When the idea for a Christmas vacation comes up, Africa may not be the first place that comes to mind. People have to remember a couple of things about Africa. 1. It is not a single country, it is a continent, just like Europe. Different countries have completely different customs, traditions and dynamics than others (even ones that are next to each other). 2. Not all of Africa is covered by militant groups with military uniforms and assault weapons. 3. This is probably the most important. Africa is a beautiful place. You have open grasslands, savannas, swamps, rivers, dense jungles, and various kinds of deserts (including the largest in the world).
The people of Africa are as diverse as the landscape and the climates. In the far north, there are predominately Muslim peoples and this is where you will find the world famous monuments of Egypt. Across the Sahara to the south, you will run into jungle and the grasslands that have the animals that Africa is known for. The lions, zebras, wildebeest, elephants, and hundreds of others.
There is one small country off the east coast of Africa that is perfect for that Christmas getaway. It is an island country (made up of 115 islands in a chain), the main island is called Mahe. It contains the capital city of Victoria (so named because it was part of the United Kingdom until 1976). While all of the islands that make up Seychelles are beautiful, it is Mahe and specifically Victoria that is the focus of this Christmas vacation destination.
The official name of Seychelles is The Republic of Seychelles. The languages that are spoken (not counting the countless languages used by tourists from around the world, especially Europe) are French, English, and a Creole mix known as Seychellois creole. While the other languages are spoken, you will find that English will get you whatever you need.
For most people in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas time means cold weather. In the US it is equated with snow, a fire in the fireplace, a large family get together and an unbelievable amount of food. Whether you are alone, a couple just starting out, retired, or just want to get away and try something different, think Africa. Especially the Seychelles.
The islands are located in the Indian Ocean. It is approximately 1000 miles due east from Mombasa, Kenya. It is approximately 900 miles southeast of Mogadishu, Somalia, and 600 miles northeast of the northern tip of Madagascar. It is a country that is isolated in the Indian Ocean. This makes it a great choice for a vacation because it is far removed from any dangerous situations that may exist on the continent.
The climate is equable and December is a warm month. Instead of having to deal with snow, you can sit on snow white beaches or swim in the Indian Ocean. The temperatures usually range from the high 70 F to the mid 80F. With a nice ocean breeze, it is very comfortable. While it may be humid (you will have a little over 12″ of rain In December), the ocean breezes will keep the humidity at bay.
If Christmas is a religious holiday for you, Seychelles can serve your purpose. Not only are you in paradise on Earth, you will not find a shortage of Churches. Around 90% of the population is Christian. Over 80% is Roman Catholic. This will give the faithful plenty of choices in which to celebrate both Midnight Mass and Christmas Mass.
If religion is not the way that you want to spend your Christmas vacation, fear not. You still have plenty of things to occupy your time (although the beautiful churches are worth a visit while you are there). Since you are on an island, the ocean is an obvious choice. The water is warm and crystal clear. Even when you are chest deep in the ocean, you can see your toes in the sand on the see bed. There are reefs that support ecosystems of life. For the first time scuba diver or snorkeler, awe and wonderment is all that can be said. As with any place in the world, there are dangers, make sure that you go with a qualified guide that knows the area (they will also know the best places to dive).
With a metropolitan population of around 90,000 people. They have an international airport and all the amenities of a mid sized city. There are approximately 2,500 hotel rooms plus various beach bungalows for rent. Since December is in the hot season, it is not the most popular with tourists. It is not very expensive to vacation there. The local currency is the Seychellois Rupee. The exchange rate (which varies so you would have to check prior to a trip) is $1.00=12.65 Rupees. On average it will cost under $500.00 US per day (that is with the hotel rate included). Of course you can find both less expensive and more expensive accommodations.
The Republic of Seychelles is a modern country that has something for everyone. It is absolutely beautiful. It is not what you would expect when you think of Africa (especially after watching the news). As far a Christmas vacation goes, it is one of the great places in the world. Because of the make up of the population, you can get what you are looking for, whether it is a tropical island get away from the snowy world at home or a religious trip that will put you much closer to the Holy Land than any church in the US.
When planning your next vacation for Christmastime, don’t immediately mark Africa off the map. There are many places that are worth looking into, The Republic of Seychelles topping the list.
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