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HISTORY

Seychelles is a comparatively young nation. It can trace its earliest settlers to 1770 when the French, leading a small party of whites, Indians and Africans, settled in the islands. The islands' remained with the French until Napoleon was the defeated at Waterloo, and was ceded to Britain under the treaty of Paris in 1814. Under the British, Seychelles grew to a population of some 7,000 by the year 1825. Coconut, food crops, cotton and sugar cane estates were established during this time. During this period Seychelles also saw the establishment of Victoria as her capital, the exile of troublemakers from the Empire, the devastation caused by the famous Avalanche of 1862 and the economic repercussions of the abolition of slavery. Seychelles achieved independence from Britain in 1976 and became a republic within the Commonwealth.

GEOGRAPHY

Seychelles 115 granite and coral islands extend from between 4-10 degrees south of the equator and lie between 480-1,600km from the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. This Indian Ocean republic occupies a land area of 455 km. It represents an archipelago of stunning beauty, tranquility and harmony that is famous for its gorgeous beaches and for its great diversity, from lush forests down to the ocean. Of these 115 islands, 41 Inner Islands constitute the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on earth while a further 74 form the 5 groups of low-lying coral atolls and reef islets that are the Outer Islands. Seychelles is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the legendary Vallee de Mai on Praslin where the wondrously shaped Coco-de-Mer nut grows high on ancient palms, and fabled Aldabra, the world's largest raised coral atoll, first seen by early Arab seafarers of the 9th century A.D. Seychelles is 4 hours ahead of GMT and 3 hours ahead of British Summer Time.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

There are no visa requirements to enter Seychelles. However, the following documents must be presented at the international airport.

  • 1) A passport valid on the date of entry to and exit from Seychelles
  • 2) Return or onward ticket
  • 3) Proof of accommodation; including contact details
  • 4) Sufficient funds for the duration of the stay
  • Presentation of all of the above documents will grant you a Visitor's Permit that will be issued upon arrival. The Visitor's Permit is initially valid for up to one month. It can be extended for a period of up to three months from the date of issue and capable of further extensions for successive periods not exceeding three months at a time to a maximum period of twelve months, provided that the person still meets the criteria of a bona fide visitor. The visitor's permit is issued free of charge for the first three months after which there is a fee of SCR1,000 for extension covering each period of three months or any part thereof.

    WEATHER

    As the Seychelles islands are blessed with a warm, tropical climate year-round, it's always a good time to visit, although different times of the year may be better suited to your particular interests (see below). May-Sep bring drier, slightly cooler weather and choppier seas, particularly on the southeast. During this period, some south and east facing beaches are prone to more seaweed. Between Dec-Mar, the northwest trade winds bring more heavy spells of rain, along with warmer weather and a higher humidity. However, even during these 'wetter' months, there is usually around 6 hours of daily sunshine. Rain is possible all year round but normally in short sharp showers, hence the lush green vegetation. The transition periods of Apr and Oct tend to offer hot temperatures with slight breezes and calm seas. The sea is at its liveliest in Jul-Aug. The Seychelles is situated outside of the cyclone belt.

      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Daily Temp (C) 28 29 29 30 29 28 27 27 28 28 29 28
    Monthly Rainfall (mm) 381 279 229 178 178 102 76 76 127 152 229 356
    Daily Sunshine (hrs) 6 6 7 8 8 7 7 7 7 7 7 6
    Best Times to visit Seychelles for:
    Sailing: Year round
    Diving: All year but best visibility in Apr and Oct
    Snorkelling: Year round
    Surfing & Windsurfing: May-Sep
    Fishing: Oct-Apr
    Bird-watching: Apr/May for breeding season, and Sep/Oct for migration.
    Walking & Hiking: May-Sep
    Turtles: Oct-Feb (peak Dec) for laying eggs, and mid Jan-Apr (peak Feb/Mar) for hatchlings

    NB: All weather information provided should be used as a general guide only as weather patterns are changing throughout the world. Naturally, we cannot accept any responsibility. Also, the weather in Seychelles can be localised. So, during different periods, one island may be better for certain activities than another.

    THE INNER ISLANDS

    The Inner Islands, 43 in total, are mostly granitic and cluster mainly around the main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, forming the cultural and economic hub of Seychelles, as well as the centre of its tourism industry. Together, they are home to the majority of Seychelles' accommodation facilities as well almost the entire population of the archipelago.

    THE OUTER ISLANDS

    The Outer Islands are situated beyond the Seychelles plateau. They comprise 72 low-lying sand cays and atolls lying anywhere between 230-1150km from Mahe. Less visited than the Inner Islands due to their relative remoteness, these pristine islands, some little more than sand spits or lonely rocky outcrops, offer untouched habitats for many species of wildlife. Only 2 islands among the Outer Island groups, namely Alphonse and Desroches, currently offer accommodation facilities. They boast excellent lodges as well as stunning opportunities for sailing, fishing and diving in places which few have explored.

    ISLAND HOPPING

    Seychelles is unique from so many other holiday destinations because of its wide variety of islands - each one with its own particular character, geography and history. Whether you choose a day excursion to one of the many Inner granitic islands, or an extended stay on one of the exotic island hideaways, Seychelles has something exceptional to offer. To travel to Seychelles and not experience the many islands on offer would be a crime! Experiencing more than one island will be ever memorable. Whatever your choice, a regular network of air and sea transport operating out of the main island of Mahe will cater for most itineraries. Ferry services, domestic flights and even helicopter transfers are also available on a daily basis to many of the islands.

    HEALTH

    There is no risk of contracting malaria, yellow fever, cholera or other common tropical diseases in Seychelles. Vaccinations are not required except in the case of yellow fever where a vaccination is required for travellers over 1 year old who have come from, or passed through a partly or wholly infected area within the preceding 6 days. Persons travelling to Seychelles via Kenya and who remain in transit in Kenya do not require a vaccination against yellow fever. We do, however, strongly advise that you check with your GP or health centre regarding vaccinations.

    CURRENCY & BANKING

    The local currency is the Seychelles Rupee (SCR) which is divided into 100 cents. Coins come in 5, 10, 25 cents, and 1 and 5 Rupee denominations. Notes come in 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500 Rupee denominations. Banking hours are generally Mon-Fri 8am-2pm, and Sat 8-11am. All banks process traveller's cheques and foreign exchange transactions. Passports are required for visitors' transactions and nominal commissions may be charged. ATM facilities exist at major banks on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue and at the airport on Mahe and Praslin. Please note that these provide cash in local currency. Visitors to the islands are now entitled to make payments for services/products in Seychelles Rupees. The discretion to pay in another currency other than the Seychelles Rupee shall lay solely with the visitor. Exchange rates will be determined by the market and may differ from bank to bank or at various bureaux de change. Exchanging foreign currency into Seychelles Rupees must only be done at banks, with authorised money dealers such as a bureau de change, or with other licensed operators. Visitors should refrain from exchanging money with any individuals who approach them in a public place as there is a very high possibility that those persons are engaging in unauthorized dealing, possibly with counterfeit currency. NB: It is a criminal offence to change money with any person or business other than those authorised to do so and who are mentioned above. Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Seychelles. When acquiring rupees by credit card, it is advisable to exchange only what is needed on a daily basis.

    SAFETY & HELPFUL HINTS

    Seychelles enjoys a low level of crime. Nevertheless, common sense must prevail to ensure your personal safety and that of your possessions. Walking alone on isolated beaches or swimming alone is not advisable. It is also not recommended to carry huge sums of money or valuables on your person, or to leave them unguarded in your room or to make a show that you possess them. Most hotels offer room or reception safes to secure valuables and visitors are advised to take advantage of this service. Do not stay at unlicensed tourism places as these may not offer you the quality of vacation that you had expected and may lead to disappointing experiences. Remember that the sun in Seychelles is very strong. Do not lie in it without applying sun cream of an appropriate strength for your skin.

    Please resist the urge to collect seashells along the beaches as many are used as habitation by hermit crabs. Collecting shells is prohibited in nature reserves, marine parks and reserves in Seychelles. The unique and unusual tropical flora is beautiful - admire it, but don't spoil it. Any flora taken as souvenirs must have a certificate and an official export permit must be produced when checking in at the international airport. Please walk carefully on the reefs and do not feed sea birds, mammals, turtles or tortoises or disturb them or their nesting grounds.

    SOCIETY, CULTURE, CUISINE

    The 88,000-odd Seychellois population reflects its multi-ethnic roots. Traditionally, the islands have attracted a broad diversity of peoples - freed slaves, European settlers, political exiles, adventurers, Arab and Persian traders as well as Chinese and Indians. Practically every nation on earth has been represented in this melting pot of cultures, each one contributing its special influence to today's vibrant, yet tranquil society. Creole (a French-based patois), English and French are the three official languages in Seychelles. Many Seychellois also speak fluent Italian or German.

    Roman Catholicism remains the dominant religion of Seychelles but there are also Anglican and Protestant churches and the places of worship of other denominations. These live in harmony alongside, Muslim, Hindu and Bahai communities based on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue.

    For such a small country, Seychelles has a vibrant art scene that encompasses painters, sculptors, writers, poets and musicians and dancers. Painters have traditionally taken inspiration from the richness of Seychelles' natural beauty.

    Local writers and poets have also used the magnificent backdrop of Seychelles as inspirations for historical accounts, fascinating works documenting the social history of the islands and its people and collections of short stories and poems that evoke the passions of island living.

    Music and dance have always played a prominent role in Seychelles culture and in all types of local festivities. Rooted in African, Malagasy and European cultures, music is played to the accompaniment of drums such as the Tambour and Tam-Tam and simple string instruments. The lively Sega dance with its elegant hip-swaying is still popular, as is the traditional Moutya, a mysterious, erotic dance going back to the days of slavery.

    Creole cuisine, reflecting its peoples, features French, Indian and Oriental influences. Grilled fish or octopus basted with a sauce of crushed chillies, ginger and garlic are national favourites as are a variety of delicious curries. As may be expected, seafood dishes feature predominantly in the local cuisine, with rice. Some restaurants specialise in Indian, Chinese or Italian food and many feature popular international and specialist dishes.

     
    08 Apr - 30 Jun 2018
    Avani Seychelles £1179
    Hilton Seychelles La £1299
    Cerf Island £1599
    Banyan Tree £2279
     
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