At the end of April 2021, Ankit and I boarded a flight for the first time in a year to go on holiday to Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands off the coast of East Africa that’s home to white sand beaches with swaying palms, vibrant flora and fauna, turquoise waters thriving with marine life, coral reefs, azure bays framed by grey granite boulders, and island vibes that promise to restore your balance. The three main islands of interest to visitors are Mahé – that is also home to the capital Victoria, Praslin, and La Digue.
We were anxious, masked, and fully vaccinated when we left home in Dubai, with a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure. But we were full of questions about what it would really be like to vacation during a pandemic.
- Would there be social distancing around the country?
- Would people wear masks as religiously as we did?
- Would we truly be able to relax in a place that was supposed to feel like paradise?
While I was certain that almost every aspect of the holiday- from airports and flights to activities and hotel buffets would be vastly different from the before-times, I booked this trip, encouraged by the high vaccination rates (over 60% of the population was fully vaccinated when we visited) and low case fatality rates, abundance of remote beaches and outdoor activities, and what I’d read about the steps taken by the country to protect both locals and tourists.
Tourism contributes to 66% of the GDP in Seychelles, so the country was quick to vaccinate a majority of its population of just over 98,000, thanks to the Sinopharm vaccine donated by the UAE and the Covishield vaccine, a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine being manufactured in India. Quite early on, in terms of vaccination drives worldwide, Seychelles rose to become the country with the highest per-capita vaccination rates, even ahead of Israel.
I’ve written up this trip report to provide information and offer a realistic picture of what it’s like to visit Seychelles to anyone who might be considering a trip to the islands in the near future.
Please bear in mind that this info is current as of early July 2021, and rules, restrictions, as well as infection rates are subject to change at short notice, so please consider this post as a starting point for your decision-making and trip planning, but please also do your own research online and keep an eye on latest developments to make an informed decision.
Seychelles Travel Restrictions and Requirements
Who can visit Seychelles?
Encouraged by its high vaccination rates, and hoping to reach herd immunity by mid-2021, Seychelles opened to all visitors from March 25, 2021, regardless of their vaccination status. At the moment (as of 10th July 2021), it is closed to travelers who have spent the last 14 days before arrival in South Africa, Brazil, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.
While being vaccinated is not a requirement, international visitors are highly encouraged to be fully vaccinated before traveling to Seychelles.
Tourists to Seychelles are not required to quarantine on arrival, as long as they have a negative PCR test result.
- Whether or not you’re vaccinated, you must have a negative PCR test result (in English or French), from a test taken maximum 72 hours before departure. The test results must clearly indicate sampling time and date, the contact info of the lab and testing method. Be sure to have it printed out as SMS results are not accepted.
- You’re required to have travel health insurance that covers COVID-19 related costs including isolation, quarantine, and treatment.
- You don’t need a visa to visit Seychelles- this applies to all nationalities- but you DO need to apply for entry, a few days in advance of your flight, and get a Health Travel Authorization from the official website.
Health Travel Authorization
Our authorization arrived within 6 hours of us applying for it online, but officially it can take up to 9 hours. You will receive the authorization via email – save it as a pdf, print it out, or save it on your phone. It needs to be presented at check-in, and you cannot board the flight to Seychelles without it, so be sure to have it.
Note that you will be emailed a receipt and application confirmation immediately after you apply for the authorization – this is different from the authorization approval itself, that you should see in your inbox after 6 to 9 hours.
Here’s what you need to submit in order to be approved for entry and to get your Health Travel Authorization:
- A negative COVID-19 PCR test result from a test taken not more than 72 hours before departure.
- Passport and flight details.
- A copy of your accommodation reservation- hotel or apartment, for the entire duration of your stay.
- Proof/ certificate of vaccination, if you’re vaccinated.
- A passport photo
- Credit or debit card details to pay the 10 EUR fee.
- You will also get the option to pre-book your PCR test in Seychelles if you need it for your return flight. You can also do that on this website and have the medical staff visit you at your hotel to do your PCR test before your flight back.
Best Time to Visit Seychelles
While Seychelles enjoys tropical climate year-round, think bright sunny days and warm weather, the months from May to October are ideal for hikes, sailing, and windsurfing, while April and November, though much hotter, are perfect for snorkeling and diving, with high underwater visibility. When we visited at the end of April, there were a few rainy days and some days with very high humidity.
Flying abroad after more than a year: What it was like
I’ll admit I was very anxious, being something of a germaphobe even in the before-times. You can only imagine how full of questions my head was before we got on the flight, wondering if I was deliberately endangering our health, and if all of this was even necessary.
Was it necessary? No it was not- that is the truth. But having been fully vaccinated for a couple of months, it felt like it was time to dare to head out into the world again. And a place with such high vaccination rates and plenty of things to do in the outdoors, away from other people, seemed like a good place to start.
I’d let travel define who I was for so long- seven years to be precise, I’d forgotten who I was without it, and even after over a year of staying home, I had no clear answer to that. I have never defined myself in terms of my relationships, as a daughter or a wife, even though I am those things because ever since I was a child, my sense of identity and self comes from myself alone.
I was a writer, nature-lover, hiker, creative, but none of these things was thriving without the inspiration I got from travel. Heck, many of these didn’t even feel like a possibility and I felt like a complete fraud.
So we went, because I needed to feel like myself again.
Flying with masks
When we left home for the airport, we wore N-95 masks and face shields, because if they’re safe enough for medical staff, then that’s the level of protection we’d be going for.
We got a few curious looks at Dubai International Airport because most people were wearing regular surgical masks, but if there’s a time to not care about what people think or what you look like, then a pandemic is definitely it.
Dubai Airport was almost as busy as the before-times, with tons of people queuing up for security check, touching trays, escalators etc. So even though most people kept their distance from others, I wasn’t taking any chances on some moron getting in my space; I had my N-95 mask and shield to protect me.
The flight duration from Dubai to Mahé, Seychelles was four and a half hours. On our Emirates flight, Ankit and I had the entire row of three seats to ourselves. There was a guy in the seats behind us and somebody in the row next to us. The passengers were pretty well-spaced out and the flight wasn’t full.
We kept our N-95 masks on but took off the shields after an hour or so in the flight. We took our masks off to eat after a few hours. Then, we wore regular surgical masks instead of the N-95 ones which were making me feel a bit stuffy.
Our flight began to descend upon Mahé just as the first rays of the sun were lighting up the horizon, a beautiful orange-red line appeared behind dark cloud silhouettes that stood outside my window like demigods welcoming us to paradise.
Sanitize, wash, sanitize, on repeat
We washed our hands and sanitized them a zillion times at the airport, every time we touched a surface or trays at security check or a pack of nuts at the duty free store or maybe even when we had not sanitized them in the last five minutes. I told you I was a germaphobe and I’d rather have dry hands with peeling skin than the damn virus.
On the flight, even before we sat down, we sanitized all the surfaces before us- arm rests, tray tables, screens, entertainment systems, and controls. And of course, each time we used the restroom, we washed our hands for 30 seconds with soap.
I know it seems obvious, but I am shocked, from my observations at the airport and other public spaces in general, at how quickly the hygiene lessons from the last year have been forgotten as more people are getting vaccinated. The germaphobe in me is deeply unhappy about that.
Arrival in Seychelles
Our arrival at Seychelles International Airport was seamless- disembarkation was quick and orderly. Our temperature was checked and we were asked to present our Health Travel Authorization, which we both had saved on our phones. Ours was the only flight to have arrived at that hour, so we got our bags quickly.
The airport is small, and as soon as you step out, you’ll find counters and kiosks of car rental and phone companies if you’re interested in getting a local SIM.
We planned to rent a car for the duration of our week-long trip, and as it wasn’t exactly busy tourist season, we rented a car on the spot after arriving. But in peak tourist season, the queues can be long and you might not get the car you like at the rate you prefer, so perhaps rent a car online before you arrive to be a bit more organized.
We also got a local SIM with data from the Cable & Wireless Seychelles kiosk. Once we were attended to, it took under ten minutes and the whole thing was very straightforward.
When we were heading for the money exchange at the airport, we were advised by the man at the car rental kiosk to wait until we get to Victoria where exchanges offer more favorable rates. From our experience, he was right.
Should you rent a car in Seychelles?
Tourists aren’t currently allowed on public buses – which I think is a necessary step to protect locals during the pandemic.
Regardless of that, renting a car in Seychelles gives you the freedom to explore the islands at your own pace. Over our week in Seychelles, having our own set of wheels meant we found ourselves in beautiful, remote, totally empty beaches on Mahé, thanks to tips by locals and being able to spontaneously stop by spectacular viewpoints and gorgeous coastlines.
We also drove to the capital Victoria during the week to see a bit of local life in Seychelles – something we’d have to spend an exorbitant amount of taxi fare on had we not rented a car. Which brings me to mention that taxis are crazy expensive in Seychelles.
Our car rental company accepted our valid UAE license in order to rent us a car. You need to be over 21 to rent a car in Seychelles.
What it’s like to drive in Seychelles
Driving is on the left side of the road and the steering is on the right. On Mahé, the roads, which are in generally good condition, are narrow and mountainous, so expect hairpin turns, and steep ascents and descents. For the same reasons, driving should be slow and requires focus.
When I’d first looked at the places I wanted to visit on a map and considered distances, I hadn’t thought of 6 or 7kms as too far. But in reality, driving on the mountainous roads is slow, so a relatively short distance could actually end up meaning a 30 to 45 minute drive. That is something you should consider while booking your accommodation.
The locals are used to driving on these roads, and can sometimes be a bit impatient, but in such cases they simply overtake you while you keep going at a reasonable pace that feels comfortable. Stay alert for public buses coming from the other direction, especially on steep turns.
During the day, the views along the way are incredible. On our very first drive from the airport to our resort, our jaws dropped at the towering palms, azure coastline, lush green foliage, and forested roads that took us to the Constance Ephelia Mahé. We hadn’t seen nature like this in over a year, such saturated blues and greens, and the 40 minutes of driving went by quickly.
All that being said, driving at night after dark is a whole other deal, especially if you’re not staying close to Victoria, and like us, are somewhere in the interior of Mahé. Street lighting isn’t great, with large stretches of the road being dark. At that hour, the winding roads feel somewhat risky if you aren’t used to driving on such roads.
On our late evening drive back to the airport, it began to pour heavily and visibility wasn’t great. Fueled up on espresso, Ankit did a remarkable job of getting us safely to Victoria, but the 45-minute drive took an hour, thanks to him being cautious on the wet roads.
So if you’re going to be driving after dark and need to get to the airport at a certain time, make sure you keep a bit of a buffer for delays.
Safety and hygiene measures at resorts
We stayed at the luxurious Constance Ephelia Mahe that lies within the Morne Seychelles National Park and overlooks the Port Launay Marine Park. Barely a day into a week-long trip, we began to notice the strict adherence to COVID-19 safety measures by the staff at our resort. From the check-in process and the breakfast buffet to activities like kayaking and snorkeling, everything was different, adjusted for the new reality of our world, yet somehow seamless and stress-free.
Masks and temperature checks
Resort staff wore masks diligently – whether it was staff at the reception, waiters at the restaurants, fitness instructors at the gym, bartenders pouring our cocktails, or staff at the watersports center who helped us into our kayaks.
They were also proactive about telling guests who had their masks down to pull them up, which is something I can truly appreciate, given my irritation with people who are out there trying to protect their chins or beards or whatever. Notices around the resort informed guests that they would not be served or attended to if they didn’t enter venues with masks on.
Admittedly, and maybe somewhat expectedly, there are plenty of people traveling now who don’t care about wearing masks, can’t be bothered to maintain enough distance, won’t wash their hands, or will sneeze and cough recklessly contaminating surfaces and people around them. Yes, sadly, there are still people who have learnt nothing from the hygiene lessons of last year. Your only defense against them? To speak up when rules are being broken, keep your distance, and wear a mask so you can protect yourself. This is not the time to ‘be nice’.
Resort staff were also particular about checking our temperature each time. So from breakfast to dinner, every guest at the resort had their temperature checked at least three times a day – at restaurants, the fitness center, or at the boathouses on the resort’s two beaches, which was also reassuring.
No such thing as over-sanitizing
Sanitizers were placed at all restaurant entrances and each time we entered one, staff came up to us with a sanitizer asking that we use it before we were seated.
We also noticed them sanitizing all surfaces repeatedly and regularly – from restaurant tables to pens.
At the boat house watersports center, life-jackets and kayaks were thoroughly sanitized between each use, with guests being told off for touching things without asking first, as they would have to be re-sanitized.
What hotel buffets are like now
Everyone knows that hotel buffets have never been hygienic – there’s always that person who wants to touch the bread but then keep it back because they changed their mind. Thankfully, the pandemic has changed how buffets operate these days, and I hope the old ways never come back, I mean with respect to buffets.
At our resort in Seychelles, while there was still a delightful, abundant breakfast buffet every morning, guests were not allowed to serve themselves – whether it was a croissant, salad, yogurt, or juice, we had to patiently wait to be served by staff. At Constance Ephelia, staff was attentive and watchful of guests’ body language to make sure they wouldn’t take liberties and touch the serving spoons – which a few people tried to do (of course).
Shared spaces within the resort
Most people kept their masks on in the shared indoor spaces around the resort such as the reception, restaurants, fitness center, and the buggy that took guests around the massive property and between beaches. Any time a guest wasn’t wearing a mask, they were requested to do so by staff.
We got the feeling that resort staff, at every level, was well-trained to follow certain procedures during the pandemic and that this could be the result of a program that was well-executed by the local tourism authority in Seychelles. If other resorts and accommodation providers around Seychelles are able to maintain similar high standards of hygiene and safety, then tourists have little to worry about.
Safety and hygiene measures around local experiences
I’m well aware that luxury resorts can often be a bubble, a (very comfortable, sometimes much-needed) world of their own, so I think it might be worth knowing what the situation is like when you step out of that bubble where staff is well-trained in a business whose bottomline now depends on making guests feel safe during their stay.
We made good use of our rental car and visited nearby towns, beaches, and local restaurants and stores. On our third day in Seychelles, we drove to the capital Victoria to do a bit of sightseeing. I was keen to visit a few museums and art galleries and have a meal at Marie Antoinette, a restaurant that is something of an institution.
Now, it is here in the Seychelles of the locals, that we were pleasantly surprised. In busy markets, local restaurants, grocery stores, and even standing alone on bus stops in the scorching afternoon heat, almost every local had their mask properly up. Unless they were on a beach or in the water, far away from other people, I didn’t see a local without their mask on.
In Victoria, on Beau Vallon beach, and elsewhere around Mahé, signs at the entrances of restaurants advised visitors that they would not be served unless they were wearing masks.
From a tiny store selling hats, not far from the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market in Victoria and a beachfront gelato shop to a famous art gallery and a legendary Creole restaurant, locals checked for properly worn masks, held out sanitizers, and conducted temperature checks in what seemed like the result of a perfectly implemented training program to bring back tourism, while still emphasizing that safety and hygiene were non-negotiable.
It was reassuring and proof that it was possible to vacation safely during the pandemic, if only the right systems were in place and people were willing to follow them.
What is there to do in Seychelles?
Seychelles is a dream destination for those who love the outdoors in all its forms – think pristine beaches hugged by the Indian Ocean, lush hiking trails in national parks, coral atoll islands, and the clearest, prettiest waters you’ll find yourself in. You’ll want to make the most of these soul-healing, mind-blowing landscapes by exploring them every which way; by kayak, swimming and snorkeling, and hiking to viewpoints so incredible that even the sweat dripping from every inch of your body feels like part of the reward.
Visit the beaches on Mahé
Your first order of business on holiday in Seychelles should be to get yourself on a beach or two, (or three), buy a coconut water, lie down under the best-looking palm tree you can find, let go of the concept of time, and just relax. The islands are dotted with beautiful spots along the coastline, and hidden bays and coves with first-row tickets to the grandest views of the Indian Ocean.
You don’t even need to leave the main island of Mahé to find some of the country’s prettiest beaches – both sandy ones and those flanked by smooth granite boulders. This is where having a rental car works great because you can do a road trip along a particular coast and visit a few beaches over a single day. If you’d rather not worry about driving, then this day trip that takes you to five beaches on Mahé in one day is a good choice.
Taking the advice of locals, over one sunny afternoon that emerged after a couple of rainy days, we visited Anse Petit Boileau, Police Bay, Petite Police Beach, Anse Intendance, and Grand Anse Beach all of which were described as among the most beautiful beaches on Mahe. We had most of these beaches almost entirely to ourselves, and for a few blissful moments, it felt like we were the only two people in the world, sitting by the ocean.
On our way back from visiting Victoria, we also visited the famous Beau Vallon beach that is among the longest beaches in Mahe, where you’ll find watersports like kayaking, surfing, snorkelling, jet skis, and more, plus restaurants and cafes in the neighborhood.
With most beaches, you need to park your car at designated parking spots and then walk down a narrow trail to make your way to the beach. Thankfully, not all beaches in Seychelles are commercial, so it’s best to bring your own towels, water, and snacks.
Other than swimming, you can also rent a kayak or pedal boat or go stand-up paddleboarding. The views of the coastlines and islands from the water are just as spectacular.
Go island-hopping to Praslin and La Digue
If you’re visiting for more than a couple of days, it’s worth making the trip to the islands of Praslin, the second largest island after Mahe, and La Digue. You can get to both by the Cat Cocos ferry from Mahé. You can check ferry schedules and book tickets online in advance here.
Most visitors to Praslin don’t want to miss Anse Lazio, a picture-perfect beach with soft white sand and dreamy blue-green water. When in Praslin, it’s also worth visiting Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can see the endemic coco de mer palm trees. This organized day trip from Praslin takes you to both sights in a single day.
La Digue is famously home to what many people think is the most beautiful beach in the world- Anse Source d’Argent with its coral reef, unique granite rock formations on the sandy beach, and shallow waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The best way to explore the island? Rent a bike and enjoy the scenery on two wheels. You can also do a day trip to La Digue from Praslin. This guided tour takes care of all the logistics if you don’t want to organize this on your own.
While many people do the trip to La Digue or Praslin as a day trip from Mahé, if you’re doing this on your own, I’d recommend spending a night on each island at least. The ferry trip between Mahe and Praslin is 1 hour and 15 minutes and between Mahe and La Digue is 1 hour and 45 minutes. You do need to get to the ferry at least 10 to 15 minutes before departure so you can check-in.
Go snorkeling at St Anne Marine National Park
In Seychelles, you’ll find as much beauty under the surface of the water as you will on land, so don’t miss the chance to go snorkeling on your Seychelles holiday. The St Anne Marine National Park, the oldest marine reserve in the country, is made up of six islands, 5km off the coast of Mahe.
You can glide on the waters by glass-bottomed boat, go snorkeling to see colorful corals and over 150 species of marine life, and swim with hawksbill turtles. If it’s your lucky day, you might even spot dolphins. Afterwards, relax on one of the quiet beaches or sit down for a seafood lunch at one of the restaurants. You can also book a catamaran trip to St Anne Marine National Park that involves seeing the marine life through glass windows in a semi-submerged vehicle, lunch with live music, and plenty of beach time.
Meet giant tortoises and sea turtles
The Aldabra giant tortoises, indigenous to the Aldabra atoll in Seychelles, were once on the brink of extinction thanks to over-hunting. Other than Seychelles, the Galapagos is the only place in the world where you’ll find these giant tortoises, bigger than you can imagine when you think of tortoises.They can live for as long as 200 years and eat plants, fruits, and herbs. Today, you’ll also find them on the premises of many resorts around Seychelles, that might allow guests to participate in their daily feeding activity.
The largest population of Aldabra giant tortoises can be found on the Aldabra atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, made up of four islands – but since that takes time to get to, consider a visit to Curieuse Island where you can see them roam freely at a conservation and rehabilitation center. This guided day trip offers a fantastic day’s itinerary of snorkeling, beaches, and getting up close with giant tortoises.
Both Praslin and La Digue are also good places to see Hawksbill turtles.
Visit the capital Victoria
Considering that nearly one-third of the population of Seychelles lives in the capital Victoria, this city is worth a visit for travelers who want to see a bit of local life, away from the bubble of resorts.
The Victoria Clock Tower, brought in 1903 when the Seychelles became a British colony, marks the city center. Located next to it is the National Museum of History, housed in a colonial-era building, which offers context about the Seychelles’ history and Creole culture.
To shop for souvenirs, browse handmade jewelry and crafts at Camion Hall, within walking distance. For a slice of local life, make your way to Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market where vendors sell fresh fruit, vegetables, spices, and more.
Continue your walking tour to arrive at the astonishingly colorful facade of Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple, the only Hindu temple in Seychelles, built in 1992.
Don’t miss a wander through Kaz Zanana, a gallery that exhibits the impressive paintings of Seychellois artist George Camille, housed in a traditional Creole wooden building built in 1915. You might just be tempted to buy a painting as a souvenir.
Finally, spend some time at the Botanical Gardens that offer a verdant respite from the afternoon heat, as well as a chance to see coco de mer palms and giant tortoises.
Try Creole cuisine
As a result of its diverse population, the cuisine of Seychelles draws influences from different food cultures around the world. Seychellois Creole dishes reminded me a bit of Indian curries – rich, flavorful from the use of spices, and the slight creamy sweetness of coconut in some of them reminded me of Thai food. Then there was steamed fish, cooked wrapped in banana leaves, the accompanying chutney packing a punch, coconut curry served on rice, and breadfruit – creating a beautiful marriage of flavors and textures in my mouth.
By the way, unless you’re vegetarian, seafood and fish (seabass, red snapper) is definitely what you should be ordering a lot of in the Seychelles. The bounty of the sea is abundant and fresh, and when cooked in the local style, is absolutely delicious. Octopus Curry is a local specialty, and I have to say the octopus we tasted here was delicious. There are plenty of local restaurants to try in Mahe and Victoria, and we didn’t have a single bad meal.
But food lovers should, without a doubt, head to Marie-Antoinette in Victoria for a memorable Creole meal. Located in a wood and iron colonial-era mansion, the restaurant is something of an institution. On the menu you’ll find grilled fish, curries with rice, aubergine fritters, and salads. If you’re sure about what or how much to order (everything is reasonably priced), just ask for recommendations.
Other than local cuisine, you’ll find everything from Italian and French to Indian food served at restaurants around the country.
Is it expensive to visit Seychelles?
Contrary to popular belief, Seychelles is not just for ultra-luxury tourists, though there are plenty of luxury resorts. In addition to those, there are guesthouses, self-catering apartments, as well as Airbnb apartments around all three islands. Whatever your budget (but well, it can’t be the bare minimum), there are options for accommodation, depending on level of luxury and location.
When it comes to eating out, local restaurants and cafes are not exorbitantly priced, though that is the case with restaurants located in luxury resorts. There is also a takeaway culture where you’ll find restaurants selling grilled fish with sides and salads, fried chicken, and snacks that are perfect for a hot afternoon at the beach. Around Victoria, you’ll also find plenty of cafes if you’re in the mood for light meals, sandwiches, and baked goods.
If you’d rather cook, then book a self-catering accommodation, so you can shop for groceries and save on your eating out budget.
So, my point is that it is totally possible to visit Seychelles on a mid-range budget.
How to get to Seychelles
Emirates, Etihad Airways, Oman Air, Air Seychelles, and KLM are some airlines that fly to Seychelles. You can browse flights to Seychelles here. At the moment, Seychelles has a travel corridor with the UAE, which means you can fly to Seychelles from Dubai or Abu Dhabi, if you have spent at least 14 days in the UAE and can prove it via hotel bookings, or are resident in the UAE.
Tips and Practical Information
- As a result of French colonization of the islands, the language- Seychellois Creole has French roots, and English and French are widely spoken around the country.
- The local currency is the Seychelles Rupee but hotels and resorts will accept US Dollars and Euros, as well as cards. Cards are also accepted at mid-range to high-end local restaurants. But to shop in local markets and to eat at local takeaway spots, it’s best to carry some cash.
- You can exchange money at banks and exchange bureaus in Victoria and other cities and towns. Be sure to compare rates as these can vary.
- You will need plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent- this is a tropical holiday after all.
- Pack light, breathable clothing that won’t cling to your skin on high humidity days, comfortable walking shoes, and flip-flops (because the barefoot sand-in-my-toes lifestyle will lure you in, I promise).
What are the current restrictions for tourists?
- Wearing masks in public spaces – at the airport, in taxis, cars, restaurants, markets is mandatory, failing which they may be fined. Social distancing of 1.5meters must be maintained.
- Gatherings are limited to four people.
- Tourists must stay in licensed accommodation – that includes hotels, resorts, guesthouses, apartments and liveaboards. It’s recommended to stay at safe certified establishments – these are certified by the Seychelles health authorities to be compliant with COVID-19 guidelines.
- Tourists must also use licensed taxi and car operators, as well as licensed guides and activity providers for activities such as fishing, kayaking, and snorkeling trips.
- Tourists are not allowed to use public buses.
- There are daily movement restrictions between 23:00 and 4:00 hours.
What is the current situation with COVID-19 cases?
Presently, 69% of the population in Seychelles have received two doses of vaccination and 72% have received at least one dose.
While cases were low when we visited in April, the number of infections rose in May, believed to be caused by the Delta variant. Since then restrictions were re-imposed and cases have declined.
Cases also rose after Easter celebrations, and the government believes community transmission among the local population increased after people began to take less precautions after getting vaccinated.
As of 8th July 2021, there were 1064 active cases in the country. You can check the latest numbers on the official website of the health ministry.
As of 10th July 2021, there have been 74 deaths from COVID-19 in Seychelles since the beginning of the pandemic. Six fully vaccinated people died in Seychelles, of which five were vaccinated with Covishield and one with Sinopharm.
What should a tourist do if they get COVID-19 when in Seychelles?
If a tourist begins to show symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, or new loss of smell/taste), they need to inform the management of their accommodation. They will be tested and if found positive, will need to isolate and receive medical care. The official health ministry website offers more information. Here is a list of private medical centers that offer COVID-19 testing.
In case of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic cases, isolation is allowed at a certified tourism accommodation establishment at the visitor’s own cost.
How can tourists get a COVID-19 PCR test for their flight back home?
In Seychelles, it is very convenient for tourists to get their PCR test done for their flight back home, if required by the airline or the country they are returning to. In fact, visitors can choose to get tested in their hotel by a medical team that travels around the islands of Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue every day, conducting tests for a fee. This service must be booked online in advance. You can check the various packages available here.
Other than this, you can also get tested by the Public Health Authority or at private clinics such as the Euro Medical Family Clinic. To book a PCR test appointment with the Public Health Authority, contact 4388410 or email [email protected]
Test results are usually available within 48 hours, but it’s best to confirm at the time of taking the test. The PCR test cost is slightly cheaper at the testing centers run by the Public Health Authority versus at private centers.
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