Should You Visit The Seychelles…?

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The Seychelles

If you’re thinking about visiting the Seychelles then hopefully this whistle stop guide will help make your mind up…

The Seychelles are an archipelago, or island chain, east of mainland Africa.  The islands were fought over by the French and British for hundreds of years before finally landing under British rule. The exporting of coconut, sugarcane and cotton sustained the culture and is still their main exports. They gained their independence from Britain in 1976 and thrive as a republic under the commonwealth.

There are 25 districts that make up the inner islands of the Seychelles. The districts are grouped into basic demographic areas. Eight are grouped together and called Greater Victoria. This district is the capital of Seychelles. Fourteen are on the main island of Mahé and are designated a rural area and many are uninhabited.

Mahe holds most of the historic sites of Seychelles.  There are several museums and ecotourism locations to learn about the culture, traditions and environment. La Plaine St. Andre is an old restored plantation house that offers a special glimpse into life in the Seychells. Explore the past with the interactive exhibits and period clothes. You can enjoy a fine gourmet meal, tour the grounds and plantation and get an authentic feel for life in the Seychelles in the past and present.

Mahe has several unbelievable beaches. The waters in Seychelles is an incredible warm temperature all year round. The beaches are soft and powdery. Swimming, snorkeling, surfing and diving take on a whole new feeling when you can see the marine life so clearly in front of you.

Turtle Bay has shallow warm waters that are amazing for marine life watching. When the small tides roll in and wash back out rock pools hold lots of tiny surprises. Small fish, mussels, tiny octopus and plant life get caught in the rock pools and wait for the next wave.

There are tons of great little shops all over the Seychelles. You can literally lose hours and even days ambling through the many unique specialty shops. Mahe has great shopping and also has designer labels and famous stores.

The specialty shops like The Black Pearl in Praslin is where you get a real feel for the culture of Seychelles. Tea and perfumes are made locally and its in these specialty shops that you’ll find handcrafted items like these. The aroma is unlike anything in the rest of the world.

Seychelles food
Photo By TheLastResorts (CC) on Flickr

The Black Pearl is also a giant clam and pearl farm. It’s the only pearl farm in the Indian Ocean region and cultures its own pearls. Learn about the feeding habits of giant clams and how pearls are formed. The gift shop is full of handmade pearl jewelry and other trinkets.

There are myriad opportunities to enjoy the gorgeous landscape of Seychelles. Hiking, biking and horseback riding opportunities abound. Don’t stop there. Take a boat tour or go deep sea fishing. Take off exploring the countryside on some ATV’s.

Anse Major is an easy trail, best for those who are new to hiking Seychelles. It winds around the coastline onto a secluded beach. For those a little more adept at hiking, Cassedent is a great place. It’s a bit long and has plenty of uphill and downhill stretches to keep things interesting. The trail splits and comes back together among palm trees, screw pines, endemic trees and a multitude of wild life. It ends at a majestic waterfall to make it worth the work of getting there.

Food in the Seychelles is definitely a cultural experience. Creole cuisine graces the menu of even the swankiest restaurants and you’re liable to run into a seafood dish even at breakfast. The tropical fruits of the area play a part in the dishes in so many surprising ways. New flavors mesh seamlessly familiar tastes and flood your senses. Eating becomes an ethereal experience.

Anse Volbert, Isla Praslin, Seychelles
Photo By (cc) on Flickr

The fish that live in the Indian Ocean grow large and thick. Served on your plate, they are meaty and flavorful unlike anywhere else on the planet. Seafood is served so often here because of the meaty, flavorful abundance of the ocean’s harvest.

In addition to the plentiful seafood, many recipes incorporate native fruits and nuts for a unique flavor. Coconut milk is used a lot and can be found in both warm and cold cocktails. Various wild bird eggs are also a big delicacy in Seychelles and are most often boiled or served as an omelet.

Much of the cultural entertainment is provided through song and storytelling. The Creole culture is celebrated in a yearly festival. Old folklore is passed down and cultures and tradition is shared. This festival is important to the natives and fascinating for travelers.

Visiting Seychelles is different than being anywhere else. There is a feeling unlike any place else on earth. The attractions, wildlife, natural wonders and faultless beaches pool together to make an unbelievable vacation destination for anyone in the family. It’s a vacation no one will soon forget.