Seychelles – General information

The republic of> Seychelles consists of 115 islands and is divided into 32 mountainous islands (mainly granite stone) which represent the actual Seychelles, and into numerous small coral islands, which are distributed on a sea surface of over 400,000 km ².

The archipelago around Mahé is the most densely populated and thus the most important archipelago of the country. Like most other inhabited islands, their islands also belong to the mountainous islands. On Mahé is also the highest point of the country, the Morne Seychellois, which rises 905 m above sea level. Due to the low altitude (highest points at 9 m above sea level) and the lack of drinking water, there are only a few small settlements on the coral islands.

The climate is tropical because of the proximity to the equator and quite constant, the temperature varies between 24 ° C and 29.9 ° C. Even the low rainfall varies only between 288 cm in the capital Victoria and 355 cm in the mountainous regions.
454 km²
491 km of coastline
80,000 inhabitants
Since independence in 1976, per capita income in this Indian Ocean archipelago has increased sevenfold compared to the old subsistence level. Growth was led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the workforce and generates more than 70% of the “hard currency” revenue, as well as tuna industry. In recent years, the government has encouraged foreign investors to invest in hotels and services. At the same time, the government has been trying to reduce its dependence on tourism by promoting the development of farms, the fishing industry and small manufacturing companies. The vulnerability of the tourist sector became apparent through the sharp fall in the years 1991-92 (Gulf War), the 9/11 attacks and now again by the 2003 Gulf War. Other government programs address the budget deficit, including the cost of social care and further privatization of public enterprises. Growth slowed in the years 1998-2001 due to the slowing tourism and tuna sectors. Control over foreign currency exchange rates and the shortage of foreign currencies have also encouraged short-term economic orientation. The value of the rupee on the black market is about half as much as the official exchange value; Without a devaluation of the Seychelles rupee, the tourism sector is likely to remain spongy and holidaymakers will prefer destinations such as the Comoros, Mauritius or Madagascar.
Policy of government
The President of the Seychelles has been James Alix Michel since April 14, 2004. He replaced France-Albert René, who was last elected in 2001 with 54% of the votes in his office and resigned in March 2004 as President of the Seychelles.

Michel was previously Vice President. The presidential elections take place every 5 years. The head of state is also the head of government in the Seychelles and appoints the judges of the two highest courts.

The parliament consists of 34 deputies. Of these, 25 are directly elected. The remaining 9 seats will be distributed in proportion to all votes to the parties who have received at least 10 percent of the votes.
Seychelles Rupee (SCR)
useful information
The Seychelles are in constant foreign currency. More than half of total foreign exchange revenue is currently spent on oil. Alldies must be financed from the income of tourism, as other sources of income are practically non-existent. The rupee is held artificially high as a local currency to make the foreign exchange receipts as high as possible.

Of course, this has the consequence that the black market flourishes. In the private market courses of 1:10 are offered. This is hardly done by the government.

Accommodation, restaurant visits and other tourist activities must be paid by the guests in foreign currency. These must already be brought from the countries of immigration, as there are no foreign exchange in the country to exchange. For banks and ticket machines, only domestic rupees are paid out. The only way out is to pay by credit card.

Conversion rate is currently (as of 2004) 1 EUR = 6.15 Rupee

The best prices z. For example, with car rental companies or with purchases you get cash payments.

Seychelles – Climate

The lowest temperature ever recorded in the Seychelles was 19.8 ° C, the highest 34 ° C. One can expect during the day mostly with 27-30 ° C, at night with 24-26 ° C, i. It rarely gets very hot, but hardly cools off at night.

The air is often exceptionally clear (with hardly any dust or fumes within a distance of 1,600 km), so that you can admire phenomenal starry skies on some nights. The water temperatures are evenly at 26-29 ° C, with occasional even bathtub temperatures can be achieved in particularly shallow lagoons

However, one differentiates the time of the southeast from that of the northwest monsoon. In the former (June to October), the wind is more steady, the humidity lower, and it rains a little less.

Only during the northwest monsoon (December to April) is there a low risk of being grazed for several days or even weeks, which would of course be annoying in a correspondingly expensive trip. During this time, it rains almost daily, but mostly only in short showers of no more than half an hour duration.

Those who are very sensitive to humidity should avoid the so-called monsoon turnover times in May and November, because then the wind often runs dry.

It should be noted, however, that in the Seychelles for several years, shifts and exceptions in the climatic flow of the seasons occur. The weather conditions of each month are therefore no longer as reliable to predict as in earlier times.

Due to the proximity of the equator, days and nights are about the same length throughout the year. The rainfall in the form of warm rain varies considerably from year to year and can therefore be difficult to predict.

Due to its location 4 ° south of the equator, solar radiation is a particular problem for the traveler in the Seychelles, because the UV intensity here is about three to four times higher than in the German midsummer. (There is a wide belt around the equator where the ozone layer is naturally thinner.)

The sun rises every day at around 6:30 and at 18:30, with dusk only about 30 minutes.

Seychelles – Fauna

As one of the most interesting native birds in the Seychelles one finds the raven parrot, whose stock is reduced to about 100 animals, also cockbill bird of escape, warts fruit dove and in the caves nesting Seychelles – cave salangans.

The only mammals on the sex bells are the Seychelles fruit bats and the bat species Coleura seychellensis, which belongs to the family of smooth-nosed crabs.

The sea with its almost inexhaustible wealth not only provides life under water, it also provides the livelihood for many millions of birds. Some islands like Bird Island are a true bird paradise.

There are no enemies here, no alligators or snakes, no rats or cats. In addition, the bird islands, Bird Island or Aride are extremely difficult to reach. Therefore, there may still exist birds that are otherwise extinct elsewhere in the world.

The wildlife of Seychelles has many special features to offer. First of all there is the great abundance of fish in the Seychelles’ waters, which makes the islands, with their coral reefs that are still intact, good diving areas. At least the snorkeling should therefore try every visitor once.

Again and again to find the small, gray, omnivorous skinks.

Unmistakable are the geckos, which are usually gray or brown on Mahé, almost always have a bright green color on La Digue. The green geckos are also called day geckos. These useful insectivores are almost always found in buildings, where they can be observed in the evening in the lamplight.

Among the unloved small animals are the cockroaches and mosquitoes. The former, actually everywhere in the tropics, you will find less in the Seychelles. This is certainly due to the generous use of insecticides.

In contrast, there are mosquitoes almost everywhere in the Seychelles. Their number is limited, as there are hardly any bodies of water. In addition, the constant wind dispels the unloved spirits. Only at dusk in marshy areas such. B. on La Digue you have to do something against the mosquitoes. The Anopheles mosquitoes, feared as malaria carriers, do not exist in the Seychelles. A malaria prophylaxis is therefore not necessary.

A bigger problem on beaches are the little sandflies. They are comparable in effect with cricket mosquitoes.

Countless small animals and crabs live in the sand of the beaches. Larger specimens are found especially after dark or on lonely beaches.

The huge, black-and-yellow Palm spiders sitting in the underbrush in their nets look dangerous, but are the more harmless.

Beware of large centipedes whose bites are poisonous and can cause nasty wounds. They are very rare.

On some islands you can find small scorpion species whose sting is not perilous. All in all, it can be said that Seychelles’ wildlife does not pose any significant risks to visitors.

Especially beautiful are the many species of birds in the Seychelles, of which a number of specimens are extremely rare. Particularly to mention here is the Seychelles chameleon, who lives only on Frégate. The birds know no escape instinct. Therefore, the island must be kept rat and cat free, so that the survival of the last few dozen copies is secured.

Not so rare, but very beautiful are the snow-white fairy terns, the pitch-black eyes and blue beaks have. Equally remarkable are the tropic birds sailing in the warm upwinds on the mountain slopes. Some areas of the Seychelles are under strict supervision as bird sanctuaries. These include the islands Aride, cousin or Bird Iceland. They are an absolute must for ornithologists.

The only indigenous mammal species is the Seychelles flying fox. The large, similar in their behavior to the smaller bats animals are often seen and heard at dusk. The Flying Fox looks up close with its reddish brown coat like a little fox. The food of the fruit bats consists exclusively of fruits.

Seychelles – Flora

Vallee de Mai, a 0.195 sq km valley in the Praslin National Park – World Heritage listed by UNESCO in 1983

The Seychelles Nympha “Coco de Mer”, which occurs only in the Seychelles, has the largest seeds in the plant kingdom and a height of 30 to 40 m.

In addition, six more native only in the Seychelles palm species and screw trees such as the Hornes screw tree.

Until 40 years ago, the primeval palm forest was in a remote high valley of the Seychelles island Praslin, still completely untouched. Today, people from all over the world come here to admire the rare Seychelles palm. Their specialty is the up to 20 kg weight heavy seeds “Coco de Mer”. The largest seed in the world.

Today you will find the fan palms, which can be up to 800 years old, only on Praslin and the small neighboring island Curieuse. Their stock is estimated at 400 copies.

A smart economic policy protects the idyll. Big hotels can not be built here. This limits the number of tourists, and is the guarantee for the preservation of the natural world.

On Praslin, one of the larger islands of the archipelago, finally the palm was found, which had been sought so long. In our time, a park was created, Vallee de Mai, the Maital. Here you can study the palm tree, observe its growth and its legendary reproduction.

The strange shape reminds of the buttocks of beautiful people. Thus, the fruit stimulated erotic fantasies and some even hoped for a potentiating effect. Without the protective nature park, therefore, the rare palm would have disappeared long ago.

Speaking of palm, there are female palms and males, easy to distinguish. A Seychelles legend says they band together on a stormy night …

7 years pass after the union until a ripe fruit is ready for the new cycle. The little sister everyone knows, the ordinary coconut, had been displacing the Coco de Mer since the last century. Their juice, meat and their fibers were sought after. Today, there are again a large number of Coco de Mer palm trees in the World Heritage Natural Park. The oldest should be around 800 years old. The highest are over 30 meters.

A clever economic policy protects the idyll. Big hotels can not be built here. This limits the number of tourists so that the Seychelles still seem like a limitless paradise.

Seychelles – History

It is believed that the islands of the Seychelles were formerly discovered by Arab traders.

The first proven and recorded explorers of the Seychelles were the Portuguese. These first mentioned the islands in 1505.

The Seychelles were settled by the French only 150 years after their discovery.

In the period from 1794 to 1811, there was a conflict between the English and French around the islands. The English came out of it as a winner.

The Seychelles became a part of Mauritius under English rule.

After the First World War in 1911, the Seychelles received the status of an independent colony.

The Seychelles gained independence in 1970, but the so-called first republic was not founded until 1976.

In 1979 she was deposed in favor of a one-party regime. From this emerged the second republic.

In 1993, the current constitution of the Third Republic entered into force in the Seychelles.

Seychelles – wining and dining

Seychelles is said to have the best Creole food from all the islands of the Indian Ocean.

The influences from Indian, African and French cuisine play a major role here. Apart from beef and chicken, of course, mainly fish is processed. As side dishes usually rice and chutneys from overcooked vegetables or fruit are served. The pumpkin chutney enjoys particular popularity.

Creole cuisine is based on the sweet stew sauce, the tomato-based Rougaille sauce and the mild Southeast-Asian coconut base Carri-Coco.

From the French kitchen the preference for soups, especially fish soups (bouillons) was taken over. The local salads are prepared with refinement. Do not forget the Creole octopus salad, the palm-heart salad and various salads with green papaya. On the other hand, the dish of fruit bats offered in some restaurants is already a local specialty, which is certainly not suitable for every palate.

For dessert, tropical fruits and the African dessert Kat-Kat (green bananas cooked in sweet coconut milk) are often served.
Own wines are barely known and so you depend on imported wines. These are quite expensive. An alternative is the local drinks, such as the self-baked fruit Bakka and Calou (Palmmost). You should beware of the often offered cheap-fuss.

Seychelles – Accommodations

Those visiting Seychelles should be prepared to be overcharged on some occasions. Admittedly, with the official reasoning that they did not want to annoy the tourists unnecessarily, they abolished the airport fee years ago. However, it has since been reintroduced (100 SR per person) and makes for some departing for an unpleasant surprise.

In addition, it may happen, for example, that you have to pay later for the use of a private path (which can not be recognized as such). The realization that most tourists have to earn their (holiday) money hard, has not yet prevailed here.

There are generally few problems with obtaining the local currency. EURO can be exchanged for all banks in the Seychelles. There are many small branches, which are usually open on workdays until the early afternoon and Saturday mornings. It is recommended Traveler’s Check, with which you get a much better exchange rate.

Accommodation in Seychelles covers all categories, from the simplest guest house to the luxury hotel. However, the price level is always well above the usual for the respective category in Germany.

If you want to eat well, you will not be disappointed. Especially fish dishes can be enjoyed in fascinating variety. Since meat (except chicken) has to be imported, it should be avoided. The menu is dominated by curry preparations that are a science of their own in Seychelles (as in the country of origin India). When eating the price-performance ratio can be quite see, although it is hardly possible in many places to eat cheap. The “native” beer is called SeyBrew, is brewed by a German and is (not least because of the soft water) quite good.

Drinking water provided on guest rooms in thermos bottles should be avoided (contrary to some recommendations from guidebooks) as it may lead to gastrointestinal complaints. Better compatible is the “mineral” water sold in plastic bottles.

A big plus of the Seychelles as a travel destination is that they are virtually free of the dreaded tropical diseases. Special vaccinations, such as those required for travel to many other tropical countries, are eliminated. (To be on the safe side, you should ask the state of the art in good time before you travel with a knowledgeable doctor or at the tropical medicine institute in Hamburg.) It is certain that there are only a few places in the world where you have such a little spoiled tropical environment with such low health risks can enjoy.

The number of (so far) about 100,000 tourists a year is far too small to provide for crowded beaches àla Ibiza or Mallorca. The liveliest beach in the Seychelles is still the Beau Vallon Beach in the northwest of Mahé. Outside the main season (European summer holidays, Christmas and Easter), most of the beaches are little visited to deserted, so that you can find even on the main island Mahé his personal, lonely dream beach. The relatively high cost is to be understood as an entrance fee into an “earthly paradise”, and those who are fascinated by breathtaking natural beauty and can overlook one or the other organizational shortcomings, still has a price-performance ratio that many other destinations do not approaching.

After all, it is a stated (and legitimate) goal of the local government to make as much money as possible from tourism that is as environmentally friendly as possible (this includes moderate numbers of visitors).

Expressly undesirable, for example, backpack tourists who want to get through at the expense of the local population with little money.
Who loves so-called club vacation or on promenade shopping, water skiing and Wiener schnitzel can not do without, should take a Seychelles vacation distance.

But anyone who is able to enjoy a quiet moment in an overwhelming landscape without any guidance from others will get to know the true Seychelles and count his stay there as one of his best experiences.

Questions about the destination Seychelles?