paradise-found:-rediscovering-the-beauty-and-charm-of-seychelles

Paradise Found: Rediscovering the Beauty and Charm of Seychelles

If you had to describe Seychelles in four words, what would they be?

It is pristine, exotic, luxurious, and it is home! 

Tell us about some of your fondest memories of the islands?

Growing up in Seychelles, I never realised how blessed I was to live in such an abundance of nature. Mountain hikes were outings that I looked forward to with my classmates every so often, discovering the amazing flora and fauna along the way. The seaside picnics were also regular outings – but with my family this time around. The day’s fresh catch was grilled on the beach, and we would spend the whole day there until sunset. Today, I have realised that this is why a lot of people travel the world; to have this very kind of experience.

Why are you proud to be a Seychelloise/live in Seychelles?

I am proud to be a Seychelloise because there is no place like Seychelles! Living in Seychelles, I love that I can truly experience the spirited energy of our culture in all its aspects every day. This helps revive and keep our Creole traditions vibrant, active and alive with its melting pot of cultures. I am proud to be a part of a legacy that I will pass onto the next generation.

If you had to recommend the best islands to visit, which ones would they be and why?

Cherished for their exceptional beauty and soft beaches, there are no best islands in Seychelles as each island has its own character and story to tell.  Seychelles is an island archipelago of 115 islands and being here is a journey with extraordinary island-hopping possibilities. This is where raw nature has been preserved in the planet’s tiniest frog; the super-rare jellyfish tree; the legendary Valle de Mai; Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll and so much more.

What are some of the unmissable activities to do when in the archipelago?

Seychelles has so much more to offer than its beautiful beaches! Seychelles is also a haven for world-class activities. With its safe and pristine environment, it is just the place to treat your family to a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. The islands are not only a playground for lovers of the ocean but also a treasure trove for every sailor, diver and fisherman. Home to a number of watersports is the spectacular Beau Vallon beach which makes for a perfect activity-packed day by the sea; a wonderful way to explore the ocean and hidden nooks and crannies of the coastline.

Being a melting pot of traditions from all over the world, Seychelles offers an Aladdin’s cave of rich experiences for visitors to enjoy, from its national heritage monuments, museums and natural wonders, to the diversity of its arts and other cultural activities. Seychelles is a treasure chest of varied escapades just waiting to be discovered, whatever your tastes and preferences for activities may be.

Tell us about some of your favourite restaurants in the country?

Seychelles’ cuisine encompasses almost every imaginable nation and race. Always being referred to as a melting pot of cultures, its myriad of flavours and spices is what gives our exquisite Seychellois Creole cuisine its tantalising, mouth-watering courses and des­serts. So to answer your question, I find it very hard to bring myself to pick one particular favourite restaurant as our cuisine leaves visitors yearning for more and locals overseas reminiscing of homemade delights.

The Islands are brimming with coconuts, papayas, pineapples, limes, bananas, cassavas, pumpkin, eggplant and many other fruits and vegetables such as jackfruit, golden apple, custard apple, breadfruit and soursop. Many of the traditional dishes incorporate the accents of these fruits and vegetables, making the cuisine both nourishing and delicious.

As you can see, the sphere of culinary flavours is broad – even our salads are not too ordinary. A Creole dish would certainly not be complete without a dash of crushed chillies to accompany every meal, along with a mango or golden apple chutney.  All these influences, mixed with a huge selection of seafood plucked out of the Indian Ocean and a variety of tropical fruits and vegetables, generally make eating out in Seychelles a culinary delight.

What would you say are the best luxury hotels in the region, and why would you recommend these?

Seychelles is one of the world’s most stunning travel destinations, within reach of more and more holidaymakers. It is not easy to single out the best accommodation, as signature properties of new and refurbished, self-catering Creole guesthouses are joining the ranks of existing 5-star hotels and exclusive, charming retreats to offer memorable stays among welcoming local people and stunning natural surroundings. The rapidly changing face of Seychelles’ accommodation scene has something for everyone and any budget.

In terms of cultural offerings, what would you say the Seychelles Islands brings to the table?

The most valuable thing Seychelles has to offer is its culture. This is the jewel in its crown, a major attraction that most people worldwide undeniably want to experience. The culture of Seychelles is a melting pot of many different peoples who have commingled and coexisted here since the first settlement of the islands in 1770. Visitors travelling to the Seychelles travel to experience the places, artefacts and activities that truly represent the stories and people of the past and present.

Our heritage is very much coloured by the languages, customs and practices enriched from many continents. Seychelles has always been referred to as a melting pot of cultures that have not only brought with them their own customs and values but also their faiths and beliefs. From its national heritage monuments, bustling markets, colonial-style mansions, museums and natural wonders, to the diversity of its arts and other cultural activities, Seychelles offers an Aladdin’s cave of rich experiences for visitors to enjoy.

When visitors leave the islands, what do you hope they will feel and/or remember most?

Different people of the world have their own distinct cultures that set them apart from others. We have an authentic charm and uniqueness which places us head and shoulders above other island destinations. We would like our guests to remember the heartfelt welcome they received, the service they enjoyed, the wide choice of activities they participated in and of course, the amazing cuisine and other aspects of our vibrant culture.

The importance of each of these points is stressed in various outreach and other education programmes and through the efforts of the accommodation establishments themselves and other government agencies. Being a leader in conservation, we also hope for our guests to become our ambassadors, be touched and transformed by our efforts, and share them with their friends and families when they return home.

Are there any exciting events happening on the islands this year?

There are usually many exciting events to look forward to every year on the islands, but they have all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the most important event Seychelles is participating in this year is the Expo 2020 Dubai. As you know, these kinds of expos are well known for their global platform for innovation – allowing countries to showcase their culture and their most advanced innovations.

This year Seychelles is proudly a part of the Expo 2020 Dubai, set to occur from October 1st 2021 to March 2022. The Expo will go down in history as the first Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region and Seychelles is one of the privileged representatives joining the rest of the world. Seychelles is privileged because, especially for this particular expo, under its ultimate theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating The Future,’ there will be the opportunity to discuss measures against global issues and find solutions for the world’s universal problems! After recently celebrating Seychelles’ 250 years of being last year in 2020, Seychelles will undoubtedly have something to share as we have been able to sustain a good balance in coexisting with our natural environment. The concept for this expo already echoes a lot of our country’s conservation beliefs.

Like all the other nations, Seychelles will have a pavilion, a miniature world of our country, which gives us a 6-month international platform of visibility to raise the profile of Seychelles as a destination worth visiting. This year in Dubai is where the world will be in one place, and this is our chance to see our favourite countries and for other countries to discover us. The discovery of the Seychelles pavilion through various visual, audio and graphic presentations will leave each guest with a great feel for our Islands. Seychelles is a national treasure, and as always, we can already anticipate the innovations that will leave a meaningful and lasting legacy, which will change the way the rest of the world sees us.

What would you say is the best time to visit Seychelles and why?

It is always a good time to come to Seychelles as the islands are blessed with a warm tropical climate all year. However, depending on your particular interests, certain times may be better suited than others for your visit.

Thanks to its equatorial location, the best times to visit Seychelles are April, May, October and November, with April being the calmest, warmest month. Visiting during these months offers ideal conditions for sunbathing, wildlife watching and scuba diving. Seychelles has ideal, beach-perfect weather all-year-round with December to April being the hottest months. More often than not, if there are showers on one side of the island, it might be clear on the other side.

To find out more about Seychelles, visit Tourism Seychelles’ website.

Images © Michel Denousse; Flavien Joubert and Chris Close .

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