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Travel Facts

Location

Seychelles is a 115-island country, totalling 455 square kilometres of land in the Indian Ocean. The archipelago lies 1,500 kilometres east of mainland East Africa.

#Nearby islands include the Comoros, Mayotte, and Madagascar, with Réunion and Mauritius to the south.

Seychelles is comprised of twenty-six administrative districts composed of all of the inner islands. Eight of these districts form part of the capital, Victoria, and are referred to as Greater Victoria. A further 14 districts fall within the rural areas of the main island of Mahé with two more districts on Praslin and one on La Digue which also includes respective satellite islands. The remaining Outer Islands (Îles Eloignées) form the final district.

Immigration

Entry Formalities- there are no visa requirements to enter Seychelles, but the following documents must be presented to clear immigration at the Seychelles International Airport: a valid passport on the date of entry to and exit from Seychelles; a return or onward ticket; proof of accommodation - including contact details; sufficient funds for the duration of the stay.

On arrival in Seychelles, a Visitor’s Permit is issued valid for up to one month which can be extended for a period of up to three months free of charge, a fee is charged for extensions beyond three months up to a maximum of twelve months.

Climate/Weather

The Seychelles benefits from a warm tropical climate the entire year, with slight variations in climate due to the trade winds.

There are two opposing trade winds that generally dictate the weather pattern. The north-westerly trades are in effect from October to March with winds speeds that average from 8-12 knots, and the more vigorous south-easterly trades blow from May to September producing winds from 1- to 20 knots, resulting in cooler and windier conditions that are ideal for sailing.

In April-May and October-November, the periods of calm between the trades result in warm and wind-free conditions producing ideal conditions for swimming, snorkelling and diving in particular where the water temperature can reach 29ºC and visibility is often 30 metres or more.

Currency/Money

The local currency is the Seychelles Rupee (SCR) which is divided into 100 cents. Coins are available in 5, 10, 25 cents, and 1 and 5 Rupee denominations, and notes come in 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500 Rupee denominations.

You can find exchange rates on the Central Bank of Seychelles website, as well as the National newspaper and in other banks.

General banking hours are: 8:30am to 2:30pm Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 11:30am on Saturday.  All banks will process traveller’s cheques and foreign exchange transactions, but visitors will need to present their passports nominal commissions may be charged. You can access ATM facilities for local currency at major banks on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue and at the airport on Mahé and Praslin.

Foreign exchange transactions must only be performed at banks, with a bureau de change, or other licensed operator, it is illegal to change money with any person or unauthorised business. Be aware of people who may approach you in a public place to exchange currency as they could be dealing in counterfeit money.

Credit cards are also widely accepted throughout Seychelles.

Accommodation

Seychelles is famous for its 5-star hotels, resorts and exclusive retreats but there is now wider choice of accommodation available. Visitors can now choose from a range of new and refurbished affordable hotels, self-catering establishments and delightful Creole guesthouses, providing memorable experiences in a spectacular natural environment. Sixteen of Seychelles' 115 islands currently provide accommodation with more expected to develop hotel facilities in the near future.

Language

The official languages of the Seychelles are Seychellois Creole, English and French. However, the most commonly spoken language, by 95% of the population is Seychellois Creole, a French-based Creole language.

Here are some useful words and phrases for travellers in Seychellois Creole:
 
Hello: pronounced “Bozoo”
Good Bye: pronounced"Orevwar"
How are you?: pronounced "Kommasava?"
Thank you: pronounced “Mersi”
How much?: pronounced “"Konbyen?”
Yes: pronounce “Wi”
No: pronounced “Noh”
I do not understand: pronounced "Mon pa konpran"
Excuse me: pronounced "Eskiz emwa"
Do you speak English?: pronounced "Eski ou koz Anglay?"

People

Approximately 90% of the Seychellois population live on the island of Mahé. The remainder live on Praslin and La Digue, with the rest of the smaller islands either uninhabited or lightly populated.

Most of the Seychellois people trace their ancestry back to the early French settlers and East Africans who came in the 19th century. The rest of the population is composed of Tamils, other South Indians and Chinese, with around 2,000 expatriates also living and working in the Seychelles.

The Seychelles culture is a combination of French and African (Creole) influences.

Important Dates

Official public holidays include:
New Year - 1st & 2nd January
Labour Day - 1st May
Liberation Day - 5th June
Constitution Day - 18th June
National Day - 29th June

Plus the religious holidays of:
Good Friday and Easter Sunday in March or April
Corpus Christi – in May or June
Assumption Day - 15th August
All Saints' Day - 1st November
Immaculate Conception - 8th December
Christmas Day - 25th December

Activities

Seychelles is famous for its stunning beaches, many of which are uncrowded and have escaped man’s influence. The warm Indian Ocean waters provide ample opportunities for water sports enthusiasts. Windsurfing when the trade winds are in effect is very popular, as is diving, snorkelling and fishing and are available in numerous places throughout Seychelles. Exploring the islands on a catamaran, sailboat, power boat or yacht is also very enjoyable.

Visit the Aldabra Atoll for the world's largest coral atoll that stretches about 22 miles East to West and encloses a huge tidal lagoon. This is also the original home of the giant land tortoise and tiger sharks and manta rays are also often spotted here.

There are also many recreational activities available on land, such as golf, tennis, squash, badminton, horseback riding, biking and hiking to name just a few. Sightseeing is often best done by bike or on walking tours.

Bird watching is a popular activity with the islands being home to many rare and treasured species. Cousin Island is the best place for bird watching with more than 300,000 birds in residence on only one kilometre of land.

Seychelles also offers many markets, art galleries and shops, as well as colonial Creole-style plantation houses, with the main island of Mahé housing six museums, the botanical gardens, and several national monuments.

Transport

The main means of public transportation is by bus throughout the main islands of Mahé and Praslin. There are also air-conditioned buses that serve commuters at a higher rate.

Visitors can hire a car from the many firms established on the islands. There are also ferry services that transport passengers from between Mahé and Praslin and Praslin and La Digue in maximum comfort on board high speed catamarans.

Various companies also offer charter or schedule flights between the islands.

Health and Safety

Visitors are not at risk of contracting malaria in the Seychelles.

Should you fall ill while in the Seychelles, there are health clinics on the islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue and dispensaries on each of the islands that offer accommodation. Hotels will have the contact details of private practitioners should they be needed.

The Seychelles, enjoys a low level of crime, but as with anywhere, visitors should take reasonable precautions as opportunist crime does occur. Most accommodation will offer room or reception safes to keep your valuables secure. It is best not to carry large sums of money or valuables about your person. Avoid walking alone on isolated beaches, or nature trails and buy your excursions from a licensed operator, seek assistance from your hotel or travel agent representatives for verification.

Services and Utilities

The international dialling code for Seychelles is 248.

Seychelles enjoys efficient and modern communication services and currently there are . two GSM networks in operation, Cable & Wireless and Airtel. There are also payphones available in most districts on the Inner Islands.

Most internet service providers, internet cafés, postal and courier services are located in or around central Victoria. There are an increasing number of Internet cafés to be found in other areas such as Beau Vallon on Mahé, as well as on Praslin and La Digue.

Throughout the Seychelles the voltage is 220-240 volts AC 50 Hz. Seychelles uses the British standard square three-pin, 13 amp sharp electric plug. If you are visiting from a country other than the United Kingdom, you are advised to bring your own adaptor.

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