Although tropical and generally warm and humid, there are nevertheless two distinct seasons. During May - September the southeast trade winds bring cooler temperatures, lower humidity (average 70%) and less rain along with gentle breezes. From November - March, northwest monsoons bring more rain, higher humidity (average 80%) and warmer weather. The heaviest rainfall is between mid-December and mid-January. The transitional months of April and October are fairly hot, with little breeze and calm seas. The Seychelles lies outside the cyclone belt and enjoys stable weather year round with an average maximum temperature of 29C and 12 hours of daylight.
The unit of currency is the Seychelles Rupee (SR) which is divided into 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of 10, 25, 50 and 100 SR. Coins are 1 and 5 SR as well as 1, 5, 10 and 25 cents.
Visa and American Express are widely accepted. To a lesser degree, so are MasterCard, Diners Club and several other minor cards. Traveler's checks are also widely accepted, particularly at hotels, shops and restaurants. Traveler's Checks issued in US dollars and British pounds are preferred and less likely to incur additional exchange fees. Banks and most hotels will exchange currency. There are no restrictions on the import or export of foreign currency. A maximum of 1000 Seychelles rupees may be exported.
Although the local currency is the Seychelles Rupee, visitors are required to use only foreign currency when making payments in hotels, guesthouses and any other hospitality-related expenses such as hiring of cars or boats, services of tour operators and travel agents, patronage of casinos and domestic transfers within Seychelles.
However, small incidental purchases in restaurants outside hotels, shopping (excl. duty-free shops) and taxi fares may be paid in local currency.
Once you exchange money at a local bank or make a cash withdrawal from a dispenser, you should keep receipts as this will allow you to exchange the local currency back into foreign currency upon departure.
UTC / GMT (+4) The Seychelles are four hours ahead of London and nine hours ahead of New York (EST). Daylight savings time is not observed.
General business hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM (noon) and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Most banks are open 8:30 AM - 2:30 PM Monday to Friday and 8:30 AM to 11:00 AM on Saturday. Several banks are located outside the arrival area at the International Airport and are open to meet all incoming and departing flights. Stamps are available at hotels; letters may be mailed there as well. The Central Post Office is in Victoria and open 8 AM to 4 PM Monday to Friday and 8 AM to 12 PM (noon) Saturdays.
Direct dialling to most countries is available at most hotels. There are two GSM 900 networks operating in the Seychelles: Airtel (Telecom) and Cable and Wireless. Both offer prepaid services; for a small charge you can get a GSM card and make international calls to any country. There are a number of internet cafes on Mahe and on Praslin. Most of the larger hotels have arrangements for visitors to obtain a temporary guest account.
240 volts AC, 50Hz. British style 3-pin plugs are used:
Creole, English and French are spoken. Any of these will suffice at the major hotels, attractions, shops, banks, etc. Some members of the travel industry speak German and Italian.
Light clothes from natural fibres are advisable because of the tropical climate. For women, light cotton dresses, slacks and shorts for the day and a long skirt or cool dress for evenings. Men are most comfortable in light weight slacks and shorts and open neck shirts. For business, safari suits are acceptable; ties are not worn except to church. Sandals or light canvas shoes are preferable footwear. Swimwear is for the beaches.
Air Seychelles is the national airline. Other airlines serving the Seychelles include British Airways, Air Mauritius, Kenya Airways, Aeroflot and Air Austral. Air Seychelles operates 20-seat Twin Otters from Mahe to and from 4 islands. Helicopter service to Silhouette is also available. All flights begin or end in Mahe at the domestic terminal of the International Airport. Private ferries and a high speed catamaran operate between Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue islands. Rental cars (mostly Mini Mokes, jeeps and small Japanese sedans) and small trucks are plentiful on Mahe; less so on Praslin. In the high seasons, advance booking is almost a necessity. A regular driver's license is all that is required. Taxis on Mahe and Praslin are metered with government controlled rates. They can be found at the airports and outside the larger hotels. In addition to point-to-point transportation most will also provide good island tours (with rates negotiated in advance). Rates on Praslin are 25% higher and there are surcharges for travel between 10 PM and 6 AM. Mahe and Praslin have good bus service. On Mahe there are 26 bus routes most of which originate in Victoria. Every village and hotel is served by at least one bus route. Busses run from 5:20 AM to 9:30 PM except on weekends (Friday and Saturday) when they run to 1:30 AM. Praslin has one bus route which covers the island. There are about 9 runs daily in each direction between 6 AM and 5 PM.
Victoria Hospital (telephone 22 44 00) on Mahe is the main health facility and is well equipped with 373 beds. All doctors speak English and/or French. There are several other clinics on Mahe and on Praslin and La Digue. Visitors can get medical and dental treatment, for which there may be a charge according to the service provided. There are also small hospitals on Praslin and La Digue but all patients in need of immediate medical attention are taken to Victoria. Private doctors are available and may be arranged through hotels. Some hotels also have a small nursing staff on duty at certain times. There are several pharmacies in Victoria and Mahe. On other islands, local government clinics are used.
999 is the main emergency number throughout the country for fire, police and ambulance services.
There is no malaria, yellow fever, or cholera. Visitors who have traveled to or through any affected area (including Kenya) within a week of coming to Seychelles are required to certification of yellow fever vaccination. It is strongly recommend all visitors obtain medical insurance which includes Emergency Evacuation coverage. Evacuation (even to the hospital at Victoria) in the event of illness or injury is expensive and will not be provided unless a means of payment is obtained in advance.