Monday, 30 September 2013

National Monuments of the Seychelles Part 2: La Digue and Silhouette

The people of the Seychelles are very proud of their history and have made sure they have preserved that history. As such, there are many national monuments worth visiting when in the Seychelles, and in part 2 of this blog post we cover the remaining national monuments on La Digue and Silhouette islands. There are truly some interesting places to see! To visit these monuments or to book your holiday with us, contact us at

Dauban Mausoleum, Silhouette Island

Built in a secluded spot amongst the coconut trees on Silhouette, the Dauban Mausoleum is an imposing landmark and ranks high among the work of its kind in Seychelles.

One of its most distinct features is a set of six proportionally massive columns which are aligned on the façade and on part of the lateral sides. Besides its appealing structure, the mausoleum gives an insight into a series of social and economic aspects highlighting both the status of the Dauban family and the level of economic prosperity of the island at that time.

Eustache Sarde’s House, Anse Reunion, La Digue

A timber constructed house that is no doubt one of the real remaining examples of its kind in Seychelles. Built with almost geometrical precision and refinement, the house dates back to the early 20th century. The house once stood on large masonry pillars, but now rests on a habitable concrete basement. It has a façade veranda, with ornamental wooden balusters on its roof providing adequate and habitable attic space. The design has been conceived in such way as to allow natural ventilation, as is the norm with traditional Seychelles architecture. 

Granite Boulder, L’Union Estate, La Digue

Covering an acre of land at Anse L’Union on the west coast of the island of La Digue, this natural wonder is by any standards an impressive monolith. The granite boulder was formed during the Precambrian, around 750 million years ago, by the slow cooling of molten rocks deep within the earth’s crust which gave it its especially large crystals.

It is a spectacular piece of natural sculpture designed by Mother Nature, and its magnificent shape is due to its long exposure to the sculpting forces of nature. 

L’Union Estate, La Digue

A must visit for tourists. Take a step back in time and see a traditional copra mill and kiln, watch the antics of the estate’s population of giant land tortoises or stroll around the majestic Plantation House framed by giant granite boulders in landscaped gardens, or go even horseback riding.

The estate is also home to the cemetery of the original settlers of La Digue and to one of the most pristine beaches in Seychelles – the legendary ‘Source d'Argent’, which is among the most photographed beaches on earth.

Plantation House, Silhouette Island

This house is typical of the Creole architectural style of always including a spacious verandah extending all around the building, and a flight of steps on all four sides, affording more than one entrance or exit. Situated at La Passe on the island of Silhouette, it is a building of great dignity and grace. Built around 1861, it was the family home of Henri Dauban Sr, the owner of the island at the time.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

National Monuments of the Seychelles Part 1: Mahe Island

The people of the Seychelles are very proud of their history and have made sure they have preserved that history. As such, there are many national monuments worth visiting when in the Seychelles, and we have listed the monuments on Mahe below with some information on each. There are truly some interesting places to see! To visit these monuments or to book your holiday with us, contact us at

Bel Air Cemetry, Bel Air, Mahe

The Bel Air Cemetery, undoubtedly the oldest historic site in Seychelles, was the first official burial ground to be opened on Mahé soon after the establishment of the French settlement in the late 18th century. Important historical milestones, the cemetery’s tombs, vaults and shrines contain the remains of some of the islands’ most famous personalities such as corsair Jean-Francois Hodoul and the 9ft giant Charles Dorothée Savy, poisoned at the age of 14 by neighbours fearful of his height.

Another character whose remains lie within the cemetery is the mysterious Pierre-Louis Poiret, claimed by some to be the son of Louis XVI who fled the French Revolution and took refuge in Seychelles. It is also a final resting place of a son-in-law of Quéau de Quinssy, a magistrate, an acting civil commissioner and a district magistrate who lies among other recently rediscovered graves once covered by the great landslide of 1862.

Bicentennial Monument, Victoria, Mahe

Standing on the roundabout at the 5th of June and Liberation Avenues is the Bicentennial Monument. They are three pairs of extended masonry white wings, plain and simple, and often leave visitors guessing at their significance.

Referred to in Creole as the Moniman trwa lezel (three–winged monument), iIt was erected in 1978 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the town of Victoria, which was founded as L’Établissement du Roi in 1778 by the Frenchman Charles Routier de Romainville. The monument was created by the late Italian artist Lorenzo Appiani, who lived in Seychelles.

The three wings represent the origins of the Seychellois people, who can best be described as a happy blend of the ethnic groups of three continents: Africa, Europe, and Asia. The wings may also symbolize the first discoverers of the islands, which of course were the birds! 

Grann Kaz, Mahe

A traditional homestead that is in perfect condition, the Domaine de Val des Près recalls the simplicity and charm of Creole life as it was at the beginning of the 20th Century. Together with the adjoining buildings the homestead harmoniously displays an ensemble of original architectural features. The ‘Grann Kaz’ consists of a large sitting room, a dining room, three bedrooms and a surrounding veranda. This splendid house is sparsely furnished with a few period pieces. The adjoining buildings constitute a craft village where a group of 12 workshops provide traditional Seychelles crafts and a restaurant that offers the spicy delights of our Creole cuisine. This place offers visitors and residents a nostalgic glimpse of Creole life of yesteryears.

Kenwyn House, Francis Rachel Street, Victoria, Mahe

Kenwyn House was built circa 1855. The first person to live in the house was the chief medical officer at the time- a Dr. James Henry Brooks. Dr. Brooks was the chief medical surgeon as well as the German consulate to the Seychelles from 1858 - 1879 (He died in 1920 at age 89yrs).

In 1878 Cable & Wireless (Formerly the 'Eastern Telegraphic Company') purchased the Kenwyn House from Dr. Brooks. The chief engineers for Cable & Wireless resided at Kenwyn House whilst they were here setting up global communications for the Seychelles. There is a general consensus that C&W were the ones to give the house the name "Kenwyn House" - named after a village in Cornwall. Towards the end of the 20th century C&W used Kenwyn House as a residence for their general managers.

One of Seychelles’ most renowned and photographed monuments, Kenwyn House is a must-see for visitors exploring the Seychelles capital Victoria. An elegant example of French colonial architecture, Kenwyn House now offers visitors a chance to explore this historic national monument while browsing a world-class selection of crafted South African diamonds and other precious gems at duty-free prices, as well as an array of gifts and souvenirs. Visitors can also enjoy refreshments in its adjacent tropical garden and gaze at the work of top Seychellois artists in the Kenwyn House gallery.

Kreole Institute, Mahe

The Kreole Institute, established to promote Creole culture and tradition, forms part of the Patrimwann. Designed by a German architect, Leit, it was built in 1920 by France Jumeau, a plantation owner at the time. Its former name was Maison St. Joseph, and is a large colonial house built in the French style and reflects the opulence of the grand property owners of that era.

Activities that take place at the Kreole Institue include formal, traditional balls, traditional French song recitals, cultural exhibitions, language and literature workshops. It also houses a documentation centre.

La Bastille, Victoria, Mahe

La Bastille was built by Ange Pillieron after the design of Alfredo Leit. It left the Pillieron family in 1973 and was then occupied by the Survey Division followed by the Ministry of Education in 1975. It was home to the National Archives from 1981 – mid 1990’s but today La Bastille fittingly houses the National heritage division of the Ministry of The Arts, Culture and Sports.

La Domus, Victoria, Mahe

La Domus is the residence of the Roman Catholic priesthood in Victoria and was an outstanding architectural achievement of its time. Built in 1934 to house the Swiss missionaries ministering to the Diocese of Port Victoria, the magnificent two-storey building constructed from granite rocks even contains an aqueduct that supplies it with water from a nearby artesian well.

In the 1960’s it housed a dozen Capuchin missionaries. Today La Domus is occupied by only three priests with many of its rooms used as administrative offices and stands in a quiet corner of Victoria.

La Grand Trianon Marie-Antoinette Restaurant, St. Louis, Mahe

The Marie-Antoinette is housed in a colonial mansion with unique creole architecture, and is well over a hundred years old. The restaurant prides itself upon a time-honoured menu that includes traditional creole cuisnie dishes such as tuna steak, battered parrot fish, aubergine fritters, chicken curry, grilled fresh red snapper, fresh local salad, chutneys and local desserts featuring local sorbets. The house which was the first convent in the Seychelles, is now a national monument.

National Museum of History, Victoria, Mahe

Established in 1964, the National Museum of History is charged with the acquisition, preservation and exhibition of historical artefacts for the benefit of the public. Exhibits illustrating the history of Seychelles include such items as the oldest map drawn in 1517, the Stone of Possession, the world’s smallest statuette of Queen Victoria, and objects of ethnographical interest that exemplify the traditions and modes of life in times gone past.

Seychelles National Botanical Gardens, Mont Fleuri, Mahe

Dating back more than a century, the national botanical gardens is one of the oldest monuments. It houses a wide collection of mature, exotic and endemic plants within five acres of landscaped and beautifully maintained tropical gardens.

The garden is home to a wide variety of spice and fruit trees most of which can only be seen in this garden. An added attraction is the population of giant tortoises from Aldabra, some of which are over 150 years old. Fruit bat colonies can be found feeding or roosting in the taller trees overhead, and the latest feature is an orchid house which holds a collection of brightly coloured orchids including Seychelles’ own native orchids. 

St. Paul’s Cathedral, Victoria, Mahe

St. Paul’s is both the Cathedral of the Diocese and the Anglican parish church of Victoria and is a prominent landmark. The building has been extended twice, with a new tower in 1910, and with a relocated sanctuary in 1978. The original church was dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle and stood on the site of the present Cathedral. It was consecrated on 14 May 1859 by the first Bishop of Mauritius, Vincent William Ryan. In December 1920, St. Paul’s became a Pro-Cathedral, where the Bishop had his second “cathedra” (Bishop’s chair) and the Diocese’s name changed from Mauritius to the Diocese of Mauritius and Seychelles.

With space always a constraint and maintenance difficult and costly, it was decided to completely rebuild the structure in 2001. The now boasts a doubled capacity of 800 and was made possible through generous donations from the public and government.

Victoria Clocktower, Victoria, Mahe

The Victoria Clocktower is the most prominent feature of Seychelles’ small capital, and has acted as a focal point for nearly 100 years. While all around massive transformation has taken place in the town centre, with modern buildings of concrete and glass springing up, the Clocktower has remained virtually unchanged. Made by Messrs Gillet and Johnson of Croydon, and paid for partly by public subscription, the clock was erected in Victoria in 1903, the same year that Seychelles celebrated its new status as a Crown colony, administered directly by a governor appointed by London instead of from Mauritius.

Originally, the clock was expected to chime, but sadly failed to do so. Today, however, the Victoria clock regularly strikes the hour, having had its mechanism completely replaced in 1999 by a modern, quartz masterclock. The work was carried out by the original manufacturer, Gillett and Johnson, with the cost again being met in Seychelles partly by public donation.

Zomn Lib Liberation Monument, Victoria, Mahe

This monument represents a major political landmark in the history of Seychelles. To all Seychellois people who revolted against colonialist oppression and injustice on the 5th June 1977, it is a powerful symbol of liberty. It is a metal statue in the form of a robust masculine figure with both arms raised high, its clenched fists freed from chains, demonstrating triumphant defiance and victory for a truly independent nation.

The Liberation Monument was inaugurated in 1978 by the President of the Second Republic, who dedicated it to the Martyrs of the Revolution. In March 1989 marble steps were added to the granite plinth on which it stands, flanked by the National flags.

Since 1978, every 5th of June has been a public holiday, when wreaths and flowers are laid at the “Zonm Lib” by dignitaries and ordinary citizens. In the aftermath of a multi-party democracy, this monument symbolises Seychelles’ spirit of revolutionary fervour and the commitment of the Seychellois people to carry the banner of peace, harmony, and freedom into the future.

Part 2: Li Digue and Silohouette Islands coming soon! 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Music and Dance of the Seychelles

The Roots of Seychellois Music

The cultural diversity of the Seychelles truly becomes evident in its music and dance. Fun, festive, hopeful, and optimistic are words that are used to describe the unique musical sounds of this island nation. A blend of African and European music mixed freely with pop, blues, and even country, the Seychellois music has often been frowned upon by the more “respectable” elements of society. However it has always triumphed and continues to grow its fan base of enthusiastic fans. Since the 1970’s the music has found its way to the dance clubs of Europe, and artists from the Seychelles have even become figures of international fame. Some of these artists are named below.

This musical melting pot arose out of an earlier one. Because of their strategic position between the Mediterranean and the Middle East, the nations of Northern Africa were the focal point of a thriving trade that allowed ideas and culture as well as goods to flow from nation to nation and from continent to continent. By the time the Europeans arrived, this part of the world was already the home of a richly varied blend of arts and culture with influences from as far away as South Asia. These influences came into the trading centres of North Africa, flowed down into the nations of lower Africa and blended with tribal music that had existed for centuries. The result was a hybrid music played with simple instruments made from everyday items such as sticks, gourds and animal skins.

In addition to the African and European influences, Polynesian and Indian influences were eventually added, and this rich ethnic mix resulted in several styles of music and dance emerging. 


One of the most popular and influential styles to emerge was sega. It originated in Mauritius and Reunion before spreading to the Seychelles and other islands of the Indian Ocean. Traditionally performed with simple instruments such as rattles, hand drums, gourds and musical bows, it is used as the accompanying music for a form of traditional dance that sees the feet remain rooted to the floor whilst the rest of the body moves. 

Well into the 20th century, sega had trouble being accepted by sections of the public. A key event in its acceptance and subsequent popularity was the concert given on October 30, 1964 by Mauritian artist Ti Frere (Jean Alphonse Ravaton) for an event called Night of the Sega at Mount Le Morne. Sega music and its offshoots are still popular today.


Moutya, or montea, is another style of music that still enjoys popularity today. Whilst similar to sega, the accompanying dances are quite different in that dancers move freely about the floor. Traditionally taking place around a camp fire, the dance starts slowly to the beat of a drum and progressively gets faster as the tempo increases. Female moutya dancers often wear brightly coloured dresses with festive, flowered patterns to enhance the visual aspect of the performance.

The pioneer of this genre in its modern form is Patrick Victor who has mixed elements of Kenyan benga music with traditional island folk influences to form a popular hybrid sound. Another musician who has helped to introduce moutya to a modern generation is Jean-Marc Volcy. His hits have kept the music alive and transported it into the new century. Another popular moutya artist is Brian Matombe whose music incorporates some new instruments as well as traditional percussion. His songs often use violin, drum kit, guitar and other instruments not native to the islands.


A related style is called maloya. Whilst the instrumentation is similar to sega, the style of music is slower and more reflective. The lyrics are often sung in a shout-and-response style and have historically had a rebellious, political tone.

One of the most popular maloya groups is Lindigo. Their music has become strongly identified with the movement to keep Creole culture alive and give it the acceptance it deserves. Their instrumentation is entirely traditional and includes African instruments such as the djembe, the doumdoum, the balafon and the bobre. Olivier Arasta, the group’s lead vocalist, is an outspoken advocate of maloya and a champion for his culture.

The Discovery of Seychellois Music

American and European audiences became fascinated with musical styles from Africa, Asia and other cultures in the 1970’s, and “world music” was born. Both the audience and music were changed by the experience. The audience was changed by being open to sounds they’d never heard before, and the popularity of music styles such as reggae and others began to increase. The music found it changed by being mixed with rock, jazz and other influences to produce new styles. Whilst some musicians remained true to their traditional styles, others embraced these outside influences and new styles were formed. Reggae has blended with sega and moutya to form seggae and mouggae, and traditional sounds have blended with modern instruments and arrangements to form a genre called zouk.

Zouk was started by a band called Kassav, a name taken from a traditional dish made from cassava root. This group was formed in 1979 by islanders living in Paris. Their early success happened there with much-acclaimed appearances at Paris’ Club Zenith, and their style freely took influences from other musical genres. However, one point on which they have never compromised is their choice of language. All their lyrics are in French Antillean Creole, a local dialect not widely known outside the islands.

Seggae Music

Even before blending the two sounds, there are obvious similarities between Seychellois music and reggae. This has been used by some artists to create the hybrid sound of seggae, which has found huge appeal outside the islands. One of the leading exponents of this sound is Mersener, a group of young musicians who freely blend reggae, pop and sega into a vibrant stew with legions of fans the world over. Lead singer Lyrical Sniper brings a modern feel to sega by using electric instruments and giving his lyrics a punchy, rap-like cadence. Appearances in London in 2012 reaffirmed the band’s position as one of the leading exponents of a new hybrid island-based sound.

Whilst the music of the Seychelles has achieved success in Europe and other places, it remains more obscure in the United States. This is probably down to a combination of lack of exposure combined with the almost complete absence of English lyrics. But perhaps one day, Seychellois music will achieve the same popularity in the United States as reggae did in the 70’s and 80’s. 

Whether you are wanting to escape the approaching winter in the Northern Hemisphere or you are starting to feel the summer vibes in the Southern Hemisphere, contact us to book your dream Seychelles holiday!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Architecture of the Seychelles

Traditional Architecture

Due to the fact that the Seychelles Islands was not occupied until the 1700’s, the architecture finds its roots in the era of colonization. Whilst traditional, the archaic mansions and bungalows built in the colonial times certainly reflect the luxurious living of the wealthy plantation and land owners.

Plantation estates were built around cinnamon, coconut, and vanilla industries. The traditional plantation estate focused on a courtyard with an owner's or manager's house, (the kitchen was usually separate from the house) the kalorife (drying oven for copra), and storage houses. Typical town houses had a general Victorian form, but with its roofs and walls made of corrugated iron sheets.

As agriculture declined, many homes were later constructed in an architecture common to many former British colonies, such that there is often a flat roof with a slight slope and windows with many horizontally arranged panes that can be tilted in order to allow easy circulation of air. In general the houses the in Seychelles are all designed in a neat manner with steep terraces and large verandas. The verandas were purposely made that way in order for inhabitants to enjoy the wonderful Seychelles climate. In addition, wooden houses or houses built out of logs are frequently seen in the coastal linings of Seychelles. The living rooms are exquisitely decorated and usually the furniture is all made out of wood that has intricate carvings on them.

Some of these lovely examples of traditional homes are now being replaced through progress or advancement and although they are fewer in numbers, many, with their intricate roof structures are still standing today.

Modern Achitecture

Modern architecture has attempted to assimilate traditional styles with practical features designed to capture the cool island breezes. The exclusive island resort, The Banyan Tree, is a perfect example of this modern style of architecture. Their villas combine contemporary, colonial and plantation decor which defines modern Seychelles architecture, with its high sloping ceilings, airy verandas, and louvered doors. 

Buildings of Interest

Kenwyn House, Mahe

Kenwyn House was built circa 1855. The first person to live in the house was the chief medical officer at the time- a Dr. James Henry Brooks. Dr. Brooks was the chief medical surgeon as well as the German consulate to the Seychelles from 1858 - 1879 (He died in 1920 at age 89yrs).

In 1878 Cable & Wireless (Formerly the 'Eastern Telegraphic Company') purchased the Kenwyn House from Dr. Brooks. The chief engineers for Cable & Wireless resided at Kenwyn House whilst they were here setting up global communications for the Seychelles. There is a general consensus that C&W were the ones to give the house the name "Kenwyn House" - named after a village in Cornwall. (Cornwall incidentally was the area where the underwater telegraph cables to the Seychelles came from). Towards the end of the 20th century C&W used Kenwyn House as a residence for their general managers.

In 1984, as per the National Monuments Act (Chapter 140), Kenwyn House was declared a National Monument of the Seychelles. Flawless Ltd. now occupies the Kenwyn House, using it as a showcase for their precious gems and unique diamond jewellery designs.

Kenwyn House also dedicated one entire floor to a local art gallery, the largest on Mahe in fact. It is one of the most well-photographed buildings in Victoria and is 'our Jewel of the Seychelles'.

The Cathedral of Immaculate Conception

This imposing Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Catholic Diocese in Seychelles. Constructed on the site where Father Leon of Avanchers built the first vault in March 1851 that was devoted to the Virgin of the immaculate conception, the Cathedral is one of the first churches in Seychelles.

The first and only Seychellois Bishop, Felix Paul, who passed away on the 21st November 2001, is buried inside the cathedral in a tomb built in the flooring. The tomb is not visible but its location is marked by a special plaque.

The Cathedral has undergone numerous renovations over the years. In 1993-94 it was completely renovated, except for the external walls. The last renovation was completed In 1995 when Seychellois sculptor, Egbert Marday fashioned the tabernacle and the carved doors.

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Capucine House (the residence of the Roman Catholic Bishop) are two of the most impressive vestiges of the French Colonial era still standing and should definitely not be missed.

Whether you are wanting to escape the approaching winter in the Northern Hemisphere or you are starting to feel the summer vibes in the Southern Hemisphere, contact us to book your dream Seychelles holiday! 

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Events in Seychelles - September/October 2013

Cultural Bazars

Throughout September/October 2013

Various locations throughout Mahe

District Administrator (Tel: +248 2 78 34 13)

About the event:
A unique cultural and shopping experience where you can meet the Seychellois people, enjoy Creole music, and have a taste of the island style way of life.

Bazar Labrinn is a legendary bazar specializing in fruit, vegetables, and other local delicacies. This is also a great place to pick up souvenirs and sample traditional foods and drink, all the while enjoying an authentic Seychellois ambience.

Bazar Ovan Taking place in the southern part of Mahe, this bazar offers a great opportunity for both visitors and locals alike to experience a true celebration of the vibrant Creole culture, all set to the backdrop of Seychellois Creole music.

Victoria Bazar provides an ambience true to the Seychellois Creole lifestyle, where anything from arts and crafts to exotic culinary delicacies and beverages can be purchased. And of course it wouldn’t be complete without local musicians providing the soundtrack!

Vinayagar Chadurthi

September 2013

Hindu Temple, Victoria, Mahe


About the event:
A religious festival celebrated by Hindu communities worldwide to mark the anniversary of 'Lord Vinayagar', The Elephant God.

Seychelles Round Table Regatta

27-29 September 2013

Beau Vallon Beach, Mahe

Round Table Seychelles (+248 2 72 70 07)

About the event:
The Round Table Regatta has become an important national event in the Island’s calendar. The event will span over one weekend, from the 27th to the 29th September 2013 and takes place on the popular Beau Vallon beach front. The event’s jam-packed schedule includes numerous sports competitions, live performances by local artists as well as many fairground games. The weekend culminates with a hilarious ‘Greasy Pole Contest’, where competitors struggle to reach a cash prize fixed on top of a 6-metre wooden pole smothered in grease. Last, but far from least, is the all-important lottery draw at 18h00 on Regatta Sunday.

Local and International companies alike support the event by manning food and beverage stalls or running promotional stations where the crowds benefit from generous give-aways and reduced prices on goods. All in all, the Round Table Regatta weekend brings many Seychellois and tourists together in a high-spirited, cause-driven event. Definitely an event not to be missed!

World Tourism Day

27 September 2013

Mahe, Praslin, La Digue

Seychelles Tourism Board (+248 4 67 13 00)

About the event:
World Tourism Day is celebrated on the 27th September each year. Various activities held in the preceding days create an ideal forum to increase public awareness on the importance of the tourism industry in Seychelles. Contact the Seychelles Tourism Board for details.


October 2013

Hindu Temple, Victoria, Mahe


About the event:
A religious festival, Deepavali signifies the advent of joy and happiness. It is also believed that goddess Lakshmi graces the shops and houses on this day and showers her blessings and bestows good fortune upon her worshippers.

La Digue Offshore Fishing Tournament

12 October 2013

La Digue

Marine Charter Association (+248 4 32 21 26)

About the event:
This one-day fishing competition includes bottom fishing and trolling. Prizes will be awarded for different categories, which include the Heaviest Fish Caught; Individual Fish Caught, Trolling and Bottom Fishing; and the Special Category for the best total trolling, bottom, and overall catch. Over 200 fishermen and 40 boats are expected to take part. 

Festival Kreol

25 - 31 October 2013

Various location on Mahe

Ministry of Tourism and Culture (+248 4 29 52 00)

About the event:
Undoubtedly the highlight on the Seychelles cultural calendar, the Festival Kreol offers visitors the a fascinating week full of the colours, sounds, flavours and fragrances of one corner of the Creole world that treasures its traditions while embracing the opportunities of the present. Hear it in the music, feel it in the rhythm, and taste it in the food, this one event not to be missed! 

To arrange your holiday of a lifetime, don’t hesitate to contact us via, we guarantee an experience never to be forgotten, for all the right reasons!