The Seychelles is a glimmering stretch of water with 115 islands off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean giving it a well-deserved mystique for is solitude and luxury feel from the pristine beaches, relaxed living and a melting pot of influences.
Getting there just became a whole lot easier and more comfortable thanks to Crystal Cruises Espirit Yacht. Here’s why this off the beaten path treasure has been inspiring dreamers to set sail for years.
The Seychelles islands reflect a simple way of life that harkens back to its roots in the 1770s. The Seychelles airport opened in 1971 and the islands still have a pristine charm that residents hope to retain.
Today, Seychelles is a melting pot of different cultures including European settlers, Persian, Indian and Chinese traders, political exiles and freed slaves. Its isolated location has also contributed to unique traditions and language as well as multi-ethnic culture.
Dance: Its dancing and Creole music have roots in African, European and Malagasy culture.
You’ll see an erotic form of dance from the time of slavery called the moutya, as well as the kontredanse, a French dance of the elites. This eclectic influence can be seen and enjoyed in Seychelles arts, music, food, architecture and throughout the islands.
Religion: Religious affiliation in Seychelles is around 83% Roman Catholic. There are also practicing Seventh Day Adventists, Anglicans, Muslims and those of the Baha’i faith.
Daily life: The people of Seychelles are extremely friendly, hospitable and welcoming. Shaking hands is a customary greeting, and bringing a gift when invited to a home is acceptable. Both imperial and metric systems are used here; while bars sell beer in half-pints, petrol is sold in liters. Casual dress is the norm around Seychelles with formal wear reserved for church. However, swimwear should be kept on the beach.
Seychelles is just 200 years old with beginnings in the 1770’s when Mahé as well as seven additional islands were claimed by French planters.
The Seychelles islands were ruled by the French for 44 years until the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and the treaty of Paris in 1834. At this time, Seychelles came under British rule.
By 1825, Seychelles’ population had grown to 7,000. A number of British estates were created to produce coconut groves, food crops, sugar cane and cotton for textiles. These estates employed multi-national workers as well as slave labor. After the abolition of slavery, many of these enterprises suffered economic difficulties.
In 1903, Seychelles became a Crown Colony; however, by 1976 it achieved its independence from the British and was designated a republic of the Commonwealth. This was followed by a time of single party rule by Albert René in the 1980s. Britain and France eventually persuaded Seychelles to instead use multi-party government. The first elections in Seychelles were held in 1993, won by Albert René. His efforts toward a stronger infrastructure, public services and tourism assisted René in ruling Seychelles for over 25 years.
Now that you know more about these tiny islands, let’s explore how you can spend your days in port!
Explore Colonial Mahé
Mahé features a bustling market and lovely Botanical Gardens lush with orchids, Coco de Mer trees and big tortoises. There’s also an impressive replica of London’s Vauxhall Bridge Tower Clock in Victoria, Seychelles’ capital. Colonial-style mansions and vanilla and cinnamon plantations grace the area.
Relax in La Digue
La Digue is known for its slow pace and offers traditional ox-cart transport for tourists to see the coastline or visit Rene Payet Veuve Reserve, home to endangered birds like the paradise flycatcher. Don’t forget your camera.
Visit the Best Beaches
Anse Major, Anse Jasmin, Petit Anse and Anse Du Riz are considered some of Mahé’s top beaches. However, with a total of 70 pristine, white-sand beaches on 44 miles of coastline, you can find your own favorites. Consider hiring a boat to explore them from the sea. Anse Lazio of Praslin Island is another excellent area beach with white sands, ornate granite boulders, turquoise waters and peaceful, panoramic views. Anse Source d’Argent beach of La Digue is another favorite.
Bicycle Through L’Union Estate
Bicycling is a great way to enjoy peaceful L’Union Estate on La Digue. You’ll likely see big tortoises as well as get to glimpse a cemetery of original settlers and one of the few working copra mills.
Other must-try activities in Seychelles include scuba diving off Desroches and Sainte Anne National Marine Par, sampling Creole food, hiking the prehistoric forests of Praslin to see the Coco de Mer trees and wildlife, seeing the rock pools at Thérèse and visiting isolated Frégate Island.