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Seychelles - self-catering 101

Added: May 24, 2014

Tags: Seychelles beach boulder info palm photos
2 weeks ago we have returned from our trip to Seychelles. As is normal for us we went there on our own, and we used information from last-minute travel deals just to beat their prices :-) Our expenses were about same to prices offered by holiday search engines (self-catering), but they offer just single island and we were on 3 of them. Plus our sum contains everything we've spent.


Everybody says Seychelles are expensive. They are, but they don't need to be if you don't want it that way. For example price we paid for accommodation per night (double) were 75€, 65€, 60€ (all were with kitchen). Only last night cost us 85€ because we wanted to be close to airport and options were limited. We were using booking.com, agoda.com and direct mails to accommodations not wanting to pay to booking portals. It is possible to find even cheaper accommodation, but they were sold out when we handled this at the beginning of March.

I will write more details about individual accommodations later. For finding cheap accommodations we used www.seychelles.travel. It contains also other useful info.


Well, this is probably the part many will not want to follow in order to lower their expenses. It is possibly our understanding of what self-catering means that will make the difference.

We brought a lot of food from home. It is possible to bring food up to SCR3000, that is about 180€. So why not to when Emirates offer 30kg limit for checked baggage? (We were still far from that limit though.) There are some prohibited items like vegetables and fruits and alcohol is also limited, but who wants that, right? And we were cooking ourselves. It robbed us of time we could spend elsewhere, but considering that we were cooking either at noon (when we try to avoid being at mercy of sun), or after 8pm (it is dark after 6.45pm, so there is not much to do anyway), we did not consider it wasted time. Plus we tried to cook for 2 days. That did not work only when we needed to go to next island (that means 4 times we cooked only for current day).

I am not going deeply into what we brought, just in case some of it was not allowed and they did not notice. But we had all sweet things for me, some cod liver cans for pasta, pasta of course, basic condiments, all stuff for Zuzka to eat in the morning (oh, that her allergy thing).

What we were buying there was bread for me, peanut butter, nutella, cheese (this would be for separate chapter, you might be better to avoid cheese completely :-) ), then lentils, carrots, aubergines, tomatoes, some fruit and of course water. Gallons of it. Local water should be drinkable, but tastes horrible. And I did not want to risk ruining such an expensive trip. They sell 0.7l, 1l and 5l bottles. 5l bottle costs about price of 2 or 2.5 1 liters bottles, so if you are staying at one place it is better deal. Lonely Planet mentions also 18 liters, but that seems too heavy for normal usage.

To make a picture about prices, my first shopping follows. It was SRC532 (about 32€) and it consisted from 21 litres of water, small sliced bread, lentils, 4 pieces of tomatoes, 1 pepper, garlic (packed in such amount we were not able to process it before end of trip), small piece of cheese and 1 leak. Leak must be some kind of delicacy here, it is so expensive :-)

Total expenses for food were 192€ plus 40€ for dinner at hotel on the last night. If we were eating at restaurants, our expenses would be above 500€.

It is probably problem of early May, because it is when winter officially starts, but I had hard time to find any fruits. And I was looking forward so much to eat nice and ripe exotic fruits. Well, I will need to go to Thailand for that...

Mahe is the best place to buy food. There are many shops with quite good selection (considering most of stuff tourists want is imported).

La Digue was total failure. The biggest shop there, even mentioned in Lonely Planet, Gregoire's Store was probably the worst shop I have ever seen. It was quite big, making it even worse. At least half of shelves were empty. Vegetables were in sorry state, like mushy carrots and mouldy something. They had 1 cheese. To make myself clear, I don't mean one brand (out of 3 available ;-) ), but single piece. I would say they were stocked well only with canned stuff, I think I bought some corn there.

I don't know much about Praslin, we have visited only 2 shops and we were lucky they were really close. I think they were stocked well, but it might be just me after lowering my expectations.


Let's show some photos to keep your attention or actually pull it away from text :-) These are from our first and the last trips in Seychelles.

Baie Lazare
Baie Lazare, Mahe, Seychelles

Anse Royale
Anse Royale, Mahe, Seychelles


The biggest problem with planning places to visit in Mahe was that we did not take into account how big it is and how slow local buses are. Also considering that day is quite short - sun was setting at about 6.17pm and it was completely dark in 25 minutes.

To get from Bel Ombre (near main holidaymakers stay at Beau Vallon) anywhere at the south end of island took one bus to Victoria (about 20minutes), then wait for another bus which will take more than 1 hour of crazy driving. It is quite hard to predict when bus possibly arrives if you are not at terminal stop, because time tables list times for about 3 or 4 places. Another sometimes surprising thing is to guess from which direction bus arrives. It should be pretty clear, but it happened to us twice that the same bus #6 went to Victoria by other direction. I mean bus at the same time and the same number. It might be something with circular route, but if you are waiting for the last bus and it just speeds next to you unaware you could be waiting at the other stop, then it is not funny at all.

Similar kind of confusion happened also in Victoria. The last bus to Bel Ombre leaves at about 9pm (I forgot exactly when). Point it it is number 25 going to North Point and Bel Ombre is just detour. BTW it is not mentioned in time table as far as I know, but good guy at bus stop told us while we were chatting. That was not confusing yet. Next day, the same time, same platform, but this time it was bus #22 going to Glacis.

No wonder any time we have asked locals which bus number is going where and when we got blank stares. They learned route numbers are useless and they simply know where to wait (patiently) at what time. That was also useful for us, but for control freaks like me it was not ideal situation.

There were some posts at tripadvisor that buses at Praslin are terrible and unreliable. We did not observe this (apart from before mentioned comment that you can be sure about planned times only at about 3-4 stops). Praslin is small, with only 3 routes, but only 2 operating whole day. Both 3 routes have the same terminal stations. Isn't that great simplifier for easily confused travelers?

La Digue has no buses, only a few taxis.

Then I have one good news and bad news. Good news is buses are dirty cheap. SCR5 is a price of ticket everywhere. That is about 30 cents. Bad news is that they will not take you with all your luggage when arriving or departing. If you have middle sized backpack (big camera with accessories and several liters of water don't fit into small daybag) then you might have hard time to squeeze it to seat with you in those buses of Indian origin. Taxi and airport transfers arranged by accommodations are quite expensive. For example transfer cost us 25€ from Jetty (port) to guesthouse 14km away. Transfer to airport (5km) was 20€.

I have learned about these unexpected expenses about 1 week before we left and was not very happy about them. It was about 150€ for us and there was no way around it. Only to rent a car which we did not want. Regarding buses on Mahe and Praslin - they cost us about 12€ total.

Prices for inter island transport are quite high too. You can find details about ferries at http://www.seychellesbookings.com. I did not checks prices for planes and helicopters, but they are not cheaper. BTW, while Emirates offer 30kg luggage, ferries have limit of 23kg and air transport probably less.

La Digue

La Digue is the most beautiful island in Seychelles. These photos don't do justice, but I want to keep better ones for proper post.

Anse Severe
Anse Severe, La Digue, Seychelles

Anse Source D'Argent
Anse Source D'Argent, La Digue, Seychelles


Seaweed can be big problem in such a beautiful and picturesque place as Seychelles are. I was bit afraid of it, because depending on season either one or other side of island(s) can be covered with piles of seaweed. And April is good time for seaweed at best place at La Digue - Anse Source D'Argent. Another issue are sand flies hatching in rotting seaweeds.

I would say all places we visited at Mahe were free of seaweed. We have not encounter any sand fly or mosquitoe.

La Digue was different story. There was some seaweed. Not much, but definitely some photos were ruined by it. But even more were ruined by people there :-) No sand flies fortunately. There were no mosquitoes at beaches. Only starting from 2nd night we had some at our apartment (it was in the middle of island). I was lucky there were attracted to Zuzka ;-)

Praslin - no seaweed at north beaches (Anse Georgette, Anse Lazio), I did not notice any from bus at eastern part of island, but western part was full of it (Anse Consolation, Grand Anse, Anse Kerlan). One or 2 mosquitoes in bed room, none at beaches or in Valle de Mai.


Finally some photos of Praslin. Again I am leaving better ones for later posts.

Valle de Mai
Valle de Mai, Praslin, Seychelles

Anse Lazio. Scale and angle don't make it easy to see, but the passage below leaning boulder is high enough for adult to pass there.
Anse Lazio, Praslin, Seychelles

Things to bring

Most important item at Seychelles is a camera. Bigger is better ;-) Then sun cream, but you can buy that there in case of emergency. Finally, at least for us, it was headlamp and flashlight. Most of the days we were returning from our trip at night. I think drivers are used to invisible walkers on roads, but why to take a chance? Then some kind of navigation device is really good. I was using Galileo offline maps on my iPhone. We could get lost without that, or would not be sure where to get off the bus.

Then there are things we took, but they were useless. Repellents stayed unused in our suitcase. It was probably luck of timing our stay. The same luck we had probably with wind. I expected it might be more windy and I planned to spend a lot of time during nights shooting stars. Well, I did not do that much and it was not windy or cold. So I could leave windbreaker at home. I did not spend much time at beaches lying down, so single beach blanket would save some space in baggage.