La Digue is a small island that is one of the 115 islands of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. Of the inhabited islands, it is the fourth largest and offers a more relaxed and back-to-nature holiday compared to Mahe and Praslin. A few comfortable hotels, one luxury resort and some guest houses are situated along its beautiful beaches and lush interior. To get around the island there are bicycle rentals, ox-carts and a few taxis.
The island was named in 1768 for one of the ships in the French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne’s fleet.
The main islands of Seychelles are linked by large, modern catarmaran services (Cat Cocos) . The number of boats has been growing steadily and the service schedules vary accordingly. Depending on the season and the seas La Digue is 60mins by direct ferry from Mahe and 90mins via Praslin. The ferries are all equipped with large televisions and a bar service.
Visitors may also take advantage of the faster service by helicopter with Zil Air. This takes 15 minutes to La Digue with services from Mahe airport. Passengers can also request aerial tours of the islands.
By Light Aircraft
To reach La Digue by air, visitors fly to Praslin then take a 20 minute boat ride. Air Seychelles operates a fleet of DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft for domestic flights.
La Digue is famous for its beaches, with Anse Source d’Argent as one of the most photographed tropical beaches in the world. It is a granite island with stunning granite cliffs and rock formations that extent into the sea. The beaches have clean, powder-fine, white sand and are often photographed or used as film sets. There are small coves around the island with private beaches. There are off shore coral reefs that are splendid for diving or snorkelling.
Grand Anse and Petit Anse are beautiful beaches for an evening picnic or visit, but there are dangerous currents in the ocean that make then unsafe for swimming. The Grand Anse has a beach café with an excellent buffet. Anse Coco Beach is about a 30 minute walk from Grand Anse. It has more shade than Grand Anse and is safer for swimming at certain times of the year. Anse Severe at the north-west point is within easy walking or cycling distance from the jetty and is renowned for its safe swimming and snorkelling.
Fauna & Flora
Some of the rarest birds in the world live on La Digue including the black paradise flycatcher, Chinese bittern, waxbill, two species of terrapin and the cave swiftlet. Inland, there is the Veuve Reserve bird sanctuary. This is where many bird species can be seen including several endangered species. The forests are a natural botanical garden with orchids, vanilla vines, takamaka trees and Indian almond trees. The ever present coconut palms which provide many products are interspersed with blazing hibiscus and nepenthes.
Along with the traditional coconut palm products or copra which is still used for boat building, oil and other things, the local people still use ox-carts and bicycles to travel around the island. These are well suited for the languid lifestyle, which is the main reason visitors enjoy La Digue. It is a step into another, less complicated era. La Digue is the best place in the Seychelles to enjoy the local culture. With only 2,000 inhabitants, the villages, La Passe and La Reunion, have changed little over the years as it is the most undeveloped island in the country. The two villages are on the western side of the island.
The roads are not tarred, and most people get around by bike or on foot, or jump on the occasional colourful ox-cart, if it is going in the right direction.
Eagle’s Nest Mountain, which rises 300 metres above sea level, is in the centre of the island. It has a rugged foot path to the summit where visitors enjoy spectacular views of the island, sea and other islands.
There are boat excursions from La Digue to the outlying islands of Curieuse, Coco and Felicite Islands. They are day trips that take visitors to the best snorkelling spots and hidden beaches.
The local creole food is mainly delicious curries made from fish and pork with rice and seasonal local vegetables and fruit. For those who want to stick to what they know, there are western dishes served at the main resort.
A few water sport operators are available to better enjoy the beaches, and artists’ studios that welcome visitors, but it is the spectacular pink granite boulders that have been moulded by the sea that are the great attraction on La Digue.
The inland hotels are just a few minutes bicycle ride or walk from the beach, so it may be less expensive and not necessary to stay at a beach front hotel.
There is also luxury accommodation with WiFi, satellite TV, minibars and more. The staff will come to the rooms that have kitchenettes and cook Creole cuisine for any meal.
Water restrictions are in place between June and September when the rainfall is at its lowest. Showers in the hotels and homes may not be available between 1 pm to 4 pm and 10 pm to 6 am, but any restrictions may change, and the times will be given to visitors by the hotel staff.
Most tourists visit La Digue as a day trip from the main islands, but it is an affordable place to spend a whole holiday with family and friends. There is one main resort as well as guest houses and lodges. Visitors can take day trips to other islands and sightsee, while spending the main part of their time on one of the most beautiful tropical paradises on earth.