Seychelles, an archipelago composed of 115 islands, is located on the east of the African coast with a population of 95843 (2017), according to the World Bank factsheet.
Seychelles prides itself as one of the countries with the world’s most famous beautiful beaches. It is a country known for unique flora and fauna; for instance, the Sooglossidae, which is a family of frogs found exclusively in the Seychelles islands and is commonly known as the Seychelles Frogs.
The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is also unique to Seychelles as well as the jellyfish tree (it is highly endangered) prevalent to Mahe island.
Out of the 115 islands, three of them are popularly inhabited- I will share with you about these 3 that I explored. Mahe (Main Island with approximately 80,000 people), Praslin (with nearly 8,000 people), and La Digue (around 3,000 people).
DISCLAIMER! These figures are an estimate going by the existing statistics; thus, the current figures may be higher.
An outstanding difference evident in Seychelles as compared to other African countries is the modernized infrastructure. Western culture influences homes and commercial buildings.
The mode of dressing is also westernized. This applies both at the beaches and on the streets. The hot and humid climate must have played a role.
Restaurants and eating areas have timetables. All eateries are not open daily, while others are exclusively take away services. You need to check the menus and schedules online to know the opening and closing times and dates as well as the dish for the day.
All said and done; the local cuisine is what to die for. I enjoyed the shark steak in creole soup
- Time zone- GMT +4
- Currency- Seychelles Rupee. Euro and USD are widely accepted
- Driving is on the left side of the road
- Main town- Victoria and is the main entry point
- Official Languages- Creole, English, and French
- Connecting the islands- use air and water transport means
- Popular islands: Mahe, Praslin & La Dique
WHAT TO DO
Hiking: If you are a lover of nature, then this is the place for you. There are several options for you. Most of the hiking trails are clearly marked. You may not need a guide; however, in some areas, you are mandated to have one.
You need to invest in a proper map application. Google maps may not give you all the details because most of the trails are within thick forests. You can easily get lost, especially in pathways that have not been used for a long time. Be prepared and go with an open mind. You might spend some time searching for a path in the middle of nowhere.
Hiking areas are hilly, which means you need to prepare well, have the right gear. You are advised to put on long-sleeved tops and long pants because of the vegetation that may irritate your skin. Shoes with good grip are also recommended, remember you will have to climb or walk on rocks.
Visit tea farms in Mahe- go on self-guided tours to the tea farms in Mahe. There are also hiking trails inside the tea farms.
Meditation- I found several places and spots that I could meditate at. The thick forests, silent beaches, sound of the sea and chirping birds were effective to reconnect with nature and self.
Walking: Walking is a daily activity in Seychelles. More so, in La Digue, where you can either cycle or walk. There are no public buses.
Hey! Don’t you want to explore? I find walks to be a better way to explore a particular place than when being picked at one point and dropped in another by car.
Town tours are better-done walking. You can easily interact with the natives and other travellers on foot- seeking clarifications and directions.
Cycling: If you are a fan of cycling, then La Digue is your home. Bicycles are a necessity on the island, used by all people irrespective of age and gender. The only challenge is the lack of dedicated cycling and pedestrian paths across the 3 islands
Snorkeling: One of the interesting and common activities in Seychelles. The beauty of it is that you can snorkel close to the shore. You don’t need complicated snorkeling gears, with the swimming glasses you are good to experience the different kinds of fish and corals.
See the Coco De Mer: The buttock-shaped giant coconuts are very rare to find. However, you can visit the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve on Praslin Island to see them. You can also sight the trees in different parts of the island- I saw several that are well-labeled on my way to Anse Georgette beach.
Beaches: This is the ultimate. All the beaches across the 3 islands are beautiful, clean, and unique. You are served with plenty of them.
The beaches are public, but some have to be accessed through private properties which you are required to book in advance.
Some of the famous beaches are: Mahe (Anse Intendance, Petite Anse, Anse Louis Beau Vallon Bay), Praslin (Anse Georgette, Anse Lazio) and La Dique (Grand Anse, Anse Source D’Argent, Anse Cocos).
- The Republic of Seychelles is a visa-free country. You get the entry stamp on arrival; however, there are a few conditions that you have to meet.
- You need a return flight ticket
- Yellow fever card- you should have received the injection 10 days before the arrival day
- Proof of accommodation
- US $150 per day times the number of days you will be in the country
For more information about entry, conditions visit the official government website Travel & Visa: Visitors travelling to Seychelles
The only convenient way to get to Seychelles is by air. Several airlines fly to Mahe from across the globe. You have direct and interconnecting flights. Some of the common airlines include Kenya Airways; Qatar, Ethiopian, Emirates, Etihad, Air Seychelles, etc
You can use Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights and ticketing agencies.
Creole, English, and French are the official languages. However, you will find people speaking Italian, German and Swahili.
Where to stay
Several options exist, ranging from hostels, hotels, homestays, and Airbnbs. Seychelles is relatively expensive. I found booking.com to be most effective for searching and booking places. Hostels and homestays are relatively cheaper compared to hotels.
Trip advisor and google guides also offer a base for making decisions on where to stay based on the reviews.
Traveling from one island to the next, you will use either a ferry Seychelles bookingsor go by air, which is done by air Seychelles only Air Seychelles. Ferry and flight prices are almost the same. Consider air option for the aerial views.
Mahe- You can use public buses, scooters, bicycles, or hire a taxi.
Praslin- to get to Praslin, you will either use a ferry or by air. Air transport is offered by airseychelles.com with departures every 30 minutes between Mahe and Praslin. Air prices depend on when you book, thus the earlier, the better. Typically, the aircraft is a 20-pax type.
Within the island, you can use public buses, hired taxis and bicycles.
La Digue- you can access the island using a ferry. You can also hire a helicopter- comes at a high cost. Within the island, you are limited to bicycles, walking, and tourist vans (open vans). There are no public buses.
Walking- one of the best ways to explore the locality.
Seychelles is applying several measures to ensure that the environment is conserved. For comprehensive information visit this earlier post on the same Environmental conservation
- I preferred self-guided tours and excursions- you save money and time
- Most hotels, restaurants, and shops don’t swipe credit/debit cards- cash is preferred in US dollars, Euro, or Seychelles rupee.
- Book ferry and in-country flight trips early enough. Last-minute bookings are expensive
- Most places to stay don’t provide breakfast- they offer self-catering services.
- Restaurants and hotels have a timetable on open hours. Also, the kind of dishes prepared are specific to some days. Menus and schedules found online or on physical signs.
- Seychelles is hot and humid, light clothes preferred.
- If you consider hiking, carry with you your hiking shoes. Most places are slippery because of regular rains, and you often end up climbing rocks.
- Don’t forget your travel insurance.
If you have any questions contact me on email Carolinekibii0@gmail.com or social media pages. You can also leave a comment and subscribe. I will be glad to respond to your queries.