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Essentials

A - Z of the Essentials

Art and Artists - the Seychelles is home to many talented artists, mostly resident on Mahe, where several galleries exist. The visitor can usually visit the artist’s home gallery and buy originals or prints if desired.

Banks- many banks exist within Victoria, in larger villages, and at the airport. Banks also exist on Praslin and La Digue. Most banks are only open in the mornings, but some also in the afternoon. The banks at the airport open for international plane arrivals and departures. Eurocheques are only accepted by Barclays Bank ($ 150 US per week), or by Banque Francaise ($ 200 US per day). Most hotels will also exchange money, but at a worse exchange rate. When exchanging money back upon departure, not all currencies are available so you might have to accept US dollars.

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Bank Holidays - 1 + 2 January (new years day), Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, 1 May (Labour Day), Corpus Christi, 18 June (National Holiday), 19 June (Independence Day), 15 August (Assumption Day), 1 November (All Saints Day), 8 December (The Immaculate Conception), 25 December (Christmas Day).

Bathing - bathing and swimming is considered safe. At certain times of the year, certain beaches are not suitable for swimming due to strong underwater currents. There is no danger from sharks, no attack has taken place within the last 20 years and no Great Whites exist around the main islands. Plastic toe covered shoes are advised whilst swimming, to protect from coral or Stone Fish (very rare within the islands). Naked and topless bathing is strictly forbidden, a fine can be imposed if caught.

Casinos - casinos exist in Beau Vallon Bay Hotel and Plantation Club Hotel on Mahe, also on Praslin in Praslin Beach Hotel.

Chemists - three chemists exist within Victoria, usually open Monday - Friday 9:00 - 17:00, Saturday 9:00 - 12:00. Medicines are expensive and limited in supply, so bring what you will need.

Climate - a tropical climate rules the Seychelles, with two Monsoons determining the season. November to March is the time of the Northwest Monsoon, and April to October is the time of the Southeast Monsoon. Air temperature throughout the year is between 24 and 30oC, with the water temperature between 26 and 30oC.

Customs - the Seychelles allow the visitor to bring their own personal effects with them and take them back, free of duty. Persons 18 years or older are permitted 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco, 1 litre wine, 250 ml Eau de Toilette, 125 ml perfume, and a present up to a value of SR 400 to bring with them. Strictly illegal are drugs, narcotics and weapons of all types, including air pistols and harpoons. Animals may only be imported after a Quarantine period. Before leaving the Seychelles passengers older than 12 years of age must buy departure coupons from the airport’s banks, costing SR 100 per person.

Creole Festival - each year on the 28th October begins the Creole Festival, which is celebrated throughout the Creole world. The festival lasts for several days, being a big celebration.

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Discos - discos exist in the Seychelles, the majority to be found within Victoria in the Revolution Avenue. They can also be found in some villages, and several hotels provide discos throughout the week.

Doctors / Hospitals - medical treatment for Seychellois is free, but tourists must pay. In most of the large hotels a sister is on duty. The central hospital is situated in Victoria, in the Mont Fleur Road, Tel: 224400. On Praslin 2 clinics exist, and another one on La Digue. The majority of injuries obtained by tourists are; damaged feet from coral, ear pain from diving, seasickness and especially sunburn. Emergency telephone number is 999.

Drugs - on the Seychelles drugs are taken very seriously, and are strictly forbidden. Handling in drugs will lead to strong sentencing.

Electricity - standard electricity is 220/240 Volts. World travel adapters are recommended. In the larger hotels, the adapters are usually available.

Emergency Telephone Number - the emergency telephone number for police, fire and ambulance is 999.

Languages - the official language is English, but French is also heavily spoken and doubles as a second official language. The local people speak their own language in addition, called Creole.

Marriage - it is possible to arrange a wedding on the Seychelles, most travel agents will be happy to assist you, or contact the local Seychelles Tourist Office. The wedding is recognised within most European countries.

Money - the local monetary unit is the Seychelles Rupie, SR 1 = 100 cents. It is recommended to take US Travellers Cheques, Eurocheques are accepted in only a few locations. Credit cards are accepted in several restaurants, tourist shops and most hotels, but not everywhere. It is advised to exchange money within the banks, usually in each village, hotels tend to give a worse exchange rate.

Nature Preservation - is taken very seriously on the Seychelles. The people will not take kindly to visitors damaging their nature resources, and offenders are strictly dealt with.

Opening Hours - the opening hours of shops, post offices, etc. vary from village to village. Between 8:00 - 12:00 mornings and 13:00 - 16:00 afternoons one will find most shops open for business, from Monday to Friday, Saturdays in the mornings only. Most of the banks are only open in the mornings, with the exception of those at the airport.

Passport / Papers - for all countries, one requires a passport which is still valid for at least 6 months. Also required is a return plane ticket and proof of at least the first 3 nights accommodation within the Seychelles. A visa will be given to you upon entry. Immunisation certificates are not required if you are coming direct from Europe, only if you are coming from an infected country.

Petrol Stations - on Mahe there exist several petrol stations, in Victoria, opposite the airport, etc. In the two villages on Praslin there are also petrol stations. Opening times are usually Monday - Saturday 8:00 - 16:30 (some to 18:00), Sunday 8:00 - 11:00 (some 12:00).

Photo Service - photo development and film buying is best done in Victoria, although other shops exist which sell films. It is expensive to buy films within the Seychelles and it is advisable to bring plenty with you.

Police - the police headquarters is situated in Victoria, in the Revolution Avenue, next to the Church. Telephone number is 322011. Police stations exist in most of the larger villages, on Praslin and La Digue.

Post Offices - the main post office is situated within Victoria, in the Independence Avenue, near to the clock tower. It is open Monday - Friday 8:00 - 16-00, Saturday 8:00 - 12:00. Two post offices also exist on Praslin. Stamps and post facilities exist within most of the large hotels.

Religion - 91% of the people are Catholic, 7.5% are Anglican.

Sun Protection - due to the close proximity to the equator, the sun on the Seychelles is exceptionally strong, the white sand increasing its effects. It is not advisable to lie in direct sunlight during the first few days of your vacation. A strong suntan lotion or sun block is recommended, as is wearing a hat, protecting your head from direct sunlight. For water sport fans, e.g. snorkelling, a T-shirt should be worn.

Telephones - telephoning from the Seychelles is problem free, but somewhat expensive, $7 US per minute, and even more expensive from hotels. In the post offices and from a few shops, it is possible to buy phone cards in different amounts. To obtain an international line dial a single ‘0’ followed by the country code, city code (usually without the leading ‘0’) and the telephone number.

Tipping - the service charge is usually included extra within the price of a meal, however for good service an extra tip of 5 - 10% can be given. It is polite to tip the room boy and porter upon departure.

Time Difference - in winter the time difference in comparison to GMT is +4 hours (+3 hours CET), and in summer +3 hours GMT (+2 hours CET).

Water - drinking water is considered safe, and drinkable. It is however recommended to drink bottled water for the first few weeks to prevent stomach pains.

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