Polished by millions of years of erosion, the granite rocks—so characteristic of Seychelles—form 115 islands, located northeast of Madagascar. Thanks to its near-equatorial location, the country enjoys a hot and humid climate, with temperatures almost constant throughout the year.
Great weather is one ingredient of an idyllic holiday—another is the warm sea. Sea fishing and surfing are popular, diving even more so, especially around the six small islands of Sainte Anne National Park, not far from Victoria. Sailing is a great way to explore hidden coves and the uninhabited islands: as only thirty-three islands have human habitation, there is plenty of opportunities for a “Robinson Crusoe” experience.
The most beautiful beach in the world
The star attractions of Seychelles are the raw ingredients of the geology of the islands.
The granite rocks form the perfect spot in the most picturesque of all beaches, Anse La Source d’Argent on the island of La Digue. Quintessentially tropical, archetypal of a Seychellois landscape, the beach has been a backdrop for many a fashion photo-shoot and the subject of countless catalogues and postcards. Its reputation as the true icon of Seychelles is well deserved.
Free from motorised traffic, La Digue is best explored on bikes that can be rented near the island’s marina. There are also carts pulled by oxen, an attraction in itself, especially for the young ones.
Endemic palms and lizards
When taking a return ferry from La Digue, it is worth visiting one of the eight national parks, on the island of Praslin. A dense, virgin forest grows here—the last place where the giant Coco de Mer palms, Endemic to Seychelles, can be seen in the wild. The large fruit Coco de Mer is the symbol of the country.
The animals and plants found on the islands are a big attraction of Seychelles—from the much-loved giant tortoises to the various endangered species of birds, and the ubiquitous bright green lizards.
As in so many beautiful places in the world, the animal kingdom is under constant pressure from the human development and many island ecosystems are threatened. However, there are efforts to save them—like The Noah’s Ark Project, undertaken by the North Island resort.
The vibrant Seychellois culture
Uninhabited until the Age of Discovery, the history of the islands is tied to the Portuguese explorers and French and British colonisation.
Today, the majority of people living in Seychelles are descendants of colonists and slaves—or Creole—though the islands are also home to a large Hindu population.
The folklore and cuisine of Seychelles forged in this unique cultural melting pot. African, European and Asian traditions and customs have contributed to the way of life—influencing local art, cuisine, music, dance and architecture.
Perhaps this is best observed in the syncretic folk music, which mixes African rhythms, European polka and mazurka, French folk and pop, sega from Mauritius and Réunion. Uniquely Seychellois is the traditional moutya, an erotic dance derived from the days of slavery.
The food is simple, yet rich in fresh fish and seafood. The staple is curry and rice, with coconut milk often used in the sauce.
When to go
To taste the culture of the islands, the best time for a visit is during one of the many celebrations and festivals, such as the Creole Festival (in October) or La Digue Regatta in September.
The hottest months are March and April; coolest are July and August—this is driven by the monsoon seasons, with a rainy season lasting from December to May. Temperature hardly ever drops below 24° C and doesn’t usually go above 30° C.
Photos by Laskowski & Zadros, © TravelPlusStyle.com