This evening we’re spending the night far from the relative bustle of the capital city, Victoria, tucked away down a lane of candy-coloured bungalows with white wrap-around verandas on Praslin Island. Our hosts are the Morel family who run C’est Mon Choix Hotel, across a tiny island road from the sea. The island was a one-hour journey on the famous Cat-Coco Ferry and although waters were choppy, we were treated to the incredible sight of flying fish as well as a vivid rainbow rising up over the shimmering sea.
When we reached the dock we were met by Martin Kennedy, headmaster of the Vijay International School and our sister school until Monday. An Englishman who came to Seychelles for a short term contract and decided to stay forever (these stories of people who give up their homes, their countries, their lives elsewhere and move to the Seychelles after falling head over heels in love with it, abound!), Mr Kennedy had arranged two buses to carry us and our extensive luggage to our hotel and then on to the Vallee de Mai Nature Reseve, otherwise known as the Garden of Eden. The reserve is custodian to the island’s iconic coco de mer as well as five other endemic species of palms. Micheal, an islander with inexhaustible knowledge about the flora of the Seychelles, guided us and a group of international students who joined us, through towering palm trees which made us all feel like characters out of “Honey I Shrunk the Kids”…and told us the complex and fascinating story of the coco de mer.
After a full hour’s worth of stretching their sleep-deprived brains to the limit with botanical terms and biological processes, the boys welcomed a visit to the beach…no ordinary beach, mind you, but Lazio, rated among the top three beaches in the world! Mr Kennedy and his students met us once again and treated us to a picnic on the beach: honey mustard chicken, hot dogs, burgers, mushroom risotto with parmesan and salad. The boys were shocked that Mr Kennedy himself had cooked most of it! The best part about the co-operation with the international school is that they are seriously talking about a return visit to Zimbabwe in April next year and we can’t wait.
We’re off now to a pizza and grill restaurant, La Breeze, a beach pebble’s throw away from the hotel, and even as we post this blog there’s the rhythmic beat of a Caribbean street band mingling with the sound of the sea. It’s easy to understand how easy it would be to leave the real world behind and move here!
Ben Evans: The water at Lazio was so lovely and refreshing and I saw a school of fish swim just near-by me. The students we met were quite friendly and I tried my best to speak french to them but luckily they spoke English as well.
Malcolm Sithole: We spent a great day at the beach and I really enjoyed it. I was in so long, though, that I started to shrivel!
Kishan Parekh: It was a beautiful beach we went to today and we even saw fish as we were swimming. We realised, after talking to the students from the international school, that it isn’t that Seychelles isn’t that different to Zimbabwe: it has its good and its bad points.
Ndaba Mazibuko: I met some students from the international school and it was great having conversations with them in french. And they were pretty 🙂
Mkhokheli Nkomo: The scenery on Praslin is breathtaking. It’s much more natural and unspoilt than Mahe and I really like that about it.
Saaven Ranchod: I had an interesting day at the Vallee de Mai. It was very informative and we got to learn a lot about the flora of Seychelles.
Chadd Zaloumis: I really enjoyed learning about the island, all the details and information about the plant life. I also enjoyed meeting the new people and I practiced my french with them…mixed in with some creole phrases.
Thamsanqa Moyo: I enjoyed my day on the beach, especially the picnic and spending time with the local students. I learnt some new French and Creole words from them.
Keletso Moyo: When we were coming to Praslin on the ferry the waves were very high and were making the boat rock. It made me feel a bit ill.