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The Seychelles Islands’ unique diversity

The Seychelles islands as a holiday destination is one that pleasantly assaults ones senses with myriad colours…and experiences. Everything found in the archipelago boasting some 115 islands is never black and white – in fact, it is always interspersed with warm browns, striking turquoise and other hues found in the colour spectrum.

It is a well-documented fact that settlers from Europe, Asia and Africa came to Ste Anne Island initially, giving birth to the now multi-ethnic Seychellois nation. And, yes, even in a regular household, the variety of colours is amazing to witness, and sometimes quite difficult to explain. One family can single-handedly demonstrate how deeply mixed the nation is – it is not uncommon to see a stunning girl with Chinese features, striking green eyes and a beautiful sun-kissed glow!

However, if the intricacies of anthropology fascinate you, Seychelles has even more aspects to intrigue you during duration of your stay. The Seychellois culture has managed to inter-marry the cuisine from all three continents, also cherry picking the liveliest and most interesting aspects of song and dance in order to produce a unique musical identity of its own.

After an evening of grilling mackerels on a barbeque by the beach, there is no better way to end that evening with the beat rhythmic moutya drums playing in the background. If on good terms with the neighbours, they too will be hypnotised by the music – usually played around a bonfire –and the more often than not humoristic harmonisation of the men and women swaying around the bonfire.

Although local hotels do give a good performance of a moutya night, nothing beats the authentic sessions still held in the districts whereby the locals meet to really let their hair down and enjoy great drinks of ‘toddy’ or ‘kalou’ – whichever comes first.

The people here are friendly, quick to smile and are always game to have an impromptu party. This love of life is infectious when on the islands and many visitors to our shores can attest to the fun a moutya night can offer.

However, despite the Seychellois being adept at having fun, they are also a deeply literary and soulful nation, producing many poems and oral histories. The descriptive, colourful and eloquent language used to tell tales of days of everyday life is in itself a testament of how people express themselves on these shores. The many hilarious tales depicting the adventures of Soungoula, local mythical creature, are also testament to the vivid imagination of many an artist found among the islands.

Seychelles, however, is also home to areas of pristine and practically untouched natural sites, nurturing a kaleidoscopic array of unique flora and fauna, safe within the boundaries of its virgin world. The archipelago is home to some of the most spectacular seabird colonies in the world and the names such islands as Praslin, La Digue, Bird, Aride, Frégate, Cousin and Aldabra have become bywords for the optimum in bird-watching opportunities.

Safe inside the boundaries of their secure, island worlds, the spectacular assortment of endemic and indigenous species is difficult to grasp. Nowhere else on earth will you find the Jellyfish Tree, the Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher, the world’s smallest frog, heaviest land tortoise, the Indian Ocean’s only flightless bird as well as some of the most spectacular seabird colonies in the world boasting 13 species and 17 subspecies that occur here and only here, making the islands an Alladin’s cave for naturalists, ornithologists and eco-tourists.

Beneath the waves, it is much the same story where the exciting contrasts between the granite and coral reefs with their dizzying displays of reef fish, turtle, ray, shark and pelagics beckon to novice and experienced divers alike in places where as many as 800 different species have been spotted on a single dive!

The Seychelles Islands are unique time capsules and a great many have slumbered in splendid isolation since the dawn of time. Here, diversity, authenticity and purity are the watchwords of island worlds wondrously unchanged over many years whose many attributes have become the ingredients of the vacation of a lifetime and an experience of Nature that is nonpareil.

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