Seychelles A Weekend in Paradise

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A Travel Photo Story

We really needed to get away from the hustle and bustle of the real world, so we decided to take a short trip to Seychelles for a birthday celebration. Much like everyone else, we has also heard SO much about the place. But nothing and I mean nothing could have prepared us for what was to come. I thought it would be a good idea to break it down to the basics. So here are my ABC’s for Seychelles.

A. Amazingly Awesome! That’s an A+ for the place.

B. Beach! Stunning stunning stunning beaches. They are a proud nation with the 10th most beautiful beach in the world located at the Banyan Tree resorts, which is a sight to behold.

C. Creole is their national language and their cuisine. What started as an attempt to speak French gave way to their own adaptive version and is unique to Seychelles. English is widely spoken and understood though, as it is taught in the schools very early on. The local cuisine has an Indian influence, so expect to eat a lot of the spiced and flavored curries! Yum!

D. Drive around, explore the islands. The roads are beautiful and scenic, with the most stunning coastal views! With the speed limit of 40, slow down, take your time, enjoy! Word of caution though – there is zero tolerance for driving under influence so don’t even think about doing that.

E. Effortlessly beautiful. These words describe Seychelles perfectly. Everything you see is natural with absolutely no pretenses; the country is blessed!

F. Fishing is one of the main sources of income. They are the world’s smallest islands to consume the most fish. Except for tuna, which is exported to Europe, all other catch is enough for the natives and tourists with the consumption averaging to 98 Kilos per person per day. Hook line sinker!

G. Go with the flow. No really! Everything there is so slow paced, no one is rushed, nowhere to go. Slow down and just breathe.

H. Hotels! They come in varied price ranges to suit all budgets! From self-catering to pampering yourself, they have it all! Take your pick.

I. Islands! The Seychelles comprises of 115 smaller islands, including the manmade Eden. Some of these are within driving range; some are even walkable during low tide. The ones a bit further will need you to hop on a boat and experience the island life. Go for it.

J. Joy! “I Love Seychelles” is the tag line of the nation and as a tourist you are compelled to say the same. There is just so much joy in everything there, so much positivity, so much simplicity in the air that you can’t help but fall in love too!

K. Kindness is to be learnt from Seychelles! They have the utmost respect for the animals and plants alike, sharing land, food and resources with them – willingly. It’s amazing to see the interaction between the different species. It really is heartwarming.

L. Laws! The country has some strict laws – zero tolerance for substance abuse, stealing, littering. This is what keeps their crime rate at a low 1% and makes the country a very safe one. Lower that guard, loosen those shoulders, you’re safe in Seychelles.

M. Mahe is the largest island in the Seychelles! With a total population of approximately 92,000, one third is found in Mahe, making it the most populated island where everybody knows everyone. Fun fact: flashing the headlights or sounding a horn is actually a “hello” and not at all a rude gesture! I wouldn’t recommend trying that somewhere else though.

N. Nationals. The people of Seychelles are its best representatives. They are warm, friendly, welcoming and patriotic. Never have I seen a lot so proud of their country, so protective, possessive even! They love their country, almost to a fault, so respect the boundaries and make the most of the freedom given to enjoy the place!

O. Ocean. Seychelles is surrounded by the Indian Ocean on all sides. Feast your eyes, and enjoy the endless views – the vastness is just overwhelming.

P. Picturesque – all the images are from my iPhone. The place is just very naturally photogenic :-D!

Q. Quality time. The best place to have some alone time with your loved ones, away from the fast pace of the city and its noise! As opposed to the general opinion, Seychelles is not just for the honeymooners or the ones on their baby moon! Seychelles is very child friendly with most hotels having very lenient child polices. Go on, take the kiddos along, they will love it!

R. Reserves for the protection of the endangered species like the turtles and the Coco de Mer. With the dwindling population of the turtles due to poaching, Seychelles had passed regulations banning the killing of the turtles throughout the country. Islands like Curieuse are one of the few places left where you can find this species roaming freely, and interacting with humans. Vallee de Mai nature reserve is a nature park and a UNESCO
world heritage site on the island of Praslin to protect and preserve the palm forest made up of the Coco de Mer and five other endemic palms. The Coco de Mer is a fruit unique to the Seychelles and the world’s largest double nut fruit. It is against the law to pluck out any for personal use, even if grown on a private land. Do NOT attempt to retrieve any, every Coco de Mer is accounted and there are severe punishments for the offenders!

S. Seychelles *Sigh*

T. Tourism – is their biggest source of income. As told by a guide, “we do not joke about our tourists, it is serious business for us”. They welcome us with open arms, respect us – Respect their laws and their land in returning the favor.

U. Unwind, relax, and rejuvenate. There really isn’t much else to do there. Ummmm…

V. Victoria (sometimes called Port Victoria) is the capital city of the Seychelles and is situated on the north- eastern side of Mahe Island. Victoria Market is the local hotspot for the Seychelles people and the brightly colored Fish and Fruit Markets are not to be missed. Victoria is served by Seychelles International Airport, which was completed in 1971.

W. Water. So clean, clear and colorful! An absolute treat really!

X. X-factor? Sun, sand, sea, serene, simple, stunning, safe.

Y. be Yourself! Seychelles is 4 degrees south of the equator, making it prone to humidity and abundance of sunshine! Ditch the makeup and fancy pretenses, dress down and just be you!

Z. soak in the sun, work on that tan, bask in the glory – and catch up on those Zzzzzzz

Do Remember

Hydrate: It is very humid there too, drink lots of water or indulge in the freely available coconut water.

Carry large sums of money, items of value or important documents such as passports on your person even though Seychelles has a low crime rate. As with any tourist destination, be prudent when it comes to walking alone at night or in secluded places.

Collect seashells along the beaches as many are used as habitation by hermit crabs. Collecting shells is prohibited in nature reserves, marine parks and reserves in Seychelles.

Your protection: The sun in Seychelles is very strong, carry a good sunblock, sunglasses, hats! Keep an umbrella handy for those sudden showers. It is a tropical island after all!

Plan: Depending on your days there, plan an itinerary to maximize your time on the island. Getting in touch with reliable agents or booking through your hotel would be the safest bet.

Respect: Please be considerate towards the fauna and sensitive to its sometimes fragile nature. Walk carefully on the reefs and do not feed sea birds, mammals, turtles or tortoises or disturb their nesting grounds. Stay away from the Coco de Mer, you do not want to find yourself on the other side of the law in a foreign land!

Getting There

With the place being just 4.30 hours by flight and no time difference with the UAE, it is the perfect setting for a weekend getaway to recharge your batteries. Etihad Airways acquired a 40% stake in its national carrier and flights to the destination are often operated by Air Seychelles from Abu Dhabi. Emirates flies direct, twice daily from Dubai. Seychelles is a visa-free country meaning that there are no visa requirements for any person wishing to travel to this country. However, they should have in their possession a valid passport to be awarded entry.

Remember NOT to

Litter. The country even cleans out their rubbish bins!

Text and photos by Harshika Daryanani