Monday, 18 April 2016

Live the Seychelles Experience . . . with Mason's Travel

Live the Seychelles Experience: Bending time on La Digue


Seychelles boasts no shortage of magnificent islands – 115 of them to be precise. But if you’re going for a full-spectrum Seychelles holiday, with cultural immersion to go along with stunning beaches, the island of La Digue cannot be missed. 


Read on for an insider’s view of how Mason’s Travel can help you get the most out of a trip to one of Seychelles’ most beloved islands.

The definition of a double take: a delayed reaction to something unexpected, immediately after one's first reaction.

If anyone were counting, it’s reasonable to assume that visitors do more double takes on La Digue than on any other island in Seychelles. That’s because no other island possesses such a striking contrast between its old-world charms and the inescapable realities of today’s digital age.

With just over 2,000 people and a land mass of only 10 square kilometres, La Digue is the Seychelles’ fourth-largest inhabited island. 




Its incredible beaches, among them Anse Source D’Argent – said to be the most photographed beach in the world – have made it a favourite amongst tourists. But there’s much more to that than fine white sand. 


Lost for words


 Every island in Seychelles boasts something unique all to its own: the 900-metre granite peaks of Mahé, Praslin and its UNESCO World Heritage Site, the exotic coralline island of Denis and its award-winning eco-hotel. This kind of diversity is rare in a tropical archipelago, which is in part why Seychelles has become one of the world’s most desirable island destinations.

La Digue’s ‘something’ is much harder to define, but just about everyone will make the attempt after experiencing the island. 



The fact that bicycles remain its most common mode of transportation is often one of the first things to be cited. Another is the shoreline of Anse Source D’Argent, where huge, ancient granite boulders make the beach look like a scene from another planet, let alone a foreign country.

More than anything, though, there’s a certain feeling on La Digue that visitors do their best to describe, only to come up short with an actual, logical explanation.


Perhaps it’s the unusual nature of a close-knit island community that’s already well aware of the strange ‘time warp’ sensation its guests encounter. The way commuters pedal down the island’s single lanes on their bikes, while making conversation on the latest smartphone tucked in between ear and shoulder. The way that gris gris (black magic) still works its way into belief systems, at homes that reside within a few minutes’ walk to the island’s helipad. The way that ox-carts – La Digue’s public transport equivalent – might be seen sauntering slowly past the island’s lone five-star resort.

 

The people of La Digue, referred to as digwa in the local Creole language, take a certain pride in differentiating themselves from the rest of their Seychellois counterparts. Friendly faces stationed at crude shacks and tables along the islands’ main thoroughfares, are eager to sell all manner of local snacks and fresh homemade juices, with the usually true assurance that you’d likely not find this or that on other islands.

Local restaurants, too, won’t hesitate to boast about La Digue’s special brand of Creole cuisine. For one, there is a striking difference in the way digwa make their curries (with much more turmeric, or safran as it’s known in Seychelles), irrespective of what’s in the curry itself, be it fish, chicken, octopus or even fruit bat, one of Seychelles’ most unusual delicacies.


Getting to, and around, La Digue



While travelling to La Digue is not difficult, a bit of careful planning can help maximise time and get the most out of a visit, whether it’s a stay of several nights or just a day trip.

The fastest (and most exclusive) way to get there? A private helicopter ride from the Seychelles International Airport on the main island of Mahé, which doubles as a bird’s eye scenic tour with amazing views of the islands.

Otherwise, La Digue is only reachable by boat via the jetty at La Passe, the closest thing resembling a town and the island’s main activity hub. Most travellers use the 15-minute ferry between La Digue and the archipelago’s second largest island, Praslin, which in turn is a one-hour ferry ride, or 15-minute domestic flight, from Mahé.

The good news, is that you can leave all the schedules and timings to Mason’s Travel to ensure that transfers and ferry bookings are synced perfectly, leaving more time for holiday enjoyment without any added stress. We can also help with transfers, bicycle rentals and tours once on the island.


Things to do


While many consider just being on the island to be a very unique slice of paradise, there are a few special activities on La Digue that visitors would be remiss not to consider.


Renting a bicycle is almost unavoidable in order to explore the island and discover its charms, and will provide opportunities to visit the eastern side of the island and the beautiful beach of Grand Anse (beware of strong currents), as well as Anse Severe and Anse Patates to the north of La Passe, for some excellent snorkelling spots. Whichever direction one follows, they are sure to pass by interesting curio shops and local vendors, while taking in the exotic smells of local restaurants along the way.
 



To see La Digue from its most beautiful vista, take a trek up to the Belle Vue viewpoint, from which to see some of La Digue’s ‘satellite’ islands such as Coco, Felicité, and the Sisters.

Better yet, guests can experience those same islands up close and personal, with a day excursion by boat inclusive of a barbecue lunch and some incredible snorkelling opportunities. For more information about guided tours and boat excursions available from La Digue, please contact us.


Where to stay

 
Much like the island itself, the overnight options on La Digue don’t fit the typical island mould of lavish chain hotels and beach resorts that you’d find on most islands.

Instead, a wide range of small, locally owned hotels and guest houses make up the majority of its accommodation, and many do offer high standards despite their size. Some are nestled right near the beachfronts along La Passe, Anse Reunion and Anse Severe, while others are situated further inland, where the quiet of the forest holds sway.


 

Domaine de L’Orangeraie: For a truly luxurious twist on the La Digue experience, consider Domaine de L’Orangeraie, on the northern edge of La Passe. This 55-room resort boasts several types of accommodation, and its hillside villas, secluded in the lush forest terrain, offer spectacular views and gorgeous interiors with private verandas. At the crest of the hill, several massive boulders provide the built-in architecture for Domaine’s deluxe spa, with the pavilion and treatment rooms overlooking Praslin and other surrounding isles. The hotel’s restaurants on the waterfront serves a wide range of local and international flavours in a refined, modern atmosphere. Contact us for availability and rates.

The standards and star ratings you’d find in other destinations, and even other islands in Seychelles, won’t necessarily apply on La Digue, so for a better understanding of which property might be most suitable according to individual needs, please contact us for more information and rates. Whichever establishment you choose, guests can be assured of the unique digwa-style hospitality that the island is known for.






Check out Mason's Travel's "La Digue By Boat & Bike" Excursion, CLICK HERE



Check out Mason's Travel's " Escape to La Digue" Excursion, CLICK HERE





Read this article online or download it in pdf, CLICK HERE

 


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