Thursday, October 15, 2009
Exotic Seychelles Hidden Paradise at the End of the World
“The Republic of Seychelles is actually made up of 115 islands and is in the western Indian Ocean. Their beauty is legendary and 41 islands are the oldest mid-ocean granite islands in the world. 74 islands are comprised of coral reef. The three main islands for visitors are Praslin, La Digue and Mahe.”
Seychelles can trace its first settlements back to 1770, so is a young nation in comparison to other countries. The French were the first to arrive bringing a party of Whites, Indians and Africans with them. Following the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo the islands then transferred from the French to the British. This was in 1814 and by this time Seychelles had a population of 3,500.
Under British rile the population grew to 7,000 by 1825 and the British estates estates growing coconut, food crops, sugar cane and cotton. These estates and crops were essential to Seychelles.
Seychelles became a republic in the Commonwealth after independence from Britain in 1976.
The islands have remained a blend of many different races, traditions and religions. This presents a great diversity to visitors of culture and history and today the population is around 81,000
Seychelles are cosmopolitan and throughout the island the local architecture, art, cuisine and folklore can be seen. The grand old houses feature steep roofs and show the influence from the French and British.
There is a vibrant art scene in the Seychelles with painters, sculptors and artisans all working with local and sometimes recycled materials. Coconut shells, bamboo and pottery are all used locally.
Creole dance is popular. Music is made on drums and string instruments such as the violin and guitar, which were imported. Moutya is a traditional and erotic dance from the times of slavery. There is also sega, kanmtole and Kontredanse dances with songs.
The local cuisine includes Creole, Indian and Oriental influences. Try the fish, octopus, and curries whilst visiting.
Explore the three main islands of Praslin, La Digue and Mahe, all of which are classed as the Inner Islands and the Outer Islands of Alphonse and Desroches:
Mahe – The largest and most developed island features the capital, Victoria. It is home to 90% of the population. There are fantastic adventures and tours to be found here and with regular transport, fun and excitement is never far away.
Praslin – Second largest of the islands it is also very stylish with a good choice of accommodation, restaurants and activities. Praslin is granite and has mountains through the center and is 12km long and 5km wide. There are 5,000 inhabitants and the main towns are Anse Volbert (known also as Côte d’Or) and Grande Anse. Also on the island is Baie Ste Anne, which is Praslin’s main port. On Praslin there are wonderful beaches, walks, boat trips, scuba diving and snorkeling.
La Digue – if you are seeking pure tropical paradise with clear water, pristine beaches and pretty bays, then you will be close to heaven in La Digue. Inland are jungles and the neighboring islands of Felicite, Grande Soeur and Ile Cocos are only a short boat ride away. The island is incredibly laid back with only one surfaced road and almost no cars at all. If you seek total rest and relaxation then La Digue is for you.
Outer Islands - Only two of the Outer Islands have accommodation; Alphonse and Desroches. Which have opportunities for sailing, fishing and diving.
Weddings & Honeymoons – Seychelles is an ideal location for both your wedding and honeymoon as it provides a romantic atmosphere and stunning backdrop. Seek a specialist tour operator who can make all the local arrangements.
Vallee de Mai – On Praslin is the world heritage listed wonder of Vallee de Mai where you can see the rare coco de mer palms growing, and indeed this is only one of two places left in the world to see this amazing natural wonder.
Curieuse Island – The second place to see the coco de mer palms. This island is also famed for its giant tortoises, which are a delight to see.
Walking Trails – there are three trails that run through the Vallee de Mai Park, so if you are here seeing the palms then why not also take a trek through the Park. The longest trek through this Eden will take about 3 hours, depending on how long to stop to admire the beauty of course. The Park also has endemic trees, pandanus (screw pine) and latanier palms to look out for.
Bird Island – Bird Island is incredible secluded and a wonderful way to relax and absorb the sheer peace and quiet whilst wading through crystal clear water and relaxing on pristine beaches.
Morne Seychellois National Park – In the mountains of Mahe, the Morne Seychellois National Park is to be found. Its represents 20% of the island and features mangrove forests and what is the country’s highest peak. Take time to explore the mountain trails and you will possible have the trails to yourself, aside of course from the wildlife surrounding you.
Spa Experiences – Indulge in a sumptuous massage and truly relax whilst watching the mountains and ocean.
Adventures & Activities
Sailing – the granite and coral islands make Seychelles a perfect sailing location. Whilst out why not try big game, bottom and fly-fishing. There are also catamarans to hire as well as other boats for cruising and snorkeling on the way.
Scuba Diving – take the opportunity to go diving here and witness the fascinating marine life. There are many reputable dive schools on the islands who can advise of the best locations.
Fishing – the crystal clear waters make a fabulous location for fishing. Seychelles has a world record for pacific bonito and dogtooth tuna fishing. The Outer Islands are ideal for saltwater fly-fishing. Some of the other fish include marlin, shark and giant barracuda. There are also sailfish, wahoo and the rainbow-runner.
Walks & Trails – explore the nature trails on the islands and discover the wildlife and scenery that Seychelles has in abundance. Spot the Seychelles Scoops Owl, Pitcher Plant and the Jellyfish Tree.
When To Go
The Seychelles boasts all year round tropical climate where the temperature rarely drops below 24C and rarely goes above 32C. Peak seasons tend to be around Easter and December to January.
While scuba diving you should always keep in mind the direction and the force of the currents.
Do not try to pick up and export corals, shells and don’t damage the exotic natural beauty.
No Visas are required for entry to Seychelles.
The communications services are modern and efficient with two GSM networks.
Credit cards are widely accepted and there are ATM facilities in larger locations.
Explore the largest island of Mahe.
Discover Praslin’s beaches and sports.
Relax on La Digue.
Walking and trails.
Nature and wildlife treks.