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Tips on travelling to Seychelles from Ralf zur Linde

Ralf zur Linde is joint-CEO and co-founder of Seyvillas, a European-based specialist Seychelles tour operator. Since visiting the Seychelles for the first time in 2003, he's been hooked on the unique culture and beauty of the country, and makes sure to visit whenever he can. 

For information on travels and tours in the Seychelles check out the Seyvillas Website.

What is your favourite thing about Seychelles?

When I first visited the Seychelles, in 2003, I fell in love with the beauty of the islands straight away. The combination of hospitality, amazing food, outstanding beaches, and breathtaking landscapes makes the country one of the most unique places in the world, and it's this uniqueness that I love the most.

When is the best time of year to visit Seychelles? 

The Seychelles are perfect all year round, as the temperature never really changes, usually hovering between 78F and 88F (26C - 31C), like an endless summer! That being said, for those who want a calm sea for the perfect snorkelling experience, and less chance of rain, I would recommend visiting between April and June, or in September and November. Alternatively, July and August are perfect for anyone who wants to try out a bit of sailing or windsurfing, thanks to the trade winds that blow through the region at this time.

Anything special one should pack for a visit to Seychelles?

A camera! Especially if it is your first stay in the Seychelles. You'll be overwhelmed by the unique combination of the turquoise sea, pure white beaches, and huge granite boulders that form a barrier between the sandy beaches and the jungle.

What are your favourite places in Seychelles?

For me, Grande Anse on La Digue is the most beautiful place in the Seychelles. There's even a little restaurant right on the beach with a sandy floor and tropical island wood architecture. It reminds me a little of Robinson Crusoe's beach hut! They serve a fantastic creole buffet, and that makes this place really unique.

Where would you send a first-time visitor?

A first time visitor should at least stay on Mahe and La Digue in order to see the biggest and smallest of the main inhabited islands. Mahe provides its guests with a great variety of beaches and interesting sights, such as the capital, Victoria, the fish market, the rainforest, and numerous other examples of typical Seychelles culture. Around 90 percent of the Seychelles population live on Mahe, so it is also the best place to get to know the locals. La Digue is the opposite of Mahe. It is a small island with very little traffic and only a few shops and restaurants, but still plenty of stunning scenery to take in.

And anywhere they should avoid, in your opinion?

There are no dangerous places in the Seychelles. Visitors are always welcome and the locals treat guests really well, and are renowned for their hospitality. So I would say there is no place that one need avoid.

What kind of accommodation would you recommend in the Seychelles?

There is a great variety of accommodation in the Seychelles, ranging from low-budget backpacker guesthouses to five-star luxury hotels and resorts, so it's easy to find the perfect place to stay depending on your needs. If you book a room for around 150 Euros per night, you'll find it compares favourably to a mid-standard European room, and will certainly be clean, well-maintained, and probably air-conditioned. That's the kind of place I always stay, preferably in a small hotel or guesthouse. I feel much closer to the Seychelles and its people in a place like that. But, as I said, it's really up to the individual, and what they're looking for from their Seychelles holiday.

What is there to do away from the famous beaches?

The Seychelles islands offer a great variety of activities away from sunbathing on the beach. There are some fantastic and well-maintained hiking trails which take you to the heart of some of the islands, including the Seychelles' highest point, the Morne Seychellois on Mahe.

There are also some of the most beautiful snorkelling spots in the Indian Ocean which you won't want to miss. Aside from that, waterskiing, diving, sailing, fishing, and excursions to the smaller uninhabited islands are just some of the other things you can do.

Is there good infrastructure for tourists in Seychelles?

Yes, especially on the three main islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. On all of these islands you can find restaurants, bars, supermarkets and shops, all of which offer everything you'll need for your stay in the Seychelles.

Other basics include a very modern hospital in the capital, Victoria, a well-organised bus service, and many car hire options and petrol stations, taxis, bike rentals and numerous inter-island travel options by helicopter, plane or ferry. On top of that, most places let you pay by credit card, debit card, Euro, or US Dollars, even in small shops, so you've got plenty of choice when it comes to money.

What is the best means of transport when exploring Seychelles?

That really depends on the island that you stay on. On Mahe or Praslin, you can get around by bus, taxi, or hire car. La Digue is so small that bikes are the easiest and best way to get around. Other islands such as Cerf are even smaller than La Digue, so you can reach everything on foot.

What are your favourite local meals in Seychelles?

For sure, my favourite local Seychelles meal is Red Snapper fish with rice and a fine Creole sauce made of tomatoes, onions and some local spices. I also love the smoked fish salad. Seychelles smoked fish is, in general, much better than what you find elsewhere in the world.

What are the best souvenirs to buy in the Seychelles?

The seed of the Coco de Mer palm tree is a good choice, as it only grows in the Seychelles, and is the biggest seed of any plant in the world, sometimes being over a foot in size! However, make sure you buy it from a certified vendor, and obtain proof of authenticity, otherwise you won't be allowed to export it.

How expensive is Seychelles as a travel destination?

Accommodation, food and drink, and travel in the Seychelles are more or less the same as Central or Northern Europe. Things like taxis, bread, cheese and soft drinks cost roughly the same as they do in countries like the UK or Germany. If you want to cut costs a bit, try to buy local produce, as imported goods are often more expensive than local goods.

It also depends on the accommodation you stay in. There are lots of nice, affordable options which make the islands really accessible for all budgets. As you would expect, some of the high-end resorts can be quite expensive, but are still worth a look if you can afford it! 

For information on travels and tours in the Seychelles check out the Seyvillas Website.