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.
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.
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.
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.
|Daily Temp (C)
|Monthly Rainfall (mm)
|Daily Sunshine (hrs)
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
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.
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.
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.