Seychelles is one of the most beautiful archipelagos of the Indian Ocean. This country attracts tourists with its sea beaches, exotic underwater inhabitants and delightful landscapes. People of different nationalities live here, but all of them are very open, friendly and independent. Welcome to Seychelles, the country is waiting for you!
Seychelles on the map
Geographical location of the country
Geographically, the islands belong to the African continent, although they are located 1600 kilometres east of the coast of the mainland. It is a small archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, just south of the equator.
To the south of Seychelles is the large island of Madagascar, with the African countries of Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania closest to the west. Far to the east of the archipelago is the Maldives island chain.
In total, the Seychelles comprises 115 islands, of which only 33 are inhabited. These are granite and coral islands. The granite islands are larger and are all inhabited. They are fragments of a microcontinent that began forming here 800 million years ago.
The granite islands have soil, forests, animals. The island of Mahe is the capital of the archipelago, and its highest point is 905 metres above sea level. There are no mountains on the islands.
Coral Seychelles are small atolls lying around granite islands. They were formed at a time closer to our own and are made up of limestone, which retains almost no moisture. Therefore, the atolls have very sparse vegetation.
Safety for tourists
In the global index of peacefulness, which takes into account the calmness of the atmosphere, attitude to tourists and many other factors, Seychelles for some reason was not included. Perhaps it is because then this republic could well be in first place. After all, due to the small population, there is almost no crime here. Of course, there are cases of theft of unattended things even in this tropical paradise, but they are extremely rare. It is enough just to keep an eye on your things to avoid this unpleasantness.
Therefore, the main danger of Seychelles for European tourists is always called climate. The hot, simply burning sun can cause a lot of inconvenience. It is very easy to burn on the beach here, and in the worst case you can get heat or sunstroke.
The second danger is the sea and its inhabitants. At the coast during low tide, it is easy to step on sharp shards of coral and rockfish, which is armed with poisonous barbs. Other venomous creatures and sharks may be encountered in the water, although the latter are very rare. In addition, a large part of the beaches are completely devoid of lifeguards.
On land, tourists should be wary of mosquitoes and sand flies, whose bite can cause a strong allergic reaction. There are few poisonous snakes and no large predators at all.
Traffic is light and there are few cars. Health care leaves much to be desired, but infections are very rare.
Therefore, having a holiday in Seychelles, you can not worry much, but do not lose your precautions. And then nothing will spoil your holiday.
As in the whole world, the Seychelles Creoles, and the main population of the islands is made up of them, are a very friendly and cheerful people. They love noisy festivals, dancing and music. The country has many Catholics, so many Christian holidays are national holidays. These are Easter, Christmas, the Days of All Saints and the Immaculate Conception.
In addition, there are secular holidays such as Independence, Liberation and Reconciliation Days. New Year is also celebrated in Seychelles.
The main carnival of the country is the Creole Festival, which is held in October. It is accompanied by dances, processions, tasting of local dishes and other entertainment. Every year it attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world.
Diwali, the festival of lights in the Hindu tradition, is also held at the end of October. On this day, Hindu devotees praise Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance. And in January, the Hindu community holds the Kavadi festival dedicated to Murugan, the god of war. But the holiday is quite peaceful and consists of bringing gifts to the fearsome god – pots with milk.
What fun things to do in Seychelles
Seychelles can not please the sophisticated tourist with an abundance of various entertainments. There are no historical monuments, no large shopping centres and no nightlife. The size of the islands does not allow you to seriously engage in hiking, and the lack of mountains – mountaineering. People come here solely for the regal tropical nature and amazingly beautiful ocean.
- Beach holidays. Most of the beaches on the archipelago are wild, they are not equipped with anything, but here you can enjoy complete unity with nature, as on the famous beaches of La Digue Island.
- Bungalows on the beaches. Some hotels on the islands offer tourists the opportunity to stay in small houses located almost on the surf line, often in the rocks or among palm groves.
- Snorkelling. One of the most popular activities among tourists is snorkelling without scuba diving. The ocean near the shore is very shallow, and even inexperienced swimmers can admire the amazing beauty of the underwater world.
- Diving. Classic diving is also popular in the archipelago. Very beautiful underwater rocks are located on the beach of Beau Vallon on the island of Mahé. There, you can also look at a half-sunk tanker from the beginning of the last century.
- Surfing. Coral reefs do not allow surfers to surf in full force – the maximum wave height at Mahe Island reaches only 2 metres. But Seychelles is ideal for beginners and amateurs.
- Sea cruises around the islands. A favourite pastime of most tourists. You can visit one or two neighbouring atolls, or you can cruise around the whole archipelago. Everything rests only on the price of the cruise.
- Fishing. For fishermen, these islands are a real paradise. Local waters are home to a variety of fish, including marlins and tuna, which are so favourite with fishermen.
- National parks. The country is very reverent towards nature, and a significant part of the country’s territory is occupied by national parks and reserves. There is a virgin rain grove on the island of Mahe, and on Praslin there is a famous park Vallée de Mahe. You can also admire vanilla plantations or visit a turtle farm.
- Cycling tourism. But riding bicycles along the coast in Seychelles is very much possible. Rent velobike is quite inexpensive, and the pleasure of contemplating the surrounding views is very great. Tourists especially love to watch the local sunsets.
- Sightseeing. Despite the small number of cities, in fact, it is only one – Victoria, something to see in Seychelles. There are several beautiful churches and cathedrals, including the only Hindu temple in the archipelago in Victoria.
What’s important to know about Seychelles
If you are planning to visit Seychelles, here are some of the most important things to know:
The official language of the country is Seychellois. It is a dialect of the Mauritian-Seychellois dialect, a creole language. It is spoken by the majority of the population – 92%.
French and English also have the status of state languages. Fifty per cent of Seychellois are fluent in French, and 5 per cent in English.
At the present time, the country is inhabited by a little less than 100 thousand people. It is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Africa.
Most of the population is made up of Franco-African mulattoes. These are the descendants of African and Malagasy slaves and French settlers. There are Europeans, Indians, Chinese and Arabs on the islands.
More interesting facts about Seychellois, their character and local colour can be found in this article.
The national currency of the country is the Seychelles rupee. The rupee is divided into 100 cents. Currently, banknotes of 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500 rupees are circulating. There are also coins of 1 and 5 rupees.
Payment on the territory of the country is accepted almost exclusively in rupees, so it is better to exchange currency in advance. Exchange points are available at the airport, hotels and banks. It is better to take euros and dollars with you – they are exchanged without restrictions.
One Seychelles rupee costs about 8 American cents.
The majority of the population of the country are Catholics. They are about 82 per cent. The second-largest religious group is Anglicans – about 7%. There are representatives of other Christian churches, Hindus and Muslims on the islands. The number of atheists is small and does not exceed 2%.
Seychelles is located in the tropical climate zone, and the influence of the Indian Ocean makes annual temperature fluctuations almost imperceptible. This is the Southern Hemisphere and summer here falls in January-February, when the average monthly temperature is just over +30 degrees Celsius.
The Seychelles winter, which is June-July, is only slightly cooler. The average temperature in these months is +28-30 degrees Celsius. Nights are slightly colder, but the temperature never drops below +23 degrees.
There are two seasons on the islands: wet and dry. In December, the north-west monsoons come to the archipelago, which bring a lot of precipitation. This is how the wet season begins. The rainiest are December and January. But even in these months, the rains are short-lived and are quickly replaced by hot sunshine.
In June, the south-east monsoon season begins. They are drier and cooler, but the winds can be quite strong. The driest month is June.
The average seawater temperature in Seychelles remains comfortable and bathable all year round.
- Water temperature in winter, December-January: +28 to +29 degrees Celsius.
- Water temperature in spring, March-May: from +29 to +30 degrees Celsius. The ocean warms up the most in April.
- Water temperature in summer, June-July: from +26 to +27 degrees. The coldest water is in July.
- Water temperature in autumn, September-November: from +27 in early autumn to +28 degrees in November.
In terms of possible natural disasters Seychelles can be called almost the safest place on the planet among coastal countries.
The archipelago itself is located on a stable tectonic plate, earthquakes do not occur here. There are no active volcanoes nearby. Even tsunamis do not threaten the safety of the islands. If we remember the most destructive tsunami of 2004, which devastated many countries of the Indian Ocean, it showed itself very weakly in Seychelles, sweeping away the only bridge on the island of Mahe and drowning 3 people.
However, cyclones can cause some disturbance to the archipelago’s inhabitants and tourists. At least three devastating cyclones have hit the Seychelles this century. The strongest among them was Cyclone Felleng in December 2012. It reached the islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, destroying farms and buildings and causing flooding rare for these areas. Around 1,000 people were affected by the rampant disaster.
Winter cyclones are the one natural disaster that tourists should seriously consider.
You can read about the most devastating disasters in the history of Seychelles in this article.
Seychelles is a presidential republic. The President is the head of state and the government, which represents the executive branch. The legislative branch is the National Assembly, a unicameral parliament of 35 deputies.
Administratively, the republic is divided into 25 districts. And atolls, coral islands, are considered included territories, not included in any administrative district.
The capital of the country is Victoria
Major cities and resorts
Victoria is the country’s capital and largest city. It is located on the island of Mahé. It is inhabited by more than 25 thousand people. Founded in 1876 on the site of the French settlement of Port-Royal. Tourists are attracted here by beautiful cathedrals, clock tower, orchid garden. The best hotels and beautiful beaches on the islands are located here.
Praslin is the second-largest island of the archipelago. It is also famous for its luxurious beaches and virgin forests. There is a large national park here, and coconut palm trees grow in abundance. Tourists are also attracted by the vanilla plantations and the rich nature of the island.
La Digue is an eco-friendly resort and island that attracts tourists with beaches surrounded by black granite cliffs. The most popular mode of transport on the island is the bicycle. The famous French film «Goodbye Emmanuelle!» was once filmed here.
Deroche is a picturesque atoll created by coral. Here coconut palms grow around the beaches, and in the ocean diving enthusiasts study the life of coral reef inhabitants. There is a large turtle farm on the atoll.
Symbols of Seychelles
Coco-de-Maire coconut palm. A unique endemic, protected by the state. It grows only in a few places, and its fruit is depicted on the coat of arms of the republic.
Clock Tower. A scaled-down replica of London’s Big Ben, erected in Victoria. The height of this tower is 30 metres.
Seychelles Giant Tortoise. An amazing reptile that lives up to 150 years on the island of Aldabra.
Vanilla tea. A trademark of the archipelago and one of the most popular souvenirs among tourists.
Takamaka Rum. A local unique type of rum. It is made from sugar cane and local spices.
How to get to Seychelles
You can get to Seychelles almost exclusively by aeroplane. The only international airport on the capital island of Mahé connects the rest of the world with the archipelago. There are 13 more airports on other islands, but they serve only local lines.
Seychelles International Airport receives flights from many countries around the world. These are mainly Emirates, Qatar, Australia, Ethiopia, Germany, Turkey, Kenya and Russia. Every year, the airport receives about 700 thousand tourists.
The largest seaport of the islands is located in the capital Victoria, but getting to the archipelago on cruise ships is a long and expensive business. This type of travelling can be considered only as a part of a cruise on the Indian Ocean and its surrounding countries.
How much money to take with you
Prices for holidays can fluctuate in a fairly wide range depending on the claims of the most tourists and their goals. An ordinary beach holiday for two people for 7 days will cost from $1500. Prices for a cruise around the islands with fishing and various entertainment starts at $2000 for the same 7 days. And this is without taking into account the flight.
In the country itself, tourists are waiting for the following expenses:
- Food: prices for food in Seychelles are very different. For street food, it is enough to plan 10–15 dollars per day per person. For lunch in a restaurant – already $ 30-50 per day. Prices for dinner in the best restaurants in the archipelago start from $50 per person.
- Sightseeing: there are no special sights on the archipelago. Tourists visit either neighbouring islands or the few natural parks that are available nearby. The price of an excursion to a neighbouring island is from $70 per person. A visit to the natural park on the island of Praslin will cost $26.
- Beach holidays. Almost all beaches on the islands are completely free. You will have to pay only for the rental of a sunbed and the entertainment offered by animators, such as riding on bananas or diving. Therefore, such a holiday may require a minimum of investment, and can cost several hundred dollars.
- Souvenirs: on this item of expenditure you can save a lot. There is no special shopping on the islands. From the archipelago are taken mainly processed coconuts (unprocessed and without a cheque is prohibited to take out), products made of shells, magnets, pearls, beachwear. You can spend 20–40 dollars on gifts and souvenirs, and you can buy a couple of hundreds.
- Transport: there are buses only on large islands and not on all of them. One trip by bus costs about 0.5 dollars. You can rent a bicycle, and it costs only 10 dollars a day. Between the islands, tourists have to travel by ferry. The cost of a ferry ticket is approximately $60. There are also options for flights between islands. Here the prices are already 100–150 dollars, and renting your own helicopter will cost 400 dollars.
Thus, taking into account the reserve amount for unforeseen expenses, holiday in Seychelles for two will cost from 1400 to 3000 thousand dollars for 7 days. And of course, the maximum amount of holiday can be much higher.
If you have already visited this country, please share your impressions in the comments. Please write a few words, what you liked most of all in the country, what moments remained in your memory forever, and what you would recommend to other tourists. We will be very grateful for your recommendations!