Diplomat Interviews

An Interaction with with H.E. Mrs. Harisoa Lalatiana Accouche, High Commissioner of Seychelles to India

Dive in the Azure Ocean!

Seychelles, a tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean, boasts stunning blue waters, white sandy beaches, and lush green forests, making it a popular destination for travelers seeking tranquility and natural beauty. Let us know more about this beautiful island country. TravelJingles in conversation with H.E. Mrs. Harisoa Lalatiana Accouche, High Commissioner of Seychelles to India.

Seychelles is home to excellent marine life. Tell us about the three must-visit places in the country

Perfectly said! Seychelles is renowned for its stunning marine life and picturesque beaches, offering numerous must-visit places to experience its rich marine biodiversity. Sainte Anne Marine National Park, comprising six small islands and located just off the coast of Mahé, is the main island of Seychelles. It is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, offering snorkelling, diving and glass-bottom boat tours to explore colourful coral gardens and sea turtles. Another one is Aldabra Atoll, the world’s second-largest coral atoll and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the Outer Islands of Seychelles.  It is renowned for its pristine, diverse ecosystem, home to giant tortoises, bird species, distinctive landscapes, mangrove forests, and stunning coral reefs, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Not to forget Cousin Island Special Reserve, a small granitic island situated near Praslin, the second-largest island of Seychelles, renowned for its sea bird populations, coral reefs, snorkelling, and diving opportunities and surrounded by healthy marine life.

Bouyan Blan is considered as one of the traditional dishes of Seychelles. Tell us about the gastronomy of the country.

Certainly! Seychellois cuisine is a delightful fusion of African, French, Indian, Chinese, and Creole influences, reflecting our diverse cultural heritage. The Bouyon Blan is a traditional Seychellois fish soup made with a variety of local fish, vegetables, herbs, and spices. It is typically simmered slowly to develop rich flavours and served with rice. Fresh fish, such as tuna, kingfish, and red snapper are commonly used in dishes like grilled fish, fish curries, and fish stews. Other popular seafood includes octopus, crab, and shellfish. Rice is a staple in Seychellois meals, along with breadfruit, cassava, and sweet potatoes, commonly used in traditional Seychellois cuisine. The desserts are enriched with tropical fruits like mangoes, papayas, pineapples, bananas, and coconuts commonly used in fresh desserts and beverages. Seychellois gastronomy showcases the country’s culinary heritage with Ladob, a comforting sweet treat made from plantains and breadfruit, and locally produced rum, a popular choice among locals and tourists.

The famous Bollywood movie ‘Pyar toh hona hi tha’ was shot in Seychelles. What makes the country a popular filming destination? 

Seychelles appeals as a filming destination for several reasons among, for its scenic beauty as the island is renowned for its breathtaking natural landscapes including pristine beaches with turquoise waters, lush tropical forests, granite rock formations, and vibrant coral reefs. These picturesque settings provide a stunning backdrop for filming, offering filmmakers a wide range of visually captivating locations to choose from. Seychelles offers untouched, secluded locations for filmmakers to capture pristine natural environments, making it an ideal filming destination for remote and idyllic projects.

The country is vastly spread with natural reserves and parks
with 250 bird species.
 What makes it unique?

Seychelles has a rich biodiversity and diverse ecosystems, with 30%
of its land and marine areas protected for wildlife conservation. Key reserves
include Vallee de Mai and Aldabra, a special reserve on Cousin Island, which
serve as essential habitats for bird species. In addition to these prominent
reserves, Seychelles offers numerous bird watching opportunities
across its islands. Visitors can explore various habitats, including mangroves,
wetlands, and coastal areas, to observe a wide range of bird species. Some
notable birdwatching sites include Morne Seychellois National Park on Mahé, the
wetlands of Port Launay on Mahé, and the Aride Island Nature Reserve.

The world’s largest seed Coco De Mer, is found in Seychelles weighing over 20kg. Comment.

Yes, the Coco de Mer, also known as the double coconut or Lodoicea maldivica, is native to the Seychelles islands, which is renowned for producing the world’s largest seed that can vary significantly, with some seeds reaching extraordinary sizes, often over 20 kilograms (44 pounds) or more. 

The giant seeds are among the heaviest in the plant kingdom, which are enclosed in a hard, woody shell that is often shaped like a double coconut, with two lobes fused together. This unique characteristic, along with its impressive size, makes the Coco de Mer seed a fascinating botanical curiosity and a symbol of Seychelles’ rich natural heritage, and it is protected by law to ensure their conservation.

Tell us about the water activities the country offers. 

Seychelles boasts turquoise waters, abundant marine life, and pristine beaches, with vibrant coral reefs. Visitors can enjoy water activities, relaxation, adventure, and nature connection. Snorkelling spots include Anse Lazio on Praslin, Beau Vallon on Mahé, and Sainte Anne Marine National Park. Seychelles offers a variety of water activities, including diving, boating, fishing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and jet skiing. The islands are home to a variety of marine species, including reef sharks, rays, moray eels, and coral formations. Visitors can explore the islands by boat, including catamaran cruises, glass-bottom boat tours, and sailing excursions. Fishing opportunities are abundant, with a variety of species, including marlin, tuna, sailfish, and barracuda. Island hopping, with over 100 islands, offers day trips or multi-day excursions to explore the region’s unique landscapes, beaches, and attractions.

Do we have any similarities between India and Seychelles?

India and Seychelles share several similarities despite their geographical and cultural differences. Both have a shared history dating back to colonial times. We are culturally diverse nations with a rich tapestry of ethnicities, languages, religions, and traditions. Seychellois cuisine features Indian spices, ingredients, and cooking techniques, with a unique fusion of flavours. Both have vibrant tourism industries, attracting visitors from around the world to their stunning natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality.

Which is your favourite travel destination in the world and why except Seychelles.

This is my first stay in India, but since my arrival, I have had the opportunity to discover many places which have impressed me for their own respective and unique characteristics coupled with the warm hospitality.   By the end of my tenure, India will surely have significant impacts in my destination choices as it provides everything one wants to see in many destinations meaning all in one go.