There I am sitting comfortably at my breakfast on this snowy last Saturday before Advent and imagine that the white out there is not snow but a snow-white sandy beach in the Seychelles - then I open the daily newspaper - and stumble across an article about the Seychelles! If that is not a sign!? But even intensive leafing through the newspaper did not bring up a plane ticket... 😉
Seychelles - Luxury good nature
Adam's skin feels like a stone bathed in sunlight: dry, rough and warm. he is calmly letting himself be cuddled. at 120 years of age, the giant tortoise has the serenity of old age. the animals that were thought to be extinct can live to be 200 years old. Ron Gerlach, a South African who has lived in the Seychelles for over 40 years, found the last specimens of the "Seychelles Giant Tortoises" in 1996 and founded a project on Silhouette to preserve their species. Adam is still actively involved in this project. when the giant tortoises are six years old, they are released in isolated places. "They then weigh 25 kilograms and are too big to fit in a rucksack and too heavy for flight luggage," explains Gerlach.
There are no roads and no cars on Silhouette. apart from Ron's house, the turtle enclosure, the resort Labriz and a village, the island, 90 percent of which has been protected as a national park since 2009, is uninhabited. with the densely overgrown, 700-metre-high Mount Dauban, whose peaks are enveloped in veils of mist, it looks as if quite different animals live here that were thought to be extinct - a piece of "Jurassic Park".
the 120 islands of the seychelles are a classic destination for europeans on the run from bad weather and full desks. the greatest luxury of this photo wallpaper that has become reality is not the resorts equipped with high-tech and outdoor showers. it consists in the feeling of stepping onto a terrace in the morning. five or six metres to the beach, which glows white against a turquoise ocean. no one is visible. this remains the case for the rest of the day on silhouette, the loneliest of the inhabited islands. views like this are worth ruining themselves for. every tree that was felled to build the 120 villas of the labriz had to be replaced. the environmental policy of the state that became independent from england in 1976 is considered exemplary. people here have understood that nature and landscape are tourist capital. in addition, they want to preserve the most beautiful spots - preferably for themselves.
when another secluded bay on the main island of Mahé was taken over by a five-star resort, this also gave rise to some displeasure. nevertheless, the four seasons resort opened in 2009 in the bay of Petite Anse, a beach several hundred metres long that is so perfect that not even the powder-fine sand here gets hot. in the meantime, the waves have calmed down, especially since the bay is accessible via a coastal path and the resort has done its utmost to protect the environment. the trees that stood in the way of the 67 villas built on stilts on the steep slope like tree houses were dug up, looked after and later replanted. so the resort rests in a forest of palm, takamaka, flame and mango trees. the drinking water comes from the sea and is treated with a desalination plant. if you pay as much for the night here as for an average cold rent in germany, you can enjoy the thought of not doing too much damage to the place
only on praslin and curieuse do the sea coconut palms, known as coco dmer in creole, grow. the age of the highest on praslin is estimated at 800 years. only when it is 25 years old does the plant bear the fruit that has always captured man's imagination. after all, the shape of the sea coconut formally resembles a woman's pelvis. the fact that male and female palms usually stand side by side inspires all kinds of myths - such as that the plants approach each other at night. "anyone who sees this turns into a black parrot," warns thomas, a guide in the vallée de mai. the black parrot really does exist - and like five other bird species in the valley, nowhere else in the world.
the sun's rays barely make it through the canopy of the vallée de mai. huge spider webs are stretched across the paths. birds make noise, geckos scurry over tree trunks. the valley has been a nature reserve since 1966, and since 1983 the UNESCO has classified the unique palm forest as a world heritage site. in addition to the coco dmer palm, various other endemic plants grow here. you can get particularly close to the fruit bats that are at home in the vallée de mai on praslin. Steve Esther, herbalist and operator of the praslin museum, keeps several in an aviary. the animals with furry heads on a body that seems to consist mainly of wings and claws can be fed with mango by visitors. in the restaurant "Chez Batista" on mahé, on the other hand, they are on the menu as "bat curry".
"every house needs protection," explains herbal doctor steve - for example, through the Bois Malgacha, which, planted on all four corners of a building, repels evil. the Bois Sandal, native to Silhouette, helps against the activities of the "Bon homme du Bois", a herbal witch who can get others into serious trouble. to this day, the belief in magic, which probably came to the islands on slave ships, still persists. steve chats about herbs for nightmares and heart problems, serves sweet potato chips, coconut, and demonstrates traditional musical instruments. before visitors continue on to the most beautiful beaches of praslin, the Anse Lazio and the Côte d'Or, he reveals that there are still many pirate treasures on the islands. some are simply not to be found, although their existence is considered secure - probably due to ancient magic. "if you want to go treasure hunting here, you need strong magic powers."