Friday, 15 March 2013
Seychelles Travel Guide
Getting to Seychelles
This is pretty easy. The easiest option is to contact a travel agent and let them book your flight for you. However, if you wish to book your own flight online, you can do so.
The main international airport is on Mahé. All flights within the Seychelles arrive and depart from Mahé. There a number of major airlines that fly in to Mahe. Air Seychelles flies directly from Johannesburg and Heathrow, Emirates Airlines from Dubai, Air France from Paris, Etihad from Abu Dhabi, and Qatar Airlines from Doha.
So depending on where you are based, you may have to catch a connecting flight, but otherwise it’s fairly simple!
Visa and entry requirements
Irrespective of the nationality of the visitor and his or her family members, there are NO VISA requirements to enter Seychelles. However, the following documents must be shown in order to obtain immigration clearance at the Seychelles International Airport:
1) A passport valid on the date of entry to and exit from Seychelles
2) Return or onward ticket
3) Proof of accommodation; including contact details
4) Sufficient funds for the duration of the stay
Holders of a "Kinderausweis" issued to German minors (up to and including 15 years of age) may enter Seychelles provided that this travel document contains a photo of the minor concerned.
Presentation of all of the above documents will grant you a Visitor’s Permit that will be issued upon arrival by the Seychelles Department of Immigration.
The Visitor’s Permit is initially valid for the period of visit of up to one month. It can be extended for a period of up to three months from the date of issue and capable of further extensions for successive periods not exceeding three months at a time to a maximum period of twelve months, provided that the person still meets the criteria of a bona fide visitor.
The visitor's permit is issued free of charge for the first three months after which there is a fee of SCR1,000 for extension covering each period of three months or any part thereof.
For all visa exemptions and extensions and other enquiries regarding immigration issues please contact:
Department of Immigration
PO Box 430, Victoria
Tel: +248 4 29 36 36
Fax: +248 4 22 50 35
Climate – What to Pack
The Seychelles’ climate is one which is always warm and does not reach extremes of heat or cold. The temperature rarely drops below 24°C or rises above 32°C. All but the remotest southern islands lie outside the cyclone belt making Seychelles’ a year round destination for sun worshippers and beach lovers. The so-called rainy season is from December – February.
So in short, pack light! A few tee-shirts, shorts, and swimming gear are the bare essentials. Anything above that, such as evening wear, is entirely dependent on what sort of holiday you plan to have.
The unit of currency is the Seychelles rupee (Rs). There are some complex rules governing foreign exchange in the Seychelles. By law visitors must pay for all accommodation (including meals and drinks at hotels), excursions, marine park fees, diving, car hire and transport in a major foreign currency (euros are the best currency to carry), either in cash or by credit card. Prices for these services are therefore nearly always quoted in euros (and less frequently in US dollars).
When changing travellers cheques or withdrawing money from an ATM, however, you will receive the money in rupees, not in foreign currency. Even when you pay for something in foreign currency, you will often receive the change in rupees. You can use rupees in shops, cafés and restaurants outside the hotels and for taxi and bus fares, but they can be quite hard to spend otherwise, so only change small amounts at a time.
Our advice: Bring Euro’s in cash, as well as a credit card for back up.
For more on the cost of a trip to the Seychelles, see our previous piece: http://seychellesyacht.blogspot.com/2012/11/is-seychelles-expensive.html
Safety and Security
Seychelles enjoys very low levels of crime. Nevertheless, it is still advisable to take some routine precautions to ensure your personal safety and that of your possessions. Anything less would not be prudent. The same precautions you would take at home, be responsible and apply them on holiday.
Naturally piracy is a concern for some people, however it shouldn’t be too much of a concern! We did a piece on piracy not too long ago, read it here: http://seychellesyacht.blogspot.com/2012/08/piracy-in-seychelles.html
Echoing the grand assortment of people who populate Seychelles, Creole cuisine features the subtleties and nuances of French cooking, the exoticism of Indian dishes and the piquant flavours of the Orient.Grilled fish or octopus basted with a sauce of crushed chillies, ginger and garlic are national favourites as are a variety of delicious curries lovingly prepared with coconut milk and innovative chatinis made from local fruits such as papaya and golden apple. As may be expected, seafood dishes feature predominantly in the local cuisine, appearing alongside the national staple, rice.
However for the less adventurous, you will still find Italian, Chinese, Indian and various types of cuisine available.
Things to do and Nightlife
One could literally write a book on things to do in the Seychelles! However here is an idea what you can do:
Visit the beaches. Many of the beaches are untouched by man's influence and are refreshingly uncrowded. They offer clear blue skies and a tranquillity you will rarely find. A hike along the coastline from Beau Vallon to Anse Major will take about 1.5-2 hours and your reward will be a small deserted beach that's fit for a king. The scenery along the hike is breathtaking. Not all beaches are suitable for swimming depending on the time of year, due to the seasonal winds. Do not ignore warning signs indicating that a beach is hazardous for swimming, no matter how it seems to you.
Vallee de Mai is a national park and world heritage site, home to amazing flora and fauna, including the world's largest seed: the coco de mer. Entrance fee: Free for residents, 315 rupees (~20Euros) for foreigners (Sept 2010).
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: The warm Indian Ocean waters make Seychelles the perfect place for the water enthusiasts. Explore on board a yacht or power boat. Windsurfing is also popular and the best time for this activity is usually around May then in October, at the start and end of the trade winds. Scuba diving, snorkelling, and fishing are also extremely popular and can be done almost anywhere in Seychelles. Baie Ternay is superb and easily accessible by a glass bottom boat tour from Beau Vallon beach - leave yourself an empty day and walk the beach for a 'last minute' booking - great deals can be bartered. Snorkelling (provided you have your own gear - some hotels lend masks, snorkels and fins to guests) is FREE and there are many great spots: off some of the small beaches at Glacis, past Mouse Island at Anse Royale, along the reef at Port Launay (near Ephelia Resort). Often spotted are a wide array of tropical fish, sea turtles, eagle rays and more!
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), while walking along the main road can be quite intimidating as the roads are narrow and local cars/busses drive quite quickly. On Mahe it is not advised to ride bicycles, and there are no rental shops within sight. 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 so is Cousin Island which although only 1 km (0.6 miles) in diameter, is home to more than 300,000 birds, but many unique species can be found at ease on Mahe.
Nightlife: Seychelles offers a fantastic nightlife scene that caters to tourists. The active nightlife is mostly located around the larger hotels and there are numerous fun and trendy restaurants. If you enjoy a good beer you must try the local Seybrew beer, it tastes similar to a light Bavarian style beer and is a must to get you through those balmy days. You can save yourself a packet buying the beer from stores on the side of the road like the locals do rather than from hotels. A dark Takamaka Rum on the beach under the stars is the best way to end a day on the Seychelles.
In addition to the above, 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 market downtown Victoria has a good selection of local produce, and spices for sale that are all grown locally and 100% authentic.
With relatively short travelling times between the islands and/or places of interest, different modes of transportation and with a regular network of air and sea transportation operating out of the principal island, Mahé, moving around in Seychelles is easy and hassle-free.
Public transport in the form of buses is the cheapest option; however there is also care hire. Getting between the islands can be done by boat or air.
We hope you’ll find this basic guide useful, and if you feel we’ve left anything out or would like more info, please don’t hesitate to contact us via this blog, our website www.seychellesyachtcharter.com, Twitter @seychellesyacht, or on Facebook www.facebook.com/seychellesyachtcharter