If you take a look at a map of the Indian Ocean you’ll immediately understand the remote nature of the Seychelles islands. This small archipelago is so far from any other bit of land that it’s been dubbed by many as one of the last few places on Earth today to be worthy of the title of lost jungle paradise.
Made up of the islands of Praslin, Fregate, La Digue and Mahe, the Seychelles are yacht charter hot spots, offering plenty of possibilities for those that practice coastal sailing, since they have some of the best looking coastlines in the world. All in all, there are 115 islands, most of which are uninhabited, which should prove useful for those looking to escape more crowded waters.
The history of the islands stretches back to their first discovery by Arab sailors who landed here during their cross-oceanic trips. The first Europeans came into contact with the islands in the 1600s and at that time both the French and the British began fighting over control. Eventually, the British won control over the Seychelles and governed them until 1976 when the islands won their independence.
Because the natural soil is devoid of any natural resources, the mainstay of the Seychelles has been for a long time tourism. That’s because the country seems to have been destination for recreational activities given its sheer natural beauty, of the landscape and lush vegetation covering it. For yachter charters a more important factor is the privileged position of the islands from a meteorological point of view, since they sit outside the so-called cyclone belt, benefitting from calm waters and fair winds all year round.
Though at first a socialist regime, the Seychelles islands have been enjoying democracy for a while now and that means more lax laws for the yacht charter domain, thus making sailing by foreigners easier and lifting most bans previously imposed on immigration.
Today, you’ll be happy to know that the only impositions on sailors are the ones referring to protected areas such as national parks. Entry in such areas which also include by the way privately-owned islands, is either monitored and taxable or it’s prohibited altogether. If your yacht charter trip takes you through such a region it might be good to make inquiries in advance.
The main port for yacht charter holidays is Mahe which is also the most important port in the country. Still, the main port of entry or exit is Port Victoria. For those skippers that will be arriving in a privately owned boat, you’ll have to contact port authority which will then run you through the entry process that includes customs, health, immigration and security checks.
As far as the immigration process is concerned, most foreign travelers won’t be required to have a travel visa when entering the country, regardless of the purpose of their visit. This is applicable for visits up to 30 days but if you think you need much more than that for a Seychelles sailing holiday, than you can extend your original stay for up to one year, visa-free. The only thing you’ll be needing is a valid passport throughout the duration of your stay. However, we advise that you carry a passport with you that has at least 6 months of validity left on it.