Seychelles Country Guide

As the Indian subcontinent shifted northwards to collide with Asia, a group of islands got left behind and went on to make up the Republic of Seychelles. Seychelles is located right in the middle of the Indian Ocean, between India and the east coast of Africa. While all the other islands of the world are of biological or volcanic origin, these are the only granitic islands in the world, with some unique rock formations. The islands comprising the Republic of Seychelles cover an area of 455 square kilometres. There is also an Exclusive Economic Zone covering 1.4 million square kilometres of the western portion of the Indian Ocean.

Seychelles, with its rich history and legendary beauty, is often referred to as ‘heaven on earth' or the ‘last frontier'.

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Our Seychelles Country Guide below will give you all the important travel information you need to plan your holiday in Seychelles. If you are interested in finding out what there is to see and do in the Seychelles, visit our Seychelles Destination Guide, or our Seychelles tours and activities page.

Check out the latest Seychelles Travel features on YouTube.

Seychelles Country Guide

Seychelles presents an amalgam of Indian, African, European and Chinese cultures. The native language, Creole has its roots in French; the cuisine is basically French but uses Indian spices and Chinese methods. The music here traces its origin to African rhythms and their dances draw liberally from Europe. This combination has resulted in the Sega beat, a song and dance unique to Seychelles and the other islands of the Indian Ocean.

Useful information on this page includes:

Visas/Passports Top

Passports

Visitors’ passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival at Seychelles. 

Visas

Entry visa into the Seychelles is provided free on arrival irrespective of your nationality. However, you need the following;

A ticket for onward or return journey on arrival.

Proof of reserved accommodation for the duration of the visit and proof of adequate funds: between US$ 100 and US$ 150 per day.  

A visitor’s permit that is issued on arrival, when the above two criteria are met. This visitor’s permit is issued for a period of one month and may be renewed one week before its expiry, only if the visitor holds a valid open onward or return ticket.

Avoid the disappointment of a booking being made for you. Make your booking before you travel.

Transit

Tourists in transit must have confirmed reservations for their onward journey.

Temporary residence

The Immigration Division of the High Commission will provide information about regulations governing temporary residence and issue the required visitor’s permits.

US citizens that need to renew, add pages, change name, or just get a new US passport, can Apply for a New US Passport here.

Communication Top

Internet

Internet cafes are found all over Mahe. In addition, the bigger hotels in Seychelles have facilities which enable their guests to operate temporary internet accounts. More hotels are coming up with wifi internet, look out for hotels with the internet icon.

Post

Seychelles’ main post office is situated in Victoria. It normally takes a week for airmail to reach Europe. Airmail is collected everyday at 3 pm on week days and at 12 noon on Saturdays.
Post Office hours:
Monday to Friday: 8.00 am – 4.00 pm
Saturday: 8.00 am – 12.00 noon. 

Press
The media in Seychelles is almost fully controlled by the government. The only radio station, television station and the daily tabloid are all operated by the government. The Seychelles Nation, an English newspaper, is released every morning, except on Sundays. Regar, a weekly tabloid, is published by the opposition.

Radio

The AM services (national medium wave) and Paradise FM (the music station) are both operated by the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation. Radio France Internationale and the BBC World Service are also accessible.

Telephone – Landline
IDD is operative in Seychelles and the country code is 248.
24-hour services for telephone, fax and telegrams are provided by SEYTELS at 
SEYTELS/Cable and Wireless Ltd. are located at Francis Rachel Street, Victoria and at Mahe. Phone Cards can also be purchased. All telephone numbers in the Seychelles are 7 digits long.

Telephone – Mobile
A few international mobile phone companies do offer roaming facilities in Seychelles.

Television
The SBC or the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation operates SBC TV.

Currency/Money Top

SCR or the Rupee is the currency of Seychelles. 1 Rupee is made up of 100 cents. Find out the latest Seychelles currency exchange rates at Oanda.com.

Currency Exchange
Currency exchange can be done at the airport at Mahe, at Seychelles hotels or at the banks. There are currently no restrcitions on currency exchange in the Seycheles. Banks also convert traveller’s cheques into local currency. Major banks on La Digue, Praslin and Mahe have ATMs.

Nuovo Banq, Habib Bank, Banque Francaise, Bank of Baroda and the Barclays Bank have branches in Seychelles. They convert both currency and traveller’s cheques.

The most widely accepted foreign currency is the Euro or US dollars. Most hotels, restaurants, shops and guest houses accept all major credit cards – Diners Club, American Express, MasterCard and Visa – as well as traveller’s cheques.

You can also pay your bills in seychelles rupees.

Climate/Weather Top

 

Check out our six-day Seychelles weather forecast on our Seychelles weather page. The page also provides climate details and information on the best time to visit.

 

Electricity Top

 

240 volts AC, 50Hz. British three-pin plugs are in use. (rectangular pins)

 

General Information Top

Full name: The Seychelles
Population: 81,100 people
Total Area: 455.3 sq km (176 sq miles). 
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +4 hours
Capital City: Victoria (Mahé). Population: 71,000 people (2005).

To view the current time in the Seychelles, click on this link to TimeAndDate.com.

Geography Top

Seychelles is made up of 115 islands that cover a mere 455 square kilometres in the western region of the Indian Ocean. The Republic lies to the south of the equator (between 4 degrees and 10 degrees) and 1600 kilometres from the east coast of Africa. It also lies well outside the tropical cyclone belt and is relatively free from storms. With a comfortable temperature of 29 degrees Celsius all round the year, Seychelles is the place for ‘sun loving people’!


The islands of Seychelles offer beautiful sunny beaches fringed with palm trees, a turquoise blue sea and diverse yet abundant marine life. Many of the beaches along its 491 kilometre coastline are famous around the world and attract many tourists and marine-life enthusiasts.

The 115 islands comprise 74 coral islands and 41 granite islands. 72 reef islands and coral atolls make up the Outer Islands. These are still unscathed by modernisation and have retained their natural beauty. The Outer Islands are divided into five groups: the Farquhar group, the Alphonse group, the Amirantes group, the Southern Coral group and the Aldabra group.

The Inner Islands are made up of 41 granite islands and 2 coral islands. These islands have small mountains that are covered with lush forests which have a wealth of flora and fauna that thrive in the sultry and tropical climate of Seychelles. Morne Seychellois is the highest among these mountains, with a height of 905 metres. Along with the other high mountains, it offers a breathtaking view of the blue sea dotted with islands, splendid granite formations and spectacular bays.

Praslin and Mahe, the two biggest granite atolls, are the most urbanized islands of Seychelles. But this modernization has not been at the cost of their natural beauty. Victoria, the capital of Seychelles, and Seychelles International Airport are located on Mahe.

Health/Safety Top

 

Inoculations against typhoid, hepatitis A and polio are recommended before a visit to Seychelles. A complete medical check up prior to the visit is also highly recommended. Do carry your anti malarial and antibiotic medicines in their original packaging with their prescription. Medical facilities in the interiors are poor but bigger cities do have clinics and hospitals.

Fruits and vegetable are sold in the market and in instances near the road by small farmers. Do wash all fruits thoroughly before eating.  All tap water in Seychelles are treated but it is advisable to get bottled water.

 Sun block creams are also advised while travelling in the sun. If you are visiting Seychelles during the monsoon, remember to carry insect repellent as a guard against dengue fever. Avoid walking barefoot when doing trails and tracks.

Seychelles is relatively safe, but petty thefts are not unknown. Take care of your valuables, especially at the beach, and avoid going alone to the beach at night.

 

History Top

 

Seychelles as a nation is relatively young. In 1770, a group of Frenchmen settled on these islands with a band of Indians, Africans and whites. The islands remained under French control till Napolean lost the battle of Waterloo. They were formally handed over to the British in 1814 under the Treaty of Paris. At that time Seychelles had a population of 3,500 people.

Under French rule, Seychelles had the benefit of the expertise of enlightened administrators like Pierre Poivre and the astute Queau de Quinssy. It also went through some unfortunate repercussions of the French Revolution.

By 1825, the population of Seychelles had grown to 7,000. During this period, under British rule, Seychelles progressed significantly. Victoria was established as the capital and estates producing cotton, sugar cane, coconut and food grains came into being. Seychelles also suffered the fall out of the abolition of slavery and the destruction wrought by the Avalanche of 1862. Many of the troublemakers of the Empire were exiled to Seychelles.

Seychelles finally attained independence from British rule in 1976 and became a republic. It was governed by a single party government headed by France Albert Rene till the 4th of December 1991when President Rene brought back the multi-party system. In 1993, under a new constitution, the first multi-party legislative and presidential elections were held, in which President Rene was voted to power. He also won the subsequent elections in 1998 and 2003 and finally handed over the Presidency to James Alix Michell in June 2004.

 

Language Top

 

Creole, French and English are the three official languages of Seychelles. 94% of Seychellois speak Creole, the native language, with an inflection of French. English is the language used for commerce and governance. Seychelles is home to diverse people and while the predominant influences may be African and French, one can also hear fluent German or Italian being spoken.

 

Location Top

The Republic of Seychelles, or Seychelles as we know it, is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. It is located between 4 degrees and 10 degrees south of the equator, and lies at a distance of 480 kilometres to 1600 kilometres from the east coast of Africa. The Seychelles are located in the Indian Ocean, between Africa and India, and 1,600km (990 miles) east of Kenya.

To view a map of the Seychelles, click on this link to WorldAtlas.com.

People/Culture Top

 

At various times through its history, Asians, Europeans and Africans have brought to Seychelles their own unique customs and traditions. Today, the culture and way of life in Seychelles is a harmonious fusion of different religions, races and cultures. Local artists have incorporated the diverse multi-ethnic styles prevalent on the islands and the architecture, music, dance, cuisine and art of Seychelles reflect these influences.

Old houses with their steep roofs bear out the British and French colonial influences. These are combined with the functionality of contemporary styles to create new designs that harness island breezes.

Creole dance and music have their roots in Malagasy, African and European music. They use string instruments and simple drums. Today this music has incorporated the guitar and the violin.

Traditional dance forms also carry the stamp of diverse influences. The moutya, an erotic dance form, and the sega, with its vivid lyrics, have come down from the days of slavery, the kanmtole is reminiscent of a Scottish barn dance, and the Kontredanse comes from the French court.

National festivals like the Creole festival and the Bazar Labrin, which is a sunset fair held at the beach, salute the rich blend of various customs and religions that continue to thrive in the Seychelles. The Seychellois are truly cosmopolitan with a culture that is a vibrant mixture of different races and religions.

 

Public Holidays Top

 

If you are planning to visit the Seychelles it will be a good idea to get acquainted with all the holidays in the current year. Follow the link to view a current list of public holidays in Seychelles.

 

Religion Top

Seychelles is predominantly Roman Catholic, but there are Protestant and Anglican churches as well. The Seychellois are enthusiastic church goers. Passionate about their Sunday Mass, they turn up dressed in their best so that they can outshine the others!

Seychelles also has Bahais, Hindus and Muslims in Mahe, La Digue and Praslin. These communities have their own places of worship and coexist peacefully as people of the Republic of Seychelles.

Embassy Information Top

 

To view a list of Seychelles embassies around the world, as well as foreign embassies within the Seychelles, click on this link to http://www.embassy-worldwide.com/.