Seychelles’ Best-Kept Secrets
5 Culturally-Enriching Experiences Only in Seychelles
Although home to some of the world’s most famous and picturesque shorelines, Seychelles is also deeply rich in culture and history. Its colorful blend of people from different ethnic groups and origins, each bringing with them their own distinct traditions and customs, all contribute to the vibrant Seychellois way of life.
Visitors can witness these diverse influences at work throughout the domains of local art, cuisine, music, and even architecture. Join us as we venture beyond the beach in Seychelles and discover a different side of the destination equally worth celebrating and ticking off your travel bucket list.
Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market
There’s no better introduction to the Seychellois and their local food culture than Mahé’s busy and colorful Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market. More widely known as Victoria Market, it is truly the beating heart of Seychelles’ capital city. Originally built in 1840 and later renovated in 1999, it seamlessly blends the old and new Seychellois way of life. In addition to being a great place to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh-caught fish, and specialty spices, it also houses a wide array of boutiques and shops that sell handmade souvenirs, clothing, and local works of art that you won’t be able to resist taking back home.
While most people venture to La Digue to see the world’s most photographed beach – Anse Source D’Argent – they might be surprised to learn that there’s quite a bit of history to be discovered along the way. At its southern end lies L’Union Estate Park, a former coconut and vanilla plantation that offers unique insight into the islands’ colonial history. Until the 1980s, it was here that coconuts were grown in the fields and copra (the dried flesh from which coconut oil is processed) was produced. Visitors today can see the traditional copra mill in action, along with the kalorifer or kiln used to dry the coconuts. Further adding to its historical significance, the estate is also home to the cemetery of the original settlers of La Digue, along with one of the oldest examples of French colonial architecture on the island, the Plantation House.
Seychelles’ Vibrant Art Scene and Craft Village
Despite its small size, Seychelles’ pristine natural environment and laidback island culture has attracted many artists over the years. The islands of Mahé and Praslin in particular are known for their lively art scenes and for being home to numerous well-known painters and sculptors. While many have their own art galleries – some of which operate out of their own home – that guests can visit, others showcase their work at the Domaine de Val des Près. Located at Au Cap in the southeast of Mahé, this craft village features five unique attractions that highlight Creole architecture, arts and craft and gastronomy. Not just for buying souvenirs, this beautiful area provides visitors with an unforgettable way to honor and share in Seychelles’ rich history, culture, and traditions.
Moutya, the Rhythm of Seychelles
Music-loving visitors won’t want to miss a chance to groove to the rhythm of Moutya, the traditional dance of Seychelles. With deep roots in the history of African slavery, the drums of Moutya awaken a vibrant energy among anyone in its path. Today this emotionally-charged dance is enjoyed at all celebrations and festivities in Seychelles, including most notably at the Bazar Labrin. Located along the fringe of Beau Vallon Beach in Mahé, this weekly open-air market is the ultimate gathering for tourists and locals to meet, mingle and watch live musicians perform traditional Moutya favorites on the beach before sunset.
Traditional Creole Cuisine
Seychelles’ traditional creole cuisine is a tourist attraction in and of itself. Featuring an unmatched amalgamation of different flavors and cooking methods from around the world, including France, India and the Orient, Seychelles cuisine is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. Since the best way to experience its magic is through the lens of a local, there are various tours that allow visitors to connect with a Seychellois family and enjoy the cooking process from start to finish. This typically begins with a visit to Victoria Market to hand-pick ingredients followed by a stop at a small fisherman’s village to select from the catch of the day, and then continues with a ride to the family’s home to prepare and later enjoy the meal together. And for those who wish to wash it all down with something local, there are a number of homegrown specialties to choose from including Seychelles’ own Takamaka Rum and SeyBrew beer.
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