Direct international calls are available to more than 100 countries. Both local and international telecommunications are handled by Cable & Wireless and Airtel, two GSM operators. Services provided by these two operators are reliable, efficient and up to date.
Roaming vs. Local SIM Cards
Seychelles are constantly striving to provide excellent service and they are increasing number of countries for which they offer international roaming. Tourists should be aware that roaming prices are very high. Therefore, purchase of local SIM card is advised, and it is supported if phone is unlocked. If not, then try to be rational with the calls and SMS so you don’t get surprised by the time your phone bill arrives.
You will need to show your passport when purchasing the local SIM card and it needs to be valid. Mobile phone reception is present on: Praslin, La Digue, North Island, Mahé, Frégate Island and Silhouette Island. Top ups are easy to find, and you can even recharge your credit online.
Access to Wi-Fi is to some extent dictated by the exclusivity of the hotel you are staying in. Upscale hotels naturally provide better Wi-Fi coverage. Also, some hotels still charge for access to Wi-Fi or provide access only in public places within the hotel.
The Place Where Internet Cafés Still Exist
Internet cafés are still present in Seychelles, although they are almost extinct in more developed countries. On the bright side, government announced introduction of Wi-Fi hotspots in three main islands: Praslin, Mahé and La Digue.
Mahé is the best place for shopping. It is the most inhabited island in Seychelles. Small markets dominate on the island, do not expect anything spectacular, nor to find brands you already heard about when buying cosmetics.
Make sure you read ingredients carefully when buying shampoo or shower gel and keep calm and hope for the best when you try them.
Outdoor markets are reserved for Wednesdays and the last Saturday of the month.
Prices of souvenirs vary from store to store. Measures of precaution are necessary when buying souvenirs because you can get into legal trouble for trying to take home some of them. Shells and corals will be confiscated at the airport if you try them with you. So, give up the trouble and try making the photos of them to save them as a memory from this tropic paradise. However, jewelry made from small shells will probably not bring you into trouble.
If you wish to purchase popular Coco de Mer (coconut), make sure to ask export certificated from the person who sold it to you, to avoid potential problems.
Eden Plaza is a mall encompassing over 50 shops. You can also find restaurants there. There you can also get business services if you need them. It is settled on an artificial island, near the capital city Victoria. Take into account that this is a shopping mall on an isolated island and do not expect a super fancy mall, so you don't get disappointed.
Education is mandatory until the age of 16 in Seychelles and it is free until one turns 18 years. Students are not required to pay for books or tuition. However, they have to pay for their uniforms.
Children are first taught Creole, then English and later French are introduced to them. Nearly 92% of adult population is able to read and write.
There are 3 private schools in Mahé. When it comes to public schools there are crèches, primary schools and secondary schools. Government plans to set up the first university with the help from the University of London.
The Republic of Seychelles Government ensured free health services for the entire population, regardless of age and they based their decision on the principles of Health Policy Declaration – health equity and human rights.
This attitude towards health enabled putting the most infectious diseases under control. Unfortunately, costs of such policies are quite high, and it is questionable whether the Government will be able to continue financing those activities.
Specialized services are very limited and are only available in Mahé while some complex surgeries, dentistry and oncology require travelling abroad for to get cured. There are three hospitals in the main islands: Logan Hospital, Anne Hospital and Silhouette Hospital and they provide non-specialized services and emergency services.
Being cautious is advised to tourists, because injuries and diseases which are not fatal in developed countries, might cause serious health problems due to lack of adequate medical personnel, equipment or medications in Seychelles.
Seychelles offices work from Monday to Friday, 8 hours a day. They open at 08:00 and they close at 16:00. Shops are usually closed by 18:00
Government offices usually do not work on weekends, as well as some private businesses.
Weekend days are Saturday and Sunday.
The capital city of the Republic of Seychelles is settled in Mahé and it is called Victoria, just like David Bechkam’s wife. It was established at the time when Seychelles were British colony. It is located in the north-east part of the island. It is the only city in this African archipelago. Victoria has less than 30.000 residents and it covers the surface of 20.1 square km only.
Tourism is the main pillar of Seychelles’ economy. Besides tourism, beverages production and fishing also contribute to its GDP. The main exports include exotic agricultural products: bananas, tuna, cinnamon, coconuts, tapioca, manioc, vanilla and sweet potatoes.
Most of the labor force works in services sector. Unemployment rate is very low, and it revolves around 3%, however significant portion of population lives below the poverty line.
GDP grows at the rate of 4,5% annually.
The legal tender in the Republic of Seychelles is Seychelles Rupee (SCR). 1 Seychelles Ruppe has 100 cents. Banknote denominations include 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500. Coins come in denominations Rs 1 and Rs 5, as well as 1, 5, 10 and 25 cents. One USD is equal to 13.44 Rupees. The currency is not pegged to any currency.
People of different races, nations and religions shaped the culture of this country. Its rich culture developed under Asian, African and European influences. Colorful blend of different influences can be recognized in many aspects: cuisine, music, dance, art and architecture.
One interesting fact is that this society is matriarchal. In another words: women are in charge! They run businesses and they are heavily involved in politics.
There is a certain dress code at night you should be aware of. Men are expected to wear long trousers and women are expected to “dress to impress”, but in a modest way. It can be achieved by wearing long, elegant dress.
Watch Your (Body)language
Women should be cautious in the way they communicate with local men, because being too generous might be misinterpreted as expression of sexual interest and it may cause them trouble.
There are three official languages in Seychelles: Creole (often called Seselwa), French and English, with Creole being spoken by 95% of the people. Creole was heavily promoted after winning the fight for independence in the 1976.
Seychellois are fluent in English and they are eager to speak it. Moreover, they are extremely friendly to tourists and willing to help in case you need information.
What is Creole?
Creole languages are typically hybrids of other languages and the one used in Seychelles is based on French.
Numerous groups of people left their mark on the culture of Seychelles and consequently, its religion. More than 90% of the population is Roman Catholic, which is understandable given the fact that Seychelles were the colony of predominantly Catholic countries.
The remaining 10% of population are Baptists, Anglicans, Orthodox Catholics and Jehovah’s witnesses. There are also Hinduists and Muslims. Hinduists are Tamil, who have long history of presence in official politics and business in Seychelles.
Muslims were among the first who came to these islands, but they never consider it a permanent settlement, which is the reason only tiny percent of Muslims live there nowadays.
Welcome to the World of Magic
Magic and witchcraft are still important to the residents, despite their general orientation towards monotheistic religions. Animism is also important part of their beliefs. They often visit wizards prior to making important decisions and they use talismans.
British East India Company was the first to visit the islands, which were inhabited in 16th century. As the time passed, French expeditions began researching the island and it was annexed to France in 1756. Great Britany and France fought for the island, until it was surrendered to Britain, which was confirmed by the Treaty of Paris in 1814.
Slavery was abolished on Seychelles in 1830. The island remained deprived of labor force by that time because slaves were basically exported to the master country.
In 1970 new constitution was adopted and in 1976 Seychelles were granted independence within the Commonwealth of Nations. They officially became The Republic of Seychelles.
By the 1990s, democracy was advocated, and multiparty system was introduced. Socialist economic model was abolished, and Seychelles transferred to market economy.
Seychelles are not only a popular tourist destination. They are promoted as an offshore financial center.
Temperatures on Seychelles range from 20+ to 30+ degrees Celsius and they are practically uniform throughout the year, which makes this place an ultimate holiday paradise. Humidity is also widespread.
Rainfall comes in fast showers and its frequency varies from island to island.
Sea is mostly calm and light breezes are present in April and October, while that calmness disappears to some extent in July and August.
In sum, the weather there is extremely hot and requires measures of precaution: enough hydration, sunblock and hats to protect your head and face.
Approximately 90.000 people live on eight out of 115 islands of the Republic of Seychelles and 90% of them are concentrated on the island Mahé, where the capital city is located.
The average age of the current residents is 32 years and population growth rate equals to 0,4%. Seychellois enjoy the highest GDP per capita in comparison to most of other African countries and what is the major revelation is that it surpasses GDP per capita of some European countries as well. Who would say?!
Challenge: Try to Guess Seychelles' Location on the World Map. No cheating!
Seychelles are pretty isolated form the rest of the world. They are very famous vacation and honeymoon destination; however, their location on a world map in a mystery for most of the people and they would struggle guessing. Feel free to admit you struggled to find them too! To resolve the mystery: Seychelles are located in the Indian ocean, in the vicinity of African island Madagascar.
Inner islands of the archipelago are granitic, while outer islands are coral. There are officially 115 islands and approximately 30 additional rock formations, however insignificant to be considered real islands. The total area of this archipelago is 457 square km only and inner islands are the most inhabited.
The largest and the most inhabited island Mahé is only 25 km long and wide up 8 km in some areas, where the capital Victoria is settled.