The Seychelles - An island nation, Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600 km (994 mi) east of Kenya. The Constitution of Seychelles lists 155 named islands and a further 7 reclaimed islands have been created subsequent to the publication of the Constitution. The majority of the islands are uninhabited, with many dedicated as nature reserves.
A group of 44 islands (42 granitic and 2 coralline) occupy the shallow waters of the Seychelles Bank and are collectively referred to as the inner islands. They have a total area of 244 km2, comprising 54% of the total land area of the Seychelles and 98% of the entire population.
|Currency||Seychelles rupee (SCR)|
|Area||total: 455 km2
water: 0 km2
land: 455 km2
|Population||94,000 (2016 est.)|
|Language||English (official), French (official), Creole (official)|
|Religion||Roman Catholic 86.6%, Anglican 6.7%,
other Christian 2.5%, other 4.1%
The Seychelles were disputed between France and Great Britain during the age of colonialism, with Britain ending up in control in 1814 after the Napoleonic Wars. The islands achieved independence in 1976; however, free elections did not occur until 1993.
The climate is equable although quite humid, as the islands are small, classified by Köppen-Geiger system as tropical rain forest. The temperature varies little throughout the year. Temperatures on Mahé vary from 24 to 30 °C (75 to 86 °F), and rainfall ranges from 2,900 mm (114 in) annually at Victoria to 3,600 mm (142 in) on the mountain slopes. Precipitation is somewhat less on the other islands.
During the coolest months, July and August, the average low is about 24 °C (75 °F). The southeast trade winds blow regularly from May to November, and this is the most pleasant time of the year. The hot months are from December to April, with higher humidity (80%). March and April are the hottest months, but the temperature seldom exceeds 31 °C (88 °F). Most of the islands lie outside the cyclone belt, so high winds are rare.
No visa is required, but Seychellois (pronounced say-shel-wa) authorities make sure you are not entering to stay for good. Therefore, the following items MUST be presented to the immigration officer:
- A passport valid on the date of entry to and exit from Seychelles.
- Your return ticket.
- Your hotel voucher.
- At least 150 USD per day. They will ask for cash, show them. If you have credit cards, show them - you may be asked for the credit balance you have.
- A statement of good health and a statement that you are not importing plants or infected animals (The flight attendants in your flight will provide you these papers).
Visitors without pre-booked accommodation are likely to be compelled to book one at the airport for the length of their stay before being allowed to leave the airport. An initial entry permit is granted for 1 month but can be extended for a maximum of 3 months at a time up to a maximum of 1 year in total.
For further information about Passport and Visa requirements please visit the official Seychelles government site:
The only international gateway to the Seychelles is Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) near Victoria.
Visit the official website of SEZ airport for further information: https://www.seychellesairports.sc/
Visit the official website of AIR SEYCHELLES: https://www.airseychelles.com/en
Air Seychelles operates multiple daily flights between Mahe and Praslin. Over two dozen flights vary in frequency from 15 minute to 2 hour intervals, depending on time of day.
On Mahe the flights depart from the modest domestic terminal, located just next to the international terminal. The tiny airport on Praslin is modern and comfortable.
Air Seychelles also operates once daily or several times per week between Mahe and the islands of Bird, Denis, Fregate, Desroches and Alphonse. Assumption Island and Coetivy can be reached by air charter.
Zil Air provides charter helicopter flights to/from most of the inner and outer Seychelles islands. It is the only scenic flight operator in the Seychelles. Scenic flights can be booked to cover the main islands of Mahé, Praslin, La Digue and the surrounding smaller islands of (among others) Cousine, Félicité, Grande Seour, Curieuse and Bird Island.
As of June 2013, online bookings and e-ticketing has been made possible for trusted ferry operators in the Seychelles by Seychellesbookings. Cat Cocos and Inter Island ferry offer their routes between Praslin, Mahe and La Digue through this site, making live seat availability and reservation accessible online for the first time. They also offer a range of discounts on Island accommodation, restaurants and activities to complement ferry bookings.
Driving in Seychelles is on the left side of the road. The roads on Mahe are low-traffic, mountainous, narrow roads, so caution is generally advised. The roads usually have steep drops or low walls on the side instead of curbs, which can make driving on the narrow roads stressful, especially if driving a large vehicle. If you are used to driving on the right and you arrive on Mahe seriously jet lagged, a taxi to the hotel may be a good idea, even if you eventually plan to rent a car.
There are also few places where one could pull over to admire the view, study the map or such. Whenever you see a combination of wide curb and an interesting stop, you should take advantage of the situation.
The traffic situations on the roads can change rapidly. There are no sidewalks, so keep your eyes open for pedestrians. Also you should know that even on narrow winding mountain roads a buss or a truck might be coming at you just behind the next tight turn. Keep to the left and slow down whenever a hairy situation develops. Around Victoria you should also be prepared for sudden traffic jams.
French and English are official languages along with Seychellois Creole, which is primarily based upon French. However, nowadays the language is often laced with English words and phrases. Including second-language speakers, Seychellois is the most-spoken official language in the Seychelles, followed by French and English. 87% of the population speaks Seychelles Creole, 51% speaks French, and 38% speaks English. Most business and official meetings are conducted in English and nearly all official websites are in English. National Assembly business is conducted in Creole, but laws are passed and published in English.
According to the 2010 census, most Seychellois are Christians: 76.2% were Roman Catholic, pastorally served by the exempt Diocese of Port Victoria or Seychelles (immediately dependent on the Holy See); 10.6% were Protestant, (Anglican 6.1%, Pentecostal Assembly 1.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.2%, other Protestant 1.6%).
Hinduism is practiced by 2.4%, and Islam by 1.6%. Other non-Christian faiths accounted for 1.1% of the population while a further 5.9% were non-religious or did not specify a religion.
Tourism in Seychelles
Tourism is the most important non-government sector of Seychelles' economy. About 15 percent of the formal work force is directly employed in tourism, and employment in construction, banking, transportation, and other activities is closely tied to the tourist industry. Tourists enjoy the Seychelles' coral beaches and opportunities for water sports. Wildlife in the archipelago is also a major attraction.
Beaches and More
Visit the beaches. Many of the beaches are untouched by man's influence and are refreshingly uncrowded. They offer clear blue skies and a tranquility you will rarely find. A hike along the coastline from Beau Vallon to Anse Major will take about 1.5-2 hours and your reward will be a small deserted beach that's fit for a king. The scenery along the hike is breathtaking. Not all beaches are suitable for swimming depending on the time of year, due to the seasonal winds. Do not ignore warning signs indicating that a beach is hazardous for swimming, no matter how it seems to you.
The conditions on the beaches depend on the strength and direction of wind, absence or presence of a protective reef and the tide. One should not worry, however, because Seychelles has beaches in abundance, and if the conditions on one beach are not good, a perfect beach may be only 5 minutes drive away.
Aldabra Atoll: The world's largest coral atoll that stretches about 22 miles east to west and encloses a huge tidal lagoon. Aldabra is the original home of the giant land tortoise and tiger sharks and manta rays can also often be seen here.
Watersports: The warm Indian Ocean waters make Seychelles the perfect place for the water enthusiasts. Explore on board a yacht, power boat, catamaran or sailboat. Windsurfing is also popular and the best time for this activity is usually around May then in October, at the start and end of the trade winds.
Scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing are also extremely popular and can be done almost anywhere in Seychelles. Baie Ternay is superb and easily acccessible by glass bottom boat tour from Beau Vallon beach - leave yourself an empty day and walk the beach for a 'last minute' booking - great deals can be bartered. Snorkeling (provided you have your own gear - some hotels lend masks, snorkels and fins to guests) is FREE and there are many great spots: off some of the small beaches at Glacis, past Mouse Island at Anse Royale, along the reef at Port Launay (near Ephelia Resort). Often spotted are a wide array of tropical fish, sea turtles, eagle rays and more!
Land Sports: Golf, tennis, squash, badminton, horseback riding, biking and hiking are some of the recreational activities available on the Seychelles Islands. Bike rentals and walking tours are great ways to sightsee and since distances are relatively short and the scenery is beautiful, walking is probably the best way to see the smaller islands (La Digue, Praslin), while walking along the main road can be quite intimidating as the roads are narrow and local cars/busses drive quite quickly. On Mahe it is not advised to ride bicycles, and there are no rental shops within sight. Bird watching is also popular and the islands are home to many of the worlds most treasured and rare species of animals. The best place to do so is Cousin Island which although only 1 km (0.6 miles) in diameter, is home to more than 300,000 birds, but many unique species can be found at ease on Mahe.
Nightlife: Do not miss most popular Nightclub "Lovenut" in the centre of Victoria, 100 metres walk from central Taxi station. Also entertaining are "Tequila Boom" at (Bel Ombre) and "Katiolio" (near Anse Royale) night clubs. "Katiolio" was one of the first nightclubs to open on Mahe and boats an open-air that is directly beside the ocean.
International Charter Group: Yacht charter and sailing, one of the worlds largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to crewed in the Seychelles. Operating from nine offices worldwide (USA, Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Honk Kong and Dubai).
Hiking There are several maintained hiking routes on the main island of Mahe and a few on Praslin. The Seychelles tourism office has a few descriptions of the hiking routes with maps available to be purchased. Check out openstreetmap for some hiking tracks around the islands.
Seychelles also has numerous markets, art galleries and shops, colonial Creole-style plantation houses, and the main island of Mahé has six museums, a botanical garden, and several national monuments. The market downtown Victoria has a good selection of local produce, and spices for sale that are all grown locally and 100% authentic.
Staple foods include fish, seafood and shellfish dishes, often accompanied with rice. Fish dishes are cooked in several ways, such as steamed, grilled, wrapped in banana leaves, baked, salted and smoked. Curry dishes with rice are also a significant aspect of the country's cuisine.
Additional food staples include coconut, breadfruit, mangoes and kordonnyen fish. Dishes are often garnished with fresh flowers.
Seychellois cuisine has been greatly influenced by the islands' rich cultures. Creole cooking, varied seafood dishes, coconuts and curries are the most popular. The main product of the country, fish, is cooked in a variety of ways. Especially the red snapper is very tasty and well known to visitors.
Most service providers already include a service charge of 5% - 10%. Tipping is not obligatory in the Seychelles, however, any extra change is greatly appreciated.
Try to avoid any dark lanes, and always be careful not to leave your bag unattended. Swimming alone on isolated beaches is not advisable. If you sail, avoid bringing valuables; if you have no choice, become adept at finding great hiding places.
There is some social activity along a secondary road behind Beau Vallon beach (left from the Boathouse restaurant), but locals mostly seem content to admire their flashy cars and mostly ignore passers-by.
There are newly instituted tourist police stationed at every beach on Mahe and are easily recognizable by their blue or white golf shirts, with a tourist police badge sewn on.
They are very friendly and more than willing to help keep a good eye, even though you may not see them. They are honest and freely offer advice. Potential thieves are obvious (mostly due to lurking and just stand out from the locals) and tend to hide just off the beach or across the narrow streets near more out of the way beaches. Jail terms are stiff and are strictly enforced since the island makes lots of money from tourism.
Actual tourist scams are very rare, but it is advisable to check all bills at the restaurants and other establishments before paying.
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