Seychelles is a collection of 115 small islands in the Indian ocean. It is located to the East of Kenya and Northeast of Madagascar. Seychelles is one the the world’s tiniest countries. The island of Mahe is where, Victoria, the capital city of Seychelles is located. It is widely sought after as a travel destination because of its tropical vegetation, incredibly stunning beaches, clean and clear lagoons and marine wildlife. The weather is also a pulling factor. Travellers from across the world come here to enjoy sunny, island weather on the beaches.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Historical Context
- 2 Travel Facts
- 3 Best Time To Visit Seychelles
- 4 Cost Of Living in Seychelles
- 5 Travel Requirements for Seychelles
- 6 Travel Checklist
- 7 Getting Around Seychelles
- 8 Top 10 Places to see in Seychelles
- 9 Curieuse Island
- 10 Cousin Island
- 11 Sainte Anne Marine National Park
- 12 Aride Island
- 13 Bicentennial Monument
- 14 Petite Anse
- 15 Victoria Market
- 16 Tempio Hindu (Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple)
- 17 The Victoria Clock Tower
- 18 Sister Private Islands (Les Soeur Private Islands)
- 19 Recommended Services in Seychelles
Seychelles is a mishmash of cultures. Having been colonised by the French, blacks and natives were enslaved. The 19th century saw more French occupants populate the islands, having been deported from France. The Chinese, Indian and Malays later joined. There was widespread intermarriage between the different cultural and racial groups. This is mirrored in the mixed ethnicity of the population.
The main language spoken in Seychelles is Seselwa which is the mother tongue of most residents. Other languages recognised as national languages under the Seychelles constitution are English and French.
Population source: tradingeconomics.com
Area: 455 sq km (176 sq miles)
Currency: Seychelles rupee
GDP: 13997.08 per capita
Best Time To Visit Seychelles
There is no one size fits all when it comes best times to visit Seychelles. It will depend entirely on what the purpose of your trip is.
October to May sees temperatures of between 24 to 31 degrees Celsius, which is of between 75 and 88 Fahrenheit.
June to September sees temperatures of between 25 and 29 Celsius, which is of between 75 and 84 Fahrenheit.
If you are looking to do some lounging on the beach, the less rain you have the better, so you would want to be here between June and September. This is also the not too hot.
Cost Of Living in Seychelles
Seychelles is fairly pricey to buy a home or rent one, when compared to other nations within the regions, however the other nations don’t quite offer the stunning beaches and tropical climate.
Food is reasonably priced here, when compared to Western nations.
Travel Requirements for Seychelles
Seychelles is very open to travellers from across the world. No matter where you are travelling from a visa, is not required. There are a few things that you will need to have in order:
- Your passport should be valid for the entire duration of your proposed stay.
- Your vaccinations should be in order, MMR, Tetanus and Typhoid are required.
- If you intent to stay with our mingle with the local population, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Rabies are also required.
A visitor’s permit is issued on arrival in Seychelles to a person who comes for the purpose of holiday, pleasure, business, visit friends or family and who –
- is not a prohibited immigrant;
- is not the holder of a valid permit which entitles the holder to reside in Seychelles.
- holds a valid return or onward ticket for duration of visit;
- has confirmed accommodation;
- has sufficient funds for duration of the stay.
The Visitor’s Permit may be granted for a period of visit of up to three months upon arrival. It can be extended for successive periods not exceeding three months at a time to a maximum period of twelve months, provided that the person still meets the criteria of a bona fide visitor.
In most cases, you will be issued with an immigration form to fill in while on the plane, shortly before landing.
- 1Passport (valid for at least 3 months)
- 2Health Insurance
- 3Travel Insurance
- 6Travel Vaccination (consult your doctor).
- 7Insect repellent
- 8Hygiene products (toothbrush, toothpaste, tampons, shower gel etc)
- 9Printed booking confirmations (hotel, airport shuttle and tours)
- 10Medication (if you are on any)
- 11Camera (there will be photo opportunities not to be missed)
- 12Handy cash in local currency (2000 Seychelles Rupee, equivalent to about US$146.93 would do)
- 13Walking boots (if you intend on hiking.
- 14Emergency Contact (A friend of a friend or your government’s embassy)
Getting Around Seychelles
As always we highly recommend renting a car and getting yourself around. The last thing you need on a break is to rely on someone else to get your around. No one has time for that. Getting a vehicle may be the difference between being able to stay out latent enjoying a great event when you are at one. You don’t want that “Got to catch the last bus” thought in the back of your mind.
The islands are pretty packed with car rental companies. You will do well to bring your driver’s license and ferry yourself across the island. Every one of the Seychelles islands has quite a few car rental companies. We will recommend some based on experiences of other travellers.
Le Charme Rent a Car
+248 2 525 866
A brilliant service by all accounts. Open 24 hours/day.
Millennium Car Hire
+248 2 511 774
Fairly small business, but good one nonetheless.
Thrifty Car Rental
+248 2 510 252
Mixed reviews, but overall good.
Top 10 Places to see in Seychelles
It was back in 1971 that the tourism industry of Seychelles ushered in a new significant industry. This was when the Seychelles International Airport was opened. In the years the followed, the tourism industry in Seychelles required an upgrade of services, hotels, and many more. As a result, these events gave an increase in real estate investments as well as new resort projects.
As promised, we have created a list of the top 10 remarkable places you must visit and explore while you are in Seychelles.
Located in the Northwest coast of Praslin Island is Curieuse Island. Known as one of the Inner Island Groups, it is about 2.86 kilometers in size. Among the islands included in the Inner Island Groups, this is the fifth largest. It is also considered as a bio-reserve and is managed by Seychelles Centre for Marine Technology’s Marine Parks Authority.
Since there are no hotels or establishments on Curieuse Island, the best way to visit the island is to make arrangements through a hotel in Praslin or other local tour agencies. Visitors of the island are offered to see its unique beauty including the Coco de Mer Mangrove forests. In addition, they can also have a view of the Aldabra tortoises, the Seychelles Black Parrot, and the Takamaka trees.
Most of the day trips will start off in Anse Volbert where you can witness the giant tortoises roaming around. Taking that route, you can proceed to Baie Laraire where you can spot parrotfishes. However, you can also opt for an alternative route which is via Anse St. Jose on the southern part of the island.
Not many know about the history of Curieuse Island which served as a quarantine area for lepers back in 1833 up until the mid 20th century. Currently, visitors can only see a few ruins of the what it once was including a lone house which was where the doctor previously resided. It was a French colonial structure which now serves as a visitor’s centre and a small museum.
Another island which is part of the Inner Island Group is the Cousin Island. It is located right beside Aride and is about 2.5 kilometers away from the western coast of Praslin. Cousin Island is the most protected island and is known to house the largest number of endemic animals and plants all across Seychelles.
This island was purchased through the donations that were gathered back in 1968. It measures around 29 hectares and has a diameter of about 300 meters. The primary purpose of buying the island is to save the toc toc and the Seychelles brush warbler. This island is owned and managed by Nature Seychelles which is an independent organization for the protection of the area.
The same organization made collaborations with the local hotels and agencies to offer multilingual tours to visitors. A guided tour of the whole Cousin Island takes about 90 minutes wherein visitors are shown the rich flora and fauna and are given substantial information about them.
The protected area covers the entire land as well as the surrounding waters which is 400 meters from the island’s shoreline. For over a hundred years, the island has been home to some 300,000 birds and giant tortoises. Additionally, it has been since a nesting site for the Hawksbill Turtle which is already considered as endangered.
Sainte Anne Marine National Park
Located just 5 kilometers off the coast of Mahe is Seychelles’ oldest marine reserve which is Sainte Anne Marine National Park. The park also houses Ile Cachee, Cerf Island, Long Island, Round Island, and Moyenne Island. The entire park is about 5.6 square miles. The Marine National Park was created and established back in 1973.
Sainte Anne Marine National Park is home to more than 150 species of marine life. It also has a rich flora and fauna that many visitors enjoy. The whole park is open daily, however, it will require for a non-local to get a valid ticket to be allowed inside. This park caters to an estimated 40,000 visitors every year which is almost one-third of the overall number of visitors coming in Seychelles.
This not only contributes to Seychelles’ GDP, but it is also a significant source of funding that is used to the island’s protection. In 1994, the Marine Park Authority was formed to monitor and implement the conservation laws. Using a system of buoys, they have divided the ocean and created zones. In doing so, they had established limited and restricted access areas.
All these translate to having defined diving spots for visitors, specific areas for a picnic, and areas where non-motorized water activities like windsurfing or swimming are allowed. Because of its rich flora and fauna, visitors often flock to this island to witness sea turtles, eagle rays, and with luck, even a bottlenose dolphin.
Measuring a length of 1.7 kilometers and a width of 500 meters, Aride island is located on the northernmost part of the Inner Island Groups. Another conservation area, the island is home to the island administrator, several biologists, and a few workers. These people have the sole purpose of keeping the marine flora and the whole island safe.
It also has over 30 bird species of the rarest kind. The island is home to the infamous Seychelles blue pigeon and brush warbler, the shearwater, the lesser noddy, the sooty and the white tern, and many more tropical birds. Visitors can also see the frigate birds roaming around the island. Additionally, there are also a few species of gecko and harmless snakes on the island.
Ghost crabs are also present as well as two seas turtle species that religiously visit the island to lay eggs. Aside from that, the island is also covered with rich and lush vegetation. You can see banana trees, papaya trees, guava trees, coconut trees, and many more thrive around the island. For expats, a special staff is available to guide them through a visit on the island.
In 1973, Christopher Cadbury, a British chocolate maker bought the island to prevent further alterations to nature. This was a result of the decrease in the Sooty Tern’s population since sales for it became a lucrative business. Furthermore, in 1979 it became a state-assigned reserve and is protected by the Island Conservation Society.
The guided tour that is around two kilometers long starts at the home of the previous owner of the island and can last for two hours. Going on this route will give the visitors a view of a banana plantation, nesting tropical birds, and numerous lizards. Visitors will also spot mudskippers and crabs along the west side of the trail.
Found on the eastern end of Independence Avenue at Freedom Square, the Bicentennial Monument is an artistic piece in the town of Victoria. This piece was made by an Italian artist named Lorenzo Appiani. This structure is often referred to as Moniman Trwa Lezel in Creole. It is positioned at the roundabout in Liberation and 5th of June Avenues.
The three white masonry wings tell a story about the origin of the population of Seychelles which were from the continents of Europe, Africa, and Asia. It was placed here during 1978 at the 200 anniversary of Victoria. The tripartite structure symbolizes the Creole identity which actually came from African, European, and Asian ancestry.
As a result of this, Seychelles is described as a brew of multiple races. This is because of the interbreeding among different ethnic groups. The structure is actually made from gravel that is reinforced by steel. The Laxmanbhai workers were the ones who assisted and help for constructions of the structure and its installation.
One of the many notable beaches that can be found La Digue is Petite Anse. Located just beside Grande Anse, it boasts of powdery white sand and lofty palms. This beach does not only share the same beauty with Grande Anse, but it also offers the same level of anonymity. This is an ideal place for families or couples who would like to have a peaceful time by the beach.
Getting to Petite Anse will just require you a short trek along a small hill from Grande Anse. However, keep in mind of the safety signs along the beach when it comes to swimming in its waters. This is mainly due to the nature of its waters which is known to be rough and deep. If you are planning to go into the water, it is highly recommended not to go far.
There are no restaurants or restrooms present in Petite Anse and you would need to make your way back to Grande Anse which is a short trek for this. This is the place to spend a peaceful summer holiday since it does not draw too much crowd.
Officially known as Sir Selwyn Selwyn Clarke Market and known commonly as Victoria Market, this is the best place to enjoy local foods, fruits, fisheries, handicrafts, and other items locally made from Seychelles. A well-known French Governor is said to have built the stalls himself for the fishermen and local farmers so they can sell their products.
This man is how the Sir Selwyn Selwyn Clarke Market came to be as it was dubbed after him. Originally developed way back in 1840 and renovated in 1999, it is a place the showcases the old and new of the Seychelles culture. A far cry from what it was before, the stalls are now run by merchants, not local fishermen and farmers.
It is the best place to learn and immerse yourself with the vibrant cultural influences that can be found in Seychelles. Many tourists indulge themselves in buying souvenirs and many interesting items they can find within Victoria Market. However, before making your way to Victoria Market, take note of the hours that they are operational.
Nowadays, you can now also spot cafes all across the market where you can relax, have some downtime, and watch the people come and go. The market opens at 4 o’clock in the morning and 5 o’clock in the afternoon which runs from Mondays until Saturdays. The busiest day would be on Saturdays and you need to also know that parking can be very difficult due to the high influx of tourists and locals during those days.
With Hindu as the second largest religion in Seychelles next to Christianity, the Seychelles Hindu Kovil Sangam was created back in 1984 to promote the Hindu culture. After a few years, they have then decided to build the Tempio Hindu or the Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple. It is the sole temple in Seychelles which was made in 1992.
The Hindu Kovil Sangam decided that the Hindu community needed a place of worship. An International appeal to generate funds was made in order for them to build the temple. A significant amount of donations came from as far as Switzerland, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, and Malaysia.
It can be found on Quincy Street in Victoria and it was labeled after Lord Vinayagar which is the Hindu God for prosperity and safety. The structure is visited and adored by many because of it’s eye-catching and brightly colored decor. The temple was first consecrated in 1992, two months after its construction was completed.
On the 6th of May 1990, the foundation stone was laid down to begin the construction of the temple. The construction cost of the temple amounted to 950,000 Seychelles rupees. On March 1992, the temple which is a structure that stands seven meters high was completed. After two months, it was then consecrated.
Visitors can come and see the Tempio Hindu as it opens as early as 6 am until noon, and at 7 pm until 9 pm every day. There are friendly priests that will welcome visitors and locals. They also preside over ceremonies that are held in the temple.
The Victoria Clock Tower
Another iconic structure that can be found in Victoria is the Clock Tower or the Victoria Clock Tower. Smack right in the middle of the intersection of Albert Street and Independence Avenue is this symbol of the island’s capital. Aside from its popularity, the Victoria Clock Tower is also known as the oldest historical structure all across Seychelles.
The construction of the Clock Tower began back in 1902 and was the project of Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott which is the then-administrator of Seychelles. Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott wanted to create a cenotaph in honor of the late Queen Victoria who passed away a year earlier. The only other one I have come across that is similar to this one is in Gweru, Zimbabwe.
However, due to budget constraints, Sir Sweet-Escott ended up building the Clock Tower instead. Upon its completion in 1903, the Clock Tower was shipped to Seychelles in nine separate pieces. On April 1, 1903, with a large gathering of locals at the capital, the Victoria Clock Tower was unveiled and commemorated.
Sister Private Islands (Les Soeur Private Islands)
The Sister Islands are probably the most well-known islands in Seychelles. Often called as Les Soeur which means Sister Islands, it is consist of the Grande Soeur and Petite Soeur. Translated as Big Sister and Little Sister Island, these two are considered the most beautiful and scenic beaches in Seychelles.
The Big Sister Island is estimated to be around 100 hectares, while the Little Sister Island is around 34 hectares. The Big Sister island is about 113 meters above sea level and is a perfect place for beach barbeques while enjoying nature at its finest. Both of these islands are surrounded by crystal-clear waters, red granite rocks, and lush palm trees.
Both of the islands share white sand coastlines, and is a perfect venue for snorkeling, swimming, and walking along the shore. There are also traces of the island’s past that includes a few dilapidated houses that add to its charm. Additionally, colorful fishes, boating, the lush flora and fauna, and eating the traditional food can make your tour all the more memorable.
At present, the only people on this island are a few employees and an administrator that manages the whole area. They are also the ones appointed to take care of and provide accommodation to visitors that come in from Praslin to get a great experience of the island.
Seychelles indeed has a lot to offer. It is a country that many may have not heard or visited yet, but it is definitely one of the rarest treasures of nature waiting to be discovered. Experience the wonders and create lasting memories during your stay in Seychelles as this is one experience you will definitely not forget.