A tropical archipelago composed of 115 pristine islands in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is a honeymoon-haven and the perfect travel destination for anyone longing for a slice of pure paradise. Seychelles’ capital, Victoria, is situated on the largest island of Mahé, the main gateway to the luxurious resorts and fantasy beaches that tempt travellers to travel to Seychelles.
The archipelago can be separated into Inner and Outer Seychelles; Outer Seychelles is mostly uninhabited, whilst Inner Seychelles is composed of the following granite islands: Mahé, Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette Island and the Inner Corallines. Suspended amidst clear, warm waters, these remote islands are famous for their unique landscapes of lush jungles and white beaches, decorated with large granite boulders, the quintessential image of Seychelles. Whether you opt to stay close to the action on the island of Mahé or venture further into the azure ocean to the virgin shores of islands such as Silhouette and blissful La Digue, Seychelles serves up picture-perfect bliss in generous portions.
Despite its upmarket image, Seychelles has a number of more budget-friendly options, whilst there’s plenty of room for everyone to enjoy it’s beautiful beaches as Seychelles boasts the smallest population in the whole of Africa. Situated north of Madagascar, off the coast of East Africa, a trip to Seychelles will also introduce you to a rich national culture, a fusion of the diverse people who have settled there over the centuries from Asia, Africa and Europe.
History of Seychelles
For such a remote archipelago, it is unsurprising that Seychelles was uninhabited for much of recorded history. The earliest discovery of the island by Europeans was in 1503, by part of Vasco de Gama’s Portuguese fleet, but it was the British who first landed on the islands in 1609. Soon knowledge of this paradise archipelago, dubbed the ‘Garden of Eden’, had spread and it became a transit point for voyages between Africa and Asia.
France took control of the archipelago in 1756 and named it after Louis XV’s minister of finance, Jean Moreau de Seychelles. Following the Napoleonic Wars, Seychelles became a crown colony of Britain in 1814, and the French settlement of L’Establissement was renamed Victoria after the British Queen. If you travel to Seychelles today, you’ll see the mixture of British and French architecture in Victoria’s historic buildings. Independence was granted to Seychelles in 1976 and it has remained a member of the Commonwealth since. Between 1979 and 1991 Seychelles was a socialist one-party state. Free elections were eventually reinstated in 1993.
Nature in Seychelles
The eternal natural beauty of Seychelles is its main appeal. Perfect, untouched beaches, lapped by pure waters and shaded by palm trees are what you’ll be rewarded with if you travel to Seychelles. A number of Seychelles’ remote islands as designated protected areas and the nation has two national parks, six marine national parks and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In fact, 42% of the total territory of Seychelles is designated to conservation, making it a world-leader when it comes to species protection. One of Seychelles’ most astounding natural assets is the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, nestled in the heart of Praslin Island.
It’s home to lush palm forests, unchanged since pre-historic times, including rare Coco de Mer Palms. These mysterious palm trees, endemic to the island, produce the largest seeds in the plant kingdom and are the source of many myths and legends. Another treasure contained within the forests of Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve is the Seychelles black parrot, the national bird and the most coveted animal to sight on a tour of Seychelles. Exploring this natural haven is a must-do on a trip to Seychelles.
This island nation is known to be a haven for Hawksbill and Green turtles. Nesting sites are common in the North Island, whilst the Cousin Island Reserve, a conservation centre for Hawksbills turtles and giant tortoises, is a paradise for nature-lovers. Here, you can watch slow-moving tortoises roaming the shore in search of fallen fruits and enjoy guided tours of the island which bring you face-to-face with the incredible biodiversity of Seychelles. A visit to Cousin Island Reserve is an unmissable highlight of any holiday to Seychelles if you can tear yourself away from your beach lounger!
Culture of Seychelles
Home to a fusion of peoples and cultures, Seychelles is known for its harmonious blend of African, Asian and European influences. The official languages of English, French and Seychelles Creole represent the mixed heritage of the nation. Christianity and Hinduism are the main religion and if you visit Victoria during a holiday to Seychelles, you’ll see the colourful Hindu temple of Sri Navasakthi, which stands out from the capital’s low-rise skyline. Seychelles’ multi-culturalism extends into all areas of the national culture, including its delicious cuisine. Although cultural sights are not the main focus for most who travel to Seychelles, the Natural History Museum is worth visiting for an insight into the unique nature of the island.
An integral part of Seychellois culture is its matriarchal society. Women tend to be the dominant members of a traditional Seychellois household and unwed mothers are the societal norm. A simple and relaxed lifestyle is the reality for most residents of Seychelles, and it’s this laid-back culture and friendliness which ensures travel to Seychelles is eternally popular. Seychellois are serious about protecting the pristine environment of their paradise isles, so all visitors are encouraged to take care to preserve and respect the natural habitat.Whether you’re looking for uninterrupted romance amidst the turquoise shores and white sands of Seychelles’ luxury resorts or hoping to discover the rich biodiversity and wildlife of these remote islands for yourself, Seychelles will forever be a dream travel destination, honeymooner or not.