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Cape Town’s Attractions

Imagine receiving a huge box of desserts. Upon opening the box, different types of treats irresistibly entice you. How do you pick?

This delectable dilemma is similar to visiting Cape Town, a city with a vast array of things to do. With so many options to choose from, there is something for everyone.

Below are some major attractions of Cape Town, as well as tips on how to best enjoy them. Regardless of what you choose, you are in for a treat!

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

V&A Waterfront is a bustling and lively harbor which attracts 24 million people annually.

Being one of the oldest working harbors in the Southern Hemisphere, it is easy to understand its allure. Historic charm and modern beauty intermingle throughout the waterfront, as both intricate architecture and contemporary art are interspersed throughout.

The waterfront has a unique mix of shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants. It is also is the entry point to Robben Island, the brutal prison that held Nelson Mandela.

Safety at V&A Waterfront: Relatively safe, tourists should still practice caution while exploring this area, as visitors are susceptible to robberies if they are not paying attention to their surroundings. Throughout the city, caution is also advised to being outdoors in the evening. Thus, grabbing a taxi is the best option if you are entering or leaving V&A Waterfront at dusk.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

Acclaimed as one of the greatest botanic gardens of the world, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is a lush jewel nestled in the city of Cape Town.

Astonishingly only a 12 minute drive from the city center, being in this vast botanical garden feels otherworldly. Enveloped in nature, you can feast your eyes in natural beauty and find many places to both relax and explore.

You can easily spend an entire day sauntering around this beautiful garden. Many people spend their days picnicking, or simply absorbing the peacefulness that the nature here so effortlessly provides.

One of the more famous areas of Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is the Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway. Often referred to as the “Boomslang,” this sinuous and serpentine structure has a snake skeleton design that seamlessly winds over tree tops, offering beautiful green views as Table Mountain lures above you.

Entry fee at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden: As of 2020, the entrance fee to visit Kirstenbosch is 75 South African Rand, which is equivalent to $3.95 USD per person. Check out their website for more up-to-date prices here: https://www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch/

Boulder’s Beach

This incredible beach is located in Simon’s Town, a suburb of Cape Town. It is here where you can closely admire African penguins!

Entry fee at Boulder’s Beach: The entrance fee to the penguin colony is 152 South African Rand, which is approximately $8.00 USD per person (as of 2020). Your ticket not only allows you access to the boardwalk for great views of the penguins, but also to a beach further down the road. Ask an employee for directions if you are unsure how to get to the beach – it is not something you want to miss!

It is on the beach where you can actually sunbathe and even swim with the penguins! Once you reach the main beach, you may notice it is a bit crowded. However, there is a more private and secluded area of the beach – where you can get up and close to these famous residents.

How to reach the more secluded area of Boulder’s Beach: Once you enter the beach, turn left and walk all the way down until you face a wall of boulders. You must get through these boulders in order to access the more secluded area.

You may have to either hunch down or wiggle in between the boulder’s cracks to get through! Depending on the time of day and the tide, you will have to either walk or swim several feet until you reach a sandy enclave. Here is where you can truly get some one-on-one time with the African penguins! It is also a great area to capture some memorable photographs.

I suggest that you allocate an entire day to visiting Boulder’s Beach. Once you swim with African penguins – it’s really hard not to leave! It is important to note that as these African penguins are wild, they should be protected and respected. Never feed or touch them, and make sure to keep a safe distance in order to keep these beautiful creatures safe from harm or stress. If they feel that they are in danger from your close proximity, they will bite!

Extensions: As Simon’s Town is somewhat of a long drive to reach from the city center, a trip to Boulder’s Beach could also be coupled with a drive around the scenic Chapman’s Peak and even a trip to the Cape of Good Hope, if you have the time.

Bo Kaap

Bo Kaap is a vividly colorful neighborhood with origins dating back to the 1760s. Rental houses were created here specifically for slaves, known as “Cape Malays.” 

Formerly known as the “Malay Quarter,” the rental houses were mandated to be painted exclusively white. When slaves were allowed to purchase properties, many homeowners intentionally painted their houses bright colors to express their freedom.

Beyond the multi-colored symbolic representation of liberty, Bo Kaap is also home to the first established Muslim mosque in the country of South Africa, called the Auwal Mosque.

Safety in Bo Kaap & Notes: You should exercise caution, travel in groups, and be alert of your surroundings while visiting this area. We read about many day-time robberies in Bo Kaap while visiting solo. Moreover, it is also important to understand that many locals live in here, and their privacy should be respected if you are taking photographs.

Constantia

Known as Cape Town’s vineyard, Constantia is the oldest wine-making region in the southern hemisphere. Only a 20 minute drive from V&A Waterfront, incredible and historic wineries await you.

The oldest wine estate is called Groot Constantia, founded in 1645. This handsome estate contains a beautiful indoor/outdoor restaurant, museum, and winery.

If you are into wine, take advantage of the wine tasting offered at the winery. You get to keep the wine glasses that you drink out of, which makes a great souvenir!

At Groot Constantia, you can wander around the estate during your wine tasting. My husband and I sat beneath a large tree as we enjoyed an amazing Syrah – it was definitely a highlight of the day.

Clifton

Cape Town is famous for many beautiful beaches. Some regard the most lovely to be nestled in the ritzy and affluent neighborhood of Clifton.

Four adjacent beaches in Clifton (named 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th!) are famous for their pristine white sands and glamorous aesthetic. Surrounding the beaches is a mountainous landscape, greenery, and stylish beachfront properties.

Clifton 4th is a Blue Flag beach, honored the second best beach in the world by National Geographic. It is the closest beach to Clifton’s neighboring suburb, Camps Bay. This beach also captures a gorgeous view of Lion’s Head, which resembles a crouching lion.

My husband and I rented an Airbnb near Clifton’s 2nd beach. One night, eager to catch the sunset, we grabbed some ice cream and made our way to the beach.

We were surprised by the crowd that happened to share the same prospect. People of all ages were hanging out – picnics, bonfires, drinks, frisbee games, and laughter all surrounded us. It was such a cool vibe! It was a great place to mingle, party, relax and have fun.

Beyond Clifton’s lovely beaches, it is strikingly beautiful and has some exceptional views. Near Clifton’s 1st beach is a lookout point where you can enjoy a lovely view of the Twelve Apostles mountain range.

Camps Bay

Camps Bay is suburb adjacent to Clifton, famous for its buzzing strip of restaurants, bars and shops. It also has a beach across the strip.

If you are staying nearby, Camps Bay is a great place to purchase groceries, dine at one of the many fabulous restaurants, or “people watch” as you sit outdoors overlooking the beach.

Hiking

Undeniably, Cape Town has incredible mountains which lend themselves to extraordinary hikes and views. Some famous hikes that you can take are up Table Mountain and Lion’s Head.

Table Mountain

You can reach the famous flat top of Table Mountain by either hiking or enjoying a cable car. Hiking takes approximately one and a half to two hours, and a cable car takes approximately five minutes to reach the summit.

There are various trails and entry points to explore Table mountain. My husband and I took a more unconventional route by walking the “Pipe Trail,” a serene and mostly flat walk with a beautiful view of Camp’s Bay Beach.

We then climbed Kastelspoort Trail, a jagged and inclined trail with incredible views. The top of Kastelspoort Trail has a famous spot referred to as the “Diving Board,” which is a jagged peak offering a stunning and breathtaking view.

Fees at Table Mountain: Entering and exploring Table Mountain on foot is free. If you wish to take a cable car, you can pay for either a one-way or round-trip cable car ticket. Prices tend to fluctuate, thus you can check the current prices here: https://www.tablemountain.net/ If you are driving to the hiking entrance of Table Mountain, there are often people working the nearby roads to help you with parking. You may want to bring some cash with you if you would like to tip them.

Lion’s Head

Hiking Lion’s Head takes approximately two to three hours to reach the summit. It is a relatively moderate in the beginning, but then requires several ladders, climbing chains and rocky inclines to ultimately reach the top.

The summit of Lion’s Head has a congratulatory sign informing you that you have climbed 669.9 meters and is a great place to rest, explore, and soak in panoramic views of Cape Town. 

Sunsets: Many people enjoy hiking Lion’s Head to catch the sunset. Hiking in the dark can be done, but it is vital to bring flashlights and exercise precaution. If it is your first time hiking this mountain during the sunset, you may want to consider going with a guide or experienced group of friends. Signal Hill is a smaller hill near Lion’s Head which you can drive instead of hike to, and is also a great area to catch the sunset!

Fees at Lion’s Head Mountain: Entering and exploring Lion’s Head is free. If you are driving to the hiking entrance of Lion’s Head Mountain, there are often people working the nearby roads to help you with parking. You may want to bring some cash with you if you would like to tip the workers.

Conclusion

There are endless opportunities to explore Cape Town in accordance to your interests, preferences, and time constraints. Truly, it is a beautiful city with so much to do. We are already planning our return!

You won’t regret visiting any of these amazing places, or any other attractions in Cape Town for that matter. The only question is: which treat are you going to try from the chocolate box first?

Have you ever visited any of these attractions in Cape Town? Is there anything that I missed? Leave a comment below!

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Cape Town’s Landscape

The “Mother City.” The tavern of the seas. The place of sweet water. The place where clouds gather. Many names have been given to describe Cape Town, a city of dichotomy, surrounded by sea and mountains on opposite ends.

The geography of Cape Town is distinct and unique, with a mountainous landscape that has been admired by human eyes for hundreds of thousands of years. 

Table Mountain

Six hundred million years old, Table Mountain overlooks the city with a prominent presence. It is famous for its flat topped surface, a unique feature created approximately 300 million years ago.

When the mountain was still at sea level, ice sheets flattened the mountain’s layers of stone. This natural creation only became visible once the continents broke apart and propelled the mountain over the surface of the Earth. 

You can catch glimpses of the mountain throughout the city, and witness its multilayered beauty, whether it is cloaked with clouds (often referred to as the mountain’s “table cloth”) or perched beneath a clear blue sky.

Beyond admiration, the mountain is also beloved for hiking and exploring, an activity enjoyed by both tourists and locals alike.

To reach the famous flat top of Table Mountain, you can either hike or enjoy a cable car. Hiking takes approximately one and a half to two hours, and a cable car takes approximately five minutes to reach the summit.

Entering and exploring Table Mountain on foot is free. If you wish to take a cable car, you can pay for either a one-way or round-trip cable car ticket. Prices tend to fluctuate, thus you can check the current prices here: https://www.tablemountain.net/

Various parts of Table Mountain are covered with plants and colorful flowers.

Lion’s Head

Table Mountain’s looming neighbor is Lion’s Head, a peaked mountain that also acts as a pinpoint to the city. Free to access, hiking Lion’s Head mountain takes approximately two to three hours to reach the summit.

The hike is relatively moderate in the beginning, but then requires several ladders, climbing chains and rocky inclines to ultimately reach the top.

The top of Lion’s Head has a congratulatory sign informing you that you have climbed 669.9 meters. It is a peaceful place to rest, explore, and soak in panoramic views of Cape Town. 

If you examine Lion’s Head mountain from a certain angle, the mountain resembles a reclined lion. This can be particularly seen from the beaches of Clifton.

The Twelve Apostles

Attached to Table Mountain are the Twelve Apostles mountain range, which overlook Camps Bay.

Although the name contains the number twelve, eighteen peaks can in fact be counted on this range, and interestingly enough, each peak has its own name!

From North to South, they are named: Kloof, Fountain, Porcupine, Jubilee, Barrier, Valken, Kasteel, Postern, Wood, Spring, Slangolie, Corridor, Separation, Victoria, Grove, Llandudno Peak, Llandudno Corridor, and Hout Bay Corner.

Signal Hill

Flat topped Signal Hill was once peppered with signal flags to communicate weather warnings and anchoring instructions for ships at sea.

It is considered one of the best places in Cape Town to watch the sunset. Signal Hill is also referred to as “Lion’s Rump” for its close proximity to Lion’s Head Mountain.

The Indian Ocean glimmers around Cape Town, with a multitude of beaches that range in size and beauty. Cape Town truly offers a beach for everyone, from the ritzy and glamorous, to the private and tranquil. 

There are endless and versatile ways to enjoy the city. Stay tuned for my next post, where I highlight various attractions of Cape Town!

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Praslin

One of the smallest countries in the world, the Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands nestled in the Indian Ocean. While each island harnesses a unique personality, they all share breathtaking scenery, gleaming turquoise waters, and a beautiful home for both nature and animals.

The second largest island of the Seychelles, Praslin is home to giant Aldabra tortoises, exquisite beaches, and the rare Coco De Mer seed. Due to the island’s size, traveling with a vehicle is necessary to get around. Many buses stop along the island’s major attractions.

Coco de Mer

The Coco de Mer seed is the largest and heaviest seed in the plant world and is grown naturally exclusively in the Seychelles. Iconic for its unique shape, mythical history and massive size, it can grow up to sixty pounds and is approximately the size of a large watermelon! There are two reserves on Praslin island that grow this incredibly rare seed: Vallée de Mai and Fond Ferdinand.

Vallée de Mai received world heritage status in 1983. The popular national park is considered the “Heart of Praslin,” and is home to over 1,400 legendary Coco de Mer trees. Vallée de Mai is also often described as a “Garden of Eden” due to its mystical nature and incredible beauty. The entry fee of Vallée de Mai costs 350 Seychellois Rupees per person.

Less touristy and more spacious, Fond Ferdinand nature reserve is six times larger than Vallée de Mai. It is home to thousands of indigenous species including the incredible Coco de Mer trees. The entrance fee is also cheaper at 150 Seychellois Rupees per person.

During our guided group tour, we were introduced to some unique spices, beans, fruits and seeds within the park while walking towards the Coco de Mer trees located deeper in the reserve.

Coco de Mer trees can grow to be either male or female. The sex is unknown until approximately twenty-five years of life. The gender of the tree can be easily recognized by its physical characteristics, which closely resemble human reproductive organs. Can you distinguish between the male and female tree from the two photographs below?

The catkins of the male tree grow flowers on it. Birds and lizards then take the pollen and transfer them onto female trees, which creates the Coco de Mer seed. The seeds grow atop of the seventy-foot trees until they ultimately drop to the ground. Fortunately, these trees are partitioned in specific places within both nature reserves, keeping visitors safe from these giant seeds once they fall!

A close-up image of a fallen male catkin and Coco de Mer seed.

Folklore legend states that during dark, stormy evenings, the male and female trees uproot themselves and lock into a carnal embrace. It is believed that whoever witnesses the “love making” of the trees either go blind or die. The pollination process to this day is still not fully understood, which continues to make the Coco de Mer trees incredibly fascinating and alluring.

Coco de Mer seeds are so rare, law prohibits them from being stolen or removed from the country. However, if the seed is completely hollowed – a measure taken to prevent it being grown in foreign places – and stamped with a certified serial number; Coco de Mer seeds can be sold at very high prices around the shops of Praslin island.

Freshly fallen Coco de Mer seeds.

Towards the end of the guided tour in Fond Fernidad, a beautiful view awaits you prior to your descent down the reserve.

Anse Lazio

Praslin island is known for housing one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Anse Lazio. Carved off into a crescent-like shape, the beach is surrounded by granite boulders and coconut palm trees. The sand is plush and pristine, and the water a stunning turquoise color which makes the entire scene of the beach look like it has been plucked off of a post card.

In front of the beach is a small home for several tortoises, privately owned by a local who lives nearby. While feeding his tortoises some fruit, he told us of a story of how he once saved his tortoises during a harsh rainstorm. Floods swept the tortoises so far away, some of them were found floating in the ocean of Anse Lazio!

The far left of the beach is home to a coral reef filled with colorful, exotic fish. It is an ideal place to swim and snorkel. We found multiple rainbow-fish and a pool of baby squid while snorkeling in this area!

Anse Georgette

Anse Georgette is considered the second most beautiful beach on Praslin island. It is located near the Lemuria Resort, and the only way to access the beach is to go through the resort. If you are not staying at this particular accommodation, you must notify the Lemuria Resort approximately 24 hours in advance in order to be admitted entry to the beach.

Once you enter the Lemuria property, you must walk thirty minutes through the resort’s beautifully manicured golf course to enter the beach.

The waters of Anse Georgette are calm and beautiful; however, the water gets deep rather quickly.

Praslin island lies about twenty-seven miles from the island of Mahe and is relatively easy to get to by ferry. Fascinating for its flora, beaches and Coco de Mer seed, it is an ideal island to visit if you don’t mind getting around with a vehicle!

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La Digue

One of the smallest countries in the world, the Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands nestled in the Indian Ocean. While each island harnesses a unique personality, they all share breathtaking scenery, gleaming turquoise waters, and a beautiful home for both nature and animals.

La Digue is a lively and bustling island surrounded by beautiful beaches. Many locals live and work here and exude an energetic personality that parallels the dynamism, vibrancy and beauty of the island.

Vehicles are not allowed on the island, with the exception of those exclusively for commercial use. Bicycles are the main mode of transportation and favored by both locals and tourists alike. Dozens of colorful rental stores line the street. If a bicycle ride does not suit you, you can hop on an ox cart if you are lucky enough to catch one heading in your direction!

La Digue is an oval shaped island, with one main road running along the perimeter of the island. This makes exploring easy, for you can hop from beach to beach by simply following the main path.

The main road of La Digue is called La Passe. Wide and curvy, the road runs along the perimeter of the island and also through the main town.

Our hotel was situated towards the East of La Digue, so my husband and I ventured North our first day and explored several beaches, discovering that each is completely distinct from one another.

Anse Severe: Upon entering our first stop, Anse Severe, we walked along the sand to discover a giant tortoise! The tortoise, lying in the sand a couple of feet away, appeared as perfectly normal to be there as anyone else lying on the beach. It was the perfect image of coexistence between animals and humans. I firmly believe this natural duality is one of the most incredible experiences you can get from visiting the Seychelles.

Anse Patates: Our next stop was a nearby beach called Anse Patates. Large, plump rocks and boulders scattered this beach and appeared to look like – you guessed it – potatoes! This beach was truly beautiful. However, it was quite rocky and not ideal for swimming. It is often subject to high tides, leaving little to no room to stand by its shores. We were lucky to visit this beach at the right time and explore its many nooks.

Beautiful boulders surrounding Anse Patates in La Digue.

Grand Anse, Petite Anse, and Anse Coco: The following day, we visited three large beaches near the Southern tip of La Digue: Grand Anse, Petite Anse, and Anse Coco. The latter two beaches cannot be accessed without first entering the first, Grand Anse. Below are detailed directions on how to access all three beaches.

After a fun bicycle ride through leafy paths, we entered the vast and beautiful Grand Anse. The currents here were very strong, and it was not recommended to swim.

How to Get to Petite Anse from Grand Anse: Upon entering Grand Anse beach, turn left and walk to the end of the beach until you reach a wall of giant boulders. To your left and across the shore, there is a bushy area with a narrow path.

Unfortunately, there are no signs on the beach specifying how to access Petite Anse. If you have trouble spotting the path, don’t be afraid to ask around! Locals and tourists are very friendly and helpful. My husband and I only found it after noticing a local guide coming out of the thicket with a group of tourists! The hike to Petite Anse is approximately ten minutes and relatively easy.

Perfectly named, Petite Anse looks very similar to its neighbor but is smaller in size. We stopped at this beach for a couple of hours prior to moving onward to the next neighboring beach, Anse Cocos.

There was a small shack selling coconut water and fruits on the beach. Apart from the friendly gentleman operating the shack, we were the only people on the beach! Accompanying our order of coconut water were free coconuts and starfruit. It was the perfect snack to refresh and recharge.

How to get to Anse Coco from Petite Anse: The entrance to the path toward Anse Coco is located at the beginning of Petite Anse. Similar to Grand Anse, a bushy area with a narrow trail will be visible to your left. Again, there are no signs. This particular hike is slightly more strenuous compared to the path to Petite Anse. There are more rocks and inclines, and it takes approximately twenty minutes to hike through. Definitely bring water with you on this adventure, and be aware of when the sun sets in order to remain safe! Towards the end of the hike, you will notice the path become clearer, and a welcome sign attached to a tree branch will greet you.

The journey to Anse Coco is truly worthwhile. In my opinion, it is the most beautiful beach of the three. It is crescent shaped and hugged by rocks and nature. For obvious reasons, it is the most secluded, leaving you to feel as if you have the entire beach to yourself.

Anse Coco houses a little nook which is located on the far left end of the beach. If you wish to find it, turn left upon entering the beach and walk all the way to the end. The large rocks which surround this small, enclosed nook create calm and shallow waters which lends itself perfectly to snorkeling!

The rocks and formations on Anse Coco are undeniably beautiful. They are the perfect jagged structures to accompany this gentle and gracious beach, creating an interesting aesthetic duality.

Relaxing in the corner of Anse Coco, La Digue.
Anse Coco, La Digue.

After a long beach day, my husband and I returned back to Grand Anse. It takes approximately forty minutes to walk from Anse Coco back to Grand Anse. We cannot stress the importance of making certain you have enough time, water and sunscreen in order to enjoy the three beaches. If you are prepared, you can easily spend a day exploring and relaxing.

Anse Source de Argent: Tucked behind an old vanilla plantation and a beautiful lush estate lies Anse Source de Argent, notorious for being one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Here, you must pay an entrance fee of 115 Rupees per person to access the estate.

Walking among the paths while keeping an eye on signs will lead you to the beach. Along your walk, you will find beautifully manicured gardens.

Closer towards the beach is a large tortoise sanctuary, where you can feed tortoises! Piles of leafs are usually heaped atop tables surrounding the sanctuary for tourists to help themselves and feed the reptiles. The tortoises are always willing to accept a snack!

Tortoise eating leaves in Anse Source de Argent, La Digue.

Once you reach Anse Source de Argent, you will find yourself in paradise. The beach is portioned off into multiple sections that are housed by flowers and boulders. Curvy paths behind the rocks allow you to explore the beach. Gaps between the boulders offer stunning vistas of the beautiful island and Indian Ocean.

While snorkeling during our trip, we spontaneously encountered the critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtle! Sadly, nearly nine million Hawksbill sea turtles were hunted between 1844 and 1992, nearly bringing them to extinction. They were hunted for their shells, which were used in trinkets and jewelry in the past. Today, they have an estimated population of less than 25,000.

The Hawksbill sea turtle got its name from its famous beak-like mouth, which is more sharply pronounced and hooked than other sea turtles. They are relatively omnivorous, mostly eating mollusks, marine algae, crustaceans, sea urchins, fish and jellyfish. Adult Hawksbills weigh approximately 100 to 130 pounds!

Overall, La Digue is an island of beautiful beaches and beautiful people. It is a lively place with unparalleled beauty. The island is a perfect combination of tranquility and liveliness. If you ever visit the Seychelles, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this island and absorb the beauty yourself.

Welcome sign in the port of La Digue.

Mahe

One of the smallest countries in the world, the Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands nestled in the Indian Ocean. While each island harnesses a unique personality, they all share breathtaking scenery, gleaming turquoise waters, and a beautiful home for both nature and animals.

Vibrant and buzzing, Mahe acts as a jumping off point to explore other isles, as well as a tropical retreat. An endless selection of beaches line the perimeter, while the veins of the island lead back into to its colorful capital, Victoria.

Walking along the streets of Victoria, you are immediately embraced by a distinguishable, tangible energy. One third of the Seychelles population live in the capital, and in turn, a lively atmosphere floods the streets.

Surrounding the sidewalks are brightly colored buildings fashioned in French colonial architecture. The city is full of life, as the bustling sidewalks are peppered with blooming flowers.

One of the most famous features of the capital is the Victoria Clocktower. Standing 25 feet high, the clock tower has been an unchanged landmark of the capital, watching over the streets as modernity and change swirl around it.

Known as “Lorloz” in Creole, the clock is often referred to as a “Little Big Ben” in reference to London’s House of Parliament clock tower. Seychelles’ clock tower, inaugurated in 1903, was declared a National Monument in 1989.

One of the world’s smallest cities within in one of the world’s smallest countries, Victoria is full of life. Strolling through Victoria’s streets, we found thronged markets selling fish and fruit, a multitude of shops, street art, and cafes enticing its passerby with Creole infused fragrances.

Near the main market street is the stunning Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple – the only Hindu temple in the Seychelles!

Named after the Hindu god of prosperity and safety, Lord Vinayagar, the temple is immediately eye-catching. Colorful figures of various Hindu deities are adorned throughout the multi-colored structure.

Being the largest island in the Seychelles archipelago, Mahe naturally houses many beaches including the famous Beau Vallon and Anse Royale.

Mahe can easily be enjoyed in one day or a multitude – it is dependent on your travel preferences and island itinerary. If you want to experience more cultural and local aspects of the Seychelles while also enjoying breathtaking tropical beaches, visiting this island is certainly a must.

Silhouette

One of the smallest countries in the world, the Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands nestled in the Indian Ocean. While each island harnesses a unique personality, they all share breathtaking scenery, gleaming turquoise waters, and a beautiful home for both nature and animals.

Silhouette island is a lush isle, a peaceful haven composed of exquisite beaches and untouched nature. It is considered one of the richest biodiversity points in the Western Indian Ocean. The majority of Silhouette Island is protected by Silhouette National Park, which protects 93 percent of the landmass, giving a home to various endangered and rare species.

Nature framing the view of a beach on Silhouette Island.

Silhouette Island has a long, tranquil beach that stretches shallow waters far into the Indian Ocean. Incredibly, the majority of the island is protected by Silhouette National Park. This large devotion and protection of nature on the island leaves room for but two hotels on the land, Hilton Labriz Resort and Spa, and La Belle Tortue and Lodge. Nature intermingles and caresses through just about everything on the island, including its beaches and establishments.

Visiting in June, the beaches were nearly vacant. This created a sense of exclusivity, as if you had the entire beach privately to yourself. The waters in June were clear, warm and welcoming. You could easily spend a day drifting and floating in the shallow water, or snorkeling far out into the sea.

Walking toward the beach from a private beach hut in Hilton Labriz Resort and Spa.

In Silhouette island, time seems to rapidly slow down, exposing multiple opportunities for outward exploration and inward reflection. It was during peaceful moments such as these where I began to notice a peculiar coexistence between the animals and humans that occupy the island. My husband and I spent a lot of time in fascination examining crabs masterfully building their sand dunes in the evening, or gingerly critter along the shore of the glittering ocean in the early morning. Birds would confidently perch alongside us by the sand, and fish would curiously swim closely around us in water. It was incredible. There seemed to be no fear from the animals in regard to their proximity to humans, it was as if they were simply coexisting rather than fleeting.

In retrograde, this was far different than what we were accustomed to. Being New Yorkers, it is common and expected that animals hurriedly scamper away from any approaching footsteps within the concrete jungle. Yet, animals here seemed to move with a slower pace. They appeared to be more occupied in their own daily motions of living, rather than escaping human encounters.

Ghost crabs on Silhouette Island.

Sunsets in Silhouette Island were breathtaking, as the reflections and pastel hues in the water danced and shimmered along with the gradually setting sun. The sunsets of Silhouette Island which were surely the most memorable, and the memories of these moments clung most closely to my heart.

A peaceful sunset on Silhouette Island.

Silhouette Island is definitely under the radar. With more popular and populous islands in the Seychelles, this particular island may often be overlooked. However, if you seek a quiet, peaceful refuge in your Seychelles vacation, I highly recommend considering this island. It is a short boat ride away from the main island of Mahe, which makes it very accessible to take advantage of and enjoy.

Cute signs around Hilton Labriz Resort and Spa.
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