Seychelles - moments forever...February, 2023
You have to go to Seychelles, and probably not just once, to feel the islands, the beaches, the nature. And especially - the people.
I will start with them. Smiling, positive, hospitable, and hardworking. History has probably handed the Seychelles the privilege of being an uninhabited territory, until a French expedition discovered them in the 17th century. Later the first French missionaries arrived from Africa and became the first indigenous population. With their arrival came the European civilization and brought the culture, attitudes, and traditions of Europe at the time.
I am even leaving aside the fact that three of the world's five best beaches are located in the island republic in the Indian Ocean, just above Madagascar and just seven degrees south from the Equator. Often, even the locals refer to the Seychelles as a “small country”, but my good friend and the republic's first elected president, Sir James Mancham, who left us six years ago, was often fond of saying, “A country surrounded by an ocean can't be small...” And over the years I've come to realize more and more that he was right.
In fact, Seychelles has it all.
Literally – anything, that even the most pretentious tourist or just business visitor could ask for. It's clear, you only need an hour or two at the airport to be convinced. The pandemic literally went like a tsunami on the Seychelles business, the country was totally closed for almost two years, no one was allowed to enter it, only Seychellois citizens, who came back and after a mandatory long quarantine and careful examinations. There was hardly a country in the whole world that was literally "sealed" as the islands were - tourism is a major business and all the attention of the authorities was focused solely on preventing the pandemic from flaring up among the local population.
Those were painful months for the 90 thousand people of Seychelles, literally every day I talked to friends there, to politicians, to businessmen, to people who had small hotels or kiosks in my favorite district of Beau Vallon.
I did not hear a complaint from anyone,
Nor grumbling, despair or tearful talk, everyone understood the situation for what it was and had a clear vision of how to deal with it. The government of the just-elected new president, H.E. Wavel Ramkalawan, had such a vision, and despite his party having almost no experience in the government, the results were impressive. For months the Republic of Seychelles held the top spot in all the world rankings for vaccination rates. Within just a hundred days after the vaccines were available, over 90 percent of Seychellois had already benefited from them because it was clear even to the cats on the streets that this was the only way they could save their businesses, themselves, and their families. I watched very carefully how people there reacted and
somehow unintentionally compared
with the thoughtless and often absurd fears in Bulgaria, which often gave me the shivers.
Seychelles also became the first country in the world, at the risk of introducing the so-called "controlled opening" of the border, to be able to give a breath of fair life to the thousands of guesthouses, small and super-luxurious hotels, restaurants, and shops. And this approach really won the day and has been implemented in many other countries since. And what is happening now,
the rapid emergence from the shock of quarantine,
from the world's put-on-hold life, from the fear of contagion and the realization that it can only be defeated by medical measures, nature didn't do it, the mountains didn't do it, nor the ocean, history or tradition, the people of Seychelles did it.
But on the other hand, of course, are the givens from God. No doubt in the first place these are
the incredible hundreds of beaches,
I guarantee you won't make any difference between any of them and if it's not the official statistics you won't guess which are these three of the top five in the world at all. On every single one of them, but literally every single one, the sand is the same - white and airy like the richest flour. It never gets hot and is soft as velvet. On every one of them the ocean is crystal clear, usually the first hundred meters the depth is knee deep and then begins a gradual descent.
No one has ever seen seaweed, jellyfish, or anything in the water that might make a stay unpleasant on these shores. And it is the fact that corresponds with the next unique point in this country - cleanliness and order. Seychelles is the country with the highest percentage of so-called protected area in the world. Over 50 percent of the Indian Ocean archipelago is under the careful protection of the government, and no one is allowed to even hammer a nail into this territory.
The incredible care for the environment, the proverbial cleanliness, and the European order, introduced timidly at first by the French but then perfected by the next colonizers, the English, impress even the most pretentious visitor and put the Seychelles on the
unique place among all tourist destinations.
Finally… I have been travelling frequently to Seychelles for nearly 20 years now, I feel like I know all the residents of the capital Victoria (about 8,000 people) personally, I'm sure they know me too. And so, I can say this for sure - even if you have just one moment in Seychelles, on any island, any beach, or mountain... it will be the moment of your lifetime. You will never forget it and every day you will dream of that moment to repeat...