The Seychelles Travel Advice and Tips
There is nothing like up-to-date, relevant travel information direct from the our holiday experts – get our essential Seychelles travel tips and advice before you go.
Seychelles at a glance
- Capital City: Victoria
- Time Zone: GMT+4
- Calling Code: +248
- Currency: Seychelles Rupee (SCR)
- Electricity: Type D (Old British 3-pin) 220V, 50Hz AC
- Language: The official languages are Seychelles Creole, French, and English.
- Population: 107,660
What To Pack For The Seychelles?
When packing for your Seychelles tours and holiday include plenty of light clothing for the country’s warm, tropical climate.
Because many of your days will be spent on the beach, you are advised to pack hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses along with plenty of casual beach wear – swimming costumes, sandals, sarongs, shorts, t-shirts and summer dresses.
And if you are planning on exploring some of the nature trails available around the islands, include a comfortable pair of walking shoes in your suitcase.
Most Seychelles hotels will expect you to have smart-casual eveningwear for dinners along with appropriate footwear. It is a beach holiday after all so you do not need to be overly formal – long trousers for men and dresses for women are perfect.
If you are bringing a camera, stock up on film and battery supplies or extra chargers before you leave home as these are not readily available in the Seychelles.
Flights And Getting Around
Did you know you can book your flights through Tulambule (Skymate Tours & Travel? For more information please contact us.
Seychelles International Airport: served by several direct flights as well as from Johannesburg and Nairobi, the airport is situated near the capital city Victoria on Mahé Island.
If you are not staying on Mahé, it is simple to travel between islands: Air Seychelles operates frequent flights to Praslin; fast catamarans and leisurely schooners travel between Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue; and charter flights and helicopters transport guests to more remote private islands.
Roads in Seychelles are often narrow but in good condition, traffic is light and distances are short.
Passport And Visa Requirements
Irrespective of your nationality, there are no visas required to visit Seychelles.
However, you must have a passport that is valid for the entire duration of stay, a return or onward flight ticket and proof of accommodation.
Upon presentation of these documents, you will be granted a Visitor’s Permit which is issued free of charge and is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.
Money In Seychelles
Seychelles’s unit of currency is Seychelles Rupee (SCR). US dollars and euros, on the other hand, are generally accepted.
Credit cards are usually accepted at resorts and hotels, although pricing for diving, park fees, car hire, and any other extras are usually indicated in Euros (or, less commonly, US Dollars).
In fact, the only time you will need Seychelles Rupees is when you’re shopping at a local market or dining out at local restaurants. Unlike Mauritius’ all-inclusive resorts and hotels, many Seychelles hotels do not include lunch or dinner in the daily rate.
You may have the option of paying for a full board supplement, but be aware that meal and drink costs are often rather expensive, so be prepared to spend a little extra to truly enjoy the delicious international and Creole cuisine on offer.
Shopping In Seychelles
Seychelles is bursting with traditional handicrafts and souvenirs, with woven baskets, batik clothing, painted fabrics and all kinds of colourful jewellery found typically in the busy markets.
Go to Sir Selwyn Clarke market in the centre of Victoria City for quirky souvenirs and to see local people shopping for fresh produce.
Go to the main island of Mahe for the biggest selection of wares in Seychelles. Here, you will find art galleries, handmade arts and crafts, locally sourced body products and ceramic pottery.
Bargaining is not part of the culture of Seychelles. Prices are generally fixed.
But, if you feel the price is high for an item in the market you can try to slightly negotiate.
Tipping In Seychelles
Tipping is not obligatory in Seychelles; however, it is greatly appreciated for exceptional service. In restaurants a service charge of between 5 to 10% is often added to the bill so you will not be expected to leave an additional tip. For in-depth tipping guidelines, enquire with one of our experts, they would be happy to share their knowledge with you.
Food and Drink In Seychelles
The Seychelles hold an enticing fusion of cuisines, mirroring the diverse cultural influences (African, Chinese, English, French and Indian) found throughout the islands.
Un surprisingly, seafood is a major staple in local dishes, and you will find super fresh local ingredients like tuna, barracuda or octopus blended with a variety of spices.
Coconut milk, rice, and curry are the foundation flavours across most of the seafood, vegetarian and various meat dishes you will find on offer in Seychelles.
A variety of tropical fruit is grown locally on the islands with the most common being mangoes, bananas, papaya, and the versatile breadfruit – also found in many Seychellois meals.
The main meal of the day is eaten in the evening. Most restaurants offer a few items of what is termed ‘international’ cuisine, usually with a bias toward preparations of fresh fish and shellfish.
Weather and Climate In Seychelles
history Of Seychelles
Some of the oldest islands on the planet, it is difficult to imagine that this Indian Ocean archipelago of Seychelles was uninhabited for centuries, except for odd ship stopping in, as the islands were found by explorers traversing ancient trade routes in the Indian Ocean.
One of the first known records of the archipelago was by Arab traders in 851 AD. The area remained without a permanent settlement for centuries until the French, who had previously established colonies on Mauritius and Reunion arrived with their slaves and planted crops and spices in the 18th century.
The French ruled Seychelles for over 50 years before being taken over by the British during the Napoleonic Wars in 1814. Seychelles gained independence in 1976.
People and Culture In Seychelles
Due to its intermixed history, you will find a harmonious diversity all over Seychelles with the population largely being of African, French, Indian and Chinese descent.
But the culture in Seychelles is distinctly Seychellois with many African and Asian traditions, superstitions and culinary ingredients incorporated into the local way of life.
The vast majority of the 86 000 population live on Mahé Island, the archipelago’s biggest, leaving many islands virtually or totally uninhabited.
The most widely followed religion is Catholicism (80% of the population), followed by Islam, Hinduism and a mix of local beliefs.
Music and dance are popular and visitors to the islands may find themselves joining in the Moutia – a dance with strong African and Malagasy rhythms.
Language In Seychelles
There are three languages in the Seychelles. French and English are extensively used and understood and English is the language of commerce and law.
But the most commonly spoken language in Seychelles is Creole. The Creole is a French patois which developed during the era of Slavery when the French plantation owners needed to be able to communicate with African and Malagasy slaves.
The Creole language is similar to French, with additional words and phrases from Swahili and Arabic, but the grammar is simplified and the spelling is phonetic.
Conservative casual wear is normally appropriate anywhere, but revealing clothes should be avoided because it may offend others.
Do not take pictures of people without their consent. Photography is not allowed in airports.
Photographs of historic and picturesque sites are permitted, however permission should be obtained before photographing military installations, government buildings, or other potentially sensitive subjects.
Geography and environment
Seychelles Archipelago is dominated by classic ‘desert island’ scenery – flowering tropical vegetation, palm-fringed beaches and a dazzling blue ocean.
The Archipelago encompasses 115 islands. The 3 main islands attracting visitor numbers to Seychelles are Mahe, La Digue and Praslin. Seychelles also has a diverse number of tropical plants, standouts being the carnivorous pitcher plant and rare species of palm known as coco de mar.
The country has two types of islands –coralline and granitic.
The more inhabited granitic inner islands are famed for their boulder-strewn beaches and forested, mountainous interiors; the coralline atolls of the outer islands are flatter, dominated by palm trees and are mostly unpopulated.
Millions of years of geographical isolation have led to a high rate of endemism among Seychelles’ flora and fauna, best illustrated by the dozen species of bird unique to the Seychelles, two of which – the Seychelles white eye and magpie-robin – are the rarest in the world.
Other highlights of wildlife in Seychelles on land include Aldabra giant tortoises – the world’s largest – birding on Bird, Cousine and Aride Islands and nesting hawksbill turtles between October and February but it is the marine environment that delivers the most.
Due to the long history of marine conservation, the coral reefs of the Seychelles are among the world’s best and support more than 1 000 fish species.
Thus, snorkelling and scuba diving in the Seychelles archipelago are truly spectacular experiences and in many cases you can walk straight off the beach and swim to pristine coral reefs.
The inner islands of Seychelles offer an accessible world of submerged boulders, cliffs and peaks while the outer islands boast remote reefs suitable for more advanced scuba divers.
The economy of Seychelles once revolved around its plantations – vanilla, cinnamon, and copra were the chief exports.
But the opening of the archipelago’s international airport in 1971 changed the country for good. Fuelled by tourism sector which now accounts for 30% of the workforce, economic growth was rapid and the Seychelles now has Africa’s highest Human Development Index.
Festivals and events
1. Carnaval International de Victoria
This is the biggest party in Seychelles. It takes places in October and it’s held over 3 days with parades, live music, costumes and everything else that brings together a hip-shaking carnival!
2. Seychelles Ocean Festival
This festival happens in December and is dedicated to all things underwater. The event involves photography competitions, guest speakers, events and showcasing diving and snorkelling spots throughout the Seychelles Archipelago.
3. Creole Festival
Celebrating Creole culture in the Seychelles takes place in October and is an important part of recognizing the history and heritage of the national. As part of the event, a traditional Seychellois wedding is held, with funky exhibitions and performances.
4. The Feast of the Assumption of Mary
An important day of recognition all over the islands with a dedicated public holiday held every year on 15 August. Local people travel to the main festival held on the island of La Digue, involving a church mass and parade through the streets.
5. Semaine de la Francophonie
This week-long festival takes place on the island of Mahe every year in March. The festival celebrates the past and existing influences of French culture in the Seychelles. It features art exhibitions, French music, and a tasty array of French-inspired cuisine.