Travel: In Seychelles’ La Digue, time seems to slow down


Home to the most photographed beach in the world, Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue is perfect for a relaxed holiday



The most photographed beach in the world, Anse Source d’Argent, was on top of my agenda when I stepped into La Digue, the fourth largest island in Seychelles. It was my second day in this gorgeous archipelago of 115 islands in East Africa and I was already both awestruck and in love with its sheer beauty.

With dramatic granite cliffs and boulders framing the fine white sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise water, La Digue is a tiny 10sq.km stretch of some of the most stunning beaches in the world. That, and the easy-going vibe of island life, cast a spell on visitors.

As we left the jetty and passed cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops by the sea, I realised something was amiss. That’s when it struck me that I couldn’t see any cars; most people were walking, cycling or on an electric buggy like me. 

L’Union Estate Park, the plantation that property that leads to Anse Source d’Argent, has winding biking and cycling trails set amid the trees and wooden jettys from which you can just admiring the stunning views. The blue and green water lapping the shores was calm and inviting. Even the sea here seemed to want to slow down. Hence, it seemed so appropriate to meet one of the world’s slowest creatures, the giant Aldabra tortoise, in a vast enclosure here. As I fed them a few leaves, I learnt that the males, which are heavier, weigh over 250kg, live for about 150 years, and their shells can be as big as four feet. After this brief lesson about the species native to Seychelles, we finally headed to Anse Source d’Argent.

I walked barefoot on the powdery sand, past swaying palm trees, massive granite boulders and the turquoise water, to find the most scenic spot to lounge. The tide was low and I paddled in the shallow lagoon, knee-high water for a few minutes. There are no noisy shacks or restaurants on the beach; just a kiosk selling coconut water and fruit. Then it was time for lunch and we headed to a restaurant outside the estate to try the local Créole cuisine, a blend of Indian, African, Chinese and European food. Coconut milk and spices are used liberally. The aromatic Octopus Creole curry I ordered came with basmati rice, and I washed it down with the local beer, Seybrew, and ended the meal with ladob, a dessert made with raw banana boiled in coconut milk with sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. 

The island is famous for kayaking in glass bottom boats. Since the water is crystal clear, one doesn’t need to swim and snorkel or go too far to spot the darting, colourful fish and turtles. Our guide Mati from Crystal Water Kayak tied our two kayaks to his motorboat and took us into the ocean so that we could get a view of the chiseled granite rocks and beaches. We stopped at three points where he pointed out curiously-shaped boulders—a kissing rock, one resembled the coco de mer, a palm native to Seychelles, and others shaped like sharks and turtles. 

Hollywood, too, has been smitten by the Seychelles’ beauty. Parts of Tom Hanks’ Cast Away, was shot her-and I think I wouldn’t mind being stranded on this tiny island of sand.

Pallavi Pasricha is a travel and food writer.

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