Seychelles

Essential information

Seychelles

Location

Our Seychelles base is located in Eden Island Marina on the east coast of Mahé halfway between the international airport and the country’s capital Victoria.

Contact details

Sunsail Seychelles
Eden Marina
PO Box 1076
F14, Eden Plaza
Eden Island
Mahé, Seychelles

Open hours

Our base is open from 8.30-5pm, seven days a week all year around. The VHF channel is 14 (short range for entering/leaving marina).

Base/shore facilities

Showers and toilets are open around the clock. No key is required and an entry code will be given to you at the base for after-hours access. After hours security is provided by the marina.

Restaurant/bar next door, Boardwalk open from 8am, seven days a week.

There are five restaurants available around the base, an ice cream parlour and a snack/juice bar.

Our office is located right inside the Eden Plaza, where you will a supermarket, two ATMs, a pharmacy, two banks, a casino, a money exchange place, a fishing tackle store and many other shops.

Most are open Monday to Saturday; some are open on Sunday as well.

An initial bag of ice is provided on the boat on arrival at our base. All of our yachts are equipped with 12 volt refrigerators.

Arrival and departure

Airport parking

Save up to 30 percent when you book your airport parking through us. Please call the team for more details.

Airport hotels

We have preferential rates at many hotels at the UK’s major airports. Please call the team for more details.

Flights

Gatwick information: 0844 335 1802

Heathrow information: 0870 000 0123

Manchester information: 0871 271 0711

Luton information: 0158 240 5100

Glasgow information: 0870 040 0008

Luggage

Luggage allowance is 20kg per person. Only one item of hand luggage per person is allowed and this must not weigh more than 5kg. For storage aboard we recommend traveling light and using folding luggage.

Lost or damaged luggage whilst flying is the responsibility of the airline and is not covered by your travel insurance; however Virgin Airways has no liability for loss or damage to valuable or fragile items packed in hold baggage however caused. You must not include in Checked Baggage money, jewellery, precious metals, computers, personal electronic devices, negotiable papers, securities or other valuables, business documents, passports and other identification documents or samples.

Incidents

If an incident occurs, immediately report it to airport officials and ensure Property Irregularity Reports (PIR) are completed. Claims will not be considered once you have left the airport.

If you are taking our Virgin Airways flights please note that Premium Economy cabins are being refurbished and the aircrafts are now not confirmed until 24 hours before departure so pre-seating can only be requested 24 hours before departure at check-in online or at the airport. This is from April to October 2012.

Pre-booking

Virgin are also enhancing the advance seating process so after 1st Nov 12, until further notice, clients will not be able to pre-book seats before 24 hours before check-in until its completed.

Airport

Seychelles International Airport is situated less than seven miles southeast of Victoria, the capital. Tel: +284 439 1200

Seychelles International Airport facilities

Money and communication: there are mail boxes, a bank, ATMs and a bureau de change. Public telephones can be found as well as Internet facilities.  

Eating and drinking: there are restaurants and bars in both passenger terminals.

Shopping: there are a selection of shops throughout the airport, including duty free.

Transfers

It is recommended that clients make their own way to the base by catching a taxi from the airport. The one way trip (from the airport) to the base costs around SCR 300 (approximately EUR 20). Maximum four people with luggage. No reservation is necessary.Taxis are always available at the airport.

The transfer takes about 10-15 minutes. We can organise your transfer to the base for groups.

A public bus service operates on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. Buses are frequent and fares are SRC 5. Inter-island ferries run between Mahé and La Digue and Praslin several times per day.

Luggage

We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.

Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht.

Passport and visas

Please ensure your passport is valid for the period of travel and for six months after you return. Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.

If your child is not already included on a valid British passport they are required to hold their own passport. 

Non-British passport holders, please contact your local consulate for advice on visa and passport requirements.

Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. Please check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for the latest information before you leave. Sunsail is not accountable for any requirement changes.

Customs and immigration

On arrival, you will be required to show your passport, completed Immigration card (distributed on the aircraft), proof of accommodation (boarding voucher or charter invoice) and your return ticket. Presentation of all these documents will grant you a visitor's permit that will be issued upon arrival by the Seychelles Department of Immigration.

Going through immigration, customs and baggage collection can take up to an hour.

On arrival

All boats are prepared for the contractual boarding time of 3pm.

We ask that on your arrival in Mahé you go to the Sunsail office. Depending on the time of your arrival, you can take care of your provisioning if you haven't already ordered it through us, or you can visit the town. Our receptionist will advise you about beaches, bars/cafes, restaurants or places of interest.

You can leave your luggage at reception during this time.

The technician at the base will give you detailed, technical explanations and advice about the boat. Take advantage of his presence by going over all of the boat's equipment. Whenever possible, we ask you not to load the boat with your baggage before the inventory has been checked. It is also preferable that the boat handover instructions be done with a minimum of crew present. We ask you to check the equipment on board with the aid of an inventory list in the manual given to you with the boat's documents. This verification will help you to memorise where everything is located. Someone from customer service will stop by to help you finish this inspection and answer any questions you may have.

Out of hours arrival procedure

Our staff will wait at the marina until 6pm. After 6pm you will find a sign on the reception door indicating your boat name and its berth. Your boat will be open and there will be a sign with your name on it. The boat's equipment will be ready for the night. The base staff will be at your disposal the next day to conduct the relevant briefings.

On departure

The boat must be returned and ready for debriefing and checks at 9am. If you have booked an early morning flight on the day your charter is ending, it is preferable you return to port in the middle of the afternoon the day before to carry out these formalities.

Before disembarkation please collect a debrief form from reception. The debrief form is to let us know if you have encountered any problems with the boat or broken anything during the trip, this enables us to rectify problems for the next charter.

In addition to filling in forms we also require you to bag dirty laundry and leave on the yacht, empty all cupboards and fridges of food and throw away your garbage, return snorkel gear and any lifejackets borrowed from reception and ensure that the boat is handed back to Sunsail in a clean and tidy state. We reserve the right to charge for boats left less than shipshape.

Sailing information

Sailing experience: Level 3

Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area.  

Get more information on the Seychelle's sailing conditions.

Level 3 equates to 20 days sailing, 400 miles on an equivalent yacht or RYA Day Skipper qualification with experience to a higher level.

  • RYA Coastal Skipper qualification or ICC qualification with experience to a higher level.
  • Wind/Weather: 10-25 knots.
  • Navigation: understand tidal flow, ability to navigate in open waters, cope with strong currents and be able to make a passage plan.
  • Anchor/mooring: primarily anchoring, some slightly more exposed anchorages with poor anchor holding ground.

Sailing licences

To charter a yacht in Seychelles, there must be at least one skipper and one crew member, both over 18 years old. The skipper should be competent at handling a yacht in close quarters, anchoring and mooring in varying conditions and be able to use navigation and pilotage skills to plan the day’s sailing and know your position at any time.  As a yacht skipper, in the Seychelles, it is mandatory to have a sailing license or a certificate from a recognised sailing association as detailed below: 

Skipper is REQUIRED to have one (1) of the following:

  • ICC (International Certificate of Competence), International–Prerequisites: RYA “Day Skipper Course” or similar/equivalent certification from any recognised sailing association or complete the ICC Assessment form to prove competence from previous experience.
  • IPC (International Proficiency Certificate), America–Prerequisites: ASA 104 or US Sailing “Bareboat Cruising Course”

and/or

  • UK: RYA Day Skipper practical (with our without photo)
  • USA: US Sailing “Bareboat Cruising Course”, ASA “104 Bareboat Cruising Course” or above
  • Germany: Sportbootführerschein See“ or above
  • Belgium: Algemeen Stuurbrevet/ Brevet de conduite général
  • France: Le Permis Plaisance

Or a similar/equivalent certification from any recognised sailing association

It is essential to have a sailing license for the skipper. This document has to be registered in the transit log and presented to the port authorities.

Please note that the outer islands are off-limits when sailing from our base in Mahé. The cruising ground is restricted to all the inner islands with the exception of Bird and Dennis Islands to the North. If the outer islands do become available again in the future, they will only be allowed to be visited if the charter has hired a local skipper.

Islands that you may visit (not the full list) in Mahé (includes the following surrounding islands)

  • St. Anne (Marine Park)
  • Cerf, Moyenne, Round, Longue (Marine Park)
  • Therese
  • Conception
  • Praslin, including 
    • Cousine (no landing allowed, nature sanctuary)
    • Cousin
    • Curieuse
    • Aride
  • La Dique, including
    • Cocos
    • Felicete
    • Grand Soeur
    • Petit Soeur
    • Marianne
  • Silhouette (requires IDC permission)
  • North Island (no landfall without permission)
  • Fregate (no landfall without permission, requires special process)

Dennis and Bird island are once more available to sailors, however they do require special authorisation and some formalities from the Port Authority.

Several of the above listed islands require special procedure to go to, which will be clearly explained at the time of chart briefing.

Our clients cannot visit all outer Islands (more that 60nm from Mahé): Platte, African banks, Amirantes and Desroches, Coetivy.

Cruising permits and taxes

The harbour master’s office is located in the main harbour of Victoria: +248 22 47 01

The Port and Marine Division (harbour control) is a restricted area. There are no formalities to complete by the skipper before departure. The Sunsail base will take care of it. On departure and arrival in Victoria’s channel, the skipper must contact Harbour Control by VHF (16) to inform the port office.

There are landing and visitor fees for certain islands and in the Marine Parks. The amount per person/per cruise for one week is approximately EUR 120. We advise you to anticipate a small cash reserve on board to cover these fees. You will, in this way avoid trying to put together the money at the time of landing. These fees are usually paid in local currency to the island's custodian/ park rangers who will also provide you with the tickets. The fees listed below are provided as a guideline.

All Marine parks currently have a set fee of SCR 200 ( approximately EUR 12) per person per day and SCR 250 (approximately EUR 17) for the yacht if staying overnight.

Other islands

Ile Coco Marine Park
Cousin Island

500 SCR (approximately EUR 35) landing fee per person for guided island tour only (Mon-Fri)

Big Sister Island
EUR 30 per person, Private Island

La Digue Island
Disembarkation free of charge
L’Union Estate visit and pass to Anse Source d’Argent.

EUR 4 per person.

Silhouette Island
SCR 500 (EUR 35) per person: request at IDC Office before departure

Aride Island
EUR 30 per person

Curieuse & Saint Pierre
EUR 10 per person

Praslin Island
Disembarkation Free of charge
Vallée de Mai Visit, Open daily

EUR 15 per person

Bird Island
EUR 50 per person

North Island, Small Sister Island, Marianne Island, Denis Island and Fregate Island
Closed to the public. No landing-Private islands. Special authorisation may be requested.

Night time sailing

You are not permitted to sail at night unless it has been agreed with the base manager prior to departure.

Cruising area limits

As far south as the south of Mahé. Northern limits are to Bird and Denis Island. West as far as Silhouette and North Island and east as far as Praslin and the immediate islands, such as La Digue, Grande and Petite Soeur and Curieuse.

Restricted areas for sailing, the military harbour of Victoria in the Inner Islands, Police Bay (Mahe) and Grand Anse (Praslin). 

Mooring areas: any mooring on the nearby islands except Police Bay, in the south of Mahé and Grand Anse in Praslin (dangerous access).

In the marine parks and Beau Vallon Bay in Mahé, the anchorage is restricted.

Visiting the islands: the owner’s permission must always be obtained before visiting private islands. Some islands or moorings are forbidden for environmental and conservation reasons. Anything else you need to know will be explained during the chart briefing.

Mooring fees and taxes

Taxes are payable to go ashore on some islands. Taxes vary from one island to another.

Apart from The Eden Island Marina, Sunsail Base, Mahé, there is one other docking option in the Bay Sainte Anne, Praslin. Contact Dream Yacht marina by VHF before arrival. The average price for a berth is between EUR 45-75. The port of La Digue welcomes only four to six yachts at a time. You have to contact the harbour master before arrival on VHF channel 16. For the other islands you must anchor in a safe cove for the night.

Charts and pilot book

Charts and pilot books can be from the UK chandler Kelvin Hughes by contacting 02380 634911.

Skippered charter information

The skipper’s time is booked from 12pm-12pm in 24-hour periods. If you have reserved him for the first day of your charter and have a 6pm start, he will use this time to ensure he is happy with all aspects of the yacht and will be at the base to meet you upon your arrival. If you have reserved him for a later date on your charter he will start at 12pm on that day.

The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. He is not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight. He must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of his contract with you.

For “check out charters” (anything less than the full duration of the charter) the checkout skipper’s time is booked from 6pm-6pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day. This skipper is required to give you a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy in addition to assisting you with planning an itinerary for the trip and advising you how to contact the base, the return to base procedures and the emergency assistance procedures. It is suggested that you attend the scheduled chart brief that will be supplemented by the skipper during his time with you on the yacht. It is also suggested that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover…anchoring, docking, etc.

The skipper will be required to give you as much information as you require concerning the yacht and its systems, sailing skills and navigation in general.

The skipper fee does not include food or beverages for the skipper and are therefore your responsibility. It is suggested that you discuss this on the first day with the skipper and establish whether you will give the skipper cash for meals, whether you have included him in your provisioning or whether you will accommodate him as part of the group for meals ashore.

The skipper must have his own cabin. We prefer not to put the skipper in the bow due to the shared heads and size of the cabin. If you expect him to stay in the bow, please let us know well in advance so that we can choose the appropriate (small) skipper. For one-day check out skipper’s it is your responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay for his expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him back to the base.

The average tip for a skipper is 20 percent of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at your discretion.

Fuel

Your boat's tanks will be full on delivery of your charter yacht.

The quantity of diesel is generally enough for your cruise. If you need to refuel during your cruise please, call the Sunsail base before refuelling (the price per litre is approximately EUR 1.34 (fuel) and EUR 1.82 (super).

Cool boxes

Cool boxes are available at the base on a first come first served basis at no additional charge. Please sign these out and return them clean and undamaged otherwise there will be a charge for replacement. Only one per boat.

Banks and money exchange

Currency

The local currency is the Seychelles Rupee (SCR).

It is recommended that you carry mostly local rupees with you for all your purchases during your cruise. Most restaurants and shops accepts major credit cards (although not American Express), and foreign currencies, but at usualy fairly bad exchange rates.

Our base accepts rupees, euros, dollars and British pounds. 

Foreign currencies can be exchanged on site near our office.

Currency can be exchanged commission free at any high street TUI Group Retail travel agent on production of your Sunsail invoice. You can pre-order your currency by telephoning in advance on 0870 9005154 to find your nearest branch.

Banks

There are a few ATMs in Victoria, Praslin and La Digue located in front of each bank (24h/24h). Cash and travellers cheques can be changed at banks at the airport and in some villages around Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.

  • Barclays Bank: Open weekdays from 8am-2.30pm and Saturday until 11am
  • Independence Avenue, Victoria, Tel: +248 22 41 01, Fax: +248 22 46 78
  • Market Street, Victoria, Tel: +248 22 41 01
  • Baie Saint Anne, Praslin, Tel: +248 23 22 18. Fax: 23 23 34
  • Other agencies in Beau Vallon, Mahé Airport, Grand Anse Praslin and Anse Réunion, La Digue.
  • Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB): Open weekdays 8.15am-3pm and Saturday from 9am-11.30am.
  • Manglier Street, Caravelle House Victoria, PO Box 152, Tel: +248 28 45 55
  • Cote d’Or, Praslin, Tel: +248 23 26 02
  • La Digue, PO Box 1076 Eden Island, Mahé, Tel: +248 23 45 60

Credit card information

Credit card: Eurocard/MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. Unfortunately, very few places accept American Express. 

General information

Language

The official languages of the Seychelles are Creole, English and French

Cost of living in the Seychelles

Prices vary between areas and from restaurant to restaurant. As a rough guide:

A bottle of wine costs from about GBP 10 in a supermarket and GBP 15 in a restaurant.

A bottle of beer costs about GBP 1-3.

A snack can be bought for about GBP 2.50.

A three-course meal is likely to cost over GBP 25 per head.

Mooring fees vary from about GBP 3-25 per person

Restaurants

In Victoria itself there are few restaurants open in the evenings, serving Creole or international food with many other places to eat at Beau Vallon, a short taxi ride away.
Many different bars and restaurants can be found around the islands and there are three casinos and a cinema on Mahé. Some of the larger hotels have discos and there are two night clubs in Victoria.

Tipping

Tipping is standard and expected in all restaurants/bars and for other services undertaken during your holiday. The rule of thumb is generally 10-15 percent of the amount charged. Some establishments automatically add this onto the bill.

Shopping

Several supermarkets are located in Victoria, 10-15 minutes by car from the Sunsail office. Supermarkets are generally open daily except Sunday, from 8am-5pm. You can pay by cash in Seychelles Rupees (SCR) or by card.

The main supermarket is located halfway between the base and Victoria, open seven days a week, from 9am-8pm (9am-5pm on Sunday)

Other locations: Beau Vallon Supermarket, Baie Saint Anne Supermarket, S.M.B, Supermarket

Market

In the centre of Victoria the open-air Market: Selwyn Market, Market Street (“Rue du Bazard”).

Local Vegetable and fruits, fish, craft.

Open during the week from 6am-4pm and Saturday until 12am. Closed on Sunday.

Pay Cash in SCR.

Hotels

The Eden Bleu Hotel

This hotel is conveniently located right next to our base on Eden island.

Le Relax Hotel & Restaurant (allows one night stays)

Perched on a cliff, overlooking the bay of Anse Royale and the Chauve Souris island, Le Relax is situated in the South of Mahé. The Seychelles International Airport is a 15-minute drive from the hotel and can be reached either by easily available taxi or Public transport.

Berjaya Beau Vallon Beach Resort & Casino***

The resort is located on the northwest coast of the island on the beach, nine miles from Seychelles International Airport and a three miles from the capital, Victoria. Amentities include AC, DSTV, restaurant, bar and swimming pool  

Electrical, phones and music

Electricity

The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts. In order to use electronic equipment that is 220 volts you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter. The yachts 200 volt AC outlets can be either 2-pin European or the British 3 flat pins. The base carries adapters that fit most plugs, (apart from the South African large pin plugs).

Unless you chartered a yacht with a generator, 220VAC is only available while plugged into shore power, so it's best to bring 12 volt (car type) chargers for your phones, cameras, etc.

Mobile phones

To call Mahé from overseas:

Dial 00 248 followed by the number you need (6 digits).

Mobile phones in Seychelles are rapidly overtaking land phones as many cellular phones now provide Internet access and cell phone computers. SMS and broadband are becoming standard features on cell phones. Mobile phones work in most areas on the islands and there is good coverage.

Your mobile phone may work when in the Seychelles but please check with your service provider for coverage details and call costs. You will need to activate international roaming on your contract. EGSM 900–International Option Roaming system available. If you are using an unlocked phone, a great option is to purchase a local SIM (about EUR 2) for either or both voice and data.

In Mahé, telephone booths work with phone cards which you can buy in newsagents, at the post office and in some supermarkets.

You also have the option of contacting the base personnel by mobile phone. They are available 24 hours a day in case of emergency. The contact will be given to you during check-in.

Music/iPods

All boats are fitted with a radio and CD player. If you wish to listen to your iPod whilst sailing you will need to bring along an I-trip or FM radio transmitter. Most yachts are equipped with a 3.5mm jack outlet or a USB port for external devices. Best to bring both cables.

Activities

Car hire

Avis, Europcar, Hertz and other companies are located at the airport. The average price is from EUR 50-70 per day with insurance.

Walking

Anse Major takes about one hour each way. This relatively easy trail winds its way along the rocky north western coastline of Mahé, leading to the small secluded beach of Anse Major. Much of this trail lies within the boundaries of the Morne Seychellois National Park, with spectacular rock slopes (called 'glacis' in Seychelles) and native vegetation typical of the drier areas of Mahé.

Vallée de Mai to Praslin takes about one to four hours. The legendary Vallée de Mai is one of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Seychelles, and was once believed to be the original Garden of Eden. This hauntingly beautiful primeval forest is home to some 6,000 Coco de Mer trees. The paths allow some flexibility in that hikers can double back before completing the entire track, but to explore all the paths and really absorb the atmosphere of the Vallée de Mai, it’s best to allow three to four hours. It can be visited on your own or with a guide.

Provisioning

We offer a wide range of food and drinks packages to suit your party’s needs.

Find out more about our provisioning options.

Water sports

Scuba diving

Scuba diving is fantastic, but strictly regulated in the Seychelles. It is not allowed to dive without a local Dive master, and it is not possible to take rental gear with you on the yacht. Please arrange in advance with The Sunsail base.

Le Diable des Mers, Beau Vallon, Mahé (Tel: +248 24 71 01)
Underwater Center Dive Resorts, Mahé (Tel: +248 24 73 57)
Cote d’Or Octopus Diving, Anse Volbert, Praslin (Tel: +248 23 23 50)
Dive Resort Seychelles, Desroches Amirantes Islands (Tel +248 22 91 19)

Fishing

Fishing in Seychelles is excellent all year round. Rental gear is available at the base if you didn’t bring your own. If you do bring your own, medium to heavy duty tackle is recommended.

Game fishing is also great but is best done from a proper game fishing power boat. The Sundsail base can help you organize a game fishing trip.

Snorkelling

We have a range of snorkelling gear which you may wish to use. We are limited on children’s sizes so if you have your own you may wish to bring them with you.

Kayaks and standup paddleboards

There are also kayaks and standup paddle boards available, although there is not always enough to supply the high demand.

Health and safety

Illness or injury

If you are taken sick and visit the doctor or hospital during your trip please have a member of your party contact the Sunsail base manager as soon as possible.
If you will need to make a travel insurance claim please contact your claim insurer’s emergency medical service immediately.

Obtain receipts for any medication, treatment or transport you have to pay for and submit with your claim.

Hospital Mont Fleuri Mahé, Tel :+ 248 438 8000
Hospital Praslin Praslin, Tel: + 248 423 2414
Hospital La Digue, La Digue, Tel :+248 423 42 55

Safety

All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets and harnesses. We leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn.

We have a limited supply of children’s life jackets (age 4+ only). If you have your own children’s life jacket we would encourage you to bring it along.

We suggest that children who are not strong swimmers should not be allowed in a dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and that they should wear a buoyancy aid or harness when on deck.

Children under the age of 16 should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.

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