Indian Ocean Island Hotels

Seychelles Tourism Information

Quick Facts: Seychelles

  • Seychelles is an island country comprising of 115 islands
  • There are no visa requirements to enter the Seychelles
  • The islands of the Seychelles archipelago are located to the northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600 km east of Kenya
  • With an estimated population of 84,000, the Seychelles has the smallest population of any African state
  • The descendants of the Indian, Chinese, and Gran'bla form distinct ethnic communities in the Seychelles, although most people living here are of mixed origins
  • French and English are official languages as well as Seychellois Creole, which is primarily based upon French
  • May to October - Dry months (Southeast Monsoon). During the coolest months which are July and August, the temperature drops to as low as 24 °C. November to April (Northwest Monsoon)
  • Master Card/Access and Visa Cards are widely accepted as a form pf payment in Seychelles
  • The local currency is the Seychelles Rupee (Sr)
  • The handshake is the common form of greeting
  • Seychelles is 4 hours ahead of GMT, 3 hours ahead of British summer time and 2 hours ahead of European summer time.
  • Restaurant and hotel bills include a tax of 7 %. Tipping is not expected but will be warmly accepted if you have received exceptional service.

Introducing Seychelles

The Seychelles situated in the Indian Ocean offers a holiday experience as unique as it is varied, drawing on the amazing diversity of 115 pristine tropical islands. The Seychelles is an ideal destination for today’s discerning travellers seeking a tranquil yet vibrant destination, unspoiled by commercialism. The granitic islands of the Seychelles, which are the only mid-oceanic granite islands in the world, lie between 4-10 degrees south of the equator and 1000 miles off the east Africa coast. Together with the coral islands this archipelago is spread out like gemstones across more than a million miles of ocean.

History

Forgotten for centuries by all but the most intrepid Arab sailors, pirates and adventurers, the Seychelles remained uninhabited until the late eighteenth century when the French made the islands their home. The Seychelles was ceded to Britain in 1814 remaining a British colony until Independence in 1976.

The Seychellois people represent a colorful blend of different races. Representatives from almost very race on earth have at one time or another contributed something of their own customs and cultures to the islands, realising a successful fusion of ethnic diversity into a harmonious Creole nation whose lingua franca is Kreole but where English and French are also the official languages. The result is a common culture enriched by the influences of the many continents and clearly visible throughout the domains of language, architecture, music and cuisine. Today, the Republic of Seychelles has a multi-party political system with an executive President as head of state and government.

Economy

With the opening of the international airport in 1971, tourism became the dominant industry. Their plantation based economy could only expand so far and thus the fishing and tourism sector became the primary industries in Seychelles.

Brief introduction to the Inner islands of the Group:

Mahe Island 

The fertile, granite island with verdant forests, towering peaks and over 60 white sandy beaches enjoys diverse flora and fauna with striking endemic species to be discovered by excursions as well as on walks and trails through the lush countryside.

North Mahe, which is home to the famous Beau Vallon beach, tends to be more populous than other regions of the island, discreetly featuring a range of hotels of all sizes, guesthouses and villas.

South Mahe presents, in contrast, a wonderfully pastoral aspect and is home to some of the island’s prettiest beaches and villages too, all made accessible by an efficient network of roads.

Victoria, which is one of the smallest capitals in the world, has managed to retain much of its original charm and character with outstanding examples of traditional architecture a busy market, shops, boutiques and service providers. Numerous hidden coves and bays can be visited on snorkeling expeditions with some even explorable by semi-submersible.

Praslin Island 

Praslin’s original name of “Isle de Palme” bears eloquent testament to its reputation as home to the Vallee de Mai UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the famous Coco-de-Mer grows wild on palms 40 meters tall and some 200 years old. Seychelles’ second largest island, Praslin, lies 40 kilometers north-east of Mahe and is accessible by Air Seychelles domestic flights in 15 minutes or by catamaran ferry in 45 minutes.

Praslin, divided by a ridge of hills intersected by a road that leads through the Vallee de Mai, possesses some of Seychelles’ most striking beaches such as Anse Lazio, which is widely acclaimed to be the most beautiful beach on earth.

Featuring the only 18-hole championship golf course in the Seychelles and a luxurious Casino, Praslin also has a rich assortment of hotels and guesthouses whose strong tradition of Creole hospitality over the years has proved a strong favorite with visitors.

Praslin Island is ideally situated for holidaymakers wishing to island hop to several nearby tropical destinations such as La Digue, Chauve Souris, Curieuse, St Pierre, Cousine and the island bird reserves of Cousin and Aride. Praslin Island is also a haven for nature lovers seeking rare endemic species or for those wishing to explore the island’s network of footpaths.

La Digue Island 

La Digue Island, situated 45 kilometers from Mahe Island and 7 kilometers from Praslin Island Seychelles, is the fourth largest island in Seychelles. Celebrated for its granite boulders that seem to have been sculptured by a divine hand to adorn beaches of breathtaking beauty such as Anse Source D’Argent. The island La Digue Seychelles where more traditional modes of transport such as bicycles and ox-charts still hold away, is accessible mainly by traditional ferry arriving and departing from the quaint jetty of La Passe. La Digue’s authentic island style accommodation is mainly situated on the west coast while the east remains more or less untouched.

At the L’Union Estate, visitors to the Seychelles will have the opportunity to view some of the traditional local industries of times past while nature lovers will have the opportunity to seek out the rare black paradise flycatcher once feared to be close to extinction but now protected in the La Digue Veuve Reserve which is home to two extremely rare species of terrapin. The island La Digue serves as an ideal stepping-stone to the nearby islands of Grande Soeur and Petitie Soeur, Felicity, Coco and Marianne.

North Island 

The North Island in the Seychelles provides an eco-friendly island experience where a philosophy of ‘barefoot luxury’ aims to provide the very best in seclusion, location and accommodation. The exclusive and tranquil villas at the North Island Resort are handcrafted from natural elements to an astonishing degree of perfection and further complimented by individual plunge pools and a health spa commanding breathtaking views of one of the island’s stunning beaches and the surrounding verdant hillsides.

Sainte Anne Island 

The Sainte Anne Island in the Seychelles which is situated in the National Marine Park features luxurious sea facing villas nestling in an exceptional property spread over more than a kilometer along the island’s two main beaches and offering total intimacy. An unmatched gourmet experience within refined yet relaxed surroundings combined with a world-class spa promises the ultimate indulgence of mind, body and soul. The exclusive 5 star Sainte Anne Resort Hotel & Spa forms part of the Beachcomber Mauritius & Seychelles resorts.

Detailed listing of Islands that make up the Seychelles archipelago

Note: The number of islands in the archipelago is often given as 115 but the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles lists 155. The islands as per the Constitution are divided into various groups as follows:

42 granitic islands:

Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette Island, La Digue, Curieuse, Félicité, Frégate, St. Anne, North, Cerf, Marianne, Grand Sœur, Thérèse, Aride, Conception, Petite Sœur, Cousin, Cousine, Long, Récif, Round (Praslin), Anonyme, Mamelles, Moyenne, Ile aux Vaches Marines, L'Islette, Beacon (Ile Sèche), Cachée, Cocos, Round (Mahé), L'Ilot Frégate, Booby, Chauve Souris (Mahé), Chauve Souris (Praslin), Ile La Fouche, Hodoul, L'Ilot, Rat, Souris, St. Pierre (Praslin), Zavé, Harrison Rocks (Grand Rocher)

2 Coral sand cays north of the granitics:

Denis and Bird

2 Coral islands south of the granitics:

Coëtivy and Platte

29 Coral islands in the Amirantes group, west of the granitics:

Desroches, Poivre Atoll (comprising three islands - Poivre, Florentin and South Island), Alphonse, D'Arros, St. Joseph Atoll (comprising 14 islands - St. Joseph Ile aux Fouquets, Ressource, Petit Carcassaye, Grand Carcassaye, Benjamin, Bancs Ferrari, Chiens, Pélicans, Vars, Ile Paul, Banc de Sable, Banc aux Cocos and Ile aux Poules), Marie Louise, Desnoeufs, African Banks (comprising two islands - African Banks and South Island), Rémire, St. François, Boudeuse, Etoile, Bijoutier.

13 Coral islands in the Farquhar Group, south-southwest of the Amirantes:

Farquhar Atoll (comprising 10 islands - Bancs de Sable Déposés Ile aux Goëlettes Lapins Ile du Milieu North Manaha South Manaha Middle Manaha North Island and South Island), Providence Atoll (comprising two islands - Providence and Bancs Providence) and St Pierre.

67 Raised coral islands in the Aldabra Group, west of the Farquhar Group:

Aldabra Atoll (comprising 46 islands - Grande Terre, Picard, Polymnie, Malabar, Ile Michel, Ile Esprit, Ile aux Moustiques, Ilot Parc, Ilot Emile, Ilot Yangue, Ilot Magnan, Ile Lanier, Champignon des Os, Euphrate, Grand Mentor, Grand Ilot, Gros Ilot Gionnet, Gros Ilot Sésame, Heron Rock, Hide Island, Ile aux Aigrettes, Ile aux Cèdres, Iles Chalands, Ile Fangame, Ile Héron, Ile Michel, Ile Squacco, Ile Sylvestre, Ile Verte, Ilot Déder, Ilot du Sud, Ilot du Milieu, Ilot du Nord, Ilot Dubois, Ilot Macoa, Ilot Marquoix, Ilots Niçois, Ilot Salade, Middle Row Island, Noddy Rock, North Row Island, Petit Mentor, Petit Mentor Endans, Petits Ilots, Pink Rock and Table Ronde), Assumption, Astove and Cosmoledo Atoll (comprising 19 islands - Menai, Ile du Nord (West North), Ile Nord-Est (East North), Ile du Trou, Goëlettes, Grand Polyte, Petit Polyte, Grand Ile (Wizard), Pagode, Ile du Sud-Ouest (South), Ile aux Moustiques, Ile Baleine, Ile aux Chauve-Souris, Ile aux Macaques, Ile aux Rats, Ile du Nord-Ouest, Ile Observation, Ile Sud-Est and Ilot la Croix).

Activities and special interests for visitors to the Seychelles

Cuisine

Seychelles cuisine is an attraction in itself. Their unique flavours have been created through a combination of English, French, African, Indian and Chinese influences. They have a selection of fresh produce that is complimented by flavours that bring in zesty, spicy, sweet and fruity elements. A vast array of fruits and seafood mostly eaten with rice which is a staple, promise a healthy and well balanced menu at the various hotels and restaurants across the islands.

Climate

The south-east trade winds blow from May to October (Southeast Monsoon) creating a relatively dry period. There is little precipitationJuly/August and temperatures average 27°C, however the seas can show a little wind chop.

Winds start to change by November (pre-Northwest Monsoon). Warmer and lighter the winds mark the start of the main rainy season. December to March (Northwest Monsoon), Seychelles experiences periodic downpoars, however the winds are generally very light and the sun at its warmest. Seychelles is cyclone free with only the most remote southern islands falling within the cyclone belt.

Noteably the calmest, warmest month, April is also known as Pre-Southeast Monsoon.

Endemic Birdlife

A destination of unbelievable beauty and diversity, Seychelles nurtures a kaleidoscopic array of unique flora and fauna, safe within the boundaries of its virgin world. Seychelles is home to some of the most spectacular seabird colonies in the world and the names of such islands as Praslin, La Digue, Bird, Aride, Fregate, Cousin and Aldabra have become bywords for the optimum in bird watching opportunities.

Within the islands there are 13 species and 17 subspecies that occur nowhere else on earth. Some of the many birds found in the Seychelles are: Seychelles scops owl, magpie robin, paradise fly catcher, Seychelles white eye, black parrot, white-throated rail, and the Seychelles warbler.

Sailing

With so many granitic and coral islands to explore, all within easy sailing distance and offering an exceptional choice of lagoon picturesque bays with secure moorings, options for the travellers itineraries are limitless. Cruise among the Inner Islands of Seychelles and enjoy dazzling white beaches fringed by turquoise waters where you can snorkel and enjoy the spectacular underwater treasures of the Seychelles’ Marine Parks. Sailors visiting the Seychelles are invited to explore the hidden island paths and enjoy exotic Creole seafood delicacies in traditional out-of-the way restaurants.

Nature

Seychelles is unique with her picturesque Granite inner and coral outer islands. The diversity of the territory offers visitors a glimpse into a garden of eden with deep established tropical forests and secret beaches tucked off the tourist routes. The hotels and their properties are pristine and with half the region a nature reserve makes for a true nature lovers paradise.

Mind, Body and Soul

Seychelles welcomes its visitors to the idyllic refuge for mind, body and soul set within the balmy, protective atmosphere of untouched isles that have nurtured a variety of unique flora and fauna. The gentle and naturally welcoming environment found at the Seychelles makes this destination an ideal place in which to relax and rejuvenate amid surroundings of astounding natural beauty. Few places worldwide provide the opportunity for revival, as does Seychelles, offering the very best in island-style living and an opportunity to rediscover balance and harmony in nature’s rhythms.

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