La Digue Island
If I had to choose one island to spend my time on it would be La Digue. It’s by far one of the most peaceful and accessible islands in Seychelles while holding quite an interesting and rich history. It’s the fourth-largest granitic island in the archipelago but it’s still quite small, only covering an area of 10km squared.
La Digue holds quite a small population of only 2800 people, most of whom reside around the villages of La Passe on the west side of the island. The island is quite easy to get to, with daily ferries from Praslin and the main island Mahe.
La Digue’s history is one of colonialism, of course. It was first spotted by the french in 1742 but wasn’t named until 1768. The first people to inhabit La Digue were French colonists who began living on the island in 1798 along with their African slaves. They were exiled from Bourbon for causing trouble in a political rebellion and were meant to be sent to the East Indies but bribed the captain to take them to the Seychelles instead.
A lot of the original inhabitants returned to France but a handful stayed and their ancestors still live on La Digue today. The industry of La Digue was one of coral mining for lime, vanilla plantations are the creation of okra from coconuts. A lot of the farming traditions still continue today.
Why La Digue Is Paradise
One of the best things about La Digue is the lack of vehicles on it. There are in fact less than 20 vehicles in total making the island a very peaceful place to honeymoon.
The main form of transport on La Digue is bicycle. In my opinion, exploring a near deserted island by bike is the best way to forget about all the stresses of city life. It gives you such a sense of adventure and independence, that no taxi or other transport can do.
And because it’s so small, nowhere is out of your reach. You can take to the sandy paths and wind your way through the forests and national parks to secluded beaches, hair in the wind, free to explore and enjoy each others company, alone all day..
You can rent a bike anywhere in La Digue and your hotel will happily organize this for you. It’s best to hire one for your whole stay, just check the gears and brakes work well before you commit to a long-term rental!
Once you’re on La Digue, there’s a range of beautiful places to stay, great food to eat, and of course, fun and interesting things to do.
A great place to start off your adventure is a visit to L’Union Estate, a UNESCO world heritage site, which was historically the coconut farming center of the island. The estate is full of the island’s history and is home to a romantic, old French colonial-style Plantation House. It’s a step back in time to walk around, with a colonial graveyard where most of the original settlers of La Digue were buried and Seychelles’ only working traditional copra mill.
While touring around the grounds, you can learn and watch how to extract coconut oil, see the vanilla plantations, feed Aldabra giant tortoises and rent horses to ride around the grounds on.
Once you’ve got your fill at the estate, you can walk through to Anse Source D’Argent, which is listed as one of the most photogenic beaches in the world. It’s best visited at low tide, as the beach is mostly underwater at high tide and it can get a bit busy but is well worth a look.
Your Own Slice Of Paradise Beach Vacation
If you’re looking for your own beach vacation slice of paradise away from the crowds, then a cycle through the forest to the southwest side of the island to the beaches of Petit Anse and Grand Anse is your best bet.
You’ll be sitting on fine white sands, surrounded by the azure blue sea and swaying palm trees away from the hustle and bustle. The snorkeling just off both of these beaches is excellent and it’s well worth taking your snorkel gear with you. You’ll be surrounded by pretty fish, some coral and if you’re lucky you may bump into a few turtles and rays. These beaches are a bit out of the way, if you plan on spending a good chunk of time there, take some water and snacks with you.
The Notre Dame Church
Another historical site that’s worth a visit is the Notre Dame Church of La Digue. It was built by French colonists in 1853 and is open to tourists during the day. It’s not the most beautiful church in the world but it gives you an idea of the catholic religion on the island, especially if you visit on a Sunday. The church is full of people spewing out the door and the hymns can be heard from miles away.
Veuve Natural Reserve
Seychelles is also known for its beautiful national parks and the Veuve Natural Reserve is tucked away in the middle of La Digue. This ancient forest is home to some of Seychelles’ endemic species including the Black Paradise Flycatcher, known as Veuve, or widow, to the locals.
The reserve is the last refuge for this iconic bird and you might spot one flying around the takamaka and Indian almond trees. It’s free to enter the park and there are well-marked paths that are easy to follow through the forest. At the entrance, you’ll find a small information center which is worth spending some time looking around in. It’s the only environmental office on La Digue and is full of some great information about the island’s fauna and flora.
Belle Vue Peak
Inside the reserve is also La Digue’s highest peak, Belle Vue (Eagle’s Nest Mountain). It rises some 300m above the island and gives some amazing panoramic views of the surrounding area. It’s well worth getting up early and heading to the top for sunrise to watch dawn break over the island paradise.
La Digue is a stunning place to visit, with an easy-going, relaxed tempo of island life you can call home for a week or two whilst on your unforgettable beach vacation. And. I’ve only touched the surface here and whilst there you can also go island hopping, snorkeling, diving and more.
About the Author
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About the Photo
The photo in the header above was taken in Seychelles, in East Africa. Photo by Mike Jensen.
About the Author
Mike Jensen is a travel blogger at TheAdventourist.