THINGS TO DO in the Seychelles
Things To Do
Visit the beaches. Many of the beaches are untouched by man's influence and are refreshingly uncrowded. They offer clear blue skies and a tranquility you will rarely find. A hike along the coastline from Beau Vallon to Anse Major will take about 1.5-2 hours and your reward will be a small deserted beach that's fit for a king. The scenery along the hike is breathtaking. Not all beaches are suitable for swimming depending on the time of year, due to the seasonal winds. Do not ignore warning signs indicating that a beach is hazardous for swimming, no matter how it seems to you.
Vallee de Mai is a national park and world heritage site, home to amazing flora and fauna, including the world's largest seed: the coco de mer. Entrance fee: Free for residents, but a charge for foreigners.
Aldabra Atoll: The world's largest coral atoll that stretches about 22 miles east to west and encloses a huge tidal lagoon. Aldabra is the original home of the giant land tortoise and tiger sharks and manta rays can also often be seen here.
Watersports: The warm Indian Ocean waters make Seychelles the perfect place for the water enthusiasts. Explore on board a yacht, power boat, catamaran or sailboat. Windsurfing is also popular and the best time for this activity is usually around May then in October, at the start and end of the trade winds.
Scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing are also extremely popular and can be done almost anywhere in Seychelles. Baie Ternay is superb and easily acccessible by glass bottom boat tour from Beau Vallon beach - leave yourself an empty day and walk the beach for a 'last minute' booking - great deals can be bartered. Snorkeling is FREE and there are many great spots: off some of the small beaches at Glacis, past Mouse Island at Anse Royale, along the reef at Port Launay (near Ephelia Resort). Often spotted are a wide array of tropical fish, sea turtles, eagle rays and more!
Land Sports: Golf, tennis, squash, badminton, horseback riding, biking and hiking are some of the recreational activities available on the Seychelles Islands. Bike rentals and walking tours are great ways to sightsee and since distances are relatively short and the scenery is beautiful, walking is probably the best way to see the smaller islands (La Digue, Praslin), while walking along the main road can be quite intimidating as the roads are narrow and local cars/busses drive quite quickly. On Mahe it is not advised to ride bicycles, and there are no rental shops within sight. Bird watching is also popular and the islands are home to many of the worlds most treasured and rare species of animals. The best place to do so is Cousin Island which although only 1 km (0.6 miles) in diameter, is home to more than 300,000 birds, but many unique species can be found at ease on Mahe.
Nightlife: Do not miss most popular Nightclub "Lovenut" in the centre of Victoria, 100 metres walk from central Taxi station. Also entertaining are "Tequila Boom" at (Bel Ombre) and "Katiolio" (near Anse Royale) night clubs. "Katiolio" was one of the first nightclubs to open on Mahe.
Hiking There are several maintained hiking routes on the main island of Mahe and a few on Praslin. The Seychelles tourism office has a few descriptions of the hiking routes with maps available to be purchased.
Seychelles also has numerous markets, art galleries and shops, colonial Creole-style plantation houses, and the main island of Mahé has six museums, a botanical garden, and several national monuments. The market downtown Victoria has a good selection of local produce, and spices for sale that are all grown locally and 100% authentic.
The islands' currency is the Seychelles rupee (SCR). ATMs usually have the best conversion rates, however, airports and banks also conveniently exchange money.
Trading in foreign currency, long illegal, was legalized in November 2008, and the currency freely floated. This has also wiped out the previously wide-spread black market, which offered up to twice the official rate.
The best place for shopping is Victoria, the capital, and more specifically the market at the city centre. There are also a few outlets on the island, Praslin, but few shopping areas on the other islands. but shopping in Seychelles is not one of the major attractions.
While visiting, be sure to buy the classic and traditional Seychelles souvenir, the coco-de-mer, or the 'nut of the sea,' a nut from trees native to the islands in the Seychelles - but this requires an export licence. Other locally made souvenirs, although not as unique, can be purchased like sea shell and pearl jewellery, textiles and straw hats, in addition to needlework & crochet, paintings by local artists and woodwork.
Seychellois cuisine has been greatly influenced by the islands' rich cultures. Creole cooking, varied seafood dishes, coconuts and curries are the most popular. 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.
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).
Seychelles offers a fantastic nightlife scene that caters to tourists. in addition to theatres, cinemas and discos, there are numerous fun and trendy restaurants.
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. A dark Takamaka Rum on the beach under the stars is the best way to end a day on the Seychelles.
The Seychelles are not tolerant of backpackers turning up at the airport without accommodation booked. In such a situation, you will likely be taken to a counter where you will have to book & pay for accommodation for the duration of your trip before being allowed through immigration. Visitors need to provide details of their accommodation on their landing card (Host Name, address, phone number), and additionally, being questioned by the immigration officer about their accommodation details ("Is your booking confirmed?" etc..)
Try to avoid any dark lanes, and always be careful not to leave your bag unattended. Swimming alone on isolated beaches is not advisable. If you sail, avoid bringing valuables; if you have no choice, become adept at finding great hiding places.
There is some social activity along a secondary road behind Beau Vallon beach (left from the Boathouse restaurant), but locals mostly seem content to admire their flashy cars and mostly ignore passers-by.
There are newly instituted tourist police stationed at every beach on Mahe and are easily recognisable by their blue or white golf shirts, with a tourist police badge sewn on.
They are very friendly and more than willing to help keep a good eye, even though you may not see them. They are honest and freely offer advice. Potential thieves are obvious (mostly due to lurking and just stand out from the locals) and tend to hide just off the beach or across the narrow streets near more out of the way beaches. Jail terms are stiff and are strictly enforced since the island makes lots of money from tourism.
Chikungunya virus is a disease spread by mosquitoes, and causes flu-like symptoms. It is increasing in concern and although it is rare to die from it, the joint pain it causes can last for months. Insect repellent can help deter mosquitoes but not much else can be done as a precaution. The disease is native to East Africa and occasionally is introduced and quickly eradicated.
Tap water is safe to drink in most areas of the Seychelles, but water quality is variable in undeveloped areas. It is recommended to drink bottled water only and to avoid bodies of fresh water like lakes, rivers, ponds, etc.
The environment is a treasured aspect of Seychelles and there are more than 1,000 recorded species of fish around the islands and Aldabra, just one of the islands, is home to the largest population of giant tortoises in the world.
The Seychelles Tourism board is a great point of reference and they will be able to answer any and all questions you might have. Their website is www.seychelles.travel