Green, safe and unerringly beautiful, this island group in the Indian Ocean is the perfect long-haul escape to start planning for
The Seychelles Islands is not only one of the world’s most pristine destinations, but one of the safest. Among a handful of several small nations able to control the coronavirus pandemic, it is now welcoming international guests to enjoy its exceptional climate and sublime beauty.
An archipelago of 115 lush islands in the Indian Ocean, it is perfect for those looking to escape the stresses of life. With numerous white sand beaches, vibrant coral reefs and abundant nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as Aldabra giant tortoises, the picturesque islands
offer visitors a piece of tropical paradise and a taste of history. It’s no surprise to learn that this region of the world has topped the bucket-list of lockdown Britons planning their next big holiday. Here’s everything you need to know.
How to get there
Three major airlines – Emirates, Etihad and Ethiopian – started flights to the Seychelles in August, with more airlines, including British Airways, adding the islands to their networks in September and October. Flight take around 10 hours from London to Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) on the island of Mahé. British Airways provides the only direct flights to Seychelles from the UK capital and, prior to lockdown, offered two departures a week, with night flights on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
As lockdown continues to ease, the government has revealed a list of countries from which inbound tourist and returning travellers do not need to self-isolate. The Seychelles is exempt from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice against all non-essential international travel and is on the Department for Transport’s travel corridors list, meaning when returning to the UK, travellers will not need to self-isolate for 14 days. In the Seychelles, a traffic light system is in place, with visitors only from low (green) and medium risk (amber) countries allowed in. A negative Covid-19 PCR test taken a maximum of 72 hours before boarding the plane and a booking voucher at a Safe Tourism Certified establishment or liveaboard is the foremost requirement for entry. Currently the UK is marked as red, but the list is being reviewed weekly.
The chief executive officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board, Sherin Francis, has sent a strong message to the world, telling travellers that “Seychelles has fared very well with the number of cases we had and the country was quick to react with bold and necessary measures”.
Francis added that the destination has implemented specific protocols and guidelines concerning travelling to the country and hygiene in places such as airports and hotels. She also urged visitors to maintain best practices during their travels and stay in Seychelles. Although visitors will have to minimise their interactions with the local community,
they will be able to carry on with their holiday activities such as sightseeing and tours, island hopping and excursions.
Some 307 hotels on different islands have already been Safe Tourism Certified and received the stamp to start welcoming guests, as they meet the required health and safety checks.
With its exceptional climate – an average of 29 degrees all year round – the Seychelles is ideal for island-hopping: islands where magnificent granite boulders, among the oldest on Earth, flank powder-soft beaches among the most beautiful on the planet.
It is a token of the richness of its amazing ecosystems that Seychelles has not one, but two Unesco World Heritage sites: the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, unchanged since prehistoric times, and Aldabra, the world’s largest raised coral atoll. Guests can relax and take in the scenery, enjoy one its many exceptional spas, or head out on adventures, with many sports-orientated holidays on offer – including hiking, diving, sailing and fishing. The islands offer a wide range of accommodation from luxurious five-star hotels to beachside bungalows and self-caterings. It’s no surprise they are so popular for weddings, honeymoons and romantic getaways.
To become a Seychelles expert please visit seychellessuperstar.co.uk