Seychelles

The name is just 2 syllables. The width is a small 459 square kilometres. Each of the 115 islands of this nation are dwarfed by the massive continent of Africa that it neighbours. Currently, only 95,843 people live here – the smallest population of any sovereign African nation. Balance that against the titans of the earth – the biggest countries and cities – and it may seem rather small.

However, small things come in great packages. Today, we’re delivering this package right to your screen – the beautiful Seychelle island nation. This collection of tiny islands boasts of some of the most beautiful beaches on earth (a simple Google search will take your breath away), stunning green jungles, incredible wildlife and marine life, smooth and slick infrastructure, flavourful creole cuisine and the kind of luxury that fits right into your budget.

Ultimately, a chance to explore Seychelles tourism is the best gift to give yourself. So, today, let’s have fun unwrapping this delightful present together!

Seychelles Tourism: A Quick Overview

Continent

Africa

Capital

Victoria

Official Language

French, Seselwa

Dial Code

00-248-area code- landline

Population

95,843

Currency

Seychellois Rupee

Time Zone

(GMT+4)

Area

459 sq. km.

 

Highlights Of Seychelles

Islands
A honeymoon, destination wedding, retreat, beach vacation, family time – the Seychellean islands accommodate every wish of the traveller’s heart. While a vast majority of these islands remain uninhabited, you have the pleasure and luck of visiting the beautiful ones that are. We begin with Mahe, the economic and cultural hub of Seychelles. Spend day one indulging in water sports, and day two trekking the mountains here. Luxury resorts, restaurants and spas are yours for the enjoying at Mahe. Slow things down with a trip to the laid-back island of La Digue. Go on a beautiful boat ride at Nevis, kayak in the ocean, take the coco trail hike, sunbathe at Anse fourmis, visit the beautiful plantation house, trek through Veuve Nature reserve – La Digue lets you do your thing. Coming in third is the island of Praslin. Stroll along the picture-perfect Anse Lazio beach, have dinner at the stylish Café des Arts or enjoy the grilled seafood at Les Rochers, buy handicrafts and souvenirs at the exclusive Kreolor and meet the giant Aldabra tortoises at the Giant Tortoise Farm. Finally, there is the capital city of Victoria. Visit the National Museum of History, wander through the cheerful Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clark Market, enjoy the artwork displayed at Kaz Zanana, soak in the serenity of the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception and walk through the Botanical Gardens. If your heart desires it, there’s something in Seychelles that will fulfil it.

Adventure Activities 
Seychelles might exude serenity, but once you land, you’ll meet its wild, adrenaline-pumping side. You could spend your time relaxing on the beach, but if your pulse is pounding for more, then trust us there’s more than enough adrenaline to go around. Go zip-lining at the Constance Ephelia Hotel in Mahe, try parasailing in Beau Vallon (in Mahe), snorkel in the clear turquoise waters of La Digue, surf the curling waves off the coast of Mahe, Praslin, La Digue and other islands. Kayak across the glittering ripples of the Indian Ocean at Port Launay (Mahe), Au Cap (Praslin) Tamaka (Mahe) and from Round Island to Moyenne Island. Go sailing and explore the gorgeous grottos and coves that Seychelles has to offer. (Do note, that you can sail in the inner islands, as opposed to sailing to the outer islands as the latter can cause damage to the surrounding coral reefs). Finally, spend your holiday Scuba Diving in Seychelles numerous dive spots. These include L’ilot, St. Pierre, South Marianne Island, Beau Vallon, the Ennerdale Wreck and more. Other adventure sports to try out are the Banana Boat Ride, Windsurfing, Water Skiing, Jet Skiing, Glass Bottom Boats and more. The water welcomes every kind of adventurous impulse.

Shopping
There’s always a little bit of room in your suitcase saved for souvenirs. And why not? Seychelles boasts of some incredible tchotchkes for you to carry back home. One of the prettiest things would be the carved coconut shell artefacts. The most popular one is the Coco de Mer – the sea coconut. However, there are strict certifications in place if you’d like to carry this outside the country so make sure you have those in place before buying one of these. Additionally, you can buy coconut soap, perfumes and oil for friends and family. Valle de Mai in Praslin is the perfect place to buy all of the above. The second thing that should be on your shopping list, are those gorgeous Seychelle vanilla pods. The Union Estate Park and local shops in Mahe and Victoria all keep a stock of these delicious and aromatic pods and essence. Pick up some stunning art from local artists at Thoughts Stained Glass, Carrefour des Arts and Michael Adams Studio. Stock up your jewellery box with the rare black pearl – a Seychelles speciality. You can pick up an exquisite strand of these ebony pearls at Pearl Farm de Praslin. Finally, there are a bunch of smaller items like coral and beaded jewellery, spices, tea, lemongrass, ginger and more at the various markets in the country. Visit Sir Selwyn Clark Market, Victoria Market, Bazar Labrin and the Eden Plaza Shopping mall.

Cuisine 
Inspired by French, Indian and Chinese flavours, the Creole Cuisine of Seychelles will tantalise and intrigue you. Sweet, tangy, spicy all intertwine magnificently, to cause a flavour burst in every bite. Enjoy succulent grilled red snapper, jackfish, sailfish and john fish, grab a packet of crispy breadfruit salted fried chips for an evening snack, sit down to a bowl of spicy Octopus curry or if you’re feeling especially adventurous, try the shark chutney which includes mashed shark meet mixed with Bilimbi, onion, lime and turmeric. For the health-conscious, a Satini salad will hit the spot with ingredients like raw papaya, golden apple, onion and spices. The non-vegetarian option is garnished with shark meat or fish. For your sweet tooth, Seychelles offers Ladob – a dish made of sweet potatoes or banana cooked in creamy coconut milk, flavoured with nutmeg, cinnamon and fresh vanilla.

Interesting Facts About Seychelles

  • Seychelles is home to some of the rarest species of birds, like the bare-legged Scops owl (which was believed to be extinct but rediscovered here)
  • The Coco de Mer, the sea coconut, produces the largest and heaviest seed in the world (around 15 kgs)
  • The Seychelles capital – Victoria – is the smallest capital in the world
  • On Bird Island, you’ll find the heaviest living tortoise in the wild, called Esmerelda who weighs 670 pounds
  • The rare black parrot is the national bird of the country
  • The outer islands of Seychelles host some of the largest seabird colonies in the world (mainly the Cosmoledo and Aldabra islands)
  • Seychelles is a global frontrunner in forest conservation – 42% of the country’s territory is dedicated to the conservation
  • Seychelles is a country of immigrants, with no indigenous population

Location Of Seychelles

Off the coast of East mainland Africa, lies the gorgeous island nation of Seychelles. It is surrounded by nearby country islands like Mayotte, Comoros, Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius in the south and the Maldives and Chagos archipelago in the east.

Best time to visit Seychelles

Seychelles has 2 dominant seasons: dry and wet. The island nation is treated to beautiful weather – come rain or shine. However, there are 4 months in the year, when the weather and water conditions peak – these are April and May and October and November. These are generally transition months between the hot and humid seasons. You’ll be greeted with cool sea breeze, mild sunshine and a gentler ocean. These 4 months are the ideal time for scuba diving, bird watching, sunbathing and more.

How to Reach Seychelles

By Air: There are two airports in Seychelles: SEZ or Seychelles International Airport located in Victoria and the second one in Praslin, called Praslin Island Airport. The Seychelles International Airport is the main point of entry for international travellers and is the hub of the national carrier Air Seychelles. This airport sees flights from British Airways, Emirates, Austrian Airlines, Kenya Airways and Turkish Airlines. Nonstop flights from India to Seychelles are around 4 and a half hours. 
Once you are in Seychelles, you can commute via road and sea:

By Road: Seychelles is blessed with a well-connected, paved road network of nearly 400 kilometres. Outside the main cities though, the quality of the roads may decline. From the hotel, you can rent a car to go sightseeing around, on Mahe Islands. Bike rentals are also available in the capital city of Victoria.

By Sea: Victoria houses the main seaport of Seychelles. Inter-Island Ferry and Cat Cocos offer regular catamaran ferries from Mahe to Praslin. You can catch a ferry every 15 minutes. The smaller islands do have a ferry system that connects them; however, it is less reliable. 

History Of Seychelles

Throughout recorded history, the Seychelle islands have been largely uninhabited. Scholars assume that Austronesian seafarers were the first to visit this group of islands, followed swiftly by Maldivian and Arab traders. This is based on the discovery of tombs on the island, which were visible till 1910. Europeans were first spotted on 15th March 1503, as part of the fleet led by Vasco de Gama.

These islands were the transit point for the trade routes between Africa and Asia and the islands were often said to be used by pirates until the French took control in 1756. The islands were named Seychelles after Jean Moreau de Seychelles, King Louis XV’s Minister of Finance.

Independence was eventually won in 1976, as a republic of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Language Spoken

French, English, Seselwa

Currency used:

Seychellois rupee

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Best Seychelles Tourism Guide

 

Once you land at the Seychelles International Airport, it’s as if there is a whole new world is waiting to embrace you with open hands and trying to make this a memorable trip for you. This starts off with the first warm welcome you receive from the person who is waiting to introduce you to this world. The world of Seychelles.  

Seychelles has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The clear blue waters, the tropical forests, the powdery sands, the granite boulders, and the rich biodiversity, each has something to offer to you. And as you cradle in the lap of Mother Earth, you start being accustomed to her beauty and pride. You start swimming in those waters, walking amidst the forests, playing in the sands, climbing the huge boulders,making friends with her children and before you even realize you become a part of her. You become a part of Seychelles.

It’s not only the Mother, Seychellois people embrace you too. They share their house with you, they make you feel at home, they prepare food for you, they entertain you with their songs and dance, and they introduce you to their culture. 

And as you are about to leave, it’s not the same Seychelles any more. A part of it goes away with you, a part of you stays behind. And maybe that’s why the weather here is always moist and sometimes, sometimes it rains.

 

Seychelles Geography

Spread over an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1,374,000 square km but with a landmass of just 459 square km, Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 tropical islands in the Indian Ocean, located Northeast of the Madagascar Islands and around 1600 km east of Kenya. These islands are mainly divided into the Inner and the Outer Islands. The inner-islands comprise of 45 mid-oceanic granite islands and 2 coralline Islands while the outer islands (also known asZilElwannyenSesel) are coralline islands formed of reef islets and coral atolls. The outer Islands are mostly uninhabited as there is no fresh water and hence only 1 percent of the entire population live here. The largest and the most populated granitic island is Mahe. Victoria, the capital of Seychelles, is located in Mahe. Other principal islands include Praslin, La Digue and Silhoutte. Two UNESCO world heritage sites, the famous Vallee de Mai on Praslin in which the rare Coco-de-Mer trees grow and Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll, are an integral part of this archipelago.

 

Seychelles History

Though it’s believed that the Arab sailors discovered these islands in the 7th century but it’s not recorded. In1502, Vasco da Gama during his second voyage from India to Africa sighted the coral islands and named them after himself, Les Amirantes (Islands of the Admiral). The Amirantes found its place in the Portuguese map in 1506, while the inner granite islands were called the Seven Sisters. The Ascenion, a trading vessel of the English East India Company, en route to India, lost its course and accidentally found the North Islands on January 19th, 1609. These islands were an abode of fish and fowl and provided the sailors with all that they needed to replenish themselves and were also devoid of the threat from other human beings but the British did not settle here. These islands became the haven of the Caribbean pirates in the later half of the 17th century butremained uninhabited throughout most of the recorded history. After Isle de France (now Mauritus) was occupied by the French, the French administrator, Bertrand-Francois Mahe de La Bourdonnias, sent LazarePicault to map these islands. Picault named them Ile d’Abondance because nature had plenty to offer in these islands. Picault’s mapping was poor and so he was sent back in 1744. He renamed the biggest island after his patron, Mahe and the group of islands Ile de la Bourdonnais. In 1754, after the outbreak of what was known as the Seven Years’ War, Corneille Nicholas Morphey claimed these islands and renamed the largest as Isle de Sechellesafter the Minister of Finance of Louis XV, Viscount Jean Moreau de Sechelles. The first French settlement was established on St.Anne on 12th August 1770. It comprised of 15 white colonists, seven slaves, five Indians and one black woman. The colonists started growing spices and later shifted to much traditional plantations like cotton and sugarcane. Following the French revolution, the settlers formed a colonial assembly and decided to run the colonies all by themselves. Jean –Baptiste Queau de Quincy took command and tried to steer away the British until the colonies were formally ceded to Great Britain in The Treaty of Paris, in 1814. With the ban on slavery in 1830 throughout the Empire, the colonists had to shift to growing less labour intensive crops such as cinnamon, vanilla and coconut. In 1903, Seychelles became a separate British Crown Colony and a useful place for them to exile political prisoners. Seychelles finally gained freedom from the British rule on June 29th, 1976 when Seychelles was declared as an independent republic within the Commonwealth.

 

Population Of Seychelles 

The current population of Seychelles is 94,968 based on the latest United Nations Estimate. 90 percent of the population live in Mahe. While the remaining 10percent are scattered in Praslin, La Digue and 5 other islands. 8 out of these 115 islands are permanently inhabited. Majority of the population are of Creole descent i.e from French colonial settlers and African slave labourers while the remaining are of European origin.

 

Seychelles Religion

Seychelles has been attracting people from all over the world since its discovery and each group has left a mark of its own making it unique and culturally diversified. This attributes to the different kinds of religion that are practiced in these islands though the main religion is Roman Catholicism.82% of the population are Roman Catholics, 6.4% Anglican Christians, 2% Hindus and 1% Muslim. The Adventists or the Bahai also form a small part. Witchcraft, Blackmagic, superstitions and the use of talisman also have a prominent place in the Seychellois culture.

 

Languages Of  Seychelles 

Seychelles has three official languages; Creole, English and French. Though the lingua franca is Creole or Seychellois Creole, which is a mix of African languages like Swahili and Malagasy with a huge French influence, Seychellois or the people of Seychelles are warm and cordial and Indian tourists can easily communicate with a little knowledge of English and French.

 

Currency Of Seychelles 

The Currency of Seychelles is Seychellois Rupee (SCR) and the current conversion rate is 4.71 Indian Rupees for 1 Seychellois Rupee.The Seychellois Rupee is subdivided into 100 cents. The denominations available in bank notes are SCR 10,25,50,100,500  and in coins are SCR 1,5,10 and 1,5,10,25 cents.

 

Cost and Money

The Barclays is the main bank in the Islands. Though there are other banks in the Islands along with the Seychelles Commercial Bank. Banks with ATM facilities are there in Victoria, Anse Royale and at the airport in Mahe, Grand Anse, BaieSt.Anne and Cote D’Or on Praslin as well as La Passe for La Digue. Cash and major credit cards are acceptable all over Seychelles. Traveler’s checks are also accepted in most establishments.

 

Hotels

Tipping is not usual in Seychelles as most top-end hotels and restaurants add a service charge of 10%- 15% on the bill. Bargaining is also not at all exercised in Seychelles. Though a little hackling over prices can be done but it’s restricted only to markets.There are also amazing Seychelles Tour Packages to choose from,here at Thomas Cook

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