Let’s do Seychelles!
If Seychelles has always been on your bucket list, here are some tips to help you plan your trip.
Best time to go to Seychelles
So, the good news is that Seychelles is balmy most of the year because of its tropical positioning. It is good to remember though that the calmer periods, between the trade winds, are between April and May, or October and November.
There are various airlines that fly to Seychelles and the main airport is on Mahé island. You can also opt to go on a cruise liner if sea travel is your thing. Serious sailors with the necessary documentation and licenses can also drop in on the islands during their high-sea adventure.
Hopping between the islands is easy. Air Seychelles has frequent flights to Praslin; fast catamarans and leisurely schooners travel between Mahé, Praslin and La Dique; and charter flights and helicopters also operate between these and more remote private islands.
What to pack
As dictated by its warm, tropical climate, include plenty of light clothing and beachwear when travelling to Seychelles. Swimming costumes, sandals, sarongs, shorts, T-shirts and summer dresses are in the order of the day. If you are planning to explore the wonderful trails and walks, good walking shoes are a must. Pack some slightly more formal clothes for those special evenings out.
At the top of your list should be sunscreen (preferably an environmentally friendly one), a hat and sunglasses. A handheld fan will go a long way in keeping you comfortable.
Currencies and cards
The currency of Seychelles is the Seychelles rupee (SCR), but tourists can also pay in US Dollars or Euros.
In Seychelles, you are required by law to pay exclusively in a common foreign currency. Therefore, all the costs that you incur, such as accommodation charges, car rental costs, entrance fees for national parks, diving or chartered boat expenses, need to be paid in US Dollars or Euros. In most cases, payments can also be made via credit card. Taxi and restaurant bills that are not directly related to your accommodation, must be paid in local currency or a commonly used foreign currency. Seychelles rupees are accepted only at local markets, shops and nightclubs.
Most international currencies are likely to be accepted, but it is best to have US Dollars or Euros with you. Access, American Express, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted, with limited use of Diners Club cards. You easily find ATMs in Mahe and Praslin. Your Traveller’s Cheques will be accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops advised taking cheques in either US dollars or Euros. foreign exchange facilities are available at the airport banks, as well as at regular banks, which can be found on the major islands. Keep your original currency exchange receipts so you can re-exchange currency upon departure from Seychelles.
Seychelles is a visa free country, but it is recommended that you check current entry requirements on the government website well in advance of travelling to this beautiful archipelago.
Visitors must stay in government licensed and certified accommodation, or live aboard their sea vessel for their entire stay in Seychelles. It is thus advisable to book your accommodation in advance of your arrival. Refer to www.tourism.gov.sc for a list of government approved accommodation.
Safety on the islands
Seychelles is considered to be a safe destination for travellers with low incidents of opportunist crime in the popular tourist areas.
Can you drink the tap water?
Although the water is chlorinated, we advise that you stick to bottled or boiled water.
The first thing you will notice is that Seychellois are incredibly friendly and hospitable people. Shaking hands is a customary greeting for both men and women. If you are lucky enough to be invited to a local’s house, take a simple gift. You will be treated to mouthwatering local cuisine.
Gratuity is usually included in the bill at hotels, restaurants, for porters and taxi driver services. That said, if you’re very happy with the service, there is no reason not to add something extra.
Take mosquito and bug repellent with you! Also, wear long sleeved clothes and trousers at dawn and dusk. Besides not wanting to scratch your holiday away, there are occasional outbreaks of dengue fever and other mosquito borne illnesses.
There is a large hospital in Victoria and clinics on Mahé, La Digue and Praslin. Medical facilities are limited beyond these. We recommend that you take out comprehensive medical insurance for unforeseen circumstances and to enable you to visit private healthcare professionals and facilities in emergencies.
Seychelles can be quite expensive, but still doable even if you’re on a tight budget. Instead of a hotel, consider self-catering accommodation. Grocery shopping is easy and cooking for oneself goes a long way in stretching your budget.
Seychelles is a unique travelling experience. The mix of lush tropical forests, granite mountains, pristine beaches and a well-oiled tourist industry make it a top contender for an island holiday. Learn about the best resort in Mahe Island, Seychelles