the ultimate cocktail of exclusivity, diversity and affordability.
A new era is dawning over the Seychelles Islands – one which is steadily bringing its legendary natural beauty and the exceptional holiday experience it offers, within reach of more and more visitors. This dream holiday destination offers not only exclusivity and luxury, but also caters for affordability.
Seychelles offers a diversity of locations with a spectacular necklace of 41 granite and 74 coral islands, clothed in some of the rarest species of fauna and flora. This, combined with world renowned and pristine beaches, sapphire seas and perpetual summer temperatures make Seychelles the ultimate haven of relaxation, adventure and renewal of mind, spirit and body.
The islands of Seychelles are dotted with sites of great natural beauty and interest. Victoria, the capital of Mahé Island, is one of the tiniest capitals in the world and boasts a bustling local market, two cathedrals, an Indian temple, Botanical Gardens and two interesting museums: the Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of History housed in the national library which provide an excellent introduction to Seychelles’ history as both a French and British colony.
The other main islands of Praslin and la Digue offer world-class beaches to enjoy.
Visit La Digue,where time stands still and bicycles and the ox-cart hold sway on the pathways to dream beaches such as Anse Source D’Argent.
On Praslin, enjoy a stroll in the
Vallée de Mai where the legendary
Coco-de-mer nut grows high on ancient palms.
There are many other more remote islands to explore, so be sure to make time for island hopping either by boat, helicopter or plane.
Seychelles natural beauty can be discovered at any number of scenic viewing spots throughout the islands, where the mountain roads offer excellent panoramas of the sapphire ocean and virgin forests. Major tour operators offer excursions on full day or half-day basis and will include a Creole barbecue lunch. Prices and schedules are available from individual tour companies.
Bus trips with guides include a trip to the capital of Victoria, including the colourful market, souvenir stalls and the Botanical Gardens at Mont Fleuri.
Excursions usually include the viewpoint at Mission Lodge at Sans Soucis, high in the mountains above Victoria offering breath-taking views of the island and a lodge where the Queen of England once sat and sipped tea.
The Tea Plantation itself is at Morne Blanc, a few kilometres further along the mountain road, and visitors can taste the assortment of flavoured teas produced at the small tea factory on site at the Tea Tavern.
A trip to the beach at Port Launay for swimming and snorkelling is also included in some excursions.
Tours south of Mahé usually include the Cap Lazare craft village, the stunning beaches at Intendance or Anse Soleil, plus the studios and house of the renowned British artist, Michael Adams at Anse aux Poules Bleues, or the studio of sculptor Tom Bowers at Santa Maria.
Tours of the east coast of Mahé, take in the splendid Jardin du Roi fruit and spice gardens, the photogenic Fairyland beach at Anse Royale, as well as the Craft Village and Plantation House at Le Cap.
Accommodation on the Islands range from the more opulent amenities of world-famous 5-star resorts to the picturesque charm of affordable, smaller hotels, Creole guest houses and self-catering units – making a Seychelles holiday accessible in terms of budget, authentic in terms of the diversity of experiences it offers… and the adventure
of a lifetime.
As an alternative to land-based accommodation, charter a yacht and take a leisurely cruise around the islands.
The Seychelles Secrets portfolio of hotels illustrates perfectly Seychelles’ particular brand of tourism with a range of accommodation that proposes island-style living at its best in establishments that have been especially vetted to provide an enticing blend of excellent facilities and value for money, offering true Creole hospitality in picturesque surrounds that are characteristic of the islands’ legendary natural beauty.
The Creole Language is spoken by everyone and is an adaptation of 17th Century French, African languages and Malagasises. It has been elevated to national language status, earning the same respect that English and French receive and today Creole is a written language as well as spoken. Such freedom has resulted in an outburst of creativity in plays, poetry and prose. The Creole culture is today a major attraction for worldwide visitors who want to experience a unique way of life.
Creole architecture is another important cultural aspect of the islands. The traditional designs of some of the grand old houses with their steep roofs and many openings to catch the island breezes, have been assimilated into modern architecture, ensuring comfortable living in the tropics.
Traditional music and dance such as the sega, with its tantalising hip swaying movements to the pulsating sounds of drums, fiddles or guitars is found in Seychelles, as on other islands.
But the dance and music most unique to Seychelles is the moutia – a dance seen by the old colonial authorities as so sexually brazen that it was banned.
After a week of hard labour on the plantations, the workers would gather under the coconut palms and dance to the sound of the
Other African looking instruments also make up the musical heritage of the Seychellois sound: the one stringed zez from Madagascar, the bonm and the kaskavel.
All were played during the long warm starlit evenings on verandas or alongside beach fires.
Kreol Cuisine has its origins in the racially mixed Seychellois. From India comes many varieties of curry; from China comes popular rice dishes and stir-fried vegetables and noodles with steamed fish, and from France the aromatic blends of garlic and herbs. All these influences, mixed with a huge selection of seafood plucked out of the Indian Ocean and a variety of tropical fruits and vegetables make eating out in Seychelles a culinary delight. Local delicacies include kari zourit (a creamy octopus curry) and tec tec soup (a small white shellfish collected from the beaches and made into a soup usually with pumpkin).
Local cuisine is on offer at several charming restaurants, often in romantic settings which feature Creole culinary traditions and popular international specialities. Most hotels offer a fine combination of international and Creole dishes on their menu. Be sure to frequent some of the many restaurants that specialise in Creole dishes on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, where you can dine tête à tête with your feet in the sand on uncrowded beaches.
Festivals and Events
Diary dates not to be missed by locals and visitors alike include the annual Kreol Festival in October, a vibrant celebration of traditional culture music, dance, arts, crafts, cuisine, customs and the general way of island life. The annual Carnaval International de Victoria, due to be held in April 2016.
A fascinating week full of the colours, sounds, flavours and fragrances of a corner of the Creole world that treasures its traditions while embracing the opportunities of the present.
Weddings and Honeymoons
Seychelles has long been dubbed ‘the islands of love’.
Home to the unique Vallée de Mai purported by many to be the site of the original Garden of Eden, it is little wonder that lovers are inspired to take their vows and wed in this gentle and romantic atmosphere.
Marriage and/or honeymoon packages are offered by several leading travel agencies ensuring that your wedding day or honeymoon can be as blissfully romantic and unique as you in your wildest dreams can conjure, and that the memories of those special days will become forever emblazoned in your hearts.
For more information visit Seychelles Tourism website on www.seychelles.com