Why the islands of Seychelles?
No Visa required for all nations
• Year-round destination ( 75 to 85% Fahrenheit)
• No Hurricane or Cyclone
• Niche destination with world-class beaches
• Unique flora & fauna and 2 world heritage sites
• Excellent diving, fishing, and snorkeling
• Friendly & hospitable people. Safe Destination
• More than 50% of land & Sea mass dedicated to nature conservation.
Seychelles’ 115 granite and coral islands are located between 4 and 10 degrees south of the equator and 1,800 kilometers from the east coast of Africa in the western Indian Ocean. 41 Inner Islands ( principal islands ) constitute the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on earth, 74 Coral Islands, the outlying islands.
Seychelles’ climate is one that is always warm and does not reach extremes of heat or cold. The temperature rarely drops below 24°C or rises above 32°C. All but the remotest southern islands lie outside the cyclone belt making Seychelles a year-round destination for sun worshippers and beach lovers.
Flora & Fauna
Seychelles is a living museum of natural history and a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora & fauna on earth. With almost 50% of its limited landmass set aside as national parks and reserves, Seychelles prides itself on its record for far-sighted conservation policies that have resulted in an enviable degree of protection for the environment and the varied ecosystems it supports.
Mahé, the principal island of the Seychelles and site of the international airport, lies some 1000 miles off the East African coast, due East of Mombassa. It is a granitic island 27 km (15miles) long and 8 km (5 miles) wide and rises to a height of 905 meters (2969ft) above sea level at its highest point, its mountainous profile covered with a thick mantle of lush vegetation.
Aptly named ‘Isle of Abundance’ by the early settlers, today Mahé continues to live up to that name, holding many surprises for the visitor, not the least among which is a choice of some 65 wonderfully preserved beaches as well as myriad sites of historical and botanical interest.
North Mahé, home to the famous Beau Vallon beach, the hub of tourism, tends to be busier and more populated than other regions of the island and is home to a wide range of hotels of all sizes, guesthouses, and villas. However, with a total population of just over 86,000 the term busy must be considered as a relative one. The southern lowlands of Mahé have, in contrast, a wonderfully pastoral aspect and are home to some of the island’s prettiest beaches and villages too, all made accessible by an efficient network of roads.
Port Victoria, essentially a seaport, is one of the tiniest capitals in the world and, despite its drive towards moderate modernization, has still managed to retain much of its original charm and character. In its environs, one still continues to find examples of traditional architecture, a busy market as well as myriad shops, boutiques, and service providers.
Mahé remains perhaps the most spectacular of the islands, allowing both stunning and contrasting panoramas of her satellite islands. It is also home to a surprising variety of flora and fauna including many indigenous species, discoverable by organized excursions as well as by popular walks and trails within the Morne Seychellois National Park. The underwater treasure house of the Ste. Anne Marine National Park meanwhile can be visited by semi-submersible excursions as well as by snorkeling expeditions.
Praslin’s original name of ‘Isle de Palme’ bears eloquent testament to its reputation as home to the Vallée de Mai UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of only two places in the world where the famous Coco-de-mer grows wild on palms 40 meters tall and some 200 years old. So impressive is this forest, even today, that it once led General Gordon (of Khartoum) to state his conviction that this was the site of the original Garden of Eden.
Seychelles’ second largest island, Praslin, lies 45 kilometers (24 miles) north-east of Mahé and is accessible by Air Seychelles domestic flights in 15 minutes or by fast catamaran ferry in 45 minutes.
Praslin is divided by a ridge of hills running from east to west, intersected by a road that leads through the Vallée de Mai, and possesses some of the most striking beaches of the archipelago such as Anse Lazio, widely acclaimed to be the most beautiful beach on earth.
Praslin, location of one of Seychelles’ most prestigious hotels, the five-star Lemuria resort at Anse Kerlan with its 18-hole golf course, stands at the forefront of the country’s tourism industry with a rich assortment of hotels and guesthouses whose strong tradition of Seychelles’ hospitality over a period of many years has proved a favorite with visitors. Praslin also boasts the luxurious Casino des Isles with its elegant ‘Tante Mimi’ restaurant.
Praslin is ideally situated for holidaymakers wishing to island-hop to a handful of nearby exotic destinations such as Chauve Souris, Cousin, Curieuse, St. Pierre, La Digue, and the Aride bird reserve. It is also a haven for nature lovers seeking rare endemic species such as the black parrot for which Praslin is the last habitat or wishing to explore the island’s network of footpaths.
There are scheduled flights to Praslin daily and other sea services that may take from 45 minutes to 2 hours.
The silhouette is Seychelles’ third largest island and lies 19 km off Mahé’s north-western coast, her verdant profile dominating the view from Beau Vallon. Its highest point is Mont Plaisir, standing at 751 meters and it is the only other island, apart from Mahé, to boast a mist forest.
Its mountainous, primitive beauty, unaltered down the ages is the ideal backdrop for hikers and walkers wishing to penetrate the mysteries of an island reputed to be the home of the notorious pirate, Houdoul whose hidden treasure may well lie there still. Silhouette was given its name as late as 1767 in honor of Mr. Etienne de Silhouette who was the French controller general of finances at the time.
Some parts of Silhouette are difficult to access due to its rugged character and the island also has some fascinating caves with both stalactite and stalagmite formations. With high rainfall, Silhouette is home to many hardwood trees in its virgin forests and also to a variety of birdlife the Seychelles sunbird, Seychelles bulbul, or merle, Dutch pigeon, Madagascar turtle dove, and African Barn Owl.
Today the island boasts a new 5-star hotel, Labriz Silhouette which occupies a 2 km stretch of shoreline and which features a spa, fine dining, and a range of exciting activities.
Longtime residents of the island Ron and Gill Gerlach began the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles (NPTS) in 1996 to protect Silhouette and visitors to the island may visit the center they run which gives invaluable information about the island and the various projects they run.
La Digue, named after one of the two vessels in Marion Dufresne’s small fleet dispatched on a voyage of discovery from Mauritius in 1768, is situated forty kilometers (25 miles) from Mahé and 7 km (3.5 miles) from Praslin and is the fourth largest island in Seychelles after Silhouette.
This granite island receives its visitors mainly by boat at the quaint jetty at La Passe and is a popular destination for holidaymakers wishing for a taste of the traditional. This is a place where the bicycle and ox-cart still hold sway and where even now strenuous efforts are being made to preserve the sense of antiquity that pervades the island’s customs, architecture, and general way of life.
Hotels on La Digue are for the most part situated along its west coast while its east coast tends to have a wilder aspect.
Anse la Source d’Argent is among the island’s most famous beaches, celebrated for its granite boulders that seem to have been sculpted by a divine hand to adorn a beach of breathtaking beauty.
At the Union Estate, visitors will have the chance to view some of the traditional local industries of times past. Nature lovers will have the opportunity to seek out the rare black paradise flycatcher, once thought to be extinct but now protected in the La Digue Veuve Special Reserve which is also home to two rare species of terrapin.
The woodlands of La Digue are especially attractive and nurture several species of delicate orchids.
La Digue is also an ideal stepping-stone for the nearby island attractions of Grande and Petit Soeur, Félicité, Coco and Marianne.
When is the best time to visit Seychelles?
As the Seychelles islands are blessed with a warm, tropical climate year-round, it’s always a good time to visit, although different times of year may be better suited to your particular interests. 24 to 25 Degrees Centigrade year-round June, July, and August, more windy than usual and Sea choppy.
Do I need a visa to visit Seychelles?
Irrespective of the nationality, there are NO VISA requirements to enter Seychelles.
Immigration in Seychelles will only ask for the following upon arrival in Seychelles:
1.A passport valid on the date of entry to the date of exit from Seychelles;
2.Return or onward ticket;
3.Proof of accommodation; including contact details;
4.Sufficient funds for the duration of the stay.
Do I need yellow fever vaccinations when traveling to Seychelles?
Vaccinations are only required for travelers over 1 year of age who have come from/or passed through a partly or wholly infected area within the preceding 6 days, in order to keep Seychelles free of Yellow Fever. Infected areas include certain parts of northern and central South America and central Africa. Persons traveling to Seychelles in transit do not require a vaccination against yellow fever.
How do I travel around whilst in Seychelles?
There are various modes of transportation that one can use to get around in Seychelles. Your local ground handler will be able to assist you.
What are the acceptable currencies and methods of payment in Seychelles?
The GB Pound Sterling (£), the US Dollar (US$), and the Euro (€) are all accepted, as well as some other major international currencies.
Visitors to the islands are entitled to make payments for services/products in Seychelles rupees. Exchange rates will be determined by the market and may differ from bank to bank or at the various bureau de change.
Which credit cards are accepted?
Visa & MasterCard are widely accepted throughout Seychelles. American Express is accepted in certain
Where can I change Traveler’s Cheques and/or money?
Exchanging foreign currency into Seychelles Rupees can be done at banks, authorized money dealers at the Seychelles International Airport, or with the hotel cashier
Travel Essentials: What to Pack?
•Light clothing suitable for Seychelles’ warm tropical climate is recommended and visitors should prepare themselves for the relatively hot, humid atmosphere. Also, for plenty of sun;
•Bring hats, sunglasses, and adequate UV protection – SPF30+ is advisable. It is important to remember that even on an overcast day the tropical sun is strong and able to cause unpleasant sunburn. Wearing a t-shirt for the first swim or snorkel is a good idea;
•A camera is an absolute must! Please bring a stock of film (particularly for non-standard cameras and video cameras) together with a supply of batteries;
•Casual eveningwear (long trousers for men), together with appropriate footwear, is necessary for dining out and for gaining entrance to casinos and most hotels;
•Sturdy walking shoes are recommended if you intend to take a guided walk and trail excursions