Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands, scattered closely amidst the turquoise waters of Indian Ocean, to the north-east of Madagascar. It is replete with a rare variety of natural flora and fauna; and delicate but endangered wild species. In addition to its fabulous beaches, Seychelles is a world class region for diving and snorkelling. It has six national marine parks and has pristine white beaches comparable with Maldives.
The principal islands are Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue and are known as Inner Islands. The Aldabra, Farquhar, and Desroches groups are also included in the territory of the republic. The international airport and the capital, Victoria, are situated in Mahe.
The islands of the Seychelles archipelago cluster around the main island of Mahé, and its satellites Praslin and La Digue. These islands contain the majority of Seychelles’ tourism facilities as well as its most striking beaches.
There are more than hundred boat charter companies offering yachts and boats and almost a score of water sport centres. The water around the Seychelles islands is very shallow and ideal for novice divers. Diving safaris are well known with divers taking yacht trip to Aldabra. To enjoy a sight of the wonderful marine creatures passing by, one should dive in the lagoon mouth.
Go through this travel guide for Republic of Seychelles before boarding your flights.
- Location – Western Indian Ocean.
- Time Zone – SCT (UTC+4)
- Capital – Victoria
- Largest City – Victoria
- Government – Republic
- Area – 451 sq km
- Population – 88,340 (July 2010 est.)
- Currency – Seychellois rupee (SCR)
- Calling Code – 248
- Official Language(s) – Seychellois Creole, English, French
- Religion – Majority Christians (Roman Catholicism remains the dominant religion of Seychelles), Minority – Muslim, Hindu.
- Visa information – Travellers need to check the visa guidelines from their relevant embassy/ consulates or contact their travel agents.
Top Tourist Spots in Seychelles
Cousin Island, La Digue Island, Praslin Island, Fregate Island, Mahe Island, Silhoette Island
The tourist attractions in Seychelles include the legendry Vallee de Mai in Praslin. L’Union Estate in La Digue Island is home to one of the most pristine beaches in Seychelles.
Aride Island, one of the world famous Nature Reserves, is home to seabirds such as Magpie Robins, Fodies and Brush Warblers. Ile Coco Marine National Park includes three tiny islands and the surrounding water is shallow and filled with large coral reefs. The hillside view of Curieuse Island is a combination of vibrant red and green colour and is dotted with Coco de mer trees, the eternal symbols of the island nation.
Most tourists reach Curieuse Marine National Park by chartered boats from Praslin. The only “paper park” left in Seychelles is Marine National Park is which is located at a height of 740 m on Silhoutte Island. Anne Marine National Park, set on blue waters, has one of the largest areas of sea grass meadows.
Seychelles is home for millions of charming birds species and Fairy tern is one of the most exotic sea birds. Millions of sooty terns could be viewed on the Bird Island and Aride Island. Aride Island, an ideal destination for the bird lovers is the home for roseate terns, noddies and many other tropical birds.
Nightlife in Seychelles is full of fun and merry-making. A number of drink and dine places and entertainment haunts such as bars, casinos and discos are available across the islands of Seychelles. Most major hotels of Seychelles attract tourists with a vibrant nightlife made excited with great gaming and competitions etc.
Shopping Attractions in Seychelles
The shopping experience in the Seychelles is therapeutic and magnificently energizing. Victoria, Mahé, Praslin and La Digue may not have any busy shopping malls or the designer showrooms but do have boutiques and galleries that are scattered all across where shoppers can indulge. Variety of local handicrafts, Batic textiles, hats, tablemats, basket wares, quaint wooden furniture and decoration pieces, pottery items as well as paintings are attractively displayed in all the shopping precincts. Green snail shells jewellery make for unique souvenir shopping picks. Aromatic local tea in Mahé can be bought along with an opportunity at the Tea Tavern to sample many classic tea blends. The ambience in the shopping areas is highly laid back with warm and courteous shopkeepers. Most shopping areas have shops opening at 08:00 am and usually some may close for lunch and finally close at 5 in the evening. Saturdays offer a shorter window for shopping when most shops close at 12 noon.
Eating out in Seychelles
Food in Seychelles is lip smacking and mainly consists of sea food as any other island destination. There are many small restaurants that dot the island of Mahe and which offer great service apart from scrumptious sea food. Although Creole food here is highly popular and most tourists prefer to try it, an avid traveller can clearly see Chinese, African, Indian, French, and English influences in Seychelles food. Some hot favourites are Tuna and King Fish fried or grilled in a butter and garlic sauce, Kat-kat banane, Soupe de tectec, coconut curries, daube, carii coco and chatini requin. Surprisingly octopus is one of the unique delicacies in Seychelles and is often served in a spicy coconut curry. In fact there is much use of coconut milk in the food on these islands. A wide range of alcoholic beverages, wines, spirits are available in these restaurants and bars here. Seybrew and Ecu are the locally produced lagers which are widely consumed in these islands apart from Guiness beer which is also popular. All restaurants have waiter service.
The visitors to Seychelles have a wide choice of accommodation options to choose from. These accommodations cater to every taste and budget and travellers can pick from affordable 3 star to luxury 4 and 5 star hotels, refurbished hotels, expansive resorts and self-catering guest houses, spa hotels and boat charters. Some of the popular five star hotels in the Mahe Island are Banyan Tree Seychelles, Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa, Le Meridien Barbarons and Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove. The Lemuria Resort of Praslin is one of the most popular luxurious five star hotels. There is lot of information available on the internet about the hotels in Mahe, Praslin and La Digue in Seychelles that can be researched before booking holidays to Seychelles.
Find the latest airfares and discounted offers on flights to Seychelles operating from UK.
Preferred Airlines to Seychelles from UK
Airports in Seychelles
The Seychelles International Airport is conveniently located only 11 km southeast of Victoria, the capital of Seychelles and serves as the island nation’s gateway to the world. Apart from operating domestic inter-island flights the airport operates international flights connecting Seychelles to destinations is Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Air Seychelles is the flag carrier of the Republic of Seychelles and uses the airport as its hub. The airlines that serve Seychelles International Airport include Air France, Air Seychelles, Emirates, Etihad and Kenya Airways to name a few. The airport is accessible through the Victoria-Providence Highway and is connected to Victoria and other cities and the ferry terminal with frequent bus services, taxis and coaches. For more information visit the airport’s website at www.victoria-seychelles.airport-authority.com/.
Best Time to Visit Seychelles
Seychelles have a year long tropical climate and can be visited at any point of time depending upon the purpose of the visitor. The temperature in Seychelles mostly ranges from 24°C to 32°C. For swimming and diving the best period is between March and May and September and November. Snorkelling is possible all over the year.
Events like International sailing and international fishing competition are held in January and in November respectively. For bird watching, the best times are April, the breeding season and between May and September when the Sooty Terns start nesting.
The months between May and September are great for walkers and hikers who are itching to go for nature trails. The thrill seekers who love to surf, the best time for wind surfing and surfing are between May and September. For anglers the best time would be between October and April.
Transport in Seychelles
On Mahé the central bus depot is in Victoria and services the various districts between 0530hrs and 2200hrs, although services on most routes are less frequent after 1830hrs. Travellers must check a detailed schedule of bus services available at the bus depot for exact departure and arrival times.
Taxis are available on Mahé and Praslin, and fewer on La Digue. One can phone up a taxi or hail one at the taxi stands on the street. Metered rides are advisable or cost should be negotiated prior to the trip.
Cars may be hired and hire vehicles such as Mini-Mokes to saloon cars, small vans, four wheel drives and chauffeur driven Mercedes Benz and are available on Mahé and Praslin only. To rent a vehicle, one must hold a valid E.U or International licence. Seychelles have vehicles driven on the left-hand side.
Bicycles are a popular mode of transport and readily available on La Digue and Praslin for hire. One can hop islands by means of air and sea transport and Air Seychelles operates a shuttle service between Mahé and Praslin and other inter-island flights. Traditional and modern types of sea ferry operate in Seychelles.
Seychelles Culture and Lifestyle
The Seychellois culture is cosmopolitan in nature as it is a harmonious blend of different races, cultures and religions. The African, European and Asian cultures with their distinct traditions and customs contributed to the life and vibrancy of Seychellois culture.
The distinct cultural traits reflect on the domains of local art, cuisine, music, dance and architecture. The architectural design of the grand old houses is a blend of tropical demands and of colonial tastes. With their steep roofs the houses present a style from Seychelles’ French and British colonial era. Modern architectural design is a blend of traditional styles and practical features capturing the island breezes.
Creole music and dance are a popular art form in Seychelles and have their origins in Malagasy, African and European cultures and often have accompaniment of simple drums and string instruments such as the violin and guitar.
Seychelles has many traditional forms of music and art: Moutya is a traditional erotic dance performed along with other dance forms such as Sega; Kanmtole is a reminiscent of a barn dance or Scottish country reel; and Kontredanse, which has its origin in the French courts.
The Seychelles Rupee (SCR) is made up of 100 cents. Coins have denominations of 5, 10, 25 cents and 1 and 5 Rupee. Notes come in 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500 Rupee denominations.
Travellers can check the exchange rates on the website of Central Bank of Seychelles and are foreign exchange and traveller’s cheques can be processed at banks for which passports are required and nominal charges may apply.
There are ATMs available at major banks on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue and at the Mahé and Praslin airport. The ATM’s dispense cash in local currency.
Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are also widely accepted by hotels, shops, car hire, yacht charter and restaurants throughout Seychelles.
Travel Tips for holidays in Republic of Seychelles
- The sun in Seychelles is very strong, carry and apply sun block of an appropriate strength.
- Resist the temptation of collecting sea shells which is prohibited in nature reserves, and marine parks in Seychelles. These shells are inhabited by the sensitive specie of Hermit Crab.
- No flora could be taken as souvenirs without a certificate and an official export permit.
- Travellers should walk carefully and avoid stepping over the little creatures and their nesting grounds.
- Visitors should also avoid feeding sea birds, turtles and other fauna life.
- Most hotels offer facilities to deposit valuables and important documents so it advisable that travellers don’t carry them.
- One should ideally not change all their foreign exchange into Seychelles Rupees (SCR) at one time and change only what is needed for a specific period of time.
- One should change their foreign exchange only using legal means such as banks, hotel cashiers and at the Bureau de Change at the airport.
- Staying at unlicensed tourism premises may lead to a range of disappointing experiences, so avoid them.
- Avoid walking alone in the night and particularly secluded places in your tourism destination.
- Tipping at restaurants, hotels, taxis etc. is not mandatory in Seychelles. However, a nominal tip as a reward is joyfully accepted.