are a group of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean that lie off the coast of East Africa, northeast of Madagascar.Regions
Victoria - is the CapitalUnderstand
The Seychelles were disputed between France and Great Britain during the age of colonialism, with Britain ending up in control in 1814. The islands achieved independence in 1976, however free elections did not occur until 1993. The politics of this island group remain in something of a state of flux, although this should not bother the tourist after a relaxing beach vacation.Get in
Air Seychelles flies to Singapore, London, Paris, Johannesburg and Rome via Boeing 767 aircraft. International service is also available from Nairobi (Kenya Airways), Dubai (Emirates), and Doha (Qatar Airways), London (British Airways), Paris (Air France) and regular charter services from Frankfurt (Condor) and Amsterdam (Martinair).By boatGet around
By planeAir Seychelles
operates multiple daily flights between Mahe and Praslin. Over two dozen flights vary in frequency from 15 minute to 2 hour intervals, depending on time of day.
Air Seychelles also operates once daily or several times per week between Mahe and the islands of Bird, Denis, Fregate, Desroches and Alphonse. By helicopterHelicopter Seychelles
provides shuttles between the main islands Mahe, Praslin and La Digue as well as charter flights to/from most of the inner islands. Helicopter Seychelles is the only scenic flight operator in the Seychelles. Depending on the timeframe, these scenic flights cover the main islands of Mahé, Praslin, La Digue and the surrounding smaller islands of Cousine, Félicité, Grande Seour, Curieuse and Cousin.By Boat
Cat Cocos is a high speed catamaran operating twice or thrice daily roundtrips between Mahe and Praslin. The sailing normally takes one hour.
Five or 6 roundtrips daily are made by schooner ferry between Praslin and La Digue. The crossing is 30 minutes and the schedule is timed to interconnect with Cat Cocos.
It is also possible to take small boats from Mahe direct to La Digue, although departures can be unreliable, there is limited wet weather cover and the journey takes about 3 hours (but that's cheaper than an Indian Ocean Island cruise!)Windward Islands
- Windward Islands, one of the worlds largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to crewed in the Seychelles. Operating from 8 international offices (USA, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Monaco).By car
Having a car is really a good idea. It is easier to find a good view point. You can only rent on Mahé and Praslin. You can find a car for only 45E per day.By bus
Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) runs daily bus services on the islands of Praslin and Mahe from morning to evening on nearly every available road on the island. the bus usually passes by every 15 minutes.Talk
Languages spoken in the Seychelles are Creole (the official language), English and French.Buy
Best place for shopping is Victoria, the capital. Best buy is the market at the city center.Seychelles
Buy and Sell.Eat
The food culture of Seychelles is terrific. The main product of the country, fish, is cooked in a variety of ways. Especially the red snapper is very tasty and well known to visitors.
Cheapest food: Collect coconuts on the beach and learn how to open their terrible cover (not the shell, that's easy; they have a thick cover of natural fibres; to open it: hit the coconut very strongly many times on the edges, sooner or later the fibres break up).
Mahe, anse du soleil. Can't remember the name of the place, but if you go to anse du soleil you can't miss it. Nice people, incredible fish (Red Snapper Filet in sauce was my favourite), acceptable prices.
Mahe, beau vallon bay. Can't remember the name of this place either (must return to the Seychelles soon...) but it was a buffet grill restaurant. Not as high quality as the first one, but very good prices. It must be the Boat House. The Boat House is currently the number one restaurant in the Seychelles. It provides friendly and excellent service. Open daily.
Cheaper: Baobab Pizzeria on the beach in beau vallon. The pizza was quite good and the prices really low. Try to reserve one of the two tables on the beach. Boabab is excellent if you are looking for a meal on a budget.Drink
If you enjoy a good beer you must try the local Seybrew beer, it tastes similar to a light Bavarian style beer and is a must to get you through those balmy days. You can save yourself a packet buying the beer from stores on the side of the road like the locals do rather than from hotels.
A dark Takamaka Rum on the beach under the stars is the best way to end a day on the Seychelles.Sleep
The Seychelles are not tolerant of backpackers turning up at the airport without accommodation booked. Most accommodations, however, are relatively expensive. Your best bet for a budget bed is renting an apartment.Do
Visit the beaches. Many of the beaches are untouched by man's influence. They offer clear blue skies and a tranquility you will rarely find. Visit the Vallee de Mai which is a world heritage site, and home to the world's largest seed: the coco de mer.Learn
The University of the Seychelles
has a medical degree for Americans.Work
Working and doing business in the Seychelles can be difficult due to the the humidity and heat. Forget about wearing a suit or anything resembling one; rather, opt for a light cotton shirt and pants. The atmosphere in the Seychelles is relaxed and it can take a lot of effort to achieve very little. Foreign currency is very sought-after, but trading in it is illegal.Stay safe
Seychelles is more or less safe. Just try to avoid any dark bylanes. Be careful not to leave your bag unattended on sparsely occupied beaches; most locals are poor and would love to get their hands on a wad of dollars or euros.Contact
; Diplomatic representation in the US
: chief of mission:
Ambassador Claude Sylvestre MOREL
800 Second Avenue, Suite 400C, New York, NY 10017
; Diplomatic representation from the US
: the US does not have an embassy in Seychelles; the ambassador to Mauritius is accredited to the SeychellesGet out
Try Comoros, Mauritius, and Madagascar
(pronounced or in English and in French), officially the Republic of Seychelles
(République des Seychelles; Creole: Repiblik Sesel
), is an archipelago nation of 155 islands in the Indian Ocean, some 1,600 km east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar. Other nearby island countries and territories include Zanzibar to the west, Mauritius and Réunion to the south, Comoros and Mayotte to the southwest, and the Suvadives of the Maldives to the northeast. Seychelles has the smallest population of any sovereign state of Africa. History
While Austronesian seafarers or Arab traders may have been the first to visit the uninhabited Seychelles, the first recorded sighting of them took place in 1502, by the Portuguese Admiral Vasco da Gama, who passed through the Amirantes and named them after himself (islands of the Admiral).. The first recorded landing and first written account was by the crew of the English East Indiaman Ascension
in 1609. As a transit point for trading between Africa and Asia, they were occasionally used by pirates until the French began to take control of the islands starting in 1756 when a Stone of Possession was laid by Captain Nicholas Morphey. Some historians have claimed the islands were named after Jean Moreau de Séchelles, the French finance minister appointed in 1754. However, he resigned in 1756 (the year the islands were claimed by France) when he showed signs of senility attributed to over-fondness for ladies. Historian Marcel Emerit suggests it was the alliances of his daughters that led to the name Seychelles. His elder daughter married the Chief of Police and the younger married the Minister of Marine, Marquis de Moras who succeeded Jean Moreau as Minister of Finance. Morphey originally named the island of Praslin as Ile Moras
, showing he was well aware of the political changes of that year.
The British contested control over the islands with the French between 1794 and 1812. Jean Baptiste Queau de Quincy, French administrator of Seychelles during the years of war with England, realised it was pointless to resist whenever a heavily armed enemy war ship arrived. However, he successfully negotiated the status of capitulation to Britain, which gave the settlers a privileged position of neutrality. In all, he capitualted seven times, guiding the colony successfully through difficult times.
Britain eventually assumed full control upon the surrender of Mauritius in 1812 and this was formalised in 1814 at the Treaty of Paris.. The Seychelles became a crown colony separate from Mauritius in 1903 and independence was granted in 1976, as a republic within the Commonwealth. In 1977, a coup d'etat ousted the first president of the republic, James Mancham, replacing him with France Albert René. The 1979 constitution declared a socialist one-party state, which lasted until 1992. The first draft of a new constitution failed to receive the requisite 60 percent of voters in 1992, but in 1993 an amended version was approved. Politics
The Seychelles president, who is both head of state and head of government, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term of office. The previous president, France Albert René, first came to power in a coup d'état in 1977, one year after independence. He was democratically elected after the constitutional reforms of 1992. He stood down in 2004 in favour of his vice-president, James Michel, who was re-elected in 2006. The cabinet is presided over and appointed by the president, subject to the approval of a majority of the legislature.
The unicameral Seychellois parliament, the National Assembly or Assemblée Nationale
, consists of 34 members, of whom 25 are elected directly by popular vote, while the remaining 9 seats are appointed proportionally according to the percentage of votes received by each party. All members serve five-year terms.
Politics is a topic of hot debate in the country - with many claiming there is an uneven playing field between the two leading parties.
The Seychelles are part of the Indian Ocean Commission. Geography
The Seychelles is a small island nation located in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600 km (1,000 miles) east of Kenya. The nation is an archipelago of 155 tropical islands, some granite and some coral. Thirty-three islands are inhabited. Administrative divisions
Seychelles is divided into twenty-five administrative regions, called districts: Economy
Since independence in 1976, per capita output has expanded to roughly seven times the old near-subsistence level. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labour force and provides more than 70% of hard currency earnings, and by tuna fishing. In recent years the government has encouraged foreign investment in order to upgrade hotels and other services.
At the same time, the government has moved to reduce the dependence on tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, and small-scale manufacturing. The vulnerability of the tourist sector was illustrated by the sharp drop in 1991-1992 due largely to the country's significantly overvalued exchange rate, the Gulf War and once again following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S.. Other issues facing the government are the curbing of the budget deficit, including the containment of social welfare costs, and further privatisation of public enterprises. The government has a pervasive presence in economic activity, with public enterprises active in petroleum product distribution, insurance, banking, imports of basic products, telecommunications, and a wide range of other businesses.
Growth slowed in 1998–2001, due to sluggish tourist and tuna sectors. Also, tight controls on exchange rates and the scarcity of foreign exchange have impaired short-term economic prospects. The black market value of the Seychellois rupee is anywhere from two thirds to one half the official exchange rate; without a devaluation of the currency the tourist sector should remain sluggish as tourists seek cheaper destinations such as nearby Comoros and Madagascar. A reduction in the number of flights serving the country, primarily due to the inability by airline companies to repatriate funds, has also constrained the growth of the tourism industry. The recent entry of Emirates and Qatar airlines has yet to result in increased growth.
At official exchange rates Seychelles remains the richest country in Africa in terms of GDP per capita. (US$7,504 as of 2005), although if the parallel exchange rate, or purchasing power parity rates, are used, it ranks behind Mauritius and Botswana. Because of economic contraction (the economy declined by about 2% in 2004 and 2005 and is set to decline by at least the same level in 2006) the country is moving downwards in terms of per capita income.
It is important to note that Seychelles is, per capita, the most highly indebted country in the world according to the World Bank, with total public debt around 122.8% of GDP. Approximately two thirds of this debt is owed domestically, with the balance due to multi laterals, bi laterals, and commercial banks. The country is in arrears to most of its international creditors and has had to resort to pledged commercial debt to continue to be able to borrow. This high debt burden is a direct consequence of the overvalued exchange rate — in essence, the country is living beyond its means, and financing its lifestyle by borrowing domestically and internationally.
Seychelles is also a tax haven. Many firms are established on this island, including GenerActions Consulting, owned by famous Swiss entrepreneur David Humbert.
Seychelles is the smallest nation in the world issuing its own currency (i.e., not pegged to a foreign currency and not shared with any other country). Demographics
As the islands of the Seychelles had no indigenous population, the current Seychellois are composed of immigrants, mostly of French, African, Indian, and Chinese descent. French and English are official languages along with a French-based Creole. Most Seychellois are Christians; the Roman Catholic Church is the predominant denomination. Culture
Music of Seychelles
The folk music incorporates multiple influences in a syncretic fashion, including English contredanse, polka and mazurka, French folk and pop, sega from Mauritius and Réunion, taarab, soukous and other pan-African genres, and Polynesian, Indian and Arcadian music. A complex form of percussion music called contombley is popular, as is montea, a fusion of native folk rhythms with Kenyan benga developed by Patrick Victor.
As of 1992, some ninety percent of the population was Roman Catholic and approximately seven percent Anglican. Although clergy and civil authorities disapprove, many Seychellois see little inconsistency between their orthodox religious observance and belief in magic, witchcraft, and sorcery. Flora and Fauna
In common with many fragile island ecosysytems, the early human history of Seychelles saw the loss of biodiversity including the disappearance of most of the giant tortoises from the granitic islands, felling of coastal and mid-level forests and extinction of species such as the chestnut flanked white eye, the Seychelles parakeet and the saltwater crocodile. However, extinctions were far fewer than on other islands such as Mauritius or Hawaii, partly due to a shorter period of human occupation (since 1770). The Seychelles today is known for success stories in protecting its flora and fauna.
Arguably the first scientific study of Seychelles was that of the Marion Dufresne expedition in 1768, two years prior to settlement. Dufresne instructed Duchemin, captain of the vessel La Digue, to ...especially give the greatest attention to the study and prospects of all the species of inland productions such as trees, bushes, plants, herbs, quadruped animals, birds, insects, freshwater fish, stones, soil, minerals. Nothing is unimportant. You must not avoid giving details and descriptions- everything is worthy of attention
. Their observations remain an intriguing window on Seychelles prior to human interference.
Subsequent to settlement, Fairfax Moresby’s hydrographic survey in 1822, was the first scientific study in the islands, while early collectors included those of Pervillé, Wright and Mobius during the early to mid nineteenth century. The first major avian collector was Newton in 1865 followed by Lantz in 1877, both in the granitics. Abbott collected in the granitics in 1890 and in the Aldabra group in 1893. Voeltzkow also made general natural history collections on Aldabra in 1895.
In 1882, Coppinger made extensive collections and observations. Several expeditions followed, most significant of which was the Percy Sladen Expedition aboard Sealark in 1905, when Gardiner made extensive collections in the granitics and outer islands. His collections for some islands remain the only records available into the 21st century.
Studies subsequent to Gardiner were sparse up to the 1950s, though some residents of Seychelles made valuable contributions, notably Dupont, Thomasset, Baty and Vesey Fitzgerald. Visiting oceanographic expeditions also made some collections. In the 1950s, Smith conducted a major study of marine fish, while Cousteau also visited in 1954 aboard Calypso. Legrand collected Lepidoptera in the 1950s, while the Bristol University expedition of 1964-65 focussed on birds and insects.
The contribution of Royal Society to the knowledge of Aldabra from 1966 is legendary and work on Aldabra continued under the custodianship of Seychelles Islands Foundation
In more modern times, International Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP, now BirdLife International) conducted a great deal of research on Cousin Island. In the second half of the 1980s and during the 1990s, many reports and published papers for the granitics were the result of work conducted on Aride Island first by Royal Society for Nature Conservation (now Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts) and then by the local NGO ], summarized in Annual Reports from 1987 to the present.
Although many of the conservation laws date back to British colonial days, the Seychelles government has strictly protected the natural heritage of the islands for many years. Flagship species, the Seychelles Magpie Robin and the Seychelles Warbler, have been spectacularly rescued from the brink of extinction by BirdLife International, Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, Island Conservation Society, Nature Seychelles, private islands (Fregate and Denis) and the Government of Seychelles. These birds, once restricted to one island each, have been translocated to many others. Seychelles has 12 endemic bird species. These are the Aldabra Drongo, Seychelles Magpie robin, Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher, Seychelles Fody, Seychelles Scops-owl, Seychelles White-eye, Seychelles Swiftlet, Seychelles Kestrel, Seychelles Blue Pigeon Seychelles Bulbul, Seychelles Warbler and Seychelles Sunbird.
Seychelles is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites run by the Seychelles Islands Foundation. They are the atoll of Aldabra, which is the world's largest raised coral atoll and also the Vallée de Mai on Praslin island, billed as the original site of the Garden of Eden. The Cousin Island Special Reserve, purchased by Royal Society for Nature Conservation in 1968 and managed by Nature Seychelles, is an internationally-known bird and marine sanctuary which has won several awards for conservation and ecotourism. Seychelles has six national marine parks including the St. Anne National Marine Park located adjacent to the capital, Port Victoria which are managed by the government parastatal, Marine Parks Authority. Much of the land territory (about 40%) and a substantial part of the coastal sea around Seychelles are protected as National Parks, including Marine Parks, and Reserves.
A World Bank/Environment Facility project in 1999 and a project for rat eradication has led to a programme of restoration of private islands by the government, Nature Seychelles and private island owners. These islands include Fregate, Denis and Cousine. The management of these islands now employ full time conservation officers and fund conservation programmes. The island restoration program has now been taken to the outer islands by the Island Conservation Society, with the first Island Conservation Centre opened at Alphonse Atoll in 2007. Island Conservation Society has also implemented other conservation programmes on islands including Conception, North Island, Cosmoledo Atoll and Farquhar Atoll.
The granitic islands of Seychelles are home to about 75 endemic plant species, with a further 25 or so species in the Aldabra group. Particularly well-known is the Coco de mer, a species of palm that grows only on the islands of Praslin and neighbouring Curieuse. Sometimes nicknamed the 'love nut' because of its suggestive shape, the coco-de-mer is the world's largest seed. The jellyfish tree is to be found in only a few locations today. This strange and ancient plant has resisted all efforts to propagate it. Other unique plant species include the Wrights Gardenia found only on Aride Island Special Reserve.
The giant tortoises from Aldabra now populate many of the islands of the Seychelles. The Aldabra population is the largest in the world. These unique reptiles can be found even in captive herds. It was once claimed that the granitic islands of Seychelles supported distinct species of Seychelles giant tortoises but recent genetic studies suggest only one form was present throughout the islands of Seychelles at the time of the arrival of man.
Seychelles hosts some of the largest seabird colonies in the world. Islands such as Bird, Aride Island, Cousin, Aldabra and Cosmoledo host many species of seabirds including the sooty tern, fairy tern, white-tailed tropicbird, noddies and frigatebirds. Aride Island has more species of seabird and greater numbers than the other 40 granite islands combined including the world's largest colony of Audubon's Shearwater and Lesser Noddy.
The marine life around the islands, especially the more remote coral islands, can be spectacular. More than 1000 species of fish have been recorded. Since the use of spearguns and dynamite for fishing was banned through efforts of local conservationists in the 1960s, the wildlife is unafraid of snorkelers and divers. Coral bleaching in 1998 has unfortunately damaged most reefs. The reefs comprise of a vast selection of soft corals and hard corals alike. There is great diving and snorkeling opportunity. The taking of marine turtles was completely stopped in 1994, turtle populations are now recovering on several protected islands, most notably Cousin Island, Aride Island and Aldabra. However, they continue to decline at unprotected sites. The use of gill nets for shark fishing as well as the practice of shark finning are now banned. Further reading
Aldabra Adrian Skerrett (Editor)Berlitz Pocket Guide Adrian & Judith SkerrettBirds of the Seychelles Adrian Skerrett, Ian Bullock, Tony DisleyBradt travel Guide: Seychelles Lynnath Beckleya and Lyn MairThe History of Slavery in Mauritius and the Seychelles, 1810-1875 Moses D. E., NwuliaInsight Guide: Mauritius, Réunion and Seychelles Emily HatchwellInsight Pocket Guide: Seychelles Judith & Adrian SkerrettJourney through Seychelles Mohamed Amin, Duncan Willets, Adrian Skerrett, Judith SkerrettLonely Planet World Guide: Mauritius, Réunion and Seychelles Jan Dodd, Madeleine PhilippePolitical Castaways Christopher LeeThe Seychelles Michael FriedelSeychelles Vincenzo PaolilloSeychelles: Garden of Eden in the Indian Ocean Sarah CarpinSeychelles: The New Era France RenéSeychelles Since 1770: History of a Slave and Post-Slavery Society Deryck Scarr'Rivals in Eden' and 'Hard Times in Paradise' Bill McAteerReferences
Government Virtual Seychelles official portal of the Republic of SeychellesThe Seychelles Nation, a government-supported newspaperSeychelles Broadcasting Company, the government-operated media company (Radio & TV) Official Ministry of Health and Social Services for the Republic of SeychellesSeychelles Tourism Board The official site of the Seychelles Tourism BoardSeychelles E-Government Portal Legal The Seychelles Legal Environment Unofficial, informative and only website on the Seychelles Legal Environment Journalism The Regar Major opposition newspaper, extensive investigative journalism and exposés. Seychelles News Seychelles News Aggregation. Overviews BBC News Country ProfileCIA World FactbookLibrary of Congress Country Study (data as of August 1994)Open Directory Project Tourism and nature Interactive video Map, Seychelles in Video on a google Earth MapSeychelles Nature, a non-profit societyYacht Management SeychellesVideos about history and nature of Seychelles with aerial shotsSeychellesSeychelles Mini GuideSeychelles Photo GalleryPics and tips about Seychelles islandsSeychelles Beach GallerySeychelles Images: La Digue, Praslin, Mahe