A paradise archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean, approximately 1,000 miles off the coast of Kenya, the Seychelles comprises 115 different islands, many of them uninhabited. The capital, Victoria, is located on Mahé, the largest and most densely populated island. The Seychelles is synonymous with postcard-perfect scenery, from its white sand beaches and crystal clear seas to its lush tropical interiors. A popular destination for proposals and honeymoons, it's also famous for its luxury beach resorts, world-class watersports opportunities and rich Seychellois Creole culture.
Language: There are three official languages in the Seychelles: French, English and Seychellois Creole. Of these, Seychellois Creole is spoken by nearly 90% of the population, making it the country's lingua franca.
Religion: Christianity is by far the most widely practiced religion in the Seychelles, accounting for over 89% of the population. Roman Catholicism is the most popular denomination.
Population: According to the CIA World Factbook, the population of the Seychelles was estimated at just over 94,600 people in July 2018. The archipelago has the smallest population of any sovereign African country.
Geography: Despite its numerous islands, the Seychelles has a tiny total area of 175 square miles (455 square kilometers). To put that into perspective, the entire country is just 2.5 times the size of Washington, D.C.
Weather in the Seychelles
The Seychelles has a tropical marine climate, with consistently warm temperatures and high humidity. There is no distinct summer or winter; instead, seasons are dictated by the trade winds. From late May to early October, the Southeast trade winds bring a cooler, drier period known as the Southeast Monsoon. From December to March, the Northwest Monsoon is characterized by higher temperatures and increased precipitation. December and January are the wettest months and southernmost islands may also be affected by cyclones at this time of year.
When to Visit
The Seychelles is a year-round destination with pros and cons to every season. The best time to visit really depends on what you want to do while you're there. For lounging on the beach, the periods of calm in between the two monsoon seasons (April/May and October/November) are the warmest and least windy. These two shoulder seasons also bring excellent visibility and high water temperatures—perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. Sailors and surfers will appreciate the windy Southeast Monsoon, while fishing is best during the Northwest Monsoon.
Most overseas visitors arrive and depart from Seychelles International Airport (SEZ), located near Victoria on Mahé island. The Seychelles is a visa-free country, which means that there are no visa requirements regardless of your country of origin. Instead, you will be issued with a visitor's permit upon arrival. In addition to a valid passport, you may be asked to present certain documents including a return ticket or ticket for onward travel, accommodation confirmation, and proof of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay. Visit the official government website for more information.
Unlike many African countries, the Seychelles is malaria-free. There are no compulsory vaccinations—unless you're traveling from a yellow fever country in which case you will need to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival. The CDC advises that all travelers make sure their routine vaccinations are up to date and also recommends that you get your hepatitis A and typhoid injections before visiting the Seychelles.
Victoria: Located in northern Mahé, picturesque Victoria is one of the smallest capital cities in the world. It was established by the British in the early 19th century and retains much of its colonial charm today. Visit the tropical Botanical Gardens, discover colorful markets overflowing with local fruit and fish, or learn about the islands' history at the Seychelles Natural History Museum.
Morne Seychellois National Park: When you tire of Mahé's spectacular beaches, venture inland to Morne Seychellois National Park. This stunning tract of pristine jungle covers 20 percent of the island's total area and includes the country's highest peak, Morne Seychellois. Hike along the park's tangled trails, remembering to keep an eye out for exotic animal and birdlife as you go.
Praslin: To the northeast of Mahé lies Praslin, the second-largest island in the archipelago. It's known for its laid-back atmosphere and idyllic beaches—the most famous of which are Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette. Although relatively undeveloped, the island does boast more than its fair share of ultra-luxurious resorts. It's also the only island with its own 18-hole championship golf course.
La Digue: La Digue is the smallest of the Seychelles' three main inhabited islands. Visitors come here to experience authentic local culture and to visit the archipelago's most iconic beach, Anse Source d'Argent. Located on the island's west coast, it's framed by giant granite boulders and has clear, shallow waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling.