Arts

Seychelles: A nod to beauty in simplicity

by IFEOMA OKEKE

December 31, 2017 | 1:05 am
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They say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. For me, beauty goes beyond the complexities and luxury of life as people often think. It is about looking inwards and appreciating nature in itself. This is exactly what my trip to Seychelles exposed.

The beautiful, clear blue skies, the fresh smell of greenery, and swift yet soft blowing breeze took my breath away.

Needless to say, Seychelles is a number one holiday destination with all that and more.

When I was told that I would be spending a few days, alongside other journalists, in the beautiful Island of Seychelles courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines, the largest African carriers, I could not contain my excitement. My first thought was, “O wow! Me?” Flying over the Indian Ocean had always been a dream for me.

I made a check list of things that I’d like to do on my trip and places I’d love to visit after I had done a little research online about Seychelles.

I guess I was being too forward, just as most people do when they are planning a trip or going on holiday to a place where they have never been. Sometimes, we over-plan things instead of just letting life happen and enjoying the beauty of nature.

I can bet that my heart rate went up twice its usual pace even from the Lagos international airport on my way to Addis Ababa, where I was to get a connecting flight to Seychelles. I wonder if it was the nerves, excitement, anticipation, high expectation or all four emotions combined.

The Ethiopian Airlines crew was very welcoming and slightly doused my tension with their smiles and warm reception.

I can’t forget the one-night stopover at Addis Ababa. Featuring free WiFi and a restaurant, Bole Skygate Hotel offers accommodations in Addis Ababa. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Free private parking is available on site.

The rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Certain units include a sitting area for your convenience. Every room comes with a private bathroom. Extras include bathrobes and slippers.

However, duty called as I had to catch the first Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Seychelles.

The smooth flight take-off was a good start for me as I observed the passengers on the flight. The reporter in me was activated. I asked a few passengers some questions and I discovered that some of the passengers were on a trip to Seychelles for holiday, tourism and honeymoon.

“Where else will we have spent our honeymoon if not the great Seychelles Island?” an Indian sitting next to me couple said.

“The scenery and beauty of the location will form part of the memories we will love to remember,” the couple told me.

With anticipation in my heart, we flew the scenic route through the Indian Ocean, giving me the thrill of experiencing the beautiful blue sea surrounding the airport as we approached landing.

When we landed at the Seychelles International Airport, the passengers could not contain their joy as they applauded the airline on its smooth landing.

After going through the immigration where we were issued visa on arrival, which did not take more than 20 minutes, we met our tour guide, Celisse Zelime of Mason’s Travel. Zelime welcomed us with interesting histories of Seychelles as we drove through the beautiful streets of the country.

As we went on, I couldn’t help but admire the beauty of nature. The flowers and green vegetation were beautiful and welcoming. No wonder sailing, diving, fishing and relaxing are the main activities for visitors on the island.

My, oh my! Did I love the beaches? You bet. I have never seen water so pure and so blue, sand so clean and so grainy, and never felt air so warm yet so fresh.

There wouldn’t have been any better place to spend the night after flying three hours from Addis Ababa than the Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa.

Located in Beau Vallon, 9.7km from Mahe, and just a-minute walk from the beach, Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa showcases an outdoor pool and views of the sea. The resort has a hot tub and sauna, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. Free private parking is available on site.

Every room at this resort is air-conditioned and is equipped with a flat-screen TV. Certain units include a sitting area where you can relax. You will find a kettle in the room. Every room includes a private bathroom. Extras include bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries.

After playing at the beach for few hours, dinner was served at the Boat House. Situated in the heart of Beau Vallon Bay and facing the beach, the Boat House Restaurant has long been a favourite place for both locals and visitors to the Seychelles.

For visitors looking to simply sip a cocktail during sunset, enjoy a lunch whilst staring out at sea, or feast into the famous traditional creole dinner buffet, the Boat House is quite ideal.

The next day, it was time to go see the city of Seychelles. So, we drove off in the early hours of the day.

While we drove to the market, our tour guide Zelime never failed to show us the historic places, such as the Sri Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple, the palm cinema, national museum, Seychelles hospital, amongst others.

We soon arrived at the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clark Market, a colourful and busy market parading fantastic arrays of fishes for sale, from the red snappers to baby hammer head sharks and other kinds of sharks.

The memory of Sir Percy Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke’s service as Governor of Seychelles was honoured by renaming the central market in Victoria as the Selwyn-Clarke Market. Originally built in 1840, this market is a vibrant centre of commercial and social activity, offering the bounty of Seychellois produce, crafts and arts to both locals and visitors. It is fitting that such a focus of everyday life is named after a man who loved, and contributed so much to, Seychelles.

When passing by all the small market stalls, I noticed they sell almost everything – from barracuda’s to parrotfishes! I loved the small stalls with all sorts of spices and herbs.

After the market experience, the most exciting part for many was the Takamaka Rum Distillery where we were shown the process of extracting the juice from sugarcane, fermenting it for 48 hours, heating it and cooling it and adding ingredients to make the rum.

Rum was first introduced to the Seychelles in the mid-16th Century by the British Navy. Only from the late 1800s to the early 1900s was sugarcane cultivated on the islands – primarily to supplement the supply of sugar from infrequent visits from ships. Only as the delivery of sugar to the islands became more frequent did the use of sugarcane begin to evolve – initially to making fermented cane juice known as ‘Baka’.

Local residents also have a history of making their own rhum arrangé – a mixture of local rum and a blend of herbs and spices (usually a family recipe). This is traditionally served as a digestif (post-meal drink).

Although I didn’t taste the rum, my colleagues who did never stopped singing the praises of Takamaka. They said the taste was out of this world and they wouldn’t mind coming back to Seychelles just to have some more Takamaka.

There wouldn’t have been a more memorable and exciting way to say goodbye to Seychelles than we did with a hot sumptuous meal in one the country’s luxurious restaurants, Bravo Restaurant and Bar Café.

Bravo is a vibey, trendy café, restaurant and bar situated on the prestigious Eden Island Marina development. Bravo has built a reputation for fast and friendly service and is known for its large portions and value-for-money concept.

Customers can arrive in their boat or jet-ski and enjoy their meal on the water’s edge in a lovely ambiance.

I cannot thank enough Seychelles Tourism Board, in partnership with Mason Travels, for putting up a great tour package despite the short period spent in Seychelles.

Ethiopian Airlines sponsored the trip, which was hosted by Seychelles.

 

IFEOMA OKEKE


by IFEOMA OKEKE

December 31, 2017 | 1:05 am
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

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