VISIT SEYCHELLES FOR THE 1ST OCEAN FESTIVAL
(Posted 30th October 2016)
As I am concluding yet another visit to the paradise islands of the Seychelles, this time to attend the Festival Kreol which is celebrated annually since 1985 to showcase the Creole culture and heritage of the archipelago, I already have questions piling up on all communications platforms about how does one get here, what it costs and if ordinary folks in fact can afford a visit to these wonderful islands.
Much depends on the time of year one wants to travel and peak season periods, like Christmas, New Year, Easter or the main school holiday periods in Europe and Africa tend to be more expensive than off season periods, at times a lot more expensive due to supplements being imposed.
However, if one is flexible with timings great deals for airfares are available, via Kenya Airways Hot Deals and other carriers too offering special fares which, however, may carry with them some restrictions in terms of travel dates and rebooking options.
A quick search right now revealed fares between 559 US Dollars and 1.038 US Dollars return out of Nairobi but on previous searches have fares been as low as just under 500 US Dollars, a snap for bargain hunters.
Once the airfare issue is settled does the question of the cost of accommodation come up. Seychelles is marketed around the world as a glitz and glamour destination, and for good reasons.Some of the world’s top ranked hotels and resorts are found on the islands and a cost of a couple of thousand Euros a night is not unheard of for the small, private and intimate ‘One Island – One Resort‘ type of places which often only have 10 or even less luxury villas.
However, the Seychelles government has in recent years actively supported the entry of citizens into the hospitality market with small owner managed guest houses, B&B’s, holiday lets and self catering chalets, which truly are affordable even for the pockets of regular folks.
Towards that end check out http://www.seychellessecrets.com/ or http://www.seychelles.travel/en/plan-your-visit/accommodation/seychelles-secrets and let yourself be surprised just how low some of the tariffs can go for safe, clean and functional accommodation on the main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.
(Tropical fruits of the Seychelles)
Some of these places are right on the beach or just across the road from the beach while others are up in the hills, depending on the preference of what guests prefer, the cooler uphills or the closeness to the surf and sand.
Among those recently visited are the Green Blue Beach near Baie Lazare – a beach where among others the Four Seasons and the Kempinski are located – with a sister property near the Takamaka Village. Another one is the Villa St. Maria or Yellow Petals near Anse Louise which can be booked via bookings.com – rated 9.4 by the way – with guests enjoying free WiFi access and find a starter pack of goodies on arrival in the kitchen’s fridge.
Those fancying to stay on Praslin for instance, the Villa Zanana, with just two rooms is right across the road from one of the island’s best beaches.
Other properties, like Chez Bea even offer self catering clients the option of breakfast at 13 Euros per person, lunch and dinner, free WiFi and cable TV.
Lone Catering on Praslin surprises with rates as low as 60 Euros per person per night in one of their eight apartments, great value for money given that the property is only 1 1/2 years old.
My personal favourite for a stay would be the third most populated island of La Digue, which is categorically the most laid back of them all. La Digue Holiday Villas only has six rooms, has a pool, offers breakfast at 10 Euros per person and bookings.com ranked it with an astonishing 9.5.
Two very charming properties showcasing the Creole architecture of the islands, are Kaz Digwa with just two cottages, the smaller one going for 100 Euros a night and breakfast and dinner can be arranged at a cost of 10 and 15 Euros respectively per person per meal.
The other one is almost next door, offering a pool which Kaz Digwa does not have, with with four cottages of one bedroom each is again small, intimate and not requiring to mortgage one’s home to afford a stay.
Those keen on prebooked meal plans have the option to stay at Moonlight Beach, where half board per room, i.e. for two guests, goes at 150 Euros a night while B&B costs 30 Euros less per room.
In Africa, my own and other research has shown that many passengers book their tickets two or less days to the date of their flights unlike their counterparts in Europe and Americas. Domestic and regional flights are especially affected in Sub Sahara region.
Recent research by on online ticket booking engine Expedia.com confirms that buying at least two months in advance for domestic travel and six months in advance for international travel puts travelers in the best position to get a good deal, aka Hot Deals by Kenya Airways or other carriers flying from across Africa through their hubs to Mahe, the main island of the Seychelles.
Such Hot Deals will require a customer to buy tickets either 28 or 42 days in advance to be able to get the cheapest fares for the respective travel season.
(Final approach into Mahe / SEZ on Kenya Airways)
For more details check out https://www.kqholidays.com/destinations/africa/seychelles/places-to-go/
As I did say, the Festival Kreol 2016 is now almost over but next on the horizon is the inaugural Seychelles Ocean Festival which will take place from 02nd – 09th December 2016 and stands on the foundations of its predecessor SUBIOS and its achievements over a period of two decades.
At the same time is the renamed and rebranded festival attempting to broaden its appeal and involve other emerging sectors of Seychelles’ marine scene such as sailing, cruising and sports-fishing which are all steadily evolving to become mainstream tourist activities and major destination attractions.
The new Ocean Festival, which will kick off with a launch at Eden Island on Friday 2nd December followed by a paid gala dinner at Eden Bleu the next day, will also include public events such as a family fun day on Sunday 4th December featuring a number of sporting activities. There will also be dedicated film screenings at Deepams Cinema as well as exhibitions and special festival activities hosted at various hotels and dive centres throughout festival week.
(Forban’s cottages and beach just metres away)
For those keen on diving, snorkeling, fishing or simply fond of the sub surface miraculous marine world, this Festival ticks all the right boxes, but then is Seychelles a year round destination and either with or without a festival taking place – there are almost monthly events now hosted by the Seychelles Tourism Board – the Seychelles is open for business 365 days a year.
Notably do African travelers NOT need any Visa to come to the Seychelles but do require only a return ticket, a confirmed hotel or guest house / B&B or selfcatering chalet booking – check out Chalets Forbans via www.forbans.com – sufficient funds to sustain a stay and a Yellow Fever Inocculation Certificate and hey presto, one is able to enjoy what Captains of Industry, the rich and famous, movie stars and top entertainers enjoy, same islands, same beaches, same fresh air and same Creole hospitality but at very different cost.
Please visit the Seychelles Tourism Board website www.seychelles.travel for more details.