Travel – Seychelles: Unmitigated bliss

2014-10-31 18:45

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Zinhle Mapumulo was invited to the opening of Eden Island, a man-made jewel in the Seychelles. She almost didn’t come back

There I was, nibbling on fresh oysters and lobster, sipping French Champagne, and relaxing on a sun deck admiring the pristine Indian Ocean.

It sounds like a scene from the TV series, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but that’s what yours truly got up to last weekend.

I am still to trying to adjust to the hustle and bustle of Joburg after a weekend of bliss and tranquillity on Eden Islandin the Seychelles.

The stunning blue beaches, lush green forests and majestic mountains lining nearby Mahé island remain engraved in my memory.

It will take a long time before this perfect postcard image is forgotten.

Kudos to South African property developer Craig Heeger who conceptualised the man-made Eden Island. It took him and his team 12 years to pull it off.

Last weekend I shared the moment as they launched the final piece of Eden Island, its five-star Eden Bleu Hotel.

The edgy, chic establishment – which combines the best of a city-centre hotel and a boutique resort – was my home for three days as I discovered what Eden and the various islands around it had to offer.

The Eden Bleu Hotel was Zinhle’s home away from home

Cocktails flowed and even though I was tipsy half the time, I managed to see some of the magnificent tourist attractions of the Seychelles.

And no, I am not talking about the men, as some of you may be thinking.

I mention this because I was inundated with messages from Facebook friends asking me to find them an exotic man. I mean, do I look like a man scout or a pimp? Please keep the answer to yourself.

Let’s just say the Seychellois, that is the men, aren’t as eye-catching as the women.

To my male friends who are eligible bachelors (lest I be labelled a home-wrecker), the Seychellois women are to die for. They have gorgeous complexions and beautifully toned legs. I guess that’s why big spenders are seen on the various islands.

But back to my experience on Eden Island.

I had the time of my life cruising around the National Marine Park, feeding fish and snorkelling, sampling traditional cuisine at the Villa Chez Batista restaurant in Takamaka Bay and partying with UB40 and South African musician, Jeremy Loops. Please note, UB40 and Jeremy Loops were there only for the launch of the Eden Bleu Hotel. So when you plan your trip to the Seychelles, don’t expect to see them there. But there is plenty else for you to see and do.

And do stay at the Eden Bleu. It’s a perfect home for holiday-makers and it’s 10 minutes from the Seychelles International Airport on Mahé Island and next to the new, up-market mall, Eden Plaza.

The hotel is also situated 10 minutes from the capital of Victoria. This is where you’ll find the market with its vibrant colours and daily fresh produce, as well as the famous Victoria Clocktower. It’s a replica of the original Little Ben in Vauxhall and Big Ben in Westminster, London.

Where to go and what to see

Mahé island

Take a tour around Mahé, one of the three main islands in the Seychelles. The main one, Eden Island, is separated from Mahé by a 100m-long bridge. A few kilometres into Mahé there’s a peak that offers a magnificent view of man-made Eden. Then drive to the Seychelles National Botanical Gardens to see the indigenous palm trees.

Mission Ruins of Venn’s Town

Drive to the ruins, which are a World Heritage Site, on the highest peak in Mahé. As you drive back to Eden Island, stop at Villa Chez Batista restaurant for a sumptuous lunch of traditional cuisine.

What to eat

When visiting the Seychelles, don’t forget to have the octopus curry, a mango or millionaire’s palm salad and red snapper fish marinated in ginger, garlic, soy and honey. These dishes are traditional Creole fare and once you’ve tasted them, you’ll want more.

Shopping

Shopping in Eden or Victoria Market is not that exciting unless you’re looking for beachwear. Downtown Victoria has a number of Chinese shops selling the same sort of stuff you’d find in malls around South Africa. But the big difference is that they are far more expensive in the Seychelles. The Eden Plaza shopping mall is more up-market but the variety is limited. Rather go for lunch at one of the island’s eateries.

.?Mapumulo was a guest of Eden Bleu Hotel and Air Seychelles. Flights start at R9 000 return from Joburg. Hotel rates are from R4?500 per room, double occupancy, including VAT and breakfast. For more information visit edenbleu.com and airseychelles.com

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