The Ultimate Seychelles Travel Guide
When you think of paradise, often an image comes to mind of white-sand beaches stretching gracefully across the coastline. Turquoise water laps gently against the sand, clear waves turning white as sea meets beach. Behind the beach lie palm trees, their vibrant green leaves swaying sleepily in the warm, tropical breeze. You focus on the sounds, the excited calling of birds and the crashing of waves against boulders laying in the shallows. This is exactly what Seychelles is like.
Seychelles are probably some of the lesser-known groups of islands. Sure, you may have heard of them, but do you know where they are? I know that I sure didn't, not until I booked my flight. There are plenty of perks of a group of islands being under-the-radar such as the tranquility of the island. It's not often you get a fantastic beach to yourself. There are also a few drawbacks such as the lack of information available to me online when I wanted to plan my trip. That is why I decided to create this comprehensive guide to these group of islands, to help you plan your trip and make the most out of your travels. There is so much to be seen but it's not all that easy to find. So, let's begin!
An Introduction to Seychelles
Let's start with the basics. Seychelles are a group of 115 islands, located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa. The islands are not that far north of Madagascar. The islands are renowned for their stunning beaches and iconic granite boulders. The three main islands are Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. Several of the other islands are privately owned by hotels whilst some are so small they are uninhabited.
The main language spoken in the islands is Seychellois Creole, a French-based creole language. Fun fact, 'hello' is 'bonzour' so similar to French but with a slight twist. French and English are also key languages.
The currency in the Seychelles is Seychellois Rupee. Online, I was informed that they do take Euros, US Dollars and Pounds but from experience I can tell you that it's much better to get Seychellios Rupees out before you travel as not everywhere takes your regular currency and they will always give you the change back in Rupees, making things complicated the next time you buy things.
What to Bring to Seychelles
I always make the same mistakes when packing, I bring too many clothes. When I visited Seychelles, I lived in shorts and crop tops. Even when I went out to some fairly fancy restaurant, I felt comfortable in fancy shorts and a nice top. Granted, my style is very much shorts and T-shirts and you may prefer to go to the beach in a sarong. Here is a clothing packing list that I recommend:
1. T-shirts/crop tops (if you're going for a week, I'd recommend around 4)
2. Shorts (you could get away with only 1 or 2 pairs if you dress them up with different tops)
3. 1 or 2 fancy outfits eg dresses or nice shorts and a top
4. 1 pair of Flip-flops
5. 1 pair of water shoes (there are several poisonous fish that you could accidentally tread on)
7. 1 pair of walking shoes, could be trainers, Timberlands or Converse (you could use these as your flying shoes)
8. Bikinis/swimming costumes (this is my weak spot. I normally pack 1 per day but you really don't need that many! Bring maybe 3 or 4)
9. A jumper for flying and to potentially wear at night (the air conditioning gets chilly)
11. A cap (if you like hats)
I always allow space in my suitcase to buy some clothes whenever I'm away. I don't know about you but I love buying clothes overseas as they're so different to the clothes over here and also that bit more special.
Other items that I recommend bring to Seychelles with you are:
1. Your usual wash bag essentials eg tooth brush, shampoo, conditioner, brush etc
2. Suncream (I always bring a factor 30 that I use as default and a factor 50 in case it gets really hot)
3. Insect repellent (look for something that repels both mosquitos and sand flies)
4. Cameras & chargers
5. A bag to take out with you when you go out ie to the beach
Getting to Seychelles
One of the first things I look at when considering visiting a country is the flights. Flights will likely be your biggest expense but it's something that you simply can't get away from.
There are 2 international airports, the largest is found in Seychelles' biggest island, Mahé and the second is found in Praslin. The main airlines that fly here are: Air Seychelles, Emirates, Etihad, Quatar Airways and British Airways.
One of the easiest ways to find and compare flights is through Skyscanner. Before using Skyscanner, I would always recommend clearing your cookies as if the site thinks you are interested in a place, they will hike flight prices massively.
If you are flexible with dates, Skyscanner allows you to view flights over the course of the month and choose the cheapest day to fly on. This can save you hundreds of pounds.
I flew by Emirates from Manchester to Dubai, had a 2 hour layover in Dubai and then flew to Mahé via Emirates again. The whole journey took 14 hours, including the layover and cost around £500 per person return. If you opt to fly with Emirates, it's very likely that you will layover in Dubai.
The time of year that you choose to visit Seychelles will impact the price of flights. Keep in mind that the weather is pretty consistent all year round, making it easy to visit the islands whenever you want. I visited in late November which was outside of the high season and thus making flights rather reasonable.
What Islands to Visit in Seychelles
When I went to Seychelles, I only visited the main island, Mahé. Looking back on my trip, if I could have done things differently, I would have visited a few islands and not just stayed in 1. Here is a recommended 10-day itinerary for which islands to visit during your stay:
Day 1-4: Mahé! As the international airport is here, it makes sense to visit here first. You'll be tired after lots of flying so the last thing you'd want to do is jump on yet another plane to fly to one os Seychelles smaller islands. Mahé certainly has a lot to offer being the largest island so it makes sense to spend at least a couple of days here. Plus, you can access a couple of smaller islands off the coast of Mahé whilst staying here such as Ste Anne.
Day 5-8: Praslin! From Mahé you can either take a ferry or small plane to Praslin. I never visited this island but I've heard it has some of the best beaches in the world. Perhaps spend around 2 nights here in order to explore the island.
Day 9: La Digue! From Praslin you can get a ferry to La Digue. This is the smallest of the 3 main islands but I've heard it's also one of the most scenic. There are few cars here so it's pretty peaceful. You can rent bikes for the day and cycle round the island.
Day 10: Back to Mahé. You'll need to go back to Mahé to catch your flight home so it makes sense to have your last night here, making your journey back home more relaxing.
Getting Around in Seychelles
I was incredibly disorganised and hired a car so last minute that it wasn't immediately available when I arrived in Mahé. As a result, I had to get a taxi from the airport which cost around €40 (yikes!).
As I've mentioned, I rented a car when I visited the island of Mahé. I knew the island was too big to walk around and I wanted to see as much of the island as I could. Therefore, renting a car felt like the perfect option for me. However, because I booked the car the day before I flew, there was only a 4x4 available which was €70 per day. Had I booked earlier, smaller cars were only €30 per day.
Despite having an expensive car, I was very happy with it. The company were very friendly and dropped the car off for us. We didn't pay any hidden fees that I've encountered before with car rentals in other countries. There are so many dodgy car rental places out there so it's essential that you read reviews of a car rental company before deciding which to go for. I always go for small, local ones and ignore big brands such as 'Hertz' or 'Enterprise'.