ALSE advertising! The
brochures and the website
both misrepresent this place
in as much they fail to convey
just how stunning it is.
Constance Ephélia on Mahe, the
largest of the Seychelles islands, is
a huge resort set between two
stunning sandy bays and sprawling
mangrove swamps, forested hills
and below granite outcrops.
Staff and service are superb,
and accommodation varies from
junior and deluxe suites as well as
family, beach, spa and hillside
villas. My spacious one-bedroom
junior suite was pretty grown up
with all the mod cons including
WiFi. There was a gorgeous
bathroom with separate shower
and bath, twin basins, a king size
bed, comfortable seating area and a
deep veranda beyond the glass
doors with couch, day bed, table
You could spend days in the
U Spa village – if you haven’t gone
the whole hog and already booked
a spa villa with private pool, dry
sauna, hammam and Jacuzzi.
Pampering is not limited to
treatments in one of the thatched
huts. The outside space is
beautiful, with carefully
considered eye-pleasing curves,
shaded pavilions, loungers in a
shallow pool, a wall of water with
seating specially designed to ease
the back, submerged stainless steel
Jacuzzi chairs, a Kneipp therapy
walkway on river stones with
alternating hot and freezing water
jets to relieve and stimulate aching
Exertions could mean strolls
between one of five restaurants
and six bars or between the south
and north beaches and up and
down the hills of the reserve – or
tennis, squash, hitting the gym,
some zipline fun or scaling the
beautiful, natural climbing wall.
Watersports are on offer, of
course, from paddling across the
bay and through the mangroves to
diving excursions. All the while the
complimentary “Constance Kids’
Club” will entertain those too
young to join you.
The Seychelles archipelago
features 115 islands of varying size,
scattered across the Indian Ocean.
Mahe, Praslin and La Digue form
the inner group, with all but 500 or
so of the multi-cultural population
of around 90 000 on these three
islands – and 70 000 on Mahe.
Seychelles is mercifully
uncommercial, though completely
geared to tourism. Far-sighted
conservation policies have really
paid dividends and the sea and
beaches are pristine. The idyllic
paradise attracts royalty of all
types – most recently
honeymooners George Clooney and
Amal Alamuddin. They join Prince
William and Catherine Duchess of
Cambridge, and a list of who’s
But, unlike other island
destinations I’ve visited, it seems
most come simply to relax: less
speedboats, skiers and jet skis and
more slumbering under palms.
We wound up, down and around
Mahe with delightful, impish
Eugene Esparon of Mason’s Travel
at the wheel. Catholic churches,
icons and roadside shrines dotted
the landscape, plus a gloriously
refurbished Hindu temple in the
quaint capital, Victoria.
Colonial French and English
architecture, with creole
influences, stand cheek by jowl in
this postage stamp town, which we
left behind as we headed for a
Creole lunch at Jardin du Roi, a
picturesque spice garden-cum-
museum recalling the 18th century
Tasty, simple food means Cajun-
style job fish and a wide range of
chutney accompaniments. The
local beers and rum are really good
Creole dishes feature at Ephélia
too, especially at al-fresco Creole
evenings at Seselwa Restaurant
with tables and chair on the sand
around an open fire, the sound of
the sea, a live band, cocktails and
dance moves on display.
At Cyann Restaurant an
enthusiastic sommelier paired fine
food and wines from around the
world, including a fun test of our
dismal wine knowledge with our
dessert. Though, in our defence,
the fantastic Oreo cream cheese,
peanut butter reduction and
orange candied ice cream
concoction had most of our
A 15-minute flight took us to
Praslin Island and Constance
Lémuria – smaller than Ephélia
and a paradise for golfers.
Constance Lémuria has a very
successful turtle conservation
programme headed by passionate
Adrian Allison, whose enthusiasm
has rubbed off on returning
regulars and colleagues who go to
great lengths to protect the turtles
and their environment, even to the
point of sleeping on the beach next
to the about-to-hatch eggs.
The golf course climbs steeply
up the hills behind Lémuria, with a
quirky, gloriously scenic 15th hole
tee off from a cliff to a green far
below. With three chefs in top
management positions, you can bet
the food at Lémuria is superb and,
with a restaurant on a rocky head
with sea on either side, the
ambience is hard to beat.
We boarded a fast ferry for a
couple of hours on little La
Digue where visitors typically
rent secluded spots and bicycles for
week-long stays. Then it was back
to Praslin where Patricia Battin of
Mason’s Travel was our excellent
guide and companion for a tour
which incorporated the must see
Vallee de Mai Forest – a Unesco
heritage site – and home to the
Coco de Mer, the largest seed in the
world and endemic to the islands of
Praslin and Curieuse (a former
leper colony). The largest recorded
fruit from these slow-growing
palms weighed 42 kg; the seeds
weigh up to 17.6 kg and the male
and female plants have bits that
resemble human bits, hence the
“love nut” nickname.
The abiding impressions of
Praslin though are the most
beautiful sunsets I’ve watched and
Anse Lazio, which is the most
stunning beach I’ve ever set foot
on. I was so exhilarated that I
swam almost 3km in the bay
without exhausting myself.
At every stroke was a three
masted schooner, or a graceful
yacht, while below in the clear,
calm waters were nests of
stingrays on the white sand,
colourful fishes among the rocks
and a Leatherback turtle for
company part of the way.
OCTOBER 12 2014
WE FLEW Airlink between
Johannesburg, and then aboard
comfortable Air Seychelles.
Travel logistics were seamless
with local operators, Mason’s
Travel, who partner with the
The Holiday Factory ready to
tailor your visit.
Use Mason’s Travel
for itineraries, special
interest requests, transfers,
excursions and tours. See
The Holiday Factory: See
or call 011 233 2300.
Seychelles Tourism Board:
or call 012 361 5767.
Constance Ephélia: See
Constance Lémuria: See
Air Seychelles flies between
Johannesburg and Mahe, and
Mahe and Praslin.
Adrian Rorvik holidays on Mahe
island, where the rich and famous
(think George Clooney) go to chill,
eat fabulous food and avoid the
madding crowds. One reader can
win such a holiday worth R130 000.
Turn to page 11
of SM to win a
seven night stay
worth R130 000
The beautiful Northern beach at Constance Ephélia.
Above: Patricia Battin holds a
famed coco de mer.
Right: The open plan main building
at Constance Ephélia, with restful
water features, marble slabs and
A Leatherback turtle nests on Constance Lémuria's beach.
Constance Ephélia's superb Cyann Restaurant, pool and North beach.
A simple creole lunch features job fish and golden apples.