Located approximately 930 miles off the eastern coast of Africa in the heart of the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles are a slice of heaven right here on Earth. They are beautiful year-round but the best time to visit is in spring or fall when the islands are less crowded and the weather is nearly perfect. The archipelago is made up of 115 tiny islands that are well known for their soft, white-sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and unique wildlife. It is a wonderful destination for travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life for a while, providing a serene refuge to be as active or relaxed as they choose.
Some of the top activities include snorkeling and scuba diving, spotting wild giant tortoises, and hiking on tropical trails through lush jungles. Of course, you can also choose to soak up the sun on the beach and enjoy the local food and culture too. Make no mistake, the Seychelles are unlike any other place on the planet, deftly melding a laid-back island vibe with a distinct African influence.
Of course, if you're planning your own visit to this idyllic setting, the first question you probably have is when is the best time to go. As with most island destinations, there isn't really a bad time to visit the Seychelles but there are certainly some months that are better than others.
Weather in the Seychelles
Situated just south of the equator, the Seychelles have fairly stable and predictable weather all year round. There also aren't traditional seasons, with the year split into rainy season and dry season instead. January and February are the wettest months of the year, although showers are common from November through February. During other times of the year, tropical rains are a common occurrence as well, although they don't tend to last long.
The warmest time of the year runs from December to April, although temperatures are fairly steady all year long. In the Seychelles it is unusual for temperatures to drop below 75 degrees Fahrenheit or climb above 90. As a result, it can be warm, but cool ocean breezes make for a pleasant, comfortable experience.
Thanks to their geographical location, the Seychelles generally stay out of the path of the major cyclones that develop in the Indian Ocean. It is extremely rare for a major storm to hit the islands, which only reaffirms that it is a destination that is safe and comfortable just about any time of the year.
While weather conditions are favorable just about anytime, the so-called shoulder seasons are quite possibly the best overall time to visit the Seychelles. During the months of April and May the warmer, more humid weather has just passed, while in October and November it has yet to arrive. The result is extremely comfortable conditions that are optimal for exploring the islands.
Those months tend to be fairly quiet in terms of visitors as well, which makes the beaches, restaurants, and other attractions less crowded. It can also make it much easier to book a hotel room, tour, or active excursion, with the possibility to potentially save some cash along the way.
High Season in the Seychelles
Those looking to avoid the crowds may want to stay away from the Seychelles during the months of July, August, December, and January. That is the high tourist seasons, with thousands flocking to the islands to soak up the sun. Some of the smaller, more remote islands that make up the Seychelles are still relatively uncrowded, but expect the more popular areas to be extremely busy throughout those times of the year.
When to Scuba Dive in the Seychelles
As mentioned, the Seychelles are a great destination for scuba divers and are well known for the incredible azure seas, abundant corals, and fascinating sea life that sits just off shore. Fortunately, the scuba diving there is also excellent all year round with virtually no impact from the sifting trade winds or changes in levels of temperature or precipitation.
That said however, the clearest ocean waters are actually found during the shoulder seasons as well, further cementing those months as the best time to go. During April, May, October, and November, the visibility in the water is so clear that divers can see down to as far as 100 feet. There aren't many places on the planet that can claim that kind of clarity. This helps to make the Seychelles one of the best destinations in the world for divers — and even snorkelers — looking to spend a bit of time in the water.
Divers looking to swim with whale sharks will find that the best time for that activity is between September and November. If that's high on your list of "must-do" activities, be sure to plan accordingly.
How the Trade Winds Impact the Weather
The trade winds that blow across the Indian Ocean have a direct impact on the conditions in the Seychelles. From November through March those winds blow from the northwest, bringing warmer temperatures and more humidity with them. Meanwhile, from May to October the winds shift to the southeast, bringing cooler temperatures throughout that period.
Those southerly trade winds have another impact on the island that travelers should keep in mind as well. The stronger breezes during that time of the year often results in large amounts of seaweed being deposited along some of the beaches. So much so, that some of the more popular tourist spots could find themselves closed from time to time. It usually isn't all that difficult to find an alternative beach to spend some time in the sun, but it is important to be aware that this is a possibility before going.
Rainy Season in the Seychelles
Running from November to February, the rainy season brings frequent tropical storms and higher levels of humidity. Those storms typically arrive in the form of afternoon thunderstorms that can put a damper on outdoor activities. Temperatures also tend to be a little warmer at this time of year as well, although there isn't a lot of variance from month to month.
Events to Check Out:
- Attend the Seychelles Ocean Festival: Held annually in December, this underwater festival celebrates the importance of the world's oceans.
- Run the Seychelles Eco-Friendly Marathon in February.
- Take part in the Seychelles National Fishing Tournament to raise funds for charity in April.
- Enjoy the Carnival of Victoria to celebrate multiculturalism, diversity, and history on the islands.
- Turtle hatchlings begin their march to the sea in January and it lasts until March.
Dry Season in the Seychelles
When the trade winds blow in from June through September, the Seychelles experience their driest and coolest time of the year. During those months, tropical storms can still take place, but they tend to be less intense and shift into the overnight hours, making the days less humid and more pleasant all around. This is a great time of year to go hiking, windsurfing or to whip out the binoculars and go birding.
Events to Check Out:
- Held in August of each year, the Seychelles Sea Turtle Festival helps draw attention to these aquatic creatures which call the islands home.
- September marks the return of the Seychelles Round Table Regatta, which features sailing competitions, sporting events, art, culture, and more.
- Visit the Cultural Bazar at any time of the year to immerse yourself in local culture and learn about island life from those who live in the Seychelles themselves.