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with caution! This section is based on our personal experiences!
We were very fortunate in making our arrangements through Elite Vacations
(Elite House, 98 Bessborough Road, Harrow, Middlesex, UK- Tel: (+44) (0)
181 864 9818 - email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- but no web site!). They have practical experience of the Seychelles,
and the Managing Director, Peter Jackson, visits there regularly. He's
also very approachable, and we were able to discuss matters with him personally
on the phone on a number of occasions. This personal touch makes all the
difference when you are wanting to travel reasonably independently, but
are not too proud to ask for help and advice.
Seychelles is a pretty healthy area! Our daughter, Christine, spent a
couple of months as part of her doctor training in the main hospital in
Victoria, Mahe. Despite this, the residents survived! There are a very
few cases of some nasty tropical diseases, but these generally don't affect
visitors. We had the usual jabs - typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus - but malaria
is not in the islands (even though the mosquitos do bite!). We
drank the local water with no problems, so you also don't have the problem
eating the gorgeous tropical fruits that you have in some parts of the
world - enjoy! We were also careful to avoid over-exposure to the sun
- take care!
Island hopping is a must for Seychelles birders - see our Itinerary.
Plane connections are good, and the luggage restrictions between Mahe
and Praslin were not rigidly enforced - but
observe the limitations on flights out to Bird
Island. On La Digue, there's no transport problems, and on Bird Island
you just walk to cover the small distances. However, on Praslin, we were
advised that car hire wasn't necessary, but after one afternoon in the
heat we capitulated and got our apartment host at Chalet Cote Mer to fix
one up for us. No problem in local hire. Similarly in Mahe (where the
advice is to hire a car), we arranged it through our apartment
Panorama at Beau Vallon. We had a 4-wheel drive (not necessary unless
you're really adventurous) air-conditioned (yes, yes!) vehicle, and there
again were no problems. Road surfaces are pretty good, and driving standards
are not a problem.
Generally we prefer to find our own birds and risk missing some, rather
than having everything pointed out to us. In the Seychelles, we gave way
on two occasions. On Cousin, you have no option.
You have to be led round the small island by a guide, and we were
lucky to have the Reserve warden, Robbie Bresson. On Mahe,
we wimped out when we got desperate to find the Seychelles Grey White-eye
(Zosterops modesta) which a lot of birders have problems in finding.
Our apartment hosts at Panorama introduced us to an excellent guide, Basil
Beaudouin (Tel: 241790). At first sight, Basil intimidated the hell out
of me with his Rastafarian looks and his powerful tanned legs (which fascinated
Ruth!). But he was a very solicitous guide, who took great care with his
charges, and introduced us to a lot of the flora as well as the fauna.
And yes, we did find the White-Eye with his help! You can
get a guide to help you find the Seychelles Scops Owl, but we weren't
entirely comfortable with the idea of tape luring (which is what they
do), so we didn't bother.