“The Early Days of Le Nautique Seychelles”
Exciting news is that we plan to break ground on Le Nautique La Digue in the coming weeks (hurrah!) so what better a way to start this exciting journey than to take a trip down memory lane?
This blog post will give you a chance to understand the history of our beloved beachfront hotel site at La Passe, La Digue and the infamous local family figures that came before it.
This story is about our father and grandfather, Karl St Ange who occupied this very site for the majority of his golden years – a strong willed gentleman from the La Digue’s plantations and the ‘Cabanes des Anges’ – who is today remembered as the politician who brought a human touch to Seychelles politics.
“Minister Alain St Ange, pictured with painting of father Karl St Ange”
Ton Karl (as he was affectionately known around the islands) was born on La Digue on the 31st December 1919 and died on his beloved island at the vintage age of 89, on the 7th May 2009. The only son of Reunion Island farmers, Kersley and Josephine St. Ange, Karl worked the land alongside his parents; becoming one of the island’s biggest producers of coconut, patchouli and one of the world’s biggest exporters of vanilla.
Already firmly established as a leading local visionary, Karl would continue to shape La Digue’s destiny for several decades to come – inventing the ever popular and traditional ‘ox-cart’ mode of transport in the early 70s and opening his very own “Cabanes des Anges”, a small beachfront hotel offering a unique, authentic style of tourism unlike any of the major chains setting up elsewhere in the Seychelles.
“Traditional Transport – Oxcarts in La Digue”
The bungalows were hexagonal in shape with a central pillar made out of a coconut trunk with the roof thatched in coconut leaves. All the wood for the construction was local, as he wanted the native Diguois craftsmen to benefit from the upcoming tourism development. “Cabanes des Anges” provided guests with a true, authentic ‘pieds dans l’eau’ holiday experience – which is today still the most sought after escape for the modern day traveller.
A real people person and lover of his beautiful Seychelles Islands, Karl St. Ange decided to dabble into politics, adamant to help change the course of our country’s destiny – which he did in many ways.
Ton Karl lived life to the fullest. His influence both on his native island and his country is immense. His imprint on La Digue, despite the fading of the plantations and his cherished ‘Cabanes’ is still evident even to this day, and we hope to continue his legacy with Le Nautique Seychelles.
“Silhouette from Stuart & Natasha’s Wedding on the wall at Le Nautique La Digue”
Extracts from “Seychelles Unsung Heros – Homage to La Digue Legend; Karl St. Ange of ‘Cabanes des Anges’ by Derek Savy – 2013