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The Seychelles

Frequently Asked Questions About
The Seychelles
For visitors coming to Seychelles for the first time, there are many unanswered questions — what do we pack, what are the entry requirements and so on. To make your visit a truly relaxing and well-prepared one, here are some of the answers to all those questions.

Do I need a Visa?

Irrespective of the nationality of the visitor and his or her family members, there are NO VISA requirements to enter Seychelles. However, the following documents must be shown in order to obtain immigration clearance at the Seychelles International Airport:

1) A passport valid on the date of entry to and exit from Seychelles
2) Return or onward ticket
3) Proof of accommodation; including contact details
4) Sufficient funds for the duration of the stay

What is the climate like?

Seychelles’ enviable climate is always warm and without extremes. In this tropical haven the temperature seldom drops below 75°F or rises above 89°F. All but the remotest southern islands lie comfortably outside the cyclone belt making Seychelles’ a year round destination for sun worshippers and beach lovers.  During the north-west trade winds that visit between the months of October and March, the sea is generally calm and the weather warm and humid, with average winds of 8-12 knots.

In January and February the islands receive their life-giving rains, rejuvenating the rivers and streams and teasing the vibrant foliage into rainbows of color. The months between May and September bring drier, cooler weather, and livelier seas - particularly on south-eastern coasts – and winds of 10-20 knots.

How about the geography?

Seychelles’ 115 granite and coral islands extend from between 4 and 10 degrees south of the equator and lie between 480km and 1,600km from the east coast of Africa in the western Indian Ocean.  This Indian Ocean republic occupies a land area of 455 km² and an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million km².  It represents an archipelago of timeless beauty, tranquillity and harmony that is famous for its world-beating beaches and for its great diversity which rolls from lush forests down to the warm azure ocean.  Of these 115 islands, 41 Inner Islands constitute the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on earth while a further 74 form the 5 groups of low-lying coral atolls and reef islets that are the Outer Islands.
Seychelles is home to no less than two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the legendary Vallée de Mai on Praslin where the wondrously shaped Coco-de-mer nut grows high on ancient palms and fabled Aldabra, the worlds largest raised coral atoll, first seen by early Arab seafarers of the 9th century A.D.  Seychelles, one of the world’s very last frontiers, promises adventure and breathtaking natural beauty in pristine surrounds still untouched by man.

Are there any health concerns?

There is NO risk of contracting malaria, yellow fever, cholera or other common tropical diseases in Seychelles.

No vaccinations are required except in the case of yellow fever where a vaccination is required for travellers over 1 year of age who have come from, or passed through a partly or wholly infected area within the preceding 6 days. Infected areas include certain parts of northern and central South America and central Africa. (South Africa is not considered an infected area.)

Persons travelling to Seychelles via Nairobi, Kenya and who remain in transit in Kenya do not require a vaccination against yellow fever.  All travelers should visit either their personal physician or a 4-8 weeks before departure.
Medical treatment for Seychellois is free, but tourists must pay.  In most of the large hotels a sister is on duty.  The central hospital is situated in Victoria.  On Praslin 2 clinics exist, and another one on La Digue.  The majority of injuries obtained by tourists are; damaged feet from coral, ear pain from diving, seasickness and especially sunburn. 

What is the language?

Creole is the first official language of Seychelles since 1981. In the year 1990, majority of the population in Seychelles were the speaker of Creole language. Now, the language of Seychelles is mixed because the population of the country belongs to different language, culture and religion. The population comprises of the people from different ethnic groups like, European, Asian, African, French and Creole. Creoles are the people who are the blends of African, Asian and European. Majority of the population are immigrants. The French groups are those who decided to get settled in Seychelles after the French colonists left the country. 

As Seychelles People are from different groups, their culture, beliefs and particularly the languages are different. The country now follows four languages mainly among them three are adopted as the official languages of Seychelles by the government of the country. There are three official languages in Seychelles: Creole (a lilting, French-based patois), English and French.  Though the country's population is not very thick but more than one-third of the people of Seychelles speak the English language. Most of the educational centers and institutions use the English language apart from the Creole language. Compared to the Creole and English language, very few people of Seychelles speak French. The Seychellois that is the common name used for the population of Seychelles know all the three official Seychelles language.
Many Seychellois also speak fluent Italian or German. Below are some useful Creole phrases:
English                                 Creole
Hello                                    Bonzour
Goodbye                              Orevwar
How are you?                      Ki dir?
Thank you                           Mersi
Where?                                Kote?
Please                                  Silvouple
No                                        Non
Yes                                       Wi                                    
I don’t understand              Mon pa konpran
I like it                                 Mon kontan
How are you?                      Konman sava?
What is this?                       Kisisa

What is  the population of the country?

87,122 people – as of July 2009

What is the government?

The Republic of Seychelles has a multi-party political system with an executive President as head of state and government.  The President heads a Cabinet of 10 ministers which includes the Vice-President.  
In April 2004 Mr. James Alix Michel replaced Mr. France Albert René as President after Mr. Rene had been in office since 1977.  The Vice President is currently Mr. Danny Faure.  The First Designated Minister is Mr. Vincent Meriton, who is also the Minister for Community Development Youth and Sports.  Legislative power is vested in a National Assembly of 34 members of whom 25 are elected directly in constituencies with the balance on proportional basis based on the results of the National Assembly elections.
The Republic of Seychelles is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Commonwealth and La Francophonie.  It has embassies in Paris, New York, Brussels, New Delhi, and Beijing, Pretoria and London as well as numerous honorary consulates worldwide.

What is the time zone?

In winter the time difference in comparison to GMT is +4 hours (+3 hours CET), and in summer +3 hours GMT (+2 hours CET). 
What about ATMS and credit cards?
ATM facilities exist at major banks on Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue and at the airport on Mahé and Praslin.  These machines provide cash in local currency; Seychelles Rupees (SCR).  MasterCard, Access, and Visa cards are widely accepted; however, American Express and Diner clubs are not always accepted.

What is currency?

The Seychelles Rupee is divided into 100 cents. Exchange rates are published regularly in local papers. There is a bureau de change and agencies of local banks at the airport, which are open when there, are incoming and outgoing flights. Visitors are required to use only foreign currency in making payments in hotels, guesthouses, for car or boat hiring, for the service of local travel agents and for domestic transfers within Seychelles. But purchases in restaurants outside hotels, shopping and taxi fares are payable in local currency. Exchanging money may only be done at banks or with authorized money dealers.

Currency Exchange Rates
1 Seychelles Rupee 
US Dollars 
0.08178 USD 
1 Seychelles Rupee = 0.08178 US Dollars as of 6/7/2011 
100 Seychelles Rupees 
US Dollars 
8.1781 USD 
100 Seychelles Rupees = 8.1781 US Dollars as of 6/7/2011 
10000 Seychelles Rupees 
US Dollars 
817.81 USD 
10,000 Seychelles Rupees = 817.81 US Dollars as of 6/7/2011 

What is tipping like?

Most charges (restaurant, hotel, taxis, porters, etc) already include a 5% to 10% service charge or "tip" and so tipping is not obligatory in Seychelles. However, as a reward for exceptional service, a nominal tip is sure to be warmly received.  Guides are typically tipped about $10-15 per person, per day for a full day tour.

What is transportation  like in the Seychelles?

While in Seychelles you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.  Driving is on the left side of the road.  Roads are generally well-maintained but are narrow and winding.  Speed limits range from 25 to 50 miles an hour.  Public transportation by bus is good but tends to be crowded during rush hours and usually requires several transfers to reach a desired destination.  Taxis are also available.  You can only rent a car on Mahé and Praslin. Additionally boats are often used for shorter inter-island transfers, as are helicopter and short flights.

What is the economy of the Seychelles?

During the plantation era, cinnamon, vanilla, and copra were the chief exports.  In 1960, some 33% of the working population worked at plantations, and another 20% worked in the public or government sector.  In 1971, the international airport opened, and tourism leapt into prominence.  The economy was basically divided into plantations and tourism.  The tourism sector paid better, and the plantation economy could only expand so far, due to market forces affecting the prices that exports could command.  The plantation sector of the economy declined in prominence, and today agriculture only accounts for about 4% of the Gross Domestic Product.  Even though copra from the Seychelles is high quality, the possibility exists that the plantation segment of the economy could disappear altogether.  Now tourism employs 30% of the work force, 13% of the GDP, and 60% of the foreign exchange income.  The World Bank defines the Seychelles as being upper-middle income, but the distribution of the wealth is skewed.  In the year 1992, 7% of the Seychelles population was considered poor.  For most of the Seychelles’ relatively young history, natives possessed almost all the land, but after the Seychelles gained independence in 1976, more land has been bought by outsiders. In 1960, two thirds of the agricultural land was owned by just 56 people. By 1976, some 56% of the land was held by foreigners.

What type of electricity do they use for my electronics?

Throughout Seychelles the voltage is 220-240 volts AC 50 Hz. Seychelles uses the British standard square three-pin, 13 amp sharp electric plugs.  Visitors from countries other than the United Kingdom are advised to bring their own adaptors.

How is the shopping and what is there to buy?

Made in Seychelles', a label that your family and friends will definitely appreciate! Mahe is the best island in the Seychelles for shopping as 90% of the Seychelles’s population is concentrated on this island. However, instead of mega shopping malls you will find some small interesting shops and markets that are somewhat laid-back.
Some of the specialty shops on Mahe Island deal with locally-made products such as tea and perfume. You will find the flavour and aroma of these products absolutely unique. However, the most well-known specialty shop in the entire Seychelles is Kenwyn House. This structure has considerable historical significance besides being a gem house. 
The Island of Mahe has the best markets in the Seychelles, such as Sir Selwyn Clarke Market – a lively place where you can buy fresh vegetables, fruit, spices, and fish. The Sir Selwyn Clarke Market area also consists of numerous little gift shops. 
Shopping in the Seychelles is almost therapeutic!  Because of its unique culture and traditions there are some interesting and original souvenirs to be found on the islands. Once you are done shopping, head straight for a laid-back meal at one of the relaxing restaurants in the Seychelles.  Craft Village consist of a series of small Creole bungalows.  Each has its own speciality handicraft, such as beautifully presented soap made with coconut oil, glass mobile, artefacts made from hard coconut shells, locally made clothing and colourful silk paintings, to name only a few.  Some of the bungalows functions as workshops and you can watch the craftsman at work.  For a greater variety of local made handy craft visit the Esplanade in Victoria on Francis Rachel Street, next to the library.  There are small souvenir shops at most tourist destination such as Anse Lazio on Praslin and Beau Vallon on Mahe, but on La Digue you will not find many more.
Rather as Gaugin sailed to Tahiti in search of inspiration, many artists have been intrigued by the natural beauty of the Seychelles and settled here to follow their calling. Many work from studios which double as retail outlets, so visitors can often meet the painters, sculptors or craftspeople in person. A very broad definition of local handicrafts would run from soap to liquor to a souvenir of the archipelago's stunning beaches - bottles filled with colored sand.
Things to shop for in Seychelles: 
The best place for shopping is Victoria, the capital, and more specifically the market at the city centre, Seychelles Buy and Sell. There are also a few outlets on the island, Praslin, but few shopping areas on the other islands.  Larger hotels have boutiques but shopping in Seychelles is not one of the major attractions.