8 reasons why Madagascar should be on your bucket list

Still relatively undiscovered, Madagascar is a unique destination of warm sunshine, rich biodiversity, culture and stunning scenery.

Diving in Madagascar

Diving in Madagascar

Here are our top 8 reasons why Madagascar deserves a top spot on your bucket list.

Perfect ‘holiday’ temperatures all year round

With average temperatures of around 30ºC, warm clear waters and an average of 7.5 hours of sunshine a day, Madagascar is an ideal holiday destination. The cooler drier ‘winter’ season runs from May to October while the warmer, wetter ‘summer’ season runs from November to April.

Laid back luxury

Although still relatively unexplored by tourists, it is possible to find a splash of luxury in Madagascar. Enjoy the laidback charm of Constance Tsarabanjina with a vibe of barefoot relaxation blended with low-key luxury.

Chill out on a hammock slung outside your own secluded beach villa on the tiny private Madagascan island of Tsarabanjina. Watch the dazzling array of stars from your own furnished terrace or stroll barefoot down to the restaurant and enjoy traditional Malagasy food with a touch of Constance flair.

Combine luxury and exploration with a guided nature walk around the island by hotel staff.

Be the first to dive waters teeming with rare marine life

Diving is spectacular in Madagascar all year round, particularly around the Mitsio Archipelago, including the island of Tsarabanjina.

Much of the ocean here is previously unexplored making it a fresh new territory for divers.

Some of Madagascar’s most spectacular marine sightings include:

Relax in a hammock at Constance Tsarabanjina

Relax in a hammock at Constance Tsarabanjina

Humpback whales – the whales travel to the warm waters around Madagascar to breed from August to October creating an awe-inspiring spectacle and a rare treat for visitors

Sperm whales – experience the majesty of these magnificent creatures first-hand throughout July and August

Manta rays – see these graceful giants as they migrate through the warm waters of Madagascan waters from May to October

Whale sharks – swim with the gentle giants of the ocean from September through to December.

Explore a completely stunning landscape like nowhere else on earth

From rich rainforests to startling deserts sprinkled with rare, exotic wildlife a trip to Madagascar is like discovering a forgotten land. Pick your way through the granite needle forests of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bermaraha or experience the other-worldliness of a forest of Baobab trees. There are 20 National Parks in Madagascar for visitors to explore on foot.

Savour the warm spice of Malagasy cuisine

With influences from many of the nations whose people settled here including Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East and France, Madagascan food is a rich, delicious mix of flavours. Local spices and herbs such as chillies, cloves, garlic, vanilla and black pepper are a feature of Malagasy cuisine as is the wide variety of freshly caught seafood and locally grown succulent fruits and vegetables.

Discover Madagascar’s unique wildlife

With around 80 per cent of Madagascar’s wildlife unique to the country, including 150 endemic mammal species, it’s a must-see destination for anyone interested in the gems of the natural world.

One of the most treasured sightings for many visitors to Madagascar are the 100+ lemur species found nowhere else on the planet. Visitors during October and November may even be lucky enough to see newly-born baby lemurs.

Join the party

The Malagasy Kingfisher

The Malagasy Kingfisher

Enjoy the hospitality of the Malagasy people at a range of year-round festivals. Highlights include:

Anniversary of the Republic – Celebrated on 30 December this is a key date in the festivities of Madagascar.

Alahamady Be, 11 – 12 March – Two days of music, dancing and feasting are all part of the program for the celebration of the Malagasy New Year.

Santabary Festival, end of April/beginning of May – A festival celebrating the first rice harvest of the year with events across the island including feasting, music and dancing.

Feria Oramena, June – a carnival-like celebration of one of the nation’s favourite seafood, Lobster.

Hiragasy, July – a traditional Malagasy cultural event involving a competition with five-themed entertainments including oratory, dance, music, drinking and eating.

Madajazzcar, 1 – 12 October – A 2 week jazz festival held in the country’s capital attracting famous jazz musicians from around the globe.

Witness the spectacular birds of Madagascar

For anyone interested in bird-watching Madagascar is a must-see destination with over 100 endemic bird species including fish eagles, jacana, ground rollers and paradise flycatchers, as well as a vast array of migratory birds.

September to mid-December is the breeding season when many species don their finest plumage to attract mates. There are a number of bird watching safaris on offer, usually including lemur sightings as part of the deal.

 

13 things to do in the Seychelles

Dream about the Seychelles and you imagine picture perfect beaches. Head to the archipelago in the Indian Ocean and you’ll discover plenty of those, along with a host of other delights.

Anse Lazio

Take a stroll along the beautiful Anse Lazio

Here are our 13 ideas for things to do in the Seychelles.

1. Take a hike

Whichever island you are staying on you will find the verdant interior criss-crossed with trails for walkers where you can trek through stunning Jurassic forests and spot tropical birds and wildlife. One of the most spectacular is through the Morne Seychellois National Park on Mahé. A 45 minute walk will take you to the summit of Morne Blanc with stunning views across the island and the Indian Ocean.

2. Visit a local market

Immerse yourself in Seychellois life at one of its vibrant, bustling markets. Visit the famous daily food market in Victoria and see colourful fish of all shapes and sizes, a fragrant array of local herbs and spices, and luscious fresh fruit and vegetables. Experience the laid back local vibe at the beach market at Beau Vallon every Wednesday. Part market, part social gathering you’ll find live bands and dancing along side street food and local craft stalls.

3. Ride a horse down one of the world’s most photographed beaches

Visit the traditional plantation house L’Union Estate on La Digue which doubles as a riding centre and you get the unique opportunity of riding down the stunning beach of Source d’Argent. Ride on powder white sand and splash in perfect clear waters as you pass the stunning granite boulders that are such a feature of this beach.

4. Eat traditional Creole food in a national monument

The restaurant Marie-Antoinette is not only one of the best places to savour traditional Creole food on Mahé, it is also located in a colonial mansion declared a national monument in 2011. The colonial architecture, dating back to the 1800s remains unchanged, but while the building may be colonial the vibe in the restaurant is entirely Creole.

Bird watching in the Seychelles

Bird watching in the Seychelles

5. Birdwatching on Aride Island

One of the finest tropical island nature reserves in the world, a trip to Aride is like stepping back in time to the Seychelles before human habitation. A mecca for bird watchers, Aride is the breeding place for 18 different species of native birds, including five that are only found in the Seychelles.

6. Visit UNESCO World Heritage Site Vallée de Mai 

This stunning palm forest at the heart of Praslin Island survives in its original state from prehistoric times, virtually untouched by human influence. Its most famous palm is the endemic coco-de-mer with its distinctive shaped seeds. Visitors will find easily accessible trails through the forest with guides on hand to help and advise. More on Vallée de Mai.

7. Play golf on the only 18-hole golf course in the Seychelles

Play golf on the stunning 18-hole golf course at Constance Lémuria with views over three of Praslin’s most beautiful beaches. The terraced landscape of greens spanning the breathtaking scenery of Praslin’s hills and forests make this one of the world’s most beautiful golf courses. Celebrate your round with a glass of chilled champagne and views across the island to the beach below.

8. Explore the wildlife of Cousin Island Nature Reserve

Just 2km off the shores of Praslin lies this idyllic island nature reserve. With a rich variety of endemic wildlife and seabirds it is also considered the most important breeding site for the endangered Hawksbill turtle in the Western Indian Ocean. As well as the island itself the reef around it is also protected and boast rich marine life including nurse sharks, lion fish and redbanded grouper. More on Cousin Island Nature Reserve.

Golf at Constance Hotels and Resorts

Golf in the Seychelles

9. Visit one of the most beautiful beaches in the world

Regularly featured in lists of the world’s top beaches Anse Lazio on Praslin is a stretch of perfect sugar-white sand shaded by takamaka trees and enclosed at each end by striking granite boulders. Great for swimming and snorkelling.

10. Connect with Creole culture at the Domaine de Val de Près

This pretty recreation of a Creole village on Mahé is set in the grounds of the Gran Kaz Plantation House and provides a fascinating insight into Creole history and culture. Its 12 craft workshops sell traditional arts and crafts while the quirky ‘Maison de Coco’ is a house built entirely of coconut products. More on Domain de Val de Près.

11. Snorkel around Ile Cocos Marine National Park

This collection of 3 small islets off the coast of Praslin may look like classic ‘desert islands’ but in the waters off their shores is some of the best snorkelling in the Seychelles archipelago. A shallow reef, protected from fishing and tourism, has provided a haven for the rare marine life that thrives in these waters. More on Ile Cocos Marine National Park.

12. Breathe in the fragrant air of Le Jardin du Roi Spice Garden

Perched above the beautiful beach of Anse Royale on Mahé is this renovated plantation growing spices such as vanilla, citronella, cinnamon and nutmeg. Visitors can buy fresh produce at the plantation shop or eat at the stunning outdoor restaurant with views over the plantation and the beach below. Find out more about Le Jardin du Roi Spice Garden.

13. Meet the giant tortoises of Curieuse Island

Meet and feed the giant tortoises who wander free on this island nature reserve (it is estimated there are more than 500), walk through the stunning mangrove forest and keep your eyes open for the hawksbill and green turtles which come here to breed. Visitors to the island are usually greeted off-shore by the hundreds of giant hump-head parrotfish which live in its waters and can grow up to 1.2 meters long. More about Curieuse Island.

Find out more

Visit our website to find out more about Constance Lémuria and Constance Ephélia, Seychelles

For more ideas of things to do in the Seychelles visit Virtual Seychelles

Mauritius: the ultimate winter getaway

For those dreaming of escaping the winter blues with a trip to sun-kissed beaches and warm balmy evenings, Mauritius is the ideal destination for a winter getaway.

Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Mauritius’ summer runs from November to April with temperatures of between 21-30ºC during these months.

Mauritian flowers and fruits

The Mauritian summer heralds the season for many of the island’s flowers and fruits. Visitors can enjoy succulent mangos, lychees and longans.

Those tired of the winter grey of the northern hemisphere will find themselves in a vibrant world of colourful blooms with many of the island’s trees, including the aptly named Flamboyant Tree, in full bloom from December onwards.

Perfect season for big game fishing

With the warmer weather the temperature of the ocean also rises to an average of 23-27ºC, bringing a vast array of fish to our waters. With the smaller fish come the larger predators including, throughout the Mauritius summer, the famous blue marlin as well as sailfish, barracuda, wahoo, yellowfin tuna and shark.

Diving in Mauritius

While diving is excellent all year round in Mauritius, the warmer water temperatures make this a perfect time to dive with a wealth of new marine life drawn to the area.

Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius

The increased numbers mean that divers may see a wide variety of exotic marine life including angelfish, parrot fish, moray, groupers, wrasses and sweetlips as well as a stunning array of corals and sponges.

A warm Mauritian welcome at Constance

The ultimate 5* luxury at the secluded Constance Le Prince Maurice, with its boutique feel and emphasis on personal service, is the perfect winter treat.

Or join the fun at the family-friendly Constance Belle Mare Plage where you can enjoy a raft of activities, spa facilities and water sports, enough to make even the most winter-weary bodies leap into action.

Find out more about Constance Le Prince Maurice and Constance Belle Mare Plage on our website

Book now and take advantage of our fabulous Winter Sun Offer

Read more

 

Top 8 reasons to go scuba diving in the Maldives

The Maldives is considered to offer some of the best scuba diving in the world, with the Ari Atoll topping many people’s lists as the go-to spot in the islands.

Dive scooter courses at Constance Moofushi

Dive scooter courses at Constance Moofushi

Ari Atoll, Maldives

The unique location of the Ari Atoll, with Constance Moofushi located in the South Ari Atoll and Constance Halaveli in the North, means that it is perfect for diving all year round. Visibility is usually between 20-25 metres and currents slow to moderate.

Here are our top 8 reasons why scuba diving in the Maldives is one of life’s great experiences.

1. Learn more about sharks

For those divers fascinated by these beautiful creatures the PADI Shark Speciality Courses offered at Moofushi and Halaveli will teach you more about them and their habits before taking you out to swim among them in a spectacular shark pass. Read more about shark diving in the Maldives.

2. Swim with manta rays

Swim with these giants of the oceans during the season at Moofushi or Halaveli. At Halaveli guests can also learn more about these elegant fish with a course written by PADI Manta Awareness Diver Alexis Vincent.

Diving with Manta Rays

Diving with Manta Rays

3. Night dives

Discover what the ocean looks like at night where fish sleep and others change colour in the darkness. Experience the thrill when the group turn off their torches and play in the ocean’s stunning phosphorescence. Find out more about night dives in the Maldives.

4. Nitrox dive

Swim more often and for longer with this enriched air option at Halaveli.

5. Wreck diving

Explore wrecks on the ocean floor teeming with stunning marine life at sites around the Ari Atoll. Learn more about wreck diving in the Maldives.

6. Photography diving

Learn how to take stunning underwater photographs, so you can relive the memories once you’re back home. Our course is followed by a series of dives designed to give you the best opportunities for taking beautiful underwater shots. More about underwater photography courses at Moofushi.

7. Diver scooter courses at Moofushi

Experience the exhilaration of diving with a diver scooter allowing you to travel greater distances during your dive. The course at Moofushi includes three dives, the first on the home reef to learn the basics and the last as part of a shark dive.

A Moray Eel in the Indian Ocean

A Moray Eel in the Indian Ocean

8. The ultimate exclusive dive experience at Halaveli

Indulge in the ultimate dive experience at Halaveli with a day and night on your own yacht with your own crew, chef and spa therapist to take care of you while you explore the beautiful reefs of the Ari Atoll. Tempted? Find out more

When is the best time to go diving in Maldives?

Both Moofushi and Halaveli have a great choice of local dives to keep even the keenest divers hungry for more. From November to April the northeast monsoon pushes currents to the west bringing schools of manta rays and whale sharks and from May to October the oceanic currents push from the southwest making the water incredibly clear for diving.

Winter sun offer with Constance

If you’re tempted to book a holiday to explore the Maldives, take a look at our Winter Sun Offer or visit our website for more information on all Constance Hotels & Resorts.

Improve your golf in the Seychelles

Golf at Constance Lémuria is a combination of luxury, 5* service and an 18-hole golf course, often described as one of the most beautiful in the world.

Luxury golf holidays at Constance Lémuria

Luxury golf holidays at Constance Lémuria

Golf in the Seychelles

Lémuria is proud to offer the only 18-hole golf course in the Seychelles with greens that stretch across terraced mountainsides with breathtaking views over three stunning beaches and across the Indian Ocean.

Golf manager and pro at Lémuria, Gary Pouponneau, describes, ‘Although this is considered a difficult golf course guests love to play it because of its beautiful landscape. Whether you are a golfer or not you will definitely love the last six holes for their breathtaking view over neighbouring islands and the ocean.’

World Travel Awards Leading Golf Resort in Indian Ocean

Winner of the World Travel Awards Leading Golf Resort in the Indian Ocean five years running, Lémuria has extended the 5* standard and luxury of its hotel to its golf course.

You can even book your tee-off time before you arrive with our online concierge, and enjoy coaching sessions with golf pros and top class golf equipment to rent.

Lémuria's stunning 18 hole golf course

Lémuria’s stunning 18 hole golf course

Gary says, ‘The great advantage that golfers at Lémuria have is that they can play our course alone, that is something you never see on other golf courses around the world.’

Golf pros at Lémuria

Gary Pouponneau is an example of one of the golf pros on hand to help guests improve their game or learn the ways of the challenging course.

Gary has played professional golf around the world representing the Seychelles at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Scotland in 1997 and winning the Mauritius Open in 2003 and 2005. In 2008 he won the Basin Blue Open and in 2009 the Vanuatu Open.

He explains his ambition to become a golf pro and golf manager at Lémuria, ‘I decided I wanted to be the first Seychellois to be a qualified golf professional on the only 18-hole golf course in the Seychelles.

‘I was lucky that I was able to turn my hobby into a job. I love to be on the golf course everyday, whether I get to play or not at least I am not sitting behind a desk the whole day. I enjoy meeting some really great people and helping golfers improve their game.’

Read more

Recipe: Mauritian style fish curry

One of the most popular dishes at Constance Le Prince Maurice, this fish curry is the perfect meal for sharing with friends.

Laguna Bar, Constance Le Prince Maurice

Laguna Bar, Constance Le Prince Maurice

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Fish curry:

  • 600 g white flesh fish ready to cook, and cut in cubes
  • 60 g Onions
  • 10 g Chopped Garlic
  • 10 g Chopped Ginger
  • 25 g Chopped Coriander
  • 10 g Thyme
  • 5 g Curry leaves
  • 200 g Diced Tomato
  • 35 g Curry powder ( best quality you can find)
  • 6 g Turmeric powder
  • 5 g Red chilli powder (optional)
  • 10 g Cumin powder
  • 10 g Coriander powder
  • 100ml of fish stock ( or water)
  • 50 ml Coconut milk
  • 50 ml oil
  • Salt and pepper

1. In a large pan, pour little oil. When it’s hot put the onions, garlic, ginger and the herbs cook for 5 minutes.

2. When the onion turn lightly brown in colour add the spices and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add diced tomato and cook on low heat for 5 more minutes. Add coconut milk and fish stock. Reduced to a nice consistency.

3. When you are ready to serve, eat up the curry sauce, add the fish and cook for 2 minutes. Switch off the fire, cover and allow resting for 10 to 15minutes (until the fish is cooked).

4. Add fresh chopped coriander. Serve hot with plain rice, lentils fricassee, tomato chutney, cucumber salad and any pickles from the supermarket.

Tomato Chutney:

  • 100 g fine-diced tomatoes
  • 20 g fine chopped coriander
  • 40 g fine chopped onion
  • 10 g Soya bean oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix all the above mentioned ingredients, season and serve.

Plain white rice:

  • 200 g Basmati rice
  • 500 g water
  • 4 g salt

1. In a pot boil the water; add some salt and the rice. Cook for around 15 minutes, strain in a colander and serve hot.

Cucumber salad:

  • 200 g cucumber
  • 20 g sliced onions
  • 5 ml white vinegar
  • 5 ml oil
  • Salt and pepper

1. Peel and slice the cucumber, mix with the sliced onions. Season with the other ingredients.