I had the privilege to shoot a wedding in the Seychelles last week. It was awesome! Here is the full post, but I would also like to share a few random thoughts that can benefit honeymooners and photographers alike … well, actually anyone thinking about visiting this piece of paradise.
First of all, I can highly recommend the Banyan Tree Resort where the wedding took place. The location and resort stood out for me from all the others I saw. You pay for the exclusiveness, setting and service, but if you win the Lotto, make this your first holiday destination. The staff were so friendly and helpful during the whole wedding shoot – they made me feel like one of their guests at their prestige resort. Thank you for this – it is not something a service provider is used to these days. They had fast Wi-Fi in the lounge that helped me to stay in touch with the rest of the world (I Skyped my mother-in-law from here – :). And they served a great espresso / expresso (the way they pronounce and spell it on many Seychelles menus). They also will organise the whole wedding legally and give you a typical island ceremony. (Just check the spelling of your foreign-t0-them-name and the date to make sure all is legal).
If this is not in your budget (like it wasn’t in mine), try to either visit the south of Mahé (the main island) or one of the smaller islands. I drove to the very north of Mahé (which is the main tourist destination) and personally I wasn’t impressed. If you like jetski’s, motorboats and the like, you will enjoy it here. I am more of a remote jungle lover – therefor I recommend the south. There you can still find a beach for yourself, indulge in nature whilst loosing yourself in your thoughts for hours without having to dive out of the way of a motorised manmade machine. I stayed at Lazare Picault at Baie Lizarare (see my video) close to Takamaka. It was the best value for money I could find online and was happy with my choice. I will not mind to stay there again next time. Hopefully this time round they will have some change when I pay my bill at the end. And not wake me at 0415 for the airport on the last morning when I haven’t ask them to. From my side, I will work on my French to communicate better. Sawa? Sawa!
The best way to experience the island of Mahé, is by hiring a car and do some island driving. (The bus services actually seems like a great option here – unlike other destinations I have been to – but if you can afford it, a car gives you so much more freedom). The roads are a lot of fun and you will love it if you are, like myself, into driving mountain passes and bends. Here is a short video of what to expect. I always try to connect new music with new geographical areas. I call it my free “travel-again” ticket. From now on Luke Parker and Edge Kingsland will be my reminder of paradise.
Food, water and beer are quite expensive if you decide to eat at one of the many restaurants. There is a lot of fish around, so expect a good standard (although this is not always the case). Most of the other stuff are imported – hence the price tag. To give you an idea of prices, a good Calamari Curry was about SCR300 (R170 | $22 | £14 | €17); a fair hamburger with chips was SCR130 (R75 | $10 | £6 | €7). There are two “local” beers: the slightly more expensive German Eku (more bitter) Beer; and then the local local Seybrew (sweeter) at about SCR 50 at restaurants. Both were equally good. The locals support the Seybrew though, so I think it has to win!
Victoria is the capital city of the group of 115 islands making up the Seychelles. It is situated on Mahé and known for being the smallest capital in the world. You can see why when you arrive. Try the Pirate’s Arms for some good pizza and draught beer. The manager was kind enough to allow me to do part of my shoot in here. I am returning the favour!
According to the locals, there are no poisonous spiders or snakes on the island. And I didn’t see any monkeys either. The birdlife is amazingly colourful and you are sure to spot the batman fruitbats early in the morning (or on a menu – grilled, boiled or fried). Another menu shocker was a shark steak – I almost walked out in protest!
Lastly, something that stood out for me about the people, was that the locals enjoy the sea for recreation just as much as the visitors do. A young couple sitting on the beach watching my last sunset; a grandma bringing her baby grand daughter to wade in the water; a old man facing the sea as he exercises his arms in swinging motions just outside of the old age home. These are some of the beautiful images I will carry within me.
The Seychelles is a wonderful place that I would love to visit soon again. I am looking forward to sharing the wedding photos with you soon on the Peartree Blog.