Turquoise seas, pristine white sandy beaches and lush tropical vegetation. If you are an avid nature lover, passionate about fishing or looking for the ultimate diving experience, look no further than the Seychelle Islands.
An archipelago of 115 tropical islands, the Seychelles is scattered over 400 000km² in the Indian Ocean, 4° south of the equator. Some of the islands are granite, while others are coral. Most Seychellois are descendants of early French settlers and their slaves, brought to the island by the British in the 18th century. There is also a small Indian and Chinese population.
Mahé, the biggest island (27 x 8km) can easily be explored by taxi. About 90% of the population live on Mahé, yet no trip to the Seychelles would be complete without a visit to at least one of the smaller islands.
Praslin is the second largest inhabited island (11 x 5km) and has some of the finest hotels and guest houses in the archipelago. Apart from its unsurpassed beaches, the island is surrounded by a coral reef with abundant fish life and a myriad of colourful corals.
Air Seychelles offers an excellent service to Praslin, Mahé and some outer islands. La Digue (5 x 3km) is accessible by boat or helicopter from Praslin or Mahé (where ox-carts and bicycles are the traditional modes of transport).
Seychelles is believed to be the most environmentally conscious destination in the world. To preserve this, the number of tourists visiting the island at any time are limited, so you will always be assured of a little piece of paradise to yourself.
The Seychelles archipelago comprises 115 granite and coral islands spread over an area of 400km² in the heart of the Indian Ocean, four degrees south of the equator. Mahé is the main island. It measures 27km in length and 8km wide, and has the most beaches, as well as larger hotels, restaurants and watersport facilities. Smaller islands are accessible by ferry, helicopter transfers or flights.
Praslin is the second largest inhabited island and home to the famed Vallée de Mai, a rainforest where the Coco de Mer Palm and Black Parrot are found. Seychelles is environmentally conscious. It boasts 700 species of exotic plants, a large endemic bird population, coral reefs and abundant fish life, allowing for excellent snorkelling and diving possibilities. It is also home to the giant tortoise. Seychelles offers a variety of hotels, guesthouses, lodges and chalets, each with quality accommodation and each serving local Creole cuisine.
La Digue Island
La Digue is the perfect island to escape from civilisation. Here you will find the very rare Black Paradise Flycatcher. Seychelles beaches rank among the best in the world. Even at the height of tourist season you can easily find a deserted beach. There are no beggars or hawkers around and there’s very little crime. Hence, Seychelles has a laid-back tropical vibe.
SEYCHELLES TOP ATTRACTIONS
The Botanical Gardens in Mahé: Where you get a feel of the flora and fauna found on the islands. The craft village and model boat building factory are also worth a visit.
Vallée De Mai on Praslin: This forest known as the Garden of Eden is a World Heritage Site and home to the famed Coco De Mer Palm and rare Black Parrot. While on Praslin visit Anse Lazio, considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Anse Georgette, Anse Volbert, Anse Kerlan and Anse Boudin are a must.
Curieuse Island: Adjacent to Cousine Island where you will also get a glimpse of the Coco De Mer Palm, encounter giant tortoises and the ruins of the leper colony.
Cousine Island: A short boat trip from Praslin, the island is a private nature reserve and home to a variety of endemic flora and fauna, including five bird species and the endangered Brush Warbler.
Saint Pierre Island: Lies in front of Anse Volbert beach. The island has fantastic snorkelling possibilities.
Anse Source d'Argent: On La Digue island, is the most photographed beach world-wide.
SEYCHELLES TRAVEL TIPS
Climate and what to pack: The tropical climate of Seychelles is generally warm and humid. It is divided into the following main seasons: the Northwest Monsoon and the Southeast Monsoon, separated by two relatively short Inter-Monsoon ‘transition months’. May to October (Southeast Monsoon) is a relatively drier and cooler period with stronger winds. November is relatively warm with light winds, and April is the calmest and warmest period of the year.
Bring light, comfortable clothing and protective gear/wear for the tropical sun and rain. Also, bring insecticides and all personal medication and toiletries.
Health: No malaria mosquitoes – but take repellent; no tropical diseases. There’s a large, efficient hospital in Victoria, and clinics on Praslin and La Digue.
Currency: The Seychelles Rupee (SR). Any service booked and consumed locally can be paid either in Seychelles Rupees or any convertible currency at the exchange rate on the date of transaction. Banks are in Victoria, Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, and opening times are between 8:30am and 2pm. MasterCard, Visa, Diners Club and Barclaycard are widely accepted in the larger hotels, restaurants and shops. American Express can be used at some establishments. Smaller places do not always accept credit cards. Banks at the airport are only open for international flights.
Travel documents: Your passport should have a minimum of two blank visa pages (but we recommend three if you are visiting more than one country on your journey). Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date. South African citizens who hold more than one passport must depart and re-enter South Africa on their South African passport.
Visas: Not required for any passport holders.
Time zone: GMT + four hours.
Language: English, French and Creole are the three languages spoken in the Seychelles. The language of business and law is English, French is often spoken but the common language of daily communication is Creole, a French patois.
Customs: 200 cigarettes and two litres of alcohol.
Luggage allowance: 20kg on international flights and 15kg on internal flights. Airlines will not accept luggage exceeding 32kg or 900mm x 720mm x 450mm. Plastic wrap your luggage prior to departure, especially if departing from OR Tambo International Airport.
Luggage check-through: In light of the problematic situation regarding domestic baggage transfers at OR Tambo, as well as the constant breakdown of the baggage belts and shutdown of the baggage transfer belts by ACSA (Airport Company South Africa) from about 10pm, and the baggage losses incurred, we would encourage all passengers to check their baggage only to Johannesburg from all SA domestic airports. Collect your luggage in domestic services upon arrival and check it in for your international flight to the Seychelles.
Power supply: 240v AC with British standard three-point square pin plug.