Nature’s will to be weird, as Jim Morrison called it, couldn’t be stronger than on an island. Islands may prescribe to some conventions, what with their hammocks and palm trees, the mix of heat and rum urging on that island idleness. But it’s their weirdness that really gets you. The distinct plant and animal life that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Some call it exotic. Or mystifying. I like “weird”. And one island that is much weirder than the postcards reveal is the Seychelles, that collection (gaggle? stream?) of over 115 islands that makes up the country.
In the middle of the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of the African mainland, the Seychelles is very much the tropical island retreat you would expect – it has a warm, tropical climate and water hovering around 27ºC, with a 30 metre plus visibility.
But the unexpected is the true attraction – the jellyfish trees, the coconut crabs and the Aldabras – the ninjas of the tortoise world, as named by one Mexican biologist after observing their perilous acrobatic acts. For instance their attempts to reach high branches on tippy-toes – the risk of overturning be damned.
One of the largest tortoises in the world, the males can weigh up to 250 kg and the females 159 kg. Both are known to live long after 100 years. They may be classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, but one thing is for sure, the Aldabras have paradise honed, with their very own island home in the Seychelles. Aldabra Atoll is one of the the most remote island environments in the world. At 34 kilometers long and 14 kilometers wide, it is the largest raised coral atoll in the world.
Even more curious is something called the love nut. The biggest nut in the world, seen in the third stamp in the image above. Belonging to the coco de mer palm tree, which can grow up to 34 metres tall, the nut is endemic to only two of the Seychelles’ islands – the Vallée De Mai palm forest in Praslin Island, with its vanilla trees and rare Black Parrot, and neighbouring Curieuse Island.
The nut’s curvaceous figure, resembling a woman’s derriere, a rather pert derriere at that, is what earned it nicknames such as love nut or butt nut, and its fertility symbol status. It is the Marilyn Monroe of fauna, with its flesh a celebrated aphrodisiac once worth its weight in gold. The nut was nearly hunted to extinction before being protected.
Where To Stay
The island of the love nut, Praslin Island, is also where you will find the Relais & Chateaux Le Chateau de Feuilles hotel, a short stroll from the beach of Anse Marie-Louise. There are a number of things to do using the hotel as your base, including seeking out the weird and wonderful life forms inhabiting the archipelago. Take a look below for ten of our top suggestions.
10 Things To Do In The Seychelles
1. Have an island to yourself
“The island is ours. Here, in some way, we are young forever.” ― E. Lockhart
Visit Le Chateau de Feuilles’ private 84 hectare island, called Grande Soeur, all by yourself during weekends. Trek with the friendly giant land tortoises or head into the water, snorkelling and diving in waters where the marine life is prolific, with sea turtles and a variety of fish, and protected by a coral barrier.
2. Scuba diving
With the assistance of a 5 star Padi diving center, beginners or advanced divers can discover the most beautiful diving sites.
3. Deep-sea fishing
Go on personalised fishing trips.
Explore the sea front by bicycle.
On all of the beaches…
6. Island Hopping
Visit the other islands that make up the Seychelles, including:
- “La Digue”, superb island where huge pink granite rocks rise above warm white sand beaches like the famous Source d’Argent.
- “Curieuse”, national park, home of abundant large land-turtles that can live longer than 100 years.
- “Coco” and “Saint Pierre”, national parks, with very rich submarine life.
- “Cousin”, national park, inhabited by over a million birds.
- “Aride”, national park, famous for its land fauna and beaches.
“To take a good rest in life time to time, you must know the ways to make yourself a remote island! An island no one can reach…” ― Mehmet Murat ildan
You don’t need much help relaxing in a setting like the Seychelles but Le Chateau de Feuilles‘s swimming pool with its clear natural mineral water, massages and jacuzzi with its 300º view will help you along. As will the fresh fruit cocktails served to you in your pool chair.
Get a taste of the Seychelles at the Château de Feuilles’ restaurant, considered one of the best in the Seychelles. Using fresh produce from his organic fruit and vegetable garden, exotic and natural ingredients, and fresh ocean fish, the Chef’s creations are based on quality and authenticity.
- Try the Passionfruit smoked marlin, mango and octopus salad, Gambas tempuras, Grilled Lobster, Roasted Seychelles giraffe crab, Creole-chicken curry and green papaya chutney, grilled fish fillet with creole sauce and hearts of palm au gratin, Coconut mille-feuille with mango sorbet, Papaya tart with cinnamon ice cream… among other typically Seychellois dishes.
9. Get Married
Oh, to be invited to a wedding in the Seychelles! Do your friends and family a favour, or simply yourself, and tie the knot at Chateau de Feuilles. Their wedding package offers creative, individual attention and includes fresh flowers arrangements and decoration of the wedding setting in the tropical garden with a panoramic view over the ocean and the neighbouring islands; a ceremony in English with the civil minister; marriage certificate; witnesses and translation in Italian or German, if necessary.
- Optional extras: Professional photographer and videographer, wedding cake, champagne, bridal bouquet and buttonhole, solo guitarist, hair styling, make-up, manicure and pedicure.
10. Go On Honeymoon
Follow in Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s footsteps and retreat to an island in the Seychelles for your honeymoon. For Honeymooners, Chateau de Feuilles organises a special welcome in your suite, a bottle of Champagne, a sunset lounge with cocktails and appetizers, and transfers in a private car from the airport or the harbour of Praslin to the hotel.