Just northeast of Madagascar lies the little archipelago nation of
Seychelles. Though the French were not the first to discover the
uninhabited islands, they were the first to populate it with,
bringing with them slaves from Africa (same as in Reunion) and the
majority of the races living here are of French and African descent
though there are a few Indian and Chinese groups sharing this part
of the world with them.
The majority of residents of Seychelles
live on Mahe Island, its largest island. It is also where its leading
port and capital, Victoria, is located. The official languages of the
country are Creole, English, and French. Most residents are Christian,
and a majority of them are Roman Catholics.
A country made up of two distinct island
groups (a group of low-lying corals which cover the south side and the
Mahe group in the north to which all major islands in the country belong
to), Seychelles’ has 83 coral islands that are mostly uninhabited as
they are without their own water resources. Its principal islands are:
Mahe Island, Praslin, Silhouette, and La Digue. It also has 28 smaller
islands in the area.
Seychelles’ major attractions lie in its natural resources. Though it
has a lot of activities to offer its visitors, it is really a nature
lover’s paradise. The numerous species of wild birds alone will keep you
occupied for weeks no to mention the various tropical fish and
underwater activities the islands have to offer. Because the islands had
been “discovered” just a few centuries ago, many of the flora and fauna
found here are endemic. This is good news for scientists for it means
species on the island are rare and can be found nowhere else in the
It is also a good thing that the government places a high priority on
the preservation of the country’s natural assets. But tourism being what
it is, some of the island’s natural resources are being plundered by
greedy capitalists who think nothing of destroying, for example, ocean
beds to sell souvenir corals, all in the name of the almighty dollar!
Though this is not a unique problem, government is trying its best to
preserve what Mother Nature has so generously given them.
There are some similarities between animal
and plant species in Madagascar and Seychelles as they have similar
geology. But Seychelles has something the other country doesn’t; the
coco de mer or literally “sea coconut”. It is a coconut with a two-lobed
nut in one husk and it is a species of plant-life endemic on these
islands. African influence is dominant in the country and the
Seychelloise government offers plenty of support to its local artists
and gives funding to institutes that cater to the arts and culture of
You will find many African influences in
many, if not all, of the country’s artworks, literary works, and music.
Seychelles beautiful surroundings and easy paced life attracts many
artists as well as entrepreneurs to come and set-up shop selling
souvenirs and arts and crafts.
The moutia dance, incorporates African traditions with those of other
influences that have arrived in the islands. There are also sega dances
that are also found in the Reunion Islands. The banjo, African drums,
accordion, and violins are used along with indigenous instruments such
as the bom, the makalapo, and the zez to make unique, home-grown
There are any things to see and do in Seychelles. For starters, go bird
watching at Cousin Island and view the hundreds of species of birds that
make their home here. Go diving on Shark Bank or go trekking on Morne
Seychellois National Park on the country’s highest peak.
You can also relax in La Dique or walk
through the Botanical Gardens on Mahe Island. Take a hike, literally, to
Kopolia Park or rent a yacht out of Victoria, the country’s capital. For
a taste of how the locals make a living, visit the Tea Factory then dine
on fresh fruit at Le Jardin du Roi, literally “The King’s Garden”.
Though it may seem at first that
Seychelles is just another tropical group of islands on the Indian
Ocean, it is a very popular destination for visitors because of its
unspoiled, un-cosmopolitan air about it. The people here are simple,
friendly, and artistic; a good indication that there are many things
here that will amaze and fascinate its visitors. If you want to see
paradise, visit Seychelles!