Serenading the Seychelles

Sprinkled with rich biodiversity and unique culture, the azure waters of these islands are just the beginning of this story of a tropical paradise…
Image used for representative purpose only. (File Photo)
Image used for representative purpose only. (File Photo)

Sun, sand and sea — Seychelles goes far beyond picture-perfect postcard beaches blessed with azure waters and hidden marine treasures. Nestled in the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean, this archipelago of 110 islands, is a dream destination boasting a harmonious blend of breathtaking nature reserves and a rich Creole cultural tapestry, all of which unfold on the popular islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. Home to the famous Coco de Mer — a palm tree that bears the world’s largest seed — and the rare black parrot, Seychelles is one of the few island countries where one can island hop by simply boarding a ferry that’s available several times throughout the day or fly Air Seychelles.

Folk art form of Seychelles
Folk art form of Seychelles

Stroll through the charming streets of Victoria, the capital city of the largest and most populous island, Mahé, which is a melting pot of French, English and Creole influences evident in the traditional architecture and cuisine. Come October, the annual Kreol Moutya, which is a prominent festival in Seychelles’ cultural calendar, transforms Beau Vallon into a colourful carnival of everything Creole for a week, appealing to all age groups and interests. The event is the best way to experience the raw fusion of traditional language, folk art forms and a flashy fashion show. Don’t miss the internationally acclaimed local artist George Camille’s gallery where many of his artworks capturing the vibrancy of the laid-back local life and the green carpet enveloping this minuscule African country. What is in it for alcohol connoisseurs you ask? We ‘Sey’-Brew and Takamaka! Both proudly Seychellois, are the oldest brewery and rum-makers (respectively) in the country and since they don’t export to India, it might just be the perfect souvenir to take back home. 

Praslin, the second-largest island, is a paradise for beach lovers. Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette are often ranked among the world’s most beautiful beaches, with their powdery white sands and clear turquoise waters. But Praslin is not just about beaches; it’s also about the serene embrace of the Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers a glimpse into prehistoric lattanyen palm forests, tree frogs, wolf snake and centuries-old Coco de Mer tree (known as grandpa) that still stands tall.

Cycle away at La Digue, the jewel of Seychelles — a recommendation of every local. It’s a car-free haven where you can feed gentle giants — the Aldabra Giant Tortoises at the L’Union Estate, climb marvellous monolith granite cliffs and if you are fortunate enough, catch a glimpse of the Black Paradise Flycatcher, a rare bird species found only in Seychelles. All this, before everybody ends up at one of the world’s most photographed beaches — Anse Source d’Argent, renowned for its colossal granite boulders and crystal-clear kayaking excursions. But above all, one cannot end their trip to this island without having a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Trust us, it will be the best you’ve tasted so far because the spice is sourced from local vanilla plantations.

And if your focus is food then let us walk you through the complex history of Creole’s culinary traditions shaped by a mix of African, European, Native American and, in some cases, Asian influences before we dive head first into the list containing everything from restaurants and cafés to hot curries and locally sourced seafood that are not to be missed. Originated in the colonies of the Caribbean, Latin America and the southern United States during the period of European colonization and the African slave trade, the term Creole originally referred to people of European descent born in the colonies and then the cuisine, which is known for its iconic dishes, which include gumbo, jambalaya, étouffée, red beans and rice. These dishes often feature a combination of spices, herbs, meats, seafood and vegetables and surprisingly taste very similar to Indian food. Circling back to the suggestions — Marie Antoinette on Serret Road is your go-to place for octopus curry and parrot fish fritters while Café Des Arts on Anse Volbert serves comforting Creole roasted pumpkin soup. Fish Trap at La Digue is for calamari and chocolate molleaux while Mabuya on Anse Lazio for all kinds of seafood salads. Bon Appétit!

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