Ever thought of visiting a tropical paradise? Well, we were lucky enough to get a house sitting assignment for a month in the Seychelles.
We have been house sitting for the past four years which has allowed us to be able to visit places which, on our meager budget, would not be otherwise possible. So we jumped at the opportunity when this assignment came up, applied and here we are. (Our Tips how to find house sitting assignments or house swaps you find here),
Learn from travel blogger Isabel how to travel the Maldives on a budget, too!
Seychelles, a group of Islands in the Western Indian Ocean comprises of a marine zone of about 1.4 million square km. Divided into two zones, 43 inner islands of coral and granite formations located within 90 km of the main island of Mahé with its capital Victoria.
Mahé is the largest of the islands and home to 90,000 people out of a total population of around 100,000. Praslin and La Digue, about an hours ferry ride from Mahé, are home to the other 10,000 or so citizens with a scattering of people inhabiting the smaller Islands.
The outer islands spread to the southwest and are largely from coral and are flat, almost at sea level. It is on these islands that have been developed for tourism with exclusive resorts.
Although the weather can vary from island to island and from season to season, generally the hottest and wettest time is between November to April. From May to October it’s a little cooler and not as much rain and humidity. Average temperatures range from 24°C – 31°C in the summer months to slightly lower temperatures in the “winter” months. Average sea temperature around 27°C, so even for those wimps who are afraid to get wet you cant get much better than that.
No visa required but a valid passport, return ticket, proof of accommodation and sufficient funds will be checked at the port of entry. There are no tropical diseases and no special vaccinations needed. English and French are widely spoken as is Creole (a strange mix of English, French and African languages).
In the Seychelles English electrical plugs are used, so be sure to bring along adapters. Tap water is to European standard. The currency is Seychelles Rupees and stands at 15 SR to 1 US $ (at time of writing). Light clothing, swimming gear, diving and snorkeling equipment and if you like hiking (70% of Mahé is covered in forest with some wonderful hikes), a pair of sturdy shoes, hat and maybe a light raincoat is all one needs. Sunglasses and lots of sunscreen. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Although it is safe, petty crime is a problem so don’t leave personal belongings unattended. Make sure to ask for the price before purchasing items or taking taxis, boat rides etc.
Buses cost five rupees and pretty much cover the entire island of Mahé so its easy and cheap to get around. Buses are noisy, can be crowded at times and bus drivers drive like crazy on the narrow roads but not to worry as all other traffic gives way to them.
Mahé has approximately 70 white sandy beaches although access to some is difficult, but these prove to be less crowded. Swimming on some beaches can be dangerous, so be sure to check out in advance before diving in.
Mahé covers about 150 square kilometers and most of the population is centered in and around the capital Victoria. Victoria lies on the coast and at the foot of its highest peak ‘Morne Seychelles’ at 905m.
A bustling little town with too many cars and a little chaotic, but nevertheless interesting enough to walk around. From here ferries and various boat tours, helicopter flights can be had.
A warning: Seychelles is expensive, for example, a one-hour ferry ride to the island of Praslin will set you back 150 US$. A half days snorkeling trip (with lunch) about 100 US$. Car hire about 50 US$ a day.
Food in the supermarkets, ridiculously expensive, best to go to the market in Victoria where fish, fruit and vegetables can be purchased at a reasonable price. Don’t even think of buying meat as everything has to be imported.
Chicken from Brazil, lettuce from Spain and so on. Beer, on the other hand, will set you back at 5 US$ a pop at a bar. Surprisingly for a population of around 100,000 Seychellians, who consume no less than 30 millions bottles of the local beer Seybrew annually. Now, that’s a lot of beer!
Unfortunately, due to the effects of rising sea temperatures (the effects of El Niño a couple of years ago and global warming), most of the coral has been decimated around Mahé. Although there is an abundance of fish, it’s a sad sight when snorkeling to see so little coral is left and estimated to take up to 50 years to recover fully. But with warm, crystal clear waters it is still a pleasure to swim, snorkel or dive around Mahé and its surrounding islands.
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