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Seychelles

The Seychelles are a group of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean that lie off the coast of East Africa, northeast of Madagascar.

The Outer Seychelles are corralline and mostly uninhabited. The vast majority of the Seychelles’ population lives on the Inner Seychelles islands, home to the bulk of the country’s resorts.

These are:
* Mahe (Sainte Anne Island, Cerf Island, Marnelle Island)
* Praslin (Curieuse Island, Aride Island, Cousin Islands)
* La Digue (Flcite Island, The Sisters, Marie Anne Island)
* Silhouette Island (North Island)
* Inner Corallines (Denis Island, Bird Island)

Highlights

  • Many of the beaches are untouched by man’s influence and are refreshingly uncrowded.
  • Vallee de Mai is a national park and world heritage site, home to amazing flora and fauna, including the world’s largest seed: the coco de mer.
  • Aldabra Atoll is the world’s largest coral atoll that stretches about 22 miles east to west and encloses a huge tidal lagoon.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Bird watching is also popular and the islands are home to many of the worlds most treasured and rare species of animals.
  • Seychelles also has numerous markets, art galleries and shops, colonial Creole-style plantation houses, and the main island of Mah has six museums, a botanical garden, and several national monuments.

Visa

No visa is required for all nationalities, though all foreigners must have a passport valid for at least 6 months, and must have proof of accommodation bookings before arrival. 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.

Getting there

The only international gateway to the Seychelles is Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) near Victoria. Air Seychelles flies to Johannesburg and Mauritius.

Climate

Seychelles is hot and humid, with an average yearly temperature of 29C, and average sea temperature rarely dropping below 27C. However, the heat is usually mitigated by refreshing sea breezes, especially by the beaches.

The cooler season in Seychelles is during the southeast monsoon season (May to September) and the warmer season is during the northwest monsoon (November to March). April and October are “changeover months” between the two monsoons, when the wind is variable.

The northwest monsoon season tends to be warmer with more rain, while the southeast monsoon season is usually drier and cooler.

Money

The islands’ currency is the Seychelles rupee (SCR). ATMs usually have the best conversion rates, however, airports and banks also conveniently exchange money.

Tipping

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.

Inspiration, Highlights & Travel Tips

There are several good reasons why you should put the Seychelles on your bucket list:

  • Spectacular white-sand beaches that rank among the most beautiful beaches in the world
  • Awe-inspiring natural scenery with Jurassic rainforests and ancient boulders
  • Island hopping
  • Observing giant tortoises
  • Scuba diving
  • Private island resorts that rank among the world’s most exclusive hotels

When to go to the Seychelles

The Seychelles enjoy a tropical, humid climate with constant high temperatures throughout the year. The amount of rainfall is mainly determined by two monsoon seasons in which the trade winds blow from opposite directions:

  • From May to October, the strong south-east trade winds (the so-called southeast monsoon) bring a relatively dry period with mostly clear skies and very little precipitation, although seas can be choppy at this time of year with seaweed littering the beaches of Praslin island (cf below).
  • From December to March, the weak north-west trade winds (the so-called northwest monsoon) bring wet weather and cloudy skies to the Seychelles, especially in December and January, though the seas are calmer during this period. The rain mainly falls in the form of short downpours or thunderstorm, often occurring in the evening or at night. In general, the northern island of Mahe (where the capital Victoria is located) sees more precipitation than the other islands, since Mahe is located closer to the Equator and features high hills (up to 900 m or 3000 ft) which tend to capture the clouds.
  • The transition months April and October are interspersed between the southeast and northwest monsoon and are often considered the best months for a visit to the archipelago: the winds die down as they change direction, the seas are calm, the beaches are free of seaweed, and sunny days are the norm (with a few passing showers).

As mentioned above, the trade winds not only define the wet and dry season in Seychelles, but also determine where the seaweed drifts, a natural phenomenon which – although totally harmless – can detract from the otherwise picture-perfect beauty of the Seychellois beaches and can make swimming unpleasant and impossible. Especially during the dry season, from May to September, the strong south-east trade winds results in seaweed being washed up onto the beaches of Praslin’s southern and western coast. That said, a seaweed-free beach is never far away and many hotels offer a free shuttle service to beaches unaffected by this natural phenomenon.

The weather in the Seychelles is very similar to that other stunning Indian Ocean destination, the Maldives, although it features an inverse pattern. Wet season in the Seychelles coincides with the dry season in the Maldives and vice versa.