The best hidden beaches in the Indian Ocean

Discover the utter joy of stumbling upon a stretch of unspoilt beach where you don’t have to compete with the crowds.

Anse Georgette, Constance Lemuria, Seychelles

Anse Georgette, Constance Lémuria

Here’s our rundown of five of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in the Indian Ocean.

Anse Georgette – Seychelles, Praslin

The beautiful, secluded beach of Anse Georgette on the northwest of Praslin delivers the Seychellois dream of white sand and calm crystal waters shaded by lush green foliage. The beach can’t be reached by car – to access it you walk through the golf course of Constance Lémuria – so there are never too many visitors and the reward for your effort is a pristine beach with very few people.

Trou d’Argent – Rodrigues

If you’re looking for that genuine Robinson Crusoe feeling then you’ll be hard pushed to find anywhere more deserted than the stunning Trou d’Argent beach on the island of Rodrigues. The island itself is a remote haven lying 600km to the east of its sister island Mauritius, connected by an inter-island flight twice a week.

Betania Beach – Madagascar

The laid back vibe of the Madagascan region of Morondava makes this beach overlooking the Mozambique Channel one of the most chilled out beach venues in the Indian Ocean. The beach stretches for miles and the only things you will be sharing it with are some local livestock.

Trou d’Argent, Rodrigues

Trou d’Argent, Rodrigues

Anse Lazio – Seychelles, Praslin

Anse Lazio is another stunning beach off the beaten track on Praslin. Lazio has a road and even a couple of restaurants but its situation at the top of the island, off the main roads, means this is still a quiet spot. Trip Advisor recently declared this the best beach in Africa – head there now before the rest of the world gets in on the action.

Gris Gris – Mauritius

The south of Mauritius is home to the most dramatic and quietest beaches on the island. The one that tops the must-go list is the breathtakingly beautiful Gris Gris. From the cliffs above you can look down to the wide stretch of sand below, and the huge waves as they pound the shore. It’s not safe to swim in the water due to the currents, but take a gentle walk along the shell-filled beach and shoreline, and feel your spirit soar.

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Best sunglasses for Summer 2013

Shield your eyes from the sun without compromising on style. Taking inspiration from Vogue, here’s our guide to the best sunglasses for 2013.

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana

1. Best Aviators

Ray-Ban Aviators

Ray-Ban have taken their classic Aviators and given them a new twist this summer with new colours not just for the frames but for the lenses too. Colours include funky blue, pink, green and brown.

2. Best round frames

Linda Farrow Luxe – Perfect Teashades

These 70s-style round frames make a fun stylish statement for summer.

3. Best for retro-cool

Emporio Armani

Round shades are hot right now and the retro appeal of these 60s inspired wood-effect frames put these bang on trend.

Cutler & Gross

Cutler & Gross

4. Best for geek chic

Dolce & Gabbana

Trust Dolce & Gabbana to bring some fun to the current trend for heavy, thick-rimmed glasses with shades in a number of vibrant colours including pink, plum and powder blue.

5. Best for oversized

Victoria Beckham – Metal Drop Temple

Arguably the queen of oversized eyewear, Victoria Beckham has created these beautiful handmade silver frames with dark rose lenses. Perfect for hiding behind, pretending to hide or just shielding from the sun in style.

6. Best for making a statement

Cutler and Gross – Mother of Pearl

These 70s inspired frames are an inspired blend of fun and style with mother of pearl octagonal frames.

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Recipe: Halaveli’s Shrimp Laksa

Laksa is the traditional dish that comes from the Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine. With the recipe originating in Singapore, our team at Halaveli has adapted it to our customers’ palates. An explosion of flavours and tastes!

Shrimp Laska

Shrimp Laksa

Ingredients

The Laksa broth:

  • 400g vermicelli
  • 500ml coconut milk
  • 50g chopped ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 or 5 chopped shallots
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander, washed
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 12 shrimps (about 100g each), peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 or 4 cumbava leaves
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 160g Silken Tofu

1. Boil a large pot of water. Add the vermicelli and cook them until they are tender.

2. Drain and rinse them to prevent them from sticking. Set them aside.

3. In a wok, bring the coconut milk to a boil until the coconut oil separates and forms a layer on top.

4. Finely chop all the spices and fry them until they fill the air.

5. Add the shrimp, soy sauce, cumbuva leaves and chicken broth. Boil them and adjust the seasoning.

Finishing and presentation

Divide the vermicelli into 4 bowls, then add the broth and arrange the prawns and tofu, cut into large cubes.

Garnish each bowl with fresh coriander and fried shallots. Our chefs add some lemon, a small endive and some pear slices.

The rich culture of Madagascar

Embark on an adventure to the remote island of Tsarabanjina and discover the friendly people and rich culture of Madagascar.

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Take advantage of the one-night stopover on the mainland before travelling on to Constance Tsarabanjina to immerse yourself in the colourful local customs and traditions of Madagascar.

Ethnic groups in Madagascar

The diverse ethnic groups which make up the Malagasy people, divided into 18 ‘tribes’, are united around the common Malagasy language and traditional beliefs in the importance of kinship and the veneration of their ancestors.

Local crafts

Crafts including raffia weaving, woodcarving and silk weaving – particularly the weaving of the silk lamba, the island’s national dress – can be traced back to the very first inhabitants of the island and are central to the island’s cultural history.

The traditional woodwork of the Zafimaniry people of Madagascar were considered so important that in 2008 UNESCO included them on its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Music of Madagascar

Music plays an important role in the lives of the Malagasy people with beats and rhythms echoing the music of Africa and Indonesia and often played on traditional instruments or sung with only hand clapping accompaniment.

Lemur in Madagascar

Lemur in Madagascar

Learn Malagasy

Seize the opportunity on the mainland or on Tsarabanjina to really get a sense of what makes the people of this region so special. Here are some Malagasy phrases you might find useful during your visit.

Welcome: Tongasoa

Good morning: Mbolatsara/ Salama

How are you? : Karakory/In vao vao?

Goodbye: Veloma/Samitsara

Have a nice trip: Soavadia

Goodnight: Samy mandry mifoha

Enjoy your breakfast/ launch/dinner: Mazotoa misakafo

Slowly: Mora Mora

Local Mitsio fishermen in Madagascar

Local Mitsio fishermen in Madagascar

Thank you: Misaotra

Thank you so much: Misaotra Betsaka

Best wishes: Mirary soa/ Tsara tsara

Island: Nosy

Fish: Laoko

Rice: Vary

Lemurs: Komba/Maki

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The future of travel

A range of new websites providing help with everything from flight and hotel booking, itinerary planning and money saving are due to shake up the future of travel, according to the digital specialist site Mashable.

At the airport

The future of travel

The startup travel sites we’ll all be using over the next few years, according to Mashable, include:

Peek a new site which will seek out the most interesting things to do at your destination (based on categories such as romantic, off-the beaten-path, tours). It then allows you to book directly through the site.

BlackJet for a new service which, Mashable claims, fills the gap between private jets and flying commercial by scheduling small 6-14-seat planes.

Bag2go a personal baggage tracking system that will ensure that you’ll know exactly where you suitcase is at all times.

Find My Itin offers a new way to plan your holiday by following the hashtags of like-minded travellers. Travellers will post information about where they’ve been and where they’d like to go for others to gain inspiration and advice from.

Top 10 family adventures in the Seychelles

Revive your family’s spirit of adventure in the Seychelles with activities from searching for lost pirate treasure to feeding giant tortoises. Here’s our guide to the best family adventures in the Seychelles.

Zip lining at Constance Ephelia Resort

Zip lining in the Seychelles

• Search for the legendary pirates’ treasure on a trip to Moyenne Island

A short boat ride from Victoria, Mahé, is the National Park of Moyenne Island, a Robinson Crusoe-style desert island with no human inhabitants and over 100 giant tortoises. Parents will enjoy the rare biodiversity of the island while kids will adore the legend that says the two graves belong to pirates who also buried their treasure somewhere on the small island.

• Experience a thrilling zip line ride through the jungle canopy on Mahé

Based at Constance Ephélia, SMAC Adventures offer adventure sports including zip lining, rock climbing and abseiling for adults and children over 4. See the beautiful forests and mountains of Mahé in a new and exhilarating way on eight different zip lines up to 120m long. Or try scaling the island’s natural granite crags with climbing for beginners through to advanced. Check out the fun on SMAC’s Facebook page.

• Try some traditional local crafts at Domaine de Val des Près

Based around the Gran Kaz Plantation House on Mahé this National Heritage Site not only celebrates local crafts and culture but gives you the chance to get involved with a series of craft workshops for the whole family.

• Explore the ocean on Teddy’s Glass Bottom Boat

Board the boat from Beau Vallon Bay, Mahé and discover the jewels of the Indian Ocean with your family. See the vibrant corals and the rainbow colours of lush marine life that live on and around the reefs from the safety of the glass bottom boat. Then jump into the water for some snorkelling and the chance to get a closer look. The excursion then takes you to a secluded beach for a bbq and swim before heading home.

A giant tortoise, part of Mauritian wildlife

A giant tortoise

• Meet giant tortoises in their natural environment on Curieuse Island

A short boat ride from Praslin is Curieuse, home to a colony of hundreds of Aldabra Giant Tortoises which walk freely around the island. Tourists are encouraged to interact with these regal creatures feeding them snacks of greens and watermelon. There is even a tortoise ‘nursery’ on the island where they care for young tortoises from birth to five years. Of course, being the Seychelles there are also glorious, deserted beaches for the kids to enjoy too following a 30 minute nature walk across the island.

• Discover the interior of Mahé with a wildlife walk to Sauzier Waterfalls

Setting off from Port Glaud this beautiful forest walk will take you past traditional Creole homes and the guide’s own farm where groups can stop off to meet the resident bats and farm animals. The short walk is perfect for families – kids and (brave) adults are then rewarded at the end with a refreshing dip in the crystal pools at the foot of the beautiful waterfall.

• Spend the day swimming and hanging out at Beau Vallon Beach

While the Seychelles has a plethora of beautiful, deserted beaches sometimes it’s fun to hang out amidst the hustle and bustle of locals and tourists. Beau Vallon Beach on the North Coast of Mahé is a beautiful white sand beach with restaurants, bars, craft shops and cafés lining its shores. Water sports abound and the cafés have a great selection of ice creams and smoothies to keep the kids happy. The best time to visit is on a Wednesday when the evening Bazar Labrin market brings fresh food stalls, live music and an authentically local vibe to the beach.

• Explore the unique biodiversity of the UNESCO World Heritage site Vallée de Mai

Famous for its unique coco de mer seeds, legend has it that this Nature Reserve on Praslin island was the site of the original Garden of Eden. Kids will love exploring the nature trails through the national park and discovering the rare endemic plants and wildlife here. Set them a challenge to catch sight of the rare, endangered Black Parrot.

Family fun at the beach

Family fun at the beach

• Horse riding in the Seychelles

Available on most of the islands, horse riding is a thrilling way to explore the local area. Whether you’ve done it before and want to gallop down a white sand beach or if you’re just trying it for the first time and want a gentle nature trek, local guides will ensure the experience is unforgettable. Riding in the Seychelles is popular so it is worth contacting your hotel before you arrive so that they can book the excursion for you.

• Seychelles National Botanical Gardens

The National Botanical Gardens is a perfect way to spend the afternoon in Victoria, Mahé, with all the family, particularly if you want to see one of the islands’ giant tortoises. Meet the tortoises and check out the colony of fruit bats feeding and roosting in the trees, then while away the afternoon exploring the beautiful tropical gardens.

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