A bank-breaking trip – but the overdose on eye candy was absolutely worth it!!
No wonder the locals were always surprised to hear that they had the rare South African visiting their beautiful country… It may be fairly cheap to get to this archipelago of 115 islands (from S.A.), but the total trip burnt a few holes in our pockets . HOWEVER, the gorgeous beaches, the luscious greenery and just an entire new country to explore was worth every penny!
Here is a summary of our trip to THE SEYCHELLES in nineteen pictures:
The largest island of this East African country – Mahe was our first stop. Our visit to this island was broken up into parts, as we used Mahe as our base to and from the other islands using the Cat Cocos ferries.
Go to the town centre market, and check out the beautiful Hindu temple while you are there:
2. Chill out on the beach or at the pool side at your hotel.
My favourite area in Mahe was Beau Vallon, best place to catch the sunset!
the second largest island of The Seychelles. Here we found accommodation within walking distance to the port → Le Port guesthouse. What a wonderful host!
We found it useful to hire a car for the 2 days that we were in Praslin – I highly recommend this! The island is too big to ride bicycles everywhere, and public transport would also be quite tricky with only a short amount of time allocated here.
So thankfully with the use of our hired car we were able to see the whole island in just 2 days – an island full of gorgeous beaches (hosting, apparently, one of the most beautiful and picturesque beach in the world – Anse Lazio) and home to the famous Coco de Mer (Vallee de Mai nature reserve).
La digue /luh-deek/
Ah, Luh luh luh LOVE La digue<3 – the third largest (inhabited) island of Seychelles. This little island reminded me of Gili Trawangan (see Bali blog post – coming soon!!) – where bicycles are the main form of transport for everyone, stunning coastlines and beachy vibes in the true sense of the phrase “that island life”.
Lastly, my FAVOURITE island of the lot! If you’re a baller or a hustler, whatever you want to call yourself, but none-the-less rolling enough in that dough to be able to afford 7000 (!!!) euros per a night – then North Island is a MUST for you!! Unfortunately, 3rd world problems and all, this island is far out of our reach – thankfully, day trips are a possibility to this stunner of a piece of land.
Our lucky stars were all in line though – a dear friend of ours was a chef on North Island at the time of our visit; which was even better, I’d say, as we were able to live like the “locals” do on this island. We might not have had the privilege of the 5star hospitality, special food options upon request etc. – but we definitely had an amazing experience getting to know the employees of North Island resort; and we were also able to bask in the glory of all things nature, for free!!
Seychelles, you beaut!! Thank you for breaking our banks as it was well worth our Creole experience…
Sorry TLC, I don’t always listen!! We went chasing waterfalls this time… and an incredibly majestic one at that. My first blog post I have decided to keep it close to home – I have always said how important it is to explore our own country and continent first, before we venture out over the seas. So, here it goes…
A summary of our dual border experience:
We spent 6 nights visiting Victoria Falls – 3 on each border side. We flew in from Johannesburg to Livingstone, Zambia; instead of flying into Zimbabwe. This way, it was about R1000 ($75) cheaper – And I’m all about saving that extra dollar! So we spent our first 2 nights in Zambia, crossed the border and spent 3 nights in Zimbabwe; then returned to Zambia for our last night. The going back and forth was a bit unnecessary, but we weren’t sure about the situation and how quick it would be to cross the border. I’ll explain more about the border crossing later; and give you quick reviews on our accommodation booked through airbnb.com .
Livingstone town is about a 2 hour flight from Johannesburg. We landed in the afternoon and spent the first (half) day exploring the town. It has a very rural/”old town” sort of feel; where you’ll find people playing DIY board games, having a drink, and chatting with their choms along the side of the road.
Depending on where your accommodation is located, shops/restaurants are a bit of a walk apart – but still not too far for those who don’t enjoy using their feet. We stayed at Fawlty Towers, which is nicely situated across from a supermarket – and the main road was about a 5-10min walk from here.
Food + drinks – 3 things to try:
1) ‘Bream’ – a whole fish served with nshima and veg | 2) ‘Nshima’ – similar to the South African ‘pap’. Maize or corn that is ground and boiled to make a thick sort of mash. | 3) Mosi beer – local brewed beer
I must say that I wasn’t as impressed with the food as I thought I would be – maybe we went to the wrong places, who knows? But no memorable foodgasm left its mark unfortunately. However, we had dinner at a really cute vibey restaurant one night–Cafe Zambezi. It has an outdoor section, where the African sky is beautifully lit as you listen to live African jazz music with a large variety of food to choose from.
The highlight of our visit to the Zambian border side was our day of unlimited adrenalin activities and the sunset cruise along the Zambezi River on our last night!
Unlimited adrenalin activity PLUS a helicopter ride booked with Zambezi Eco Adventures. Cost ±R2700 ($195). Totally worth it!!
Our sunset cruise on the Zambezi was booked through Safari Par experience. This included snacks, dinner and BOTTOMLESS booze – ooh, winning at life!!!
Definitely my favourite between the Zim vs. Zam battle. But I cannot really comment on the rest of the country since we were only in the towns closest to Vic Falls. Ah, but Vic Falls town: vibey, busier and more tourist centred – more westernised compared to Livingstone. Again, depending on where you stay everything is within walking distance.
In Zim, we booked our activities through Shearwater cafe – a restaurant associated with the Shear water activities booking office. The cafe is a hipster little spot with some good coffee and expensive food; much like everywhere in Zimbabwe (especially for us South Africans). 1 Zim dollar = 1 US dollar, whaaaat?! It’s madness!!
On the first day we did the Batoka hike with a tour guide – Tendai, what a legend! He schooled us on a variety of trees and plants, and all the natural minerals that were easily accessible as we hiked; showing us some gorgeous views. You should definitely ask for him when you book your activities. We ended off the hike with a traditional village tour – it was interesting learning how the people from the village go about their daily activities of living with almost nothing. The true definition of #minimalist
A definite MUST SEE is the Vic Falls rainforest – 80% of the falls are on the Zimbabwean side, so you can only imagine the sight!! Totally worth the R200 entry (you get discount if you’re from a SADC country). The viewpoints 1-15 are on the Zim side (and 16-19 are on the Zambian side); where you can get up close, not too close, and personal with the falls – but close enough though, that you’ll get absolutely soaked without a raincoat! Before the rainforest, we started off at the Look Out Cafe’, a few minutes’ walk away from the falls; here we sat down with a great cup of a coffee and enjoyed the view 🙂 You might as well support them, since viewing the gorge from here is FREE!
Border crossing (for South Africans) – easy as pie!! At both border posts, you literally walk into the customs building, get your passport stamped (they’ll ask how long you’re staying in the relevant country) and then exit with your bag being pushed through a scanner. AAAnd voila! In 5 minutes you’re in the neighbouring country! Yayyy!!
The Zambian border post is actually quite far from the town centre etc.. so you will have to take a cab to get to your accommodation. On the Zim side, the town centre is within walking distance. But with luggage and all you might as well take a cab.
ATMs. The banks are safe and easily accessible – We used Barclays (usually our choice when travelling) ** Don’t give money/food to street kids in Zambia – you will get arrested!
Free pancakes at 3pm (daily!), free tea and coffee. Clean self catering communal kitchen; and clean room facilities. Supermarkets and restaurants are right across the road. Daily one way shuttle to the falls; free airport pick up.
Bushfront Lodge [Zambia} – 4/10
Amazing shower! That’s where the good review ends.
Firstly, the lodge told us that they would pick us up from the border, but we ended up having to pay the cab driver 20dollars! After the locals at the border post had quoted us 6 dollars, what a friggen rip off – by our own lodge!!! Terrible wifi! And then, to top it off, the in-hotel restaurant didn’t have any of the ingredients needed for our orders. So we had to wait for them to go to town to buy some. Definite thumbs down!!
N1 Hotel [Zimbabwe]– 7/10
Neat and clean. Fresh towels daily, and daily cleaning service. They allow you to keep luggage if you require an early or late check out. Walking distance to town and shops/restaurants.
Flatdog lodge [Zimbabwe]– 6/10
Lovely neat spacious accommodation. Free tea and coffee. Great fast wifi. Draw back – distance to town, about 3km; not at all walking distance, especially when having to head to town at night. Cabs one way cost about 3 dollars though, which isn’t too bad! Unfortunately, at the time of our stay, there was no hot water =/
So despite the good and the bad… Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world is definitely a must see!!