Facts & figures
Full name: The Republic of Seychelles
Population: 87,400 (UN, 2011)
Area: 455 sq km (176 sq miles)
Major languages: English, French, Creole
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 68 years (men), 78 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Seychelles rupee = 100 cents
Main exports: Fish, cinnamon bark, copra, petroleum products (re-exports)
GNI per capita: US $11,270 (World Bank, 2011)
Internet domain: .sc
International dialling code: +248
Michel succeeded France Albert Rene, who led the country for almost three decades before stepping down in April 2004.
Visa & travel advice
A visa is not required prior to entry into Seychelles regardless of nationality the person may hold.
A valid passport or other travel documents recognized by Seychelles are required for entry into Seychelles. The passport must be valid for the period of the intended stay until arrival back in holder’s country of origin/residence with an extra validity of six months prior to expiry.
A short stay visitor’s permit is issued on arrival in Seychelles to a person who comes for the purpose of holiday, pleasure, business, visit friends or family and who
a) is not a prohibited immigrant; and
b) is not holder of a valid permit which entitles that holder to reside in Seychelles.
c) holds a valid return or onward ticket for duration of visit;
d) has confirmed accommodation;
e) has sufficient funds for duration of the stay. (Minimum of US$ 150.00 or equivalent per day.
- Best period:
Seychelles is one of the few places in the world to which you can just pick up and run without worrying about seasonal weather changes.
Seychelles experiences low levels of crime; in 2008 it ranked second on the Ibrahim Index as one of Africa’s safest countries.
The Seychelles were uninhabited when the British East India Company arrived on the archipelago in 1609. Thereafter, they became a favorite pirate haven. The French claimed the islands in 1756 and administered them as part of the colony of Mauritius. The British gained control of the islands through the Treaty of Paris (1814) and changed the islands' name from the French Séchelles to the Anglicized Seychelles.
The islands became self-governing in 1975 and independent on June 29, 1976. They have remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Their first president, James Mancham, was overthrown in 1977 by the prime minister, France-Albert René. At first René created a Socialist state with a one-party system, but later he reintroduced a multiparty system as well as various reforms.
To increase revenue, in 1996 the government quietly initiated an Economic Citizenship Program that provides foreigners with the opportunity to obtain a Seychelles passport upon payment of $25,000. A new law in late 1995 had granted immunity from criminal prosecution to anyone investing $10 million in the country.
In April 2004, President France-Albert René stepped down after 27 years in power. His vice president, James Michel, who had also served in the government for 27 years, assumed the presidency. In July 2006, Michel won reelection with 53.7% of the vote.
In presidential elections held May 19–21, 2011 incumbent James Michel (People's Party) won his third term with 55% of the vote against Wavel Ramkalawan's (Seychelles National Party) 41%. Voter turnout was 84% over a three-day period, which allowed for voters on outlying islands to participate.
The Seychelles, which is an independent island chain in the Indian Ocean, formerly a colony of both Britain and France has a distinct kind of music. Folk music incorporates multiple influences in a syncretic fashion, including English contredanse, polka and mazurka, French folk and pop, sega from Mauritius and Réunion, taarab, zouk, soukous moutya and other pan-African genres of and Polynesian, Indian and Arcadian music. A complex form of percussion music called Kanmtole is popular, along with combinations of Sega and Reggae called Seggae and combinations of Moutya and Reggae called Mouggae, as is Montea, a fusion of native folk rhythms with Kenyan benga developed by Patrick Victor. Jean Marc Volcy is another famous Seychellois musician who has brought a modern touch to traditional music. He has several albums including Sove Lavi.
Antoine Abel (1934-2004) has left a profound legacy for Seychellois literature, shaping the course of the literary culture on this Indian Ocean archipelago. As Pat Matyot, another Seychellois writer stated, ‘He was something of a mentor who set off a whole new way of looking at life when he wrote in Mon poeme natal, the ultimate summary of how we are bound to the nature’.
- Film industry:
The Seychelles with its 85.000 inhabitants scattered over more than 100 islands have no recorded cinematic history. In 2003 a five-day film festival screening Indian classics began at the only theater in Seychelles with Raj Kapoor's 1948 film "Aag".The Festival of Indian Cinema Classics, at the Deepam theater, also screened "27 Down", "Baazi", "Chaudhvin Ka Chand" and "Haqeeqat". Starting in 1989 the SUBIOS festival is an annual underwater festival organized on the islands. As part of the festival there are also underwater film and photography contests. The Photography and Videography contests run year round, and are open to entries from around the world.
The Seychelles government has founded a film unit which is responsible for exhibition and distribution of video (rental) and screened movies.
- Famous places:
La Digue is an island where time stands still and immemorial traditions such as travel by ox cart and bicycle are still king.
Close neighbor Praslin and its satellite islands of Felicite, Marianne, and the sister islands, La Digue is the fourth largest island in the Seychelles.
The Seychelles National Archives can be found in Victoria, in Mahé. There, you will be able to see a collection of old photographs as well as archives going back to 1770. Guided tours are offered.
The Cemetery of Bel Air is the most ancient historic place of the Seychelles since it was the first place that settlers used to bury their dead. There, you will find the graves of several famous people who lived in the Seychelles such as the French Corsair Jean-François Hodoul, or Pierre-Louis Poiret who some people thought was the son of Louis XVI, among others.
- Architecture history:
Traditional architecture had two distinct forms: plantations and town houses. The plantation was focused on a lakou (courtyard with an owner's or manager's house), the kalorife (drying oven for copra), and storage houses. Separate from the courtyard were the workers' houses with thatched roofs, and on some plantations also with walls made from coconut leaves. The workers' houses often were divided into two parts: a sleeping room and a living room. The living room often was filled with furniture and seldom was used, as most social life took place outdoors. The kitchen was usually in a separate house. The typical town house had a general Victorian form, but both the roof and the walls might be made of corrugated iron sheets. With the decline of the plantation sector and agriculture in general the traditional lay out of the courtyards are disappearing. New houses are often constructed in an architecture common to many former British colonies, such that there is often a flat roof with a slight slope and windows with many horizontally arranged panes that can be tilted in order to allow easy circulation of air.