New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANSlife) With 115 islands, the Seychelles archipelago brags of postcard-perfect beaches that are sure to have visitors drift away to the paradise. But there’s more to Seychelles than its many beaches; the nation sprinkled across the water off the coast of East Africa, conceals many surprises for its explorers. Here’s a quick glance at what one can do:

Unleash Your Wild Side

Seychelles is inhabited by a unique ecosystem above and below its waters. Home to a range of lush rainforests and 250 bird and 2000 plant species. Seychelles’ wildlife is as enchanting as its beaches. The nation’s national bird, the black parrot, is also the rarest avian on the planet. This rare species can be spotted by those with a keen eye while exploring the Vallee de Mai Natural Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island of Praslin. Besides, the Vallee is home to the world’s largest population of endemic coco-de-mer, a flagship species of global significance as the bearer of the largest seed in the plant kingdom.

Next, spot giant tortoises that roam freely around the sandy coves of Curieuse Island, where preserved wilderness and granite beaches set the right ambience for these gentle creatures.

Get a glimpse into the rich marine life with a Semi-Submarine ride from Eden Island on Mahe. Cruise along the most spectacular underwater reefs of Seychelles and spot a variety of sea life swim alongside. From corals, colourful seaweed, sea meadows to schools of fish. We challenge you to keep count of the unique species you spot!

Adventure, Ahoy!

Along with its beaches, Seychelles holds many adventures and the best way to experience them is by enjoying a trek in the region. Nestled in Mahe, Morne Seychellois National Park, the largest national park, stretches across the mountain range Morne Seychellois, the highest peak. Indeed, the reward of completing a hike is the panorama one enjoys from the top. The summit affords unparallel views of the capital of Victoria.

The fourth largest island in the archipelago, La Digue is a haven for those seeking some time amid nature to unwind. Apart from exploring the island on a bicycle or an oxcart, diving and rock climbing are popular as well. Although, it is the La Pass to Grand Anse Trail, which emerge as a clear winner. The trail passes through French colonial houses, woodlands, marshy areas, finally leading to the Grand Anse Beach.

Enjoy a Tryst with Culture

The vibrant culture is a result of the many cultural influences. Meander through the markets in Mahe, or simply visit during the Creole Festival to soak up the flavours of the region. History buffs will love the quaint town of Baie Lazare, in Mahe. The 18th-century neo-gothic Baie Lazare Church is a delight to behold. It also presents a serene panorama of the area. A visit to the National Museum of History is perfect for a time-travel expedition to understand the history while glancing through the paraphernalia on display.

Food for Thought

Just as its culture, Seychelles’ cuisine features a healthy amalgamation of flavours from its three adjoining continents to form its very own distinct palate. For a gourmand, a tour through the historical sites such as the Jardin du Roi offers an opportunity to sample homemade dishes at a quaint cafe enveloped by the buzz of a typical Seychellois life.

The stunning sunsets of Seychelles are undeniably its finest feature. And they are best enjoyed along a delicious Creole meal, which consists of preparations made with fish and shellfish, heightened with coconut, mangoes and breadfruit served with a bed of garden-fresh vegetables.

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—IANS

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