Top events in Seychelles

April
25

It’s party time! This three-day extravaganza will include a procession of floats from around the world. National representatives from the world’s...

May
23

Each May on national Africa Day, Seychelles celebrates its African and Kreol culture with this vibrant festival of music, dance, art and cuisine....

August
09

Sail fish are the fastest fish in the ocean – reaching up to speeds of 110kph (68mph) - so you will have to be quick to win a prize in this one-...

Seychelles
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Seychelles

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Seychelles Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

455.3 sq km (176 sq miles).

Population

91,650 (2014).

Population density

201.3 per sq km.

Capital

Victoria.

Government

Republic. Gained independence from the UK in 1976.

Head of state

President James Michel since 2004.

Electricity

240 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style three-pin plugs are in use.

With idyllic views at every turn, it really is possible to overdose on beauty in the Seychelles. Lush vegetation slopes gently down to shimmering white powder sands and frothy turquoise seas whilst secret coves lie in wait without a footprint in the sand and Robinson Crusoe hideaways that have only birds and giant tortoises for company are ten-a-penny.

Clichéd or not, the Seychelles are as close to paradise as you are likely to come. Life takes place at a snail’s pace – or even at an oxen’s plod in La Digue. Trundle around the pretty town, a 15-minute ferry ride from Praslin, in an ox cart listening to the driver’s fascinating tales. Or perhaps speed things up a little and cycle through the L’Union Estate’s plantations and grow giddy on the delicious scents of vanilla, coconut and cinnamon.

Mahé may be the biggest – and the busiest - of the archipelago’s 115 inhabited islands but it has its fair share of secluded bays only accessible by yacht, motor boat or on foot. Together with its sisters Praslin and La Digue, it attracts the lion’s share of tourists, many enjoying a two-island stay. All three islands are within easy reach of each other by sea or air. They offer a wide selection of accommodation in many guises, from family-owned guest houses to luxury butler-serviced resorts. Hilton, Banyan Tree and Kempinski are just some of the top luxury chains there.

Escapists and the more adventurous, on the other hand, may prefer to fly off to remote islands such as Fregate or Bird Island and enjoy a secluded beach to themselves. Fregate and Bird are especially popular with bird watchers and nature lovers. Up to two million sooty terns nest on Bird Island while the largest colonies of roseate terns and other tropical birds can be found on Aride.

The absence of footprints on many of the islands means that rare plant life – 81 species in all - has thrived on this Indian Ocean archipelago. Most famous of the survivors is the huge, curiously-shaped Coco-de-mer (sea coconut), which only grows in the Vallée de Mai on Praslin, and Curieuse.

Colourful tropical life abounds below the turquoise waters too. Scuba diving and snorkelling are popular thanks to clear seas and an abundance of tropical fish, whilst big game fishing is another draw. Watersports, kayaking and sailing are available at the major holiday resorts especially Beau Vallon Bay where several tourist hotels are located.

For many people, a holiday in the Seychelles is an opportunity is kick back, relax and enjoy the fantastic food, traditions and culture, which are peppered with influences from France, Britain, Asia and Africa. You’ll hear it in the lilting French-based patois spoken by the locals and taste it in the delicious Creole cuisine and curries spiced with the piquant flavours of France, the Orient and India.

It’s a seductive, heady mix that is guaranteed to whet your appetite in more ways than one, and have you wanting to come back again and again.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 18 April 2015

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 hotels grounds always 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. Leave valuables securely in a safe and stay within large, organised groups. Take particular care if you’re alone

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, particularly at night. Drink-driving is a problem, so be particularly 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 the only means of public transport. They are cheap but infrequent on some routes. Taxis are good but you should negotiate the fare before beginning your journey as prices for foreigners can be totally arbitrary.

Sea travel

Despite an overall reduction in 2013, piracy remains a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and the last few months of 2013 saw an upswing in pirate activity with a number of (unsuccessful) attacks. These have occurred as far as 1,000 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia and often within the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Sailing vessels are particularly vulnerable. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all but essential travel by yacht and leisure craft on the high seas (more than 12 nautical miles from the shore) in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and part of the Indian Ocean. This includes activities within the Seychelles EEZ beyond 12 miles of the inner granitic islands. Travel by air to these islands is not affected. See Piracy in the Indian Ocean 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 within the last year on smaller ferries, one of which involved one fatality and serious injury. You should exercise due 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. Safety information is often missing from beaches, but this should not be interpreted as a sign they are benign.

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.

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