This archipelago is made up of over a hundred islands, each one different from the next, in the perfect azure of the Indian Ocean.
Sailing, diving, fishing and relaxing are the main activities for visitors to the 115 islands of this Indian Ocean archipelago. Located between 4 and 10 degrees south of the equator amid 1, 300, 00 square kilometres of sparkling ocean, these secluded islands have a total population of merely 89,000.
Surrounding the granitic islands are several groups of coral islands, most with some of the most spectacular reefs in the world. With such a diverse geographic range, Seychelles is renowned as a sanctuary for numerous species of indigenous flora and fauna that will delight you.
The ideal Seychelles holiday should include visits to both the granitic and coral islands – That said, however you experience Seychelles, you will be sure to find a warm, hospitable welcome from the locals, whose heritage ranges from European, Arab and Persian origins as well as Chinese and Indian.
Go Local … throughout the main islands is an enticing array of small restaurants which provide delicious Creole food as well as international dishes. Prices are reasonable and well within the range of the average visitor looking to experience the gastronomy of the islands in stunning natural surroundings. Local artists fashion jewellery, craft wooden sculptures, design and make clothes and record CD’s of local music, all of which are for sale in galleries and boutiques throughout the principal islands. A stroll through one of the world’s tiniest capital’s, Victoria, will reveal a treasure-trove of souvenirs to take back home.
On the larger Islands, a good network of local, inexpensive bus routes offer itineraries for more independently-minded travellers, while advantageous exchange rates help to make car-hire increasingly attractive. On the tiny laid-back island of La Digue, however, bicycles and ox wagon drawn cart are the main form of transport.
Sailing is a great way to enjoy the diversity of the inner islands. A number of international and local charter companies offer a modern fleet of vessels, both skippered and bare-boat, to suit most budgets. Fishing expeditions into Seychelles’ fish-rich waters are possible on the same basis. Another dimension to Seychelles natural beauty is that found beneath the waves; numerous dive centres offer attractive packages for aficionado and novice alike.
The Seychelles is truly a unique holiday destination. It has an abundant sea life, tropical gardens, good food , good weather all year round as well as some of the most diverse island geography in the world!
Pristine, untainted beaches. North Island’s seclusion. Eco Tourism
Seychelles consist of 115 granitic and coralline Islands spread over one million square kilometers of tranquil waters just south of the Equator, some 43 granite islands are clustered around Mahé, while 73 coral islands extend towards the East African coast.
The latitude of the islands vary between 4 degrees and 10 degrees South of the Equator and are situated in the Indian Ocean. Mahe, the main island and home to the capital Victoria, is 1600km East of Mombasa, Kenya. The islands are divided into two categories, the “inner islands” and “outer islands” which are the most distant.
The population of the Seychelles totals approximately 89 000 people, many of whom are descendants from the slaves brought by Settlers to Africa. After slavery was abolished many of these Creole Seychellois were liberated and today make up the bulk of the population. Education up to the age of 16 is free and technical skills are taught locally. The dominant religion is Roman Catholic.
There are three official languages: Creole, English and French
Seychelles is GMT + 4 and 3 hours ahead of Central European time in winter and 2 in summer
The temperature ranges only slightly between 24 degrees and 33 degrees Celsius. The gentle North-West trade winds blow between November and April. During this time the weather is hot and sea conditions are calm. Between May and September the South-East trade winds bring cooler, dry weather with rougher seas.
The Seychelles unit of currency is the Rupee which is divided into 100 cents.
Shopping hours Victoria and other villages: Monday to Friday: 09h00 – 17h00 Saturday: 09h00 – 12h00 Sunday: Closed. Banking hours Victoria and branches on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue: Monday to Friday: 08h30 – 14h00 Saturday: 09h00 – 11h00 Sunday: Closed
There’s much more to do in the Seychelles than just working your tan, lounging on one the best beaches in the world and sipping a cocktail. Amongst these islands that make up this paradise lies the opportunity to visit national reserves, marine parks, beautiful creole architecture, as well as a wide variety of water sports.
Various modes of transport exist to shuttle you around the islands with relatively short journey times. Between the islands, ferries and domestic flights operate a good service with frequent journeys.
By plane – Air Seychelles operates multiple daily flights between Mahe and Praslin (the two main islands). Air Seychelles also operates almost daily flights between Mahe and the islands of Bird, Denis, Fregate, Desroches and Alphonse. Assumption Island and Coetivy can be reached by air charter.
By helicopter – Scenic flights can be booked to cover the main islands of Mahé, Praslin, La Digue and the surrounding smaller islands of (among others) Cousine, Félicité, Grande Seour, Curieuse and Bird Island.
By boat – Ferry companies offer routes between Praslin, Mahe and La Digue. It is also possible to take small boats from Mahe direct to La Digue.
By car – Driving in Seychelles is on the left side of the road. The roads on Mahe are low-traffic, mountainous, narrow roads, so caution is generally advised. Having a car is really a good idea and makes life much more simple. For as little as 100 rupees worth of gas you can see the entire island of Mahe in a couple of hours, including stops at beaches and whatever else catches your eye. There is free parking in ‘downtown’ Victoria on Mahe. You can only rent on Mahé and Praslin.
Taxis are a popular means of transportation for both short trips and day rental and can be obtained almost anywhere.
Bus services run daily on the islands of Praslin and Mahe from morning to evening on nearly every available road on the island. The bus usually passes by every 15 minutes.
Vallée de Mai – Coco de Mer – A national park and world heritage site, with amazing flora and fauna, including the world’s largest seed: the coco de mer.
Aldabra Atoll – The world’s largest coral atoll that stretches about 22 miles east to west and encloses a huge tidal lagoon. Aldabra is the original home of the giant land tortoise and tiger sharks and manta rays can also often be seen here.
Watersports – Warm Indian Ocean waters make Seychelles the perfect place for the water enthusiasts. Sail a powerboat, catamaran or monohull. Windsurfing and kite-surfing are available around May then in October, at the start and end of the trade winds.
Scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing are also extremely popular and can be done almost anywhere in Seychelles.
Land Sports – Golf, tennis, squash, badminton, horseback riding, biking and hiking are some of the recreational activities available on the Seychelles Islands. Bike rentals and walking tours are great ways to sightsee and since distances are relatively short and the scenery is beautiful, walking is probably the best way to see the smaller islands (La Digue, Praslin). Bird watching is also popular and the islands are home to many of the world’s most treasured and rare species of animals. The best place to do this is Cousin Island which although only 1 km (0.6 miles) in diameter, is home to more than 300,000 birds.
Hiking – There are several maintained hiking routes on the main island of Mahe and a few on Praslin. The Seychelles tourism office has a few descriptions of the hiking routes with maps available to be purchased.
Shopping – The best place for shopping is Victoria, the capital, and more specifically the market at the city centre, which has a good selection of local produce and spices for sale that are all grown locally and 100% authentic. There are also a few outlets on Praslin Island, but few shopping areas on the other islands. Seychelles also has numerous markets, art galleries and shops, colonial Creole-style plantation houses, and the main island of Mahé has six museums, a botanical garden, and several national monuments.
The Inner Islands
These granitic islands are located to the North and cluster around the principal islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
Together they are home to the majority of Seychelles’ accommodation facilities as well as almost the entire population of the archipelago.
There are 43 Inner islands in total, characterised by their beaches featuring large granite boulders.