Seychelles
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Seychelles

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Seychelles Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

452 sq km (175 sq miles).

Population

95,850 (UN estimate 2019).

Population density

208 per sq km.

Capital

Victoria.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Wavel Ramkalawan since 2020.

Head of government

President Wavel Ramkalawan since 2020.

Electricity

240 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three square pins are standard.

Clichéd or not, the islands of Seychelles are about as close to paradise as you can get: once you have felt the sand between your toes and paddled in the crystal clear waters here, beach holidays will never be the same again.

Made up of 115 topical islands in all, the Seychelles archipelago is a destination where white, sandy beaches are as pure as the driven snow; where frothy turquoise waters harbour colourful coral reefs and bountiful marine life; where secret coves allow you to have your very own Robinson Crusoe moment with only birds and tortoises for company.

Mahé may be the biggest and the busiest of all the islands, but it has its fair share of secluded bays, which are accessible only by yacht, motorboat or on foot. Together with its sisters Praslin and La Digue, it attracts a constant surge of tourists.

More adventurous travellers, on the other hand, may prefer to take a flying boat to more remote islands such as Fregate or Bird Island and enjoy secluded beaches all to themselves. These islands are especially popular with birdwatchers and nature lovers due to their abundance of wildlife.

The absence of people on many of the islands means that rare plant life has thrived throughout this Indian Ocean archipelago. Tropical life abounds below the waves too, and is best viewed by going scuba diving or snorkelling, experiences which are made all the more memorable here thanks to the crystalline seas.

Seychelles is more than just a natural sanctuary, though. The country is a veritable melting pot of cultures: its inhabitants descend from African, Asian and European immigrants, who have brought their customs and traditions with them to the islands. This heady mix is particularly pleasing on the palate thanks to the archipelago's fabulous fusion food.

Seychelles is an extraordinarily alluring destination, and one that's guaranteed to whet your appetite for a return trip – assuming your bank balance can handle it.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Seychelles on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Seychelles.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact the Ministry of Health for information on testing facilities.

From 4am on Saturday 9 January, visitors arriving into the UK who have been in or transited through Seychelles in the previous 10 days will not be permitted entry. British and Irish citizens, and third country nationals with residence rights in the UK arriving in the UK from Seychelles need to self-isolate on their return. Check the latest guidance for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

From 1 January onwards those with residence rights includes: holders of Indefinite Leave to Remain; holders of existing leave to enter or remain (that is those with biometric Residence permits) or an entry clearance/visa that grants such leave like students and workers (excluding visit visas); holders of EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”) leave; those who have rights of entry under the Withdrawal Agreements (including returning residents with a right of residence under the EEA Regulations and EEA frontier workers); family members of EEA nationals with rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

If you test positive for COVID-19 before returning to the UK

The Government of Seychelles does not routinely require travellers to take a PCR test before departure. Airlines or final destinations, however, may require it, and you should check the requirements if necessary. Visitors who develop symptoms of a possible respiratory infection will be referred to health services for further assessment and testing. You can expect to be contacted by the authorities in Seychelles if you test positive for COVID-19. If you display severe symptoms, particularly if you are in an at-risk category, then you may be cared for at a government-run facility.

Symptomatic Cases

The Seychelles Department of Foreign Affairs and Tourism has produced a travel advisory which details the standard procedures for visitors who develop symptoms. Visitors who develop symptoms of possible respiratory infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of smell/taste) will be referred to the health services for further assessment. If a visitor is found to be infected with COVID-19, the Public Health Authority requires that the person is isolated from the population and other visitors until recovery from infection. Symptomatic cases, especially for those in ‘high-risk’ categories will be cared for in a health-managed isolation facility.

Asymptomatic Cases

Asymptomatic/mildly symptomatic cases must undergo isolation at a certified tourism accommodation establishment at their own cost.

People who are asymptomatic throughout their self-isolation can expect to self-isolate for 10 days, while mildly symptomatic visitors must self-isolate for 14 days. Guests may not change accommodation during a period of self-isolation without the permission of the Public Health Authority.

If parents are required to self-isolate, then minors will be expected to stay with them or with other family members. Unaccompanied minors (i.e. under 18 years of age) will normally be treated as adults.

If you are travelling with children, you should contact the Seychelles Ministry of Health before you travel to confirm you are satisfied with the procedures in place should you be required to self-isolate during your stay.

Travel in Seychelles

The Government of Seychelles has extended COVID-19 restrictions across the country until further notice.

The Ministry of Health in Seychelles issues new and additional measures on the Ministry of Health website and on Ministry of Health social media channels.

If you’re living in Seychelles or intend to travel to Seychelles, you’re strongly advised to familiarise yourself with these measures and to follow public health guidelines. You should avoid travelling unnecessarily within the country, including between islands.
You should wear a mask and observe social distancing at all times when in public.

Accommodation

Some hotels are open across Seychelles. If you have made a booking, you should make contact with your tour operator or hotel proprietor before travelling to Seychelles.

Public spaces and services

The Government of Seychelles has introduced new restrictions on the use of public spaces and services, following an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Seychelles. These measures will remain in place until further notice.

A nationwide curfew is in place from 11pm to 4am. You should not travel outside your accommodation between these times without authorisation. Restrictions on movement are reviewed regularly.

House parties are not permitted and no gatherings of more than four persons, indoors or outdoors, including on beaches and in public places, are allowed.

All shops, bars and casinos will close at 7pm until further notice.

All shops must close at 7pm. Bars and casinos may open until 10pm. Restrictions are enforceable by law and can change at short notice. You should consult the Ministry of Health in Seychelles for further information and monitor local media for the latest developments.

Healthcare in Seychelles

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact the Seychelles Department of Health hotline immediately by dialling 141.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Seychelles.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 Vaccines if you live in Seychelles

We will update this page when the Government of the Seychelles announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Seychelles national vaccination programme started in January 2021 and is using the AstraZeneca (Covishield) and Sinopharm vaccines. The Government of Seychelles has stated that British nationals resident in Seychelles are eligible for vaccination if they choose to join the programme. The Ministry of Health has published information on vaccines available in Seychelles on their vaccination FAQs page. You should contact the Ministry of Health if you wish to arrange an appointment to receive a vaccine in Seychelles.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Seychelles, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Further advice on coronavirus is available from the NHS and on the TravelHealthPro website.

Crime

Most visits to Seychelles are trouble free. However, there have been instances of break-ins, robberies, burglaries and opportunist thefts against residents, expatriates and tourists. Crime is generally non-violent, but bags have been snatched, cars broken into and tourists robbed while walking at night. You should take sensible precautions to safeguard yourself and your possessions.

Parked cars, residential accommodation including guest houses and hotels, beaches, and marked and unmarked walking trails may be targeted. Do not take valuables, and walk with organised groups.

You should maintain at least the same level of security awareness as you would in the UK and make sure your living accommodation is secure. Use a hotel safe to store valuables, money and passports. Do not leave valuables in cars or anywhere on display, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or wearing eye-catching jewellery.

Accommodation, particularly in isolated areas, should have adequate security, including external security lighting, grilles and overnight security guards.

Be vigilant and when outside hotel grounds, carry a mobile phone with roaming capability for use in an emergency. It’s worth checking roaming rates with your mobile phone service provider as they can be extremely high.

Take care in isolated areas and also in more popular places like Beau Vallon and the back streets of Victoria, especially after dark.

Road travel 

Mahé is mountainous, and roads are narrow and winding, often with sheer drops and hairpin bends. Not all such roads are equipped with safety barriers. Deep, uncovered storm drains flank many roads. Take care when driving. Drink-driving is a problem, so be aware of other road users who may behave erratically. Sudden heavy downpours can reduce visibility and road surface conditions quickly. Potholes can appear in the road suddenly after heavy rains - drivers sometimes veer sharply across lanes to avoid them.

When returning hired vehicles, obtain an acknowledgement that the vehicle has not been damaged during the period of hire. Third party insurance is compulsory, and comprehensive insurance is also available locally. UK driving licences are valid for stays of up to three months.

Buses are cheap but infrequent on some routes (a timetable is available from the bus station in Victoria). Most public bus routes do not operate after 8pm.

Taxis are generally of a good standard. Taxi meters are increasingly common but if a taxi is not equipped with one, you should agree a fare before starting your journey.

Sea travel

Recent piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, highlight that the threat of piracy related activity and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean remains. Reports of attacks on local fishing dhows in the area around the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa continue.

The combined threat assessment of the international Naval Counter Piracy Forces remains that all sailing yachts under their own passage should remain out of the designated High Risk Area or face the risk of being hijacked and held hostage for ransom.

For more information and advice, see our Piracy and armed robbery at sea page.

Most of the inner island resorts are accessible by ferry. You should pay attention to safety briefings when taking any boat trips and make sure life jackets are provided, especially on smaller excursion boats.

Swimming

Take care when swimming or snorkelling, even on organised excursions, and particularly with children or the elderly; drowning does occur.

Seychelles experiences 2 seasonal changes during the year. The start and end of the seasons are less predictable than in previous years, but generally the northwest monsoon season runs from December to March and the southeast trade winds make for a drier and slightly cooler season from May to September. Currents and waves are affected by this.

Beaches which are safer at certain times of the year can be dangerous for swimming at other times. In general, the west coast is affected during the northwest monsoon and the east coast is affected during the southeast winds. Beaches at the southern tip are not recommended for swimming at any time. You should exercise caution when swimming, especially with children. Currents can be strong and drownings occur. Seek local advice about the conditions before you visit the beaches in Seychelles. Heed signage on beaches and stay within your depth.

Dangerous rip currents can occur off the popular Beau Vallon beach (and some other beaches) when the sea is rough.

Beaches do not always show safety information and you shouldn’t assume they’re safe. Lifeguards are not numerous, though some are stationed on popular beaches. Ask hotel staff about conditions and safety on nearby beaches.

Political situation

The Presidential election in October 2020 resulted in the first change of government in Seychelles for 43 years. The first democratic transition of power followed, with a peaceful handover from the United Seychelles Party, led by Danny Faure, to Linyon Demokratik Seselwa, led by the new President, Wavel Ramkalawan.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Seychelles, attacks can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those visited by foreigners.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Drug taking and smuggling are serious offences in Seychelles.

Topless sunbathing is uncommon and not tolerated on some beaches. Nudism is not acceptable.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Seychelles. However, local attitudes vary, so public displays of affection may be best avoided or at least discreet. Same-sex marriage is not currently permitted by law. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Seychelles on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Seychelles.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist are available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Local medical services

Medical services in Seychelles are provided free of charge for Seychellois. Residents in Seychelles from overseas may be expected to pay for some treatment, including medication and prescriptions. Tourists are expected to pay for treatment. The main hospital is in Victoria on Mahe and local health centres are situated in most of the residential areas.

Victoria Hospital on Mahe has an A&E department, MRI, ICU and CT facilities and is located at Mont Fleuri (telephone +248 4388000 or in an emergency 999). There are many private clinics which operate in Seychelles, mostly offering GP services. Patients with serious illnesses or requiring emergency treatment or surgery will be treated at the main hospital in Victoria.

In cases of emergency, residents and tourists are admitted to the state-run hospital in Victoria. There are also a number of private clinics in Seychelles which offer GP services.

See our list of medical practitioners and facilities in Seychelles.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Bring sun protection cream and insect repellents with you; local supplies can be expensive.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Seychelles set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

On 25 March 2021, Seychelles opened its borders to visitors irrespective of their vaccination status. All visitors must present a negative PCR test, taken within 72 hours prior to departure, and must stay in approved accommodation. There will be no quarantine requirement and no restriction on movement for most visitors upon entry to Seychelles. Visitors must adhere to public health measures.

Visitors who have been in Bangladesh, Brazil, India or Pakistan within 14 days prior to travel will not be permitted to enter Seychelles. This list is kept under review.

If you plan to travel to Seychelles, you must do so in accordance with current UK COVID-19 restrictions and should familiarise yourself with the travel advisory at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Tourism website and the ‘conditions for entry’ section of the Ministry of Health website, which outline all requirements for entry and pre-travel conditions which must be met.

An application for entry form should also be completed and returned to the Public Health Authority before travel. Work permit holders must also be cleared by the Department of Employment and Immigration. If you’re uncertain of your status, you should contact the Department of Employment and Immigration before attempting to enter Seychelles.

You can find a travel advisory detailing the full entry procedures for all travellers at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Tourism website and ‘conditions for entry’ at the Ministry of Health website. You’re strongly advised to familiarise yourself with the full entry requirements before you travel. These may be updated regularly and without warning.

A Health Travel Authorisation is required for travellers entering Seychelles by sea. Travellers arriving by sea who have spent at least 14 days at sea since their last port of call do not require a PCR test. Clients or crew who wish to disembark before completion of 14 days since their last port of call must have proof of vaccination and undertake a PCR test on arrival. If you are travelling by sea, you should follow the guidelines on the ‘conditions for entry’ at the Ministry of Health website.

Cruise ships from any country worldwide will not be permitted to berth in Seychelles until further notice.

Screening on arrival

All visitors must present a negative PCR test on arrival, taken within the 72 hours prior to their departure.

All passengers will be temperature checked at all ports of arrival. If symptoms of COVID-19 are found to be present, tests will be conducted. Those found to be positive will be quarantined and re-checked.

Quarantine requirements

There will be no quarantine requirements and no restriction on movement for most visitors upon entry to Seychelles.

Seychellois nationals and permanent residents may enter Seychelles from any country and will not face quarantine if they have completed a full dose of vaccination at least two weeks before travelling. Unvaccinated Seychellois nationals and permanent residents must undergo 7 days of home quarantine.

Gainful Occupational Permit (GOP) holders may enter Seychelles from any country and will not face quarantine if they have completed a full dose of vaccination at least two weeks before travelling. All unvaccinated GOP holders travelling to Seychelles will be expected to undergo 7 days of quarantine in a private quarantine facility or a certified tourism establishment.

If you intend to travel to Seychelles, you should familiarise yourself with the ‘conditions for entry’ section of the Ministry for Health website.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 status

Seychelles has not yet confirmed that it will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record. You should follow the entry rules for unvaccinated people. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination.

Regular entry requirements

The Government of Seychelles is reviewing its policies on work permits (Gainful Occupational Permits) for foreign nationals. Following the economic impact of the coronavirus, it is a possibility that Gainful Occupational Permits for some foreign nationals will not be renewed. You should speak to your employer and contact the Government of Seychelles Department for Immigration and Civil Status if you hold a Gainful Occupational Permit and are concerned about your employment status in Seychelles.

Visas

Visas are not required for British passport holders.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Seychelles.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

Goods and services are paid for in Seychelles rupees (SCR). It isn’t common to buy goods or pay for services in any other currency, although some guesthouses and hotels may accept euros or US dollars. You should check before travelling.

Exchanging money can be done at travel agents, banks and bureau de changes. ATMs are common in Seychelles, most are found in Victoria but it can be difficult to find them in more remote areas. Most shops and restaurants accept credit and debit card payments. You should check with your hotel or guesthouse if you will be able to pay using your card.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or cannot offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FDCO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you cannot find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.