Moments

World Heritage in the Indian Ocean

Le Morne Brabant Mauritius from the sky

There’s more to travel than just your daily commute or your summer holiday. Travelling can evoke strong emotions and associations, whether that be through immersing yourself in a new culture and finding out how other people live or through discovering an unexpected gem of the natural world.

Travel can help you better understand yourself as well as the world around you!

UNESCO World Heritage SitesJust a small selection of the wonderful sites recognised by UNESCO!
Credit: UNESCO

Have you visited any sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage list? There are over 1000 of them throughout the world, each of particular cultural or natural significance. There are numerous sites in the Indian Ocean – will they make it onto your bucket list?

  1. The Seychelles’ very own Garden of Eden

Valee de Mai SeychellesThe Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
Credit: Vincent Ko Hon Chi

In the heart of the small island of Praslin, the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve is a palm forest that’s barely changed since prehistoric times – home to six endemic palms and many other unique species. Visiting the reserve is like stepping back in time.

Coco de MerThe unique coco de mer, endemic to the Seychelles

The largest seed on earth, coco de mer, is found here. It was once believed to grow in the depths of the sea as sailors and pirates would find them floating in the Indian Ocean. The trees can grow up to 30 metres high, with leaves as large as 4.5 metres long!

Vallee de Mai SeychellesDiscover an untouched world
Credit: Gerard Larose

The area is uniquely beautiful – it’s commonly referred to as the Garden of Eden! Vallée de Mai was officially recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983 – don’t miss out on visiting this incredible slice of paradise on your visit to the Seychelles.

Where to stay:
Constance Lemuria Seychelles is located on Praslin Island, within easy reach of Vallée de Mai. Get the best of both worlds with elegant accommodation, an 18-hole championship golf course, Constance Kids Club facilities as well as world-famous beaches and other natural wonders.

  1. A symbol of freedom – Le Morne in Mauritius

Le Morne Brabant aerial viewView of Le Morne from the sky
Credit: Charles de Zordo

The rugged mountain of Le Morne Cultural Landscape in the southwest of Mauritius was used in the 18th and 19th centuries as a shelter by runaway slaves and maroons. It was a haven, protected by almost inaccessible cliffs. Groups of people created little settlements in the caves and on the summit, forming their own sanctuary.

Le Morne Brabant MauritiusWould you trek up to those heights?
Credit: Vincent Ko Hon Chiu

Le Morne became a symbol of the fight for freedom, and of the slaves’ suffering and sacrifice. Its relevance and significance goes beyond just the island of Mauritius itself, but is important throughout the world and in particular to the many countries where the slaves originated.

View of Le Morne from the waterLe Morne can’t be missed!
Credit: Atlas & Boots

You can’t help but be moved by a trip to Le Morne. Not only is the hike incredibly beautiful, with a reward of jaw dropping views at the top, but its poignant past lives on. Visiting sites of such historical significance can really encourage you to view the world from a different perspective.

Where to stay:
Constance Prince Maurice or Constance Belle Mare Plage Mauritius – from both hotels you can explore all that the beautiful island of Mauritius has to offer, from white sand beaches to historically and culturally significant sites.

  1. Incredible biodiversity in the Rainforests of the Atsinanana

Rainbow over Madagascan rainforestsRainbow over the Rainforests of the Atsinanana
Credit: Our Place 

The Rainforests of the Atsinanana are comprised of six national parks, the remaining areas of the lush rainforests that once covered the majority of the eastern half of Madagascar.

Madagascan lemurFamous Lemurs of Madagascar
Credit: Our Place

Madagascar has phenomenal biodiversity – its flora and fauna have evolved in isolation since its separation from other land masses over 60 million years ago. This means that 97% of the species found in Madagascar’s rainforests are found nowhere else! The conservation of the rainforests is critically important for the survival of these unique species

Where to stay:
Constance Tsarabanjina Madagascar – an all-inclusive barefoot island paradise where castaway meets luxury. From here you can discover all the natural wonders of this incredible corner of the world.

  1. An ancient Swahili trading town – Stone Town, Zanzibar

A perfect example of East Africa’s Swahili coastal trading towns, the Stone Town of Zanzibar brings together elements of African, Arab, Indian, European and indigenous cultures to create a uniquely fascinating urban area.

Stone Town of Zanzibar Impressive architecture in Stone Town
Credit: UNESCO

The buildings themselves are a fascinating fusion of many different architectural and town planning influences, mainly constructed from coralline ragstone and mangrove timber.

The town is representative of the greatly important sea trade activity between Africa and Asia, as well as having symbolic importance in the abolition of slavery – it was a primary slave-trading port but was also a key base from which opponents of the trade fought to end it.

Stone Town ruins – Indian Ocean UNESCO World Heritage Ruins at the Stone Town of Zanzibar
Credit: UNESCO

Wind your way through the narrow streets and explore the bazaars – you might stumble across some unexpected treasures! Experiencing urban areas that are completely removed from your own home town allows you to dip your toe into the unknown and gain more understanding of different ways people live as well as the history behind it – exciting!

TownFascinating buildings await you
Credit: Our Place

Where to stay:
Constance Aiyana Pemba, Zanzibar – minimalist luxury far away from the stresses of modern life! Visit the Stone Town on your way to or from Constance Aiyana for a true taste of Zanzabari life and culture.

 

UNESCO World Heritage aims to preserve and promote important sites to be enjoyed for generations to come. Add more intrigue, excitement and emotion to your travels by visiting places rich in culture and history. The world never ceases to amaze, what are you waiting for?!

Have you visited any of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites? Let us know in the comments!

 

Featured image credit: Dreamstime

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    John
    March 1, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Nice article!! I’ve been in two… Looking forward to visiting the other two!!

    • Reply
      Constance Hotels & Resorts
      March 9, 2018 at 1:52 pm

      That’s fantastic, John! Which two have you visited so far?

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