Slow tourism’s favourite destination
Scattered across the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles is the kind of archipelago dreams are made of. With pristine beaches and turquoise water that make the Caribbean green with envy, it’s practically paradise on Earth. It is home to lush yet fragile nature, fully embracing the idea of eco-conscious tourism that aims to protect the environment. The idea of a visitor that takes the time to find themselves and immerse themselves in another culture. Sounds like slow tourism to us!
The Seychelles: a unique environment worth protecting
The Seychelles is well aware of the fact it has unrivalled natural capital, and it has been working for many years to make this magnificent setting into a sanctuary. Ecosystem protection is a national cause on the archipelago’s 115 islands, mobilising the entire population from hotel employees to schoolchildren, who regularly have lessons on the subject. As such, nearly half of the country is a listed national park, making it the world champion in this regard. A host of pioneering initiatives have emerged in recent years, including the introduction of large-scale coral nurseries used to restore the reefs destroyed by the El Niño phenomenon in 1998 and the protection of native animal populations, with turtles and tortoises being a primary focus, some of which have become icons of the archipelago. Thanks to rigorous programmes making egg-laying sites into sanctuaries, especially on Curieuse Island, many of them have seen their numbers explode.
In addition, by banning settlements on certain extremely fragile islands (including Cousin and Curieuse) and reducing motor vehicle use on the majority of the islands, the Seychelles offers visitors the chance to help protect their idyllic holiday destination. There are several initiatives, often tied to environmental conservation associations, such as Nature Seychelles, that combine the holiday of a lifetime with awareness of its environmental footprint. The main activity is beach clean-ups, of course, organised by associations such as the Aldabra Clean Up Project. You can also help researchers collect data on the islands’ many tortoise species or surrounding coral reefs and so help improve our understanding of these endangered wonders.
The Seychelles archipelago: a paradise for lovers of eco-friendly outdoor activities
The Seychelles is world-famous for the crystal-clear waters that surround its many islands, making it a diving paradise. Its turquoise blue waters, protected from trade winds for the majority of the year, are filled with dazzlingly rich ecosystems, designated marine protected areas. The archipelago’s underwater splendours are best discovered in Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. They can be admired in complete tranquillity; you just need a snorkel, mask and unconditional respect. With manta rays, clownfish and multicoloured corals, you can look but not touch and must limit your flipper movements to leave the environment as you found it. If you’re a deep water diver, then you won’t be disappointed either as you can immerse yourself in a fascinating world with particularly abundant wildlife, and you may just encounter a massive yet peaceful whale shark.
If you don’t want to choose between admiring the seabed and the archipelago’s idyllic landscapes, we strongly recommend sea kayaking or paddleboarding, both eco-friendly ways to explore one of the many small islands surrounding Mahé and Praslin while enjoying breathtaking panoramic views. If you want an even more immersive experience, hire a clear bottom kayak for a front-row seat to admire turtles and tropical fish. Hiking in the Seychelles is another one of the best ways to enjoy the complete change of scenery offered by the exuberant nature typical of the equatorial climate. Follow one of the 40 or so marked trails on the three main islands. The highlight is the Morne Seychellois, the archipelago’s highest peak at 905 m above sea level.
Slow tourism: discover the Seychelles — and yourself
Relaxation is a way of life in the Seychelles. In the midst of this lush nature and stunning scenery, how could it be anything else? Is there anywhere more suited to introspection and the pursuit of inner peace? Time seems to stand still on this string of exotic, timeless pearls in the midst of the Indian Ocean. Contemplate the vastness of the ocean or simply enjoy the gentle rolling of the waves on a white sand beach surrounded by granite rocks. A trip to the Seychelles provides a unique break to reconnect with yourself and the environment.
Uninhabited until the 18th century, the archipelago is a melting pot of European, African and Asian influences. The capital Victoria has two remarkable cathedrals, one Catholic and the other Anglican, the remnants of two successive colonial powers. The country’s official languages — Seychellois Creole, English and French — are a perfect example of this cultural mix. As for the food, the focus is on rice with fresh fish, seasoned with delicious local spices or those brought by ships sailing through the archipelago from Africa or Asia. Favouring intense, authentic experiences, the slow tourism ethos is perfectly embodied by the vibrant and welcoming culture of the Seychelles.
Photos credits : © Istock
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