. This time around we opted for three weeks split between the islands of Desroches, Fregate and Mahé.
Quiet Desroches Island or Île Desroches (www.desrochesislands.com) is the main island of the Amirante group and classified part of the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. This flat coral island is located 227 km southwest of Victoria: the capital city on Mahé island. The island is 5.5 km long and has 13 km of fine sand beaches hugging its entire coastline. A well-developed network of paths and tracks is perfect for early morning runs or leisurely bicycle rides where dodging giant tortoises and fallen coconuts is the order of the day!
We were fortunate to be guests of the Seychelles Island Development Corporation (IDC) who arranged all the logistics for our visit to Desroches Island where we stayed in the comfortable IDC guesthouse in the west of the island alongside the prime swimming beach. The only other accommodation option on the island is the luxurious Four Seasons resort and villas in the south.
After spending some quality beach time on Desroches, we flew back to Mahé and met our boat transfer across to the idyllic Fregate. Six-star Fregate Island Private (https://www.fregate.com) is the ultimate escape from reality. Arriving at this old pirate hangout, you disappear from the world at large leaving every stress and worry behind.
Fregate is a quite indescribably beautiful island retreat and valuable conservation sanctuary surrounded by warm, marine-rich sapphire seas. With just 16 secluded villas set amidst three square kilometres of pristine tropical island nature and boasting seven beaches, including the world renowned Anse Victorin, this is a very special island. Top of a long list of prime attractions sits Anse Victorin: undoubtedly the most beautiful beach on Frégate Island and in all of the Seychelles. The fact it has been awarded the prestigious accolade of ‘best beach in the world’ more than once supports this bold and audacious claim!
Fregate exudes carefree luxury in harmony with our precious environment. Luxurious cliff-top villas secluded in lush foliage merge seamlessly with the spectacular surrounding scenery, while alluring infinity pools spill into the blue horizon. This is an island paradise that invites guests to immerse body and mind in nature’s beauty. It is also an idyllic playground for young children… We drive ourselves around the island in golf carts, detouring around giant, lumbering tortoises and stopping to explore all the island’s beaches. The warm, calm water is oh so inviting and our boys (two and four years old) can’t get enough of it and learn to swim during our visit. We dine on the beach at night and take lunch in a high tree house surrounded by birds. We go in search pirates treasure and I get to scuba dive with sharks and manta rays. Fregate is truly a heavenly experience.
Perhaps National Geographic put it best when they described the island as “part tropical paradise, part wild isle – a place where brochure-worthy beaches are inhabited by creatures seemingly plucked from the Galápagos.”
We very reluctantly left Fregate after six wonderful days immersed in this island paradise and make our way back to Mahé where we meet up with my sister and her boyfriend at Chalets d’Anse Forbans (www.forbans.com). The place was great; the surly, rule-obsessed management less so. Nonetheless the comfortable four-bed, self-catering family beach bungalow proved perfect for our crew and made for an ideal base from which to enjoy Anse Intendance (www.seychelles.org/beaches/anse-intendance) – Mahé’s number one beach – that was just a short five minute drive away. We visited this spectacular beach every day with swimming, sand castles and sun tanning soon becoming a daily ritual and tried-and-tested recipe for all-round enjoyment.
Our final week in the Seychelles was spent with family staying at the Sables d’Or luxury apartments (www.sables-dor.sc) on Beau Vallon Beach in the northwest of Mahé. These sophisticated and stylish apartments right on the beach are a great place and perfect for extended families.
Relaxed beach days spent swimming and catching up were interspersed with long beach runs and a fabulous boat trip around the north of the island to the Sainte Anne Marine National park where we could explore, snorkel, swim and enjoy a picnic barbeque on the beach.
After three idyllic weeks of amazing accommodations, postcard-perfect beaches, azure ocean swimming, scintillating scuba diving and quality family time, it was a sad day when we had to bid farewell to our island paradise and board the flight back to reality. But I know it won’t be long until we return again.
Singita Kruger National Park and Singita Sabi Sands – South Africa
In May, Katherine and I took our second trip to the Singita Lowveld properties of Lebombo and Sweni in the Kruger Park, along with Boulders and Castleton in the Sabi Sands. It was an all too brief visit to Singita’s SA lodges (https://singita.com), although we did get the opportunity to engage with a wide cross-section of Singita management and guiding staff.
We were there to raise awareness and share updates on the conservation and community work being done by the affiliated Singita Grumeti Fund (www.singitagrumetifund.org) in Tanzania. Like any complex organization spread across multiple countries and numerous protected areas, it is all too easy for people to get caught up in their own little bubble without being aware of the bigger picture and what is happening within the wider organization. We were there to engage the staff and ensure everyone had a better awareness of the bigger picture.
We managed a couple of rewarding game drives, especially in the wilder N’wanetsi concession in Kruger (where we has quality leopard and lion sightings in the same drive), devoured the imaginative and tasty food (as well as appreciating the vibey atmosphere) at Lebombo lodge, savoured a lunch to remember on the riverside deck at the recently refurbished Sweni lodge, and felt privileged to see so many rhino roaming the Sabi Sands.
Travellers choose to stay at Singita’s 12 award winning lodges spread across five distinct geographic regions, because of the expansive space and beauty of the reserves in which the company operates. Limited guest and vehicle numbers, extraordinarily consistent game viewing and the exceptional care that is taken of every guest during their transformative stay are the primary reasons for people returning to Singita time and again.
There is no denying that Singita is indeed ‘the place of miracles’ and undisputed standard setter in the African safari industry.