Takamaka Rum Distillery – A Must Do In Mahé, Seychelles!

One of the funnest things that Dan and I did in the Seychelles last November was visit the Seychelles’ very own Takamaka Rum Distillery (which Dan almost skipped!).  If you drink rum and are in the Seychelles, Takamaka is not to be missed!

A Takamaka banana Daiquiri.

Takamaka Distillery was started by a Seychellois family back in 2002 (under a different name). Takamaka is still owned by the same family and has a presence all of Mahé – a great success story.  While initial distilling began in the family swimming pool, Takamaka’s current location is at La Plaine St. André, which is a grand property dating back to 1792. Takamaka has already done a lot of work on La Plaine St. André, but is continuing to restore it and open more of the property to the public. I’m here for it!

The historic La Plaine St. André property.

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Visiting Moyenne Island in the Seychelles

While visiting the Seychelles last November (2022), Dan & I took a day trip to Moyenne Island from Mahé to “snorkel.” We didn’t really know what to expect besides a boat ride and snorkeling, so here is a review of our day if you are considering something similar. First up, Moyenne Island is a small island in the Seychelles’ Sainte Anne Marine National Park. Hundreds of years ago Moyenne Island was a pirate island, but in the recent past, it was abandoned from 1915 until the 1960s when a sole English newspaper editor purchased the island and lived on Moyenne Island alone until he died 2012. Wild, and kind of scary… Moyenne Island is now a national park and a flora and fauna reserve, and its very popular with tourists.

Our boat waiting for departure for Moyenne Island!

The easiest way to reach Moyenne Island for many tourists is by way of a group day tour, which is exactly what we did. Due to the relationship our hotel, the Mango House, had with Creole Travel Services, we took our trip to Moyenne with Creole Travel Services. We were happy with the company, but a number of other companies seem to do a very similar tour and I wouldn’t necessarily pick Creole over another company. In any case, our morning started with a pick up at the Mango House and a 25 minute drive to an old, seemingly abandoned, port near the airport. We were a little iffy on entering the abandoned port…

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Airport Lounge Review: Salon Vallee De Mai, Mahé (Seychelles) International Airport

Dan and I had a little over an hour to kill in the Mahé airport when flying back from the Seychelles to Abu Dhabi (and eventually to New York). The Salon Vallee De Mai Lounge in the Mahé airport offers complimentary entrance to Priority Pass members, so we went in for an adult beverage. This is my review of the Salon Vallee De Mai lounge (as of November 2022).

The Seychelles just before we left to fly home = (

THE SPACE

The Salon Vallee De Mai lounge is located on the second floor of the Mahé airport, up a short flight of stairs across from the Takamaka Rum bar. The entrance is quite pretty and keeps with the “tropical island” theme, which follows throughout the lounge.  As you will read below, while some areas were lacking in the lounge, the decor was not one of them. From the ceiling to the tables and chairs, I was definitely getting “tropical vacay” vibes – too bad we were leaving!  The check-in lady was lovely and answered all of our questions.  Once inside, the lounge opens up into a large room scattered with tables and chairs spread throughout. The ones on the right side have great plane views!

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Airport Lounge Review: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Johannesburg (JNB)

After our lovely visit to Newark’s Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in February, I was totally excited to visit Virgin’s Clubhouse at the Johannesburg, South Africa International Airport. In fact, it was the only thing getting me through the depression of going home, LOL.

Happy in Cape Town, South Africa the day before departure.

ENTRANCE TO THE VIRGIN ATLANTIC CLUBHOUSE.

Despite a number of lounge options in Johannesburg’s international terminal between Priority Pass and our American Express Plaitnum card, we heard that the Virgin Clubhouse was the nicest and went promptly there (after a little shopping in the Out of Africa shop!). The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is located on the second floor of the international terminal, just a bit further down from the aforementioned Out of Africa store. We took the elevator up. Checkin was quick and consisted of presenting an American Express Platinum card and boarding passes. I particularly loved the flower wall at the entrance.

Entrance to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Johannesburg from inside the club.

Said flower wall! Small, but mighty cute!

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A Splendid Saturday On The Franschhoek Wine Tram!

After fully recovering from Covid in Cape Town, South Africa (a wild story!), my husband and I had a few Covid-free days to explore the area before flying home. We took advantage and signed up for a South African activity that I have been wanting to do for a long time – wine tasting on the Franschhoek Wine Tram! This article shares valuable information for those planning their own Franschhoek Wine Tram tour, whether from Cape Town or not!

FRANSCHHOEK TOWN

Of initial importance, the Franschhoek Wine Tram visits wineries in and around Franschhoek, South Africa (not Stellenbosch town). Franschhoek is a small town, originally founded by the Dutch, a little over an hour outside Cape Town that is famous for its wineries and gorgeous scenery. Franschhoek very close to  Stellenbosch (and part of the Stellenbosh municipality), another popular wine town in Cape Town. Tourists visit Franschhoek to taste wine and visit the downtown area, and they come as both day trippers from Cape Town and those staying a few nights. Franschhoek, like Stellenbosh, is filled with cute bed and breakfasts, shops, cafes, and restaurants that and could easily occupy a few days. We only had one day, so it was a day trip from Cape Town for our visit!

Gorgeous Franschhoek in the South African Fall!

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