Submitted by Coralie on November 17, 2015
An Overview – Seychelles
The Seychelles is a group of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean and a piece of sunny paradise. Almost every island in the Seychelles contains idillic beaches, a lush vegetation and amazing wildlife, all of those wonders preserved by the fact that a good part of the Seychelles is situated inside protected areas. Ecotourism is also very developed on these islands, so a trip to the Seychelles is not only an unforgettable experience, it's also a good deed.
The picture perfect beaches, including some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with their smooth rock formations, water glistening under the sun and background of lush jungle, are often the main draw for tourists, but it's not the only thing the Seychelles has to offer.
Huge land turtles, fishes and dolphins, endemic species of birds, … the nature lover will also find happiness in the Seychelles, with the number of reserves and the well maintained trails made for wandering into the deeper parts of the forests and jungles. As for activities, water sports are of course a must in the Seychelles. Surfing, snorkeling or diving in these clear blue waters is an experience like no other, with schools of colorful fishes and beautiful seashells everywhere. Fishing, in some spots, in also possible. For those not too tempted by the water, hiking and climbing are also good options to obtain a new point of view on the islands.
Despite the expenses linked to a trip to the Seychelles, these islands truly are a unique experience. It's not for nothing that they were for a while thought to be the Garden of Eden. They offer a real visible break from life, a back-to-nature experience, they stop time to make every moment a pleasure. The Seychelles are a place where life goes slowly and, like the locals, you'll soon come to love it.
When to travel – Weather
With a tropical climate, the Seychelles are an ideal destination all year round. The temperature averages at 30° in the day, and the water's temperature at 28°. There's still a rainy season from October to March, with a more humid atmosphere and more elevated temperatures. January is the most rainy month.
From April until September, there's a refreshing wind that cools down the temperature to an average of 22°. July, August and December are the high season, with a lot more people on the beaches.
The best moment to visit the Seychelles are the shoulder seasons, during the months of April, May, October and November, with an agreeable climate but less of a crowd than in high season.
There are often celebrations in the Seychelles, coming from all around the world, like the Chinese New Year or the hindi Vinayagar Chadhurti. In October, a great Seychellois event called the Festival Kreol is spread over one week. Concerts, dances, traditional games and food, all the components of the Seychellois culture are celebrated in a festive atmosphere in Mahé.
Seychellois Cuisine and Drinks
Seychellois cuisine has an excellent reputation, using the best from a wide array of cultures from all over the world, being mainly influenced by France, China, India and Africa. The essentials of every meal are rice and fish, accompanied by a lot of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger and a few vegetables.
Fish and sea food are the country's specialties, and the traveler will easily find exotic species to try out, like barracuda, shark, octopus or tec-tecs, next to the more traditional tuna or shrimps. Grilled over a wood fire or steamed, sea food is available everywhere, from big restaurants to markets.
Local specialties also include bat meat served with chili and sea snails with garlic, for adventurous stomachs only. A more popular option, the famous “millionaire salad” is made from hearts of palm and an impressive multitude of other ingredients.
One of the best things in Seychellois cuisine are the fruits. Coconut, oranges, papayas, … they are sold everywhere, raw or in delicious juices. The chief fruit is the banana, that is often cooked, fried and served with coconut milk.
Aside from some local beers, alcohol is very expensive and not easily found. Locals sometimes brew calou (from coconut) or bacca (from sugar and pineapple), but these specialties won't be found in restaurants. The meals can be accompanied by the delicious local tea grown in Mahé.
Popular sights in Seychelles
Victoria – The capital of the Seychelles, situated on the main island, Mahé. Although most people come to the Seychelles for the beaches and nature, Victoria still has a lot to offer. The main sights include the Clock Tower, the Botanical Gardens and the full of life Sir Selwyn Clarke Market.
Beau Vallon – Still on Mahé, very close from Victoria, Beau Vallon is a beach enjoyed by visitors as well as locals. It's an opportunity to connect with the population while enjoying the usual sunshine and water sports.
Praslin Island – Praslin Island, the second largest island in the Seychelles, is the perfect postcard island. The beaches, the jungle in the background, the sunshine, the palm trees and the forested hills, everything is there. The lodgings are comfortable and full of light, and everything is set for days upon days of relaxed beach time. Praslin Island is truly the symbol of the Seychelles in the mind of most tourists, a little paradise island.
Vallée de Mai – On Praslin Island, for those wanting to get active after so much beach time, this World Heritage listed valley is a piece of paradise. The nature is completely untouched, with a unique ecosystem. The vegetation is jungle-like with immense leafs, and endemic bird species to be spotted. There's five trails leading through that unique environment, and the walk will leave a lasting impression, like having walked through a dream.
Denis Island – Denis Island is a small flat coral island, standing completely away from society. No roads or cars there, only a handful of cottages to welcome travelers. Food is mostly locally grown and it's a little haven for those needing some peace, as well as a popular choice for honeymooners.
La Digue Island – The most popular island for tourists after Praslin, this one is just as beautiful, with jungle, beaches and the famous smooth rock formations that you can see on postcards. The difference is that La Digue, although popular, remained a less touristic place than Praslin. It's the perfect place to reconnect with nature and a good base for visiting the neighboring islands.
Anse Source d'Argent – The main beach of La Digue Island, possibly one of the prettiest in the world. Soft pink sand, smooth rock formations worn by weather, and a reef making the water shallow, calm and safe. There's a reason why it's one of the most photographed beach in the world.
Morne Seychellois National Park – On Mahé, this National Park proves that the Seychelles' wonders are not limited to the beaches. This thick forest contains easy trails that can bring you to a lookout with a stunning view on Mahé and the coast.
Sainte Anne Marine National Park – Many “safaris” are available to discover this unusual park, usually in boats with glass grounds. It's an opportunity to glimpse an environment and wildlife that is otherwise hidden from the human eyes. Dolphins and marine turtles are just some of the wonders you might get to see.
Bird Island – The ultimate back-to-nature experience, Bird Island also contains a good number of endemic bird species and is a prime spot for bird watching. Diving, snorkeling and fishing in the crystal clear blue waters are also very popular activities. The tourism on this island is very environmentally conscious, which makes it a perfect place for nature lovers.
Silhouette Island – There is only one lodge, one hotel and one shop on Silhouette Island. This pristine environment is for those who dream of being stranded on a deserted island for a few days. It's just as beautiful and just as peaceful.
Currency – The money is the Seychellois Rupee (SCR), but most establishments accept to be paid in euros or dollars. Credit cards are widely accepted, as well as travelers cheque, especially Mastercard and Visa, while American Express and Diners Club are a little bit harder to find.
Security – The Seychelles are very safe, the only annoyance will come from mosquitoes or sandflies. They are not dangerous but it's better to get equipped for warding those insects off in order to enjoy your stay.
Be careful when swimming to stay near the beach. The currents can be strong and sharks can be seen in deeper waters.