Seychelles is an archipelago comprising of 115 islands spanning a total of 455 square kilometres. East coast of Africa is the closest land mass to this pearl found towards the western Indian Ocean. The archipelago is a combination of mid oceanic granite islands, a few of them the oldest in the world, and coral and reef islands. The main island in the republic of Seychelles is Mahé, where an international airport as well as the capital of the country, Victoria, is located. Strewn about are also islands named Praslin and La Digue that comprise the economic and cultural hub of this people, although there are six island groups that together make the country that is, Seychelles.
Considerably young in age, the country came into being in 1976. The French were the first to settle in these Islands, around the late 1700s, and then, the Islands were taken over by the British in the early 1800s. Although the French contributed much to the evolution of this land and its people, the British gave further. Its plantations and natural resources were bolstered and administrative, and governmental setup was also brought to a formative stage. Finally, in 1976, Seychelles came into its own, becoming independent and a republic.
The nation, in its evolution has gone through some transitions, in political, economic, financial, and cultural spheres. Starting off as an agrarian economy, it soon realized that the country has quite a lot to offer that was unique and unavailable anywhere else. Magnificent, tranquil beaches, rich colourful culture, beautiful climate almost around the year, the ocean with its clear, pristine waters, and greenery, all together make it a vacationer’s paradise on earth. The country now recognizes tourism as one of its staple economic benefactor and therefore, accords much significance to maintaining its resources, natural assets, historic features, and its varied and intriguing culture.
Seychelles boasts of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the legendary Vallée de Mai on Praslin and the Aldabra. The climate is moderate all through the year, rarely going below 24°C or above 32°C. The sea around the island is generally calm, and the months from November to March offer the best season for tourists to the nation. The hotter weather is largely between December and April.
Starting from its colonization under the French, the islands have welcomed and been home to a number of different ethnic groups from around the world. Practically, every nation on earth would be represented among its people. Seychelles uses three official languages, Creole, English, and French, while many Seychellois also fluently speak Italian or German. The main religion of the country is Roman Catholicism although one would also find many Hindus, Muslims, and Bahai believers too living peacefully alongside the other.
Needless to say, the influences of these varied cultures are largely depicted in the local art, its cuisine, its music, dance, and architecture. The older architecture reflects the French and British heritage, while the modern designs try to assimilate the older structural features to keep the magic of history and nature alive. The Creole music and dance forms have drawn extensively from their roots in African, Malgasy, and European cultures. The ‘Moutya’, a dance form largely erotic in genre, the Sega, the Kanmtole, and Kontredanse are all vibrant depictions of the rich multi-ethnic heritage of the people in Seychelles. The country has many national monuments, national reserves, aquatic and marine parks as well as spell binding natural wonders both above land as well as beneath the waters.
Glass bottom boating, water sports, swimming, surfing, snorkelling, diving, golf, horse riding, nature tours, bird watching, and trekking give you glimpses of nature at its best, putting on the best show when unhindered and not tampered with. If the day is bright and sunny and spent in the lap of nature, nightlife too is exhilarating in Seychelles with casinos, local bars as well as fine dining restaurants, serving some of the lip smacking ethnic gourmet dishes entirely Creole. The ‘SUBIOS Underwater Festival’ and the ‘Festival Kreol’ held around October every year, brilliantly showcase Seychelles’ extraordinary assets each year. This could be considered the best time to travel to the islands. The Seychelles Sailing Cup held in January and the International Fishing Competition in November are also incentives to tourists.
The variedness in its population has remained steady, if not improved. Although a melting pot of different races, religions, and cultures, the republic has always maintained harmony among its people, and it continues to do so, ably led by its current President, Michel. The Republic of Seychelles is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Commonwealth, and La Francophonie, with embassies in Paris, New York, Brussels, London, Beijing, Pretoria, and New Delhi apart from numerous consulates world over.
Numerous holiday packages are available that open up to the seeker, the amazing wonders in this small magical island. Hotels, Guesthouses, Homestays, and Spa resorts are all available in to fit any budget, and the since the government specially promotes tourism, one can be assured that economic and affordable tour, travel, and stay will be available around the year. Organized travel and smart planning will ensure that you get the best of what Seychelles has to offer in a very short trip or a longer vacation.
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