A First Timer's Guide to Seychelles

By Sakina Kamrudeen | 25, Aug, 2020
A First Timer's Guide to Seychelles

Ever been to Seychelles? Well, here is your opportunity to do so!

In these times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Seychelles has been resilient in maintaining low infection spread and cases. This favorable situation together with the country’s economic dependence on tourism and fishing has Seychelles now ready and willing to welcome international travelers again. So, here is a guide to help you decide on where to stay, what to see, and what to do.

 

Who can Visit Seychelles?

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Since opening the country’s borders and recommencing commercial flights in August 2020, international travelers from 37 low risk and medium risk countries have been cleared to land in the country. Considering these unprecedented times, Seychelles has put in place a set of rules and regulations that must be followed both by tourists and the local tourism service providers such as hotels, restaurants, famous tourist sights, and other operators to ensure the safety and health of all.

 

Introducing Seychelles

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Seychelles is located off the East African coast in the Indian ocean. An archipelago of 115 islands, the country boasts acres of white sand beaches, coral reefs, rare wildlife, and rainforests. The capital, Victoria, is on the largest island of Mahé which is the center point for any visiting tourist. The population of Seychelles is below 100,000 and they speak Seychellois Creole, French, and English which are national languages. The currency is known as the Seychellois rupee (SCR).

Hotels in Seychelles

As a tourist destination, there is no dearth of hotels and other accommodation for travelers with different budgets. The three highest inhabited and most popular islands that attract thousands of visitors annually, offer tourists a variety of places where they may stay. From large chain hotels such as the Marriott, Le Meridien, and Hilton, to smaller chains like the Avani and Banyan Tree. For a more personalized experience, stay at a boutique hotel or choose a local hotel chain that will give you more of an authentic vacation experience.

HALAL Food in Seychelles

HALAL food options in Seychelles is limited. However, while HALAL food is not easily available, many of the hotels and resorts are willing to prepare food with HALAL meats when asked and booked in advance. So, check when booking and use our app to find HALAL food offerings in Seychelles.

 

Where to Stay in Seychelles

As first-time visitors to Seychelles, you must visit its largest three islands. Each island has unique offerings for the tourists and here is a rundown of the popular tourist attractions including what to do and what to see.

 

Mahé Island

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As MUSLIM tourists, it will interest you to know the island of Mahé is home to the majority of the country’s MUSLIM population. Mahé has several MOSQUES dotted around the island, and one of the MOSQUES in Victoria is a popular tourist attraction. Let us discover what to do in Mahé.

Victoria

For first time visitors, Victoria City is a must-visit. Victoria has the highest population and is also the country’s center of history and culture. Here are a few sites and places to visit while you absorb the atmosphere of the city.

  • Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Mosque
  • The Clock Tower
  • Victoria Botanical Garden
  • Natural History Museum
  • Sir Selwyn Clarke Market
  • Bicentennial Monument
  • National Library Building

Beau Vallon

A foremost reason to visit Seychelles is its beaches. With so many islands, beaches, water sports, snorkeling, and diving are available in abundance. And Beau Vallon is just one such famed location only five kilometers from Victoria. Here you can truly indulge in all manner of ocean-related activities to your heart's content. This is the place to enjoy the essence of that which is Seychelles – crystal clear waters teeming with diverse marine life just across gorgeous white sandy beaches.

Remember, that while snorkeling and diving and enjoying the plentiful underwater wonders, make sure to take care of the environment and safeguard the natural beauty that surrounds you.

Sainte Anne Marine National Park

The Sainte Anne Marine National Park just 5km from Victoria, Mahé comprising of eight small islands was created in 1973. It is the most popular marine park in Seychelles, partly due to its proximity to Victoria, and because this was the first marine park to be established in the Indian Ocean. There are daily excursions on glass-bottom boats to view the breathtaking marine life. Swimming and snorkeling are popular activities in the marine park due to the possibility of viewing green turtles feeding on large areas of seagrass meadows. Fishing and water-skiing are prohibited in the marine conservation area.

Anse Royale

Anse Royale is an administrative district on the island of Mahé about an hour’s drive from Victoria. Its main attraction is that it has the longest beach in Seychelles which is sheltered from the choppy seas. As such there are many hotels in the vicinity for tourists who are in search of a perfect holiday destination to enjoy the ocean views and take in the sun and sand of the calm waters.

Morne Seychellois National Park

The Morne Seychellois National Park is another wonder of nature situated in Mahé. A mix of mangroves, lush tropical jungles, and tall mountains, Morne Seychellois is also the home of a variety of indigenous plants and animal species. Travelers can enjoy walking and hiking through this tropical forest. The Copolia Trail is a popular 45-minute hiking trail that will take to you to a granite mountaintop with 360-degree views of the Park. What is more, another marine park, Baie Ternay, borders the Morne Seychellois!

 

Praslin Island

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As the second-largest island of Seychelles, Praslin is renowned for its beaches, natural environment, seafood, and laidback ambiance. It is also easily reachable by ferry from Mahé. This makes the island a great choice for water lovers looking to relax in peace and for nature lovers in search of hiking and awe-inspiring natural wonders. This also makes Praslin a fabulous place for a honeymoon where seclusion is the keyword for the newly married couple!

Praslin is also known for its nightlife, but that is another story for another audience.

This is what to do and see while on the island.

Praslin National Park

For nature enthusiasts, the Praslin National Park is a must-visit. The Park was established in 1979 and is home to the Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Teeming with endemic trees and plants that have thrived within its untouched boundaries, Praslin National Park also boasts some rare animals, insects, mammals, and bird species. The Glacis Noire trail is a hiker’s joy with fabulous views of the islands of La Digue, Ile Ronde, Felicite, Marianne at the end of the trail.

Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve

This UNESCO World Heritage Site reserve is part of the Praslin National Park renowned for its endemic plants and other animal and bird species as well as insects and reptiles. Several guided walking trails will lead you through the well-preserved palm forest, Coco de Mer trees, and offer you sightings of the Seychelles black parrot found nowhere else on earth.

Anse Lazio

Anse Lazio, located on the northwest of Praslin Island, is another spectacular beach of Seychelles. It has crystal clear waters and the beach is dotted with native takamaka trees. While granite rocks border the breach, the waters are not protected by coral reefs and hence sharks can be spotted! So, be careful and keep a watchful eye on the open seas. Still, Lonely Planet considers this beach to be the "best beach on Praslin", and one of the "best in the archipelago". This is likely because the island sits in the middle of the Indian Ocean surrounded by Madagascar, Zanzibar, and Socotra.

 

La Digue Island

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As the third most populated and fourth largest island of Seychelles, La Digue can be easily reached via the Inter-Island Ferry. Also as expected, the island is dotted with superb beaches and boasts diverse wildlife. Surprisingly, this experience is missed by many tourists. Thus, consider is another good honeymoon destination, especially with its many secluded beaches that are nor crowded!

This is what to see and do while at La Digue.

Anse Source d’Argent, Anse Bonnet Carré Beach, and Anse Cocos Beach

These three beaches located in different parts of the island, offer unique experiences from pink boulders to vistas that make great photo backdrops for holidaymakers and honeymooners alike.

Veuve Nature Reserve

The Veuve Nature Reserve has been established to protect wildlife habitats and plant species. It all began in the 1970s to protect the rare endemic bird species - the Seychelles black paradise flycatcher. Today, the Reserve is also feeding habitat for these birds. Take a guided excursion on one of the Reserve’s trails to view these rare bird species. It is the only sure way to see them in your lifetime!

 

Being Safe While Visiting Seychelles

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It will also interest you to know that Seychelles is considered a relatively safe place to visit for tourists. However, this does not mean that there is no crime in the country. So, practice some safety measures, like locking doors and windows, putting valuables in hotel safety lockers, being vigilant when traveling in isolated areas and at night, not leaving valuable in a rented car, and choosing accommodation wisely – the larger and well-known hotels will be secure and safe for tourists, but if you are living elsewhere, then make sure it is safe and secure.

Safety also plays a role when using the beaches, visiting the national parks, hiking, snorkeling, and doing other activities and visiting the plethora of places in Seychelles. Some rules and regulations must be followed to ensure you always remain safe. So, do not take the rules lightly, and pay attention to what your tourist guide says (if you are using one) or check and read the warning notices at hotels and when you enter different tourist attractions or embark on an adventurous activity.

Now that you've got an idea of what Seychelles has to offer, go ahead and make your reservation to visit the country today!

Due to the pandemic, it is still necessary to wear a mask and remember to follow the safety measures against COVID-19 at all times.

Sakina has over 10 years of experience in the field of corporate communications; having worked for a leading Annual Report Production House dealing with top corporates of Sri Lanka and overseas, and later as the Group Communications Specialist for a Sri Lankan conglomerate for their overseas plantations business. She is well-versed in the production process of annual reports, sustainability reports, corporate videos and other corporate communication media. She also has experience in Social Media Marketing and works to increase and improve social media presence of corporates and small niche market businesses. Today, she works as a freelance writer and undertakes consultations on corporate communications and social media related projects. She enjoys writing for blogs on topics of interest.