Top events in Seychelles

September
01

The biggest public arts festival in Seychelles, this biennial event attracts visitors from across the islands. The wide-reaching scope of the...

September
15

These monthly events are a great opportunity to mingle with the Seychellois people and experience a taste of island living to the sounds of Creole...

September
27

A wide-ranging programmer of activities and events take place in the preceding days before this event, which is designed to showcase the...

Seychelles
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Seychelles

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Seychelles Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

455.3 sq km (176 sq miles).

Population

92,340 (2015).

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.

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.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 27 August 2016

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. Crime levels are rising, with an increase in both targeted burglaries and opportunist thefts against residents and tourists. The inability of the authorities to catch and prosecute offenders is 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.

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 favourite targets for thieves.

People trekking on marked and unmarked trails have been robbed, including at knife point. 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. Safety barriers are rare. Take care when driving and avoid remote roads at night. 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 up to three months.

Buses are cheap, but infrequent on some routes (a timetable is available from the bus station in Victoria). Taxis are good but you should negotiate the fare before beginning 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 significant. 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.

On 23 October 2009, two British nationals were taken hostage while sailing in the Indian Ocean. They were approximately 60 nautical miles from the Seychelles’ main island of Mahé. They were released on 14 November 2010.

Most of the inner island resorts are accessible by ferry; there are also a number of day trips available to tourists. Although accidents are rare, and the major catamaran ferries to Praslin and La Digue are very well run, there were two serious accidents on smaller ferries, one of which involved one fatality and serious injury. You should exercise caution and always check that briefings are given and safety instructions and life jackets are provided.

Swimming

Take care when swimming or snorkelling, even on organised excursions, particularly with children or the elderly; drownings occur. There are strong currents offshore, and seasonal changes in sea conditions mean there are strong currents on beaches at different times; these may not be immediately apparent. Beaches don’t always show safety information, but you should not assume that they are safe.

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.

Although shark attacks are extremely rare, there were two fatal incidents (one involving a British national) off Anse Lazio on the island of Praslin in 2011. A temporary ban on swimming at certain locations on Praslin imposed after these attacks was lifted by the Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority in February 2012 following the introduction of Life Guard services at Anse Lazio and Cote D’Or on the island of Praslin.

Political situation

Presidential elections took place from 3 to 5 December 2015 with a second round from 16 to 18 December 2015. The result is a narrow win for the incumbent, but the opposition is challenging the result through the courts. You should keep up to date with local events and avoid demonstrations and large political gatherings.

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