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About Seychelles

Clichéd or not, the Seychelles are about as close to paradise as you can get: once you’ve felt the sand between your toes here, beach holidays will never be the same again.

Made up of 115 topical islands in all, the Seychelles archipelago is a destination where white, sandy beaches are as pure as the driven snow; where frothy turquoise waters harbour colourful coral reefs and bountiful marine life; where secret coves allow you to have your very own Robinson Crusoe moment with only birds and tortoises for company.

Mahé may be the biggest – and the busiest – of the islands, but it has its fair share of secluded bays, which are accessible only by yacht, motorboat or on foot. Together with its sisters Praslin and La Digue, it attracts the lion’s share of tourists.

More adventurous travellers, on the other hand, may prefer to take a flying boat to more remote islands such as Fregate or Bird Island and enjoy secluded beaches all to themselves. These islands are especially popular with birdwatchers and nature lovers, due to their abundance of wildlife.

The absence of people on many of the islands means that rare plant life has thrived on this Indian Ocean archipelago. Tropical life abounds below the waves, too. This is best viewed by going scuba diving or snorkelling, experiences which are made all the more memorable here thanks to the crystalline seas.

It’s not all about nature, though. The Seychelles are a veritable melting pot of cultures: its inhabitants descend from African, Asian and European immigrants, who have brought their customs and traditions with them to the islands. This heady mix is particularly pleasing on the palate thanks to the archipelago’s fabulous fusion food.

The Seychelles is a seductive destination all right, and one that’s guaranteed to whet your appetite for a return trip – assuming your bank balance can handle it.

Key facts

Area:

455.3 sq km (176 sq miles).

Population:

97,026 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

203.1 per sq km.

Capital:

Victoria.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

President James Michel since 2004.

Head of government:

President James Michel since 2004.

Electricity:

240 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three square pins are standard.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 13 March 2017

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Crime

Most visits to Seychelles are trouble free, but tourists have been robbed and targeted burglaries and opportunist thefts against residents and tourists do occur. Crime detection and prosecution rates are improving, but remain a concern.

You should maintain at least the same level of security awareness as you would in the UK and make sure your living accommodation is secure. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear eye-catching jewellery. Use a hotel safe to store valuables, money and passports. Don’t leave valuables in cars or anywhere on display.

Accommodation, particularly in isolated areas, should have adequate security, including external security lighting, grilles and overnight security guards.

Be vigilant and when outside hotel grounds carry a mobile phone with roaming capability for use in emergency. It’s worth checking roaming rates with your mobile phone service provider as they can be extremely high.

Take care in isolated areas and also in more popular places like Beau Vallon and the back streets of Victoria, especially after dark. Beaches, parked cars and both residential and tourist accommodation are targets for thieves.

People trekking on marked and unmarked trails have been robbed. Don’t take valuables, and walk with organised groups.

Road travel 

Mahé is mountainous, and roads are narrow and winding, often with sheer drops and hairpin bends. Not all such roads are equipped with safety barriers. Deep, uncovered storm drains flank many roads. Take care when driving. Drink-driving is a problem, so be aware of other road users who may behave erratically.

When returning hired vehicles, obtain an acknowledgement that the vehicle has not been damaged during the period of hire. Third party insurance is compulsory, and comprehensive insurance is also available locally. UK driving licences are valid for stays of up to three months.

Buses are cheap but infrequent on some routes (a timetable is available from the bus station in Victoria).

Taxis are generally of a good standard. Taxi meters are increasingly common but if a taxi is not equipped with one, you should agree a fare before starting your journey.

Sea travel

While there have been no successful piracy attacks since May 2012 off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, the threat of piracy related activity and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean remains. Reports of attacks on local fishing dhows in the area around the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa continue.

The combined threat assessment of the international Naval Counter Piracy Forces remains that all sailing yachts under their own passage should remain out of the designated High Risk Area or face the risk of being hijacked and held hostage for ransom.

For more information and advice, see our Piracy and armed robbery at sea page.

Most of the inner island resorts are accessible by ferry. You should pay attention to safety briefings and make sure life jackets are provided, especially on smaller excursion boats.

Swimming

Take care when swimming or snorkelling, even on organised excursions, and particularly with children or the elderly; drowning does occur. There are strong currents in some areas, and seasonal changes in sea conditions mean there are strong currents on different beaches at different times; these may not be immediately apparent.

Beaches do not always show safety information and you shouldn’t assume they’re safe. Life Guards are not numerous, though some are stationed on popular beaches. Ask hotel staff about conditions and safety on nearby beaches.

Beaches that offer safe swimming during the south east monsoon (May to September) may not be safe during the north east monsoon (November to March). Seek local advice and stay within your depth. Dangerous rip currents can occur off the popular Beau Vallon beach when the sea is rough.

Political situation

Presidential elections in December 2015 resulted in a narrow endorsement of the governing party (Parti Lepep). The opposition court challenge in May 2016 failed and President Michel’s victory was confirmed.

Legislative elections in September 2016 resulted in the opposition gaining a majority in the National Assembly for the first time. President Michel resigned in October and Vice President Danny Faure took office. These developments have not resulted in any unrest.