Fancy taking a family vacation in an island paradise this year?
With news that Seychelles is freely opening its borders to most countries once more, we thought we’d take a quick look at what one of our nearest island neighbours in the Indian Ocean has to offer – far more than just fancy honeymoons!
Sitting off the east coast of Africa, Seychelles is a bit of a hidden gem for families. Not just palm trees and stunning white beaches but a huge range of nature experiences to enjoy too. Home to the incredible Aldabra Giant Land Tortoise and some of the world’s most unique species of flora and fauna, it’s a snorkelling and diving paradise.
Let’s take an explore, not just the 2021 re-opening of the island but where to stay and what there is for families to see and do in Seychelles.
Rules for visiting the Seychelles post-COVID
The Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism announced on 4 March 2021 the reopening of the country to visitors from 25 March 2021, regardless of vaccine status.
- Visitors will now only be required to present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure.
- There will be no quarantine requirement nor restriction on movement upon entry into Seychelles.
- Additionally, the minimum stay in establishments upon arrival will no longer be applicable.
At this point, only South African residents are excluded, which will be reviewed.
Visitors will, of course, be required to adhere to public health and safety measures put in place, including wearing face masks, social distancing and regular sanitising/washing of hands.
Seychelles tourists can now access all communal areas of a hotel, including bars, swimming pools, spas and most importantly for us family travellers – kids clubs!
Vaccination status in Seychelles
The tiny island nation was one of the earlier movers in applying a vaccination program for its citizens. In addressing this, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Sylvestre Radegonde has emphasized:
“The vaccination campaign has been quite successful. The government has done everything in its power to make sure that the population is protected. We have now arrived at the point where opening our borders further is the next step to allow for our economic recovery. The measures being announced reflect broadly the recommendation of our tourism partners and have been done in full consultation with and the endorsement of our health authorities.”
Please base your decision to travel at this time on your own situation; consider any transit stops as well as your return quarantine situation. Always take out comprehensive travel insurance and check Government warnings prior to travel at this time.
You can keep up to date with the latest information and any changes to entry requirements to Seychelles here.
Airlines flying to Seychelles
For those looking to fly to Seychelles, national carrier Air Seychelles is a natural first choice to consider. Flight routes at present are restricted due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, Dubai is the best connection with Europe at present.
Dubai – Seychelles
From DXB you can fly with Air Seychelles, Emirates, or with the returned Qatar route (with quick stop and change of plane in DOH) you can also bag a reasonably priced flight.
The journey time from Dubai to Seychelles is 4.5 hours.
Check out pricing for your desired route to Seychelles here:
Where should families stay in Seychelles
This is a very budget-dependent question as Seychelles covers quite a range, but being one of Africa’s richest countries, the focus is on the luxury travel market. We’ll look at a few family resort options in more detail below, or you can get a good feeling of what is available here including Airbnb:
Family resorts in the seychelles
The largest island of Seychelles is Mahé where international flights will land. For simplicity, a lot of families prefer Mahé so you do not need an additional island transfer after a long flight.
Transfers to Praslin Island take about 1 hour by catamarin from the capital Victoria.
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles
Situated on Mahé island, this beautiful resort constantly comes up when we hear of dream holiday destinations. It does come with the price tag to match, but the experience is unsurpassable if you seek that luxurious once-in-a-lifetime family break.
Set on the stunningly picturesque bay of Petite Anse in south-west Mahé, you’ll be hard-pressed to find purer white sand and safe swimming year-round from the natural reef. This is in addition to the large family-sized pool offering mini sun loungers, even mini robes for kids!
The huge bonus for families staying here is the complimentary children’s programme – Kids For All Seasons. Your little ones can enjoy guided snorkelling, sailing, kayaking and giant tortoise feeding all within the resort.
Sitting 40 minutes north-west from the airport by road, Constance Ephelia is the ultimate in family luxury vacations. You’ll find a kid’s club, five restaurants, a spa and multiple pools.
The resort has a long private beach facing calm, shallow waters perfect for your little ones (though low tide makes swimming difficult!) The other huge plus staying here is the ziplining course through the lush forest, a total must if you have adventurous kids like ours!
A relative newcomer for families to consider is STORY Seychelles. Located on spectacular Beau Vallon beach, just 4km north-west of Victoria, this contemporary eco-resort offers family villas with a private pool as well as suites, stunning waterfront and lush lagoon views, with the backdrop of Morne Seychellois National Park.
Within this lush paradise, there’s the choice of seven dining outlets and two pools in addition to the 3km beachfront. Mum and dad can relax with holistic treatments at Sesel Spa while the kids are taken care of at the kids club – or enjoy the hiking, snorkelling and surfing activities on offer.
Things to do in Seychelles with kids
Most family visitors to Seychelles are no doubt dreaming of a relaxing holiday at the beach, but if that’s not exactly your idea of family fun all day every day, or you’re not staying at one of the fancier high-end resorts with all the inclusions, then there’s still plenty more to see and explore in Seychelles.
The Seychelles archipelago has over 100 islands so island hopping is undoubtedly a favourite. In addition to seeing both Mahé and Praslin, why not look into:
- Go cycling on La Digue, accessible by boat from Mahé or Praslin, it only takes an hour to cycle one side to the other. You can also go snorkelling here, even spot Hawksbill sea turtles (note some spots are not appropriate for beginners, do our research before grabbing for the snorkelling set!)
- Curieuse is another popular choice as this is where you can meet the Aldabra Giant Land Tortoise. These gentle giant creatures can grow to an excess of 600lb and 200 years in age!
- A boat excursion can cover several islands in one day such as the Cousin islands, Felicité, Coco, Sister or St. Pierre.
The tiny country is also home to two UNESCO sites! The first can easily be visited on a trip to Praslin Island, Vallee du Mai (Mai Valley Nature Reserve), This natural palm forest is home to the world’s largest population of endemic coco-de-mer, a flagship species of global significance as the bearer of the largest seed in the plant kingdom, and thought to perhaps be the original garden of Eden.
The second will require a boat trip to Aldabra Atoll. The protect reef is the largest coral atoll in the world, uninhabited its the sanctuary to a huge number of marine species. Permission must be granted in advance from SIF, only a limited number of tour operators then have permission to take you on a live-aboard, permit cost is $225USD/day.
Even if your resort has it’s own beach, there are still plenty more stunning beaches you could visit on a day trip – 65 beaches alone just on Mahé! Amongst the most famous and beautiful to try and visit is Anse Lazio (Praslin), which regularly tops lists as one of the best beaches in the world.
Shop the markets in Victoria – the capital is quite small in relative terms but you can easily spend half a day pottering about and pick up your souvenirs from the Sir Selwyn Selwyn Clarke Market in the capital.
Best time to visit the Seychelles
So now you’ve maybe got Seychelles on your radar as one of the safer countries ready and open for business again in 2021, is there a best time to visit?
The best months to visit Seychelles are April – May and October – November.
The busiest months coinciding with holiday traffic are December – January and July – August.
The temperature year-round is fairly consistent around 28°C to 32°C (82°F to 90°F). Sitting just south of the equator, the coldest time of year is July – air and water temperatures dip to 26°C (79°F).
It can certainly work as a year-round sunshine destination but you’ll find November to March can bring hot and humid northwesterly winds and rains, whilst cooler south-west winds are experienced May through to October, though it stays dry. During these “off-seasons” you need to consider the direction of the beach and winds to make the most of your trip.
Seychelles makes the ideal half-term break for May or October – if you’re lucky enough – and able to travel at these times – it makes for the perfect one-week tropical break in the sun.
More to know visting the Seychelles with Kids
- The local currency is the rupee (SR or SRe) and this is what you’ll get from ATMs. Some tourist establishments may want payment direct is Euro or USD.
- Time zone is GMT+4 – perfect for our Middle East travellers and not too big an adjustment for Europeans.
- Power sockets are Type G – that’s the British 3-pin rectangular and standard 240V.
- Visitors from most countries do not need a visa, you can enter visa-free for stays up to 30 days. Check current rules/countries here.
- At present, visitors must apply in advance for Mandatory Travel Authorization to visit showing evidence of accommodation booking, flights and PCR testing.
- Drink only bottled water or bring your own filtered water bottle.
- The official languages are Seychellois Creole, English & French. English is spoken everywhere in tourism establishments.
- Be safe in the water – consider sunburn and strong currents, whilst many beaches offer safe and shallow protected bays, heed local warnings on water conditions before jumping in.
- There is a public bus service on Mahé and Praslin, though with kids you may prefer the convenience of hiring your own car for a day if you want to do a little independent exploring or joining an organized tour.
- Looking at residing in Seychelles? Pop over to our interview with Chantelle from Seychelles Mama, a great read about living the full-time island life.
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