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Seychelles Islands

The Seychelles Island chain has 115 islands that occupy a total land area of about 455 square kilometers
The Seychelles Island chain has 115 islands that occupy a total land area of about 455 square kilometers. It is located in a region of about 1.4 million square kilometers in the western part of the Indian Ocean, and is known worldwide for its great natural beauty. Extending from about 4 to 10 degrees south of the equator, and lying from about 500 km to 1600 km off the east coast of Africa, this beautiful island chain is well worth exploring. This article will discuss the Seychelles and the surrounding islands.

The Seychelles consist of an archipelago grouped around Mahe, which is the main island and home of the capital city Victoria. Mahe is also home to the international airport. The islands of Praslin and La Digue are close by as well. These so-called inner islands are the economic and cultural center of the republic and are home to most of the Seychelles' tourist facilities. The islands in the Seychelles have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Air Seychelles has regularly scheduled flights from Rome, London, and Paris in Europe. Other connections are to South Africa, Mauritius, and Singapore. Qatar Airways and Emirates Airlines also fly to and from the Seychelles, through hubs in Dubai and Doha, travelers can connect with other places around the world. Additionally, Air France, Condor, Kenya Airways, Air Mauritius and Air Australia fly to the Seychelles. Private planes are cleared through the Civil Aviation Authority at Mahe Airport.

The more cosmopolitan parts of the Seychelles have a blend of races from European, African, and Asian ancestors. Each has brought customs and lifestyles to the islands. The culture is a wonderful blend of peoples that make people feel instantly at home once they arrive at the Seychelles. Though the Seychelles were a British colony, the influences of the French are still quite strong. African slaves remained here after they were liberated.

Music and dance are important parts of the culture of the Seychelles Islands. Creole music and dance come from African, Malagasy, and European cultures. Tambour and Tamtam drums are played, along with stringed instruments. The violin and guitar have also found a place in Seychellois musical culture. A popular local dance called Sega, is danced to a rhythm beaten out on drums. It involves swaying of the hips and shuffling of the feet. The lyrics to Seychellois music are usually about everyday events. There is also a more exotic dane called the traditional Moutya. It comes from the days of slavery at which time it was about the only way tht slaves could express themselves. It is done generally in gatherings on beaches under moonlight.

The broad variety of cultures and backgrounds make for a broad variety of cuisine in the Seychelles. Seychelles cuisine includes influences from French cuisine, spicy Indian dishes, and Oriental dishes. One local favorite is grilled fish marinated in a sauce of chili, ginger, and garlic, as is chicken curry made with coconut milk.

The variety of fresh fish is amazing, and is often turned into any number of delicious fish dishes that include the use of fruits, spices, condiments, and herbs. Local markets offer fresh fish. Many hotels and restaurants serve international dishes as well as the local Creole cuisine. The Creole dishes are quite innovative, having been developed in a time before there were supermarkets. A dish called Chatinis is made from grated fruit and is a delicious accompaniment to meat and fish dishes. Mangoes, apples, coconut, hearts of palm, tubers, and unusual delicacies like fruit bat and octopus add to the impressive culinary repertoire of the Seychelles.

Artists love the Seychelles, and not only for its stunning natural beauty. Though the scenery is worthy of inspiring art, the relaxed human culture is also an influence on arts and crafts. Artists in the Seychelles display a broad spectrum of media. Works available range from tiny memorabilia to impressive collectors items.

Though the beaches alone are enough reason to visit the Seychelles, there are actually other interesting attractions, too. One is the Valee de Mai. L'Union Estate on La Digue Island has some of the most pristine beaches in the island chain. Arise Island is the world's most important nature preserve and biodiversity sanctuary. Aride Island is home to 10 species of endemic birds like the Brush Warbler, Fodie, and Magpie Robin, as well as numerous species of sea birds. Ile Coco Marine Park covers three small islands surrounded by sparkling clear water and coral reefs. The green and red hillsides of Curieuse Island are another unusual natural offering in the Seychelles. The hills are speckled with coco-de-mer trees, bearer or the unique fruit that is one of the prime symbols of the Seychelles.

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