The ultimate island paradise, The Seychelles are made up of 115 islands along the equator in the Indian Ocean. Ideal for an island-hopping cruise, like the 7-night Seychelles Island Cruise that begins in Mahé, the largest and most populated island, and ends on Moyenne Island, with stops on St Anne Island, Curieuse, Cousin Island, Anse Lazio, Aride, St. Pierre, Baie St. Anne, Praslin, Felicite and La Digue, the smallest of the three main islands.
No matter where you go, you’ll discover countless pristine stretches of powdery white sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters backdropped with lush jungle that reveals a host of scenic trails and wildlife. While it’s a popular destination among travelers year-round, for the trip of your dreams, you’ll want to consider when to go to get what you’re looking for, whether it’s a more budget-friendly trip, to experience some of the world’s best diving or snorkeling, join in on local annual events, marvel at wildlife or something else.
To make that decision easier, we’ve put together this guide based on the best times to visit The Seychelles based on various activities, weather, festivals and more, while summing up what you might expect on a trip during the wet or dry season.
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Temperatures remain steady throughout the year as the archipelago sits just below the equator and doesn’t experience the extreme weather that’s common in most tropical destinations. It rarely gets below 75 or rises below 89 degrees Fahrenheit, with the average temperature around the low 80s. When it rains, it’s usually in the form of brief showers.
The very best months in terms of weather are April and May or October and November, which are the transition times between cooler southeast trade winds that come between April and October, and the hottest, humid northwest trade winds that arrive from November through March. These “shoulder” months provide mild conditions for all your favorite island activities. Of course, the Christmas and New Year’s holidays are a popular time to enjoy a tropical escape in the Seychelles too, with the east coast areas generally the least affected by northwest trade winds. The 10-night Seychelles Cruise Tour offers trips that depart right on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in 2019, an especially unforgettable way to kick off any holiday. No matter when you plan to come, you’re probably going to experience that island paradise you’ve been dreaming of.
The Seychelles offer an underwater paradise for divers and snorkelers too. While it’s possible to enjoy those activities throughout the year, the best months are March through May and September through November, when there is good visibility and the sea is typically calm. Out of those months, April, October and November are the most ideal, and boats will be able to reach more remote spots where you can jump in among manta rays and sharks. The water temperature is usually somewhere between 84 and 88 degrees.
June, July and August are the months to avoid with winds blowing much stronger, resulting in cooler temperatures that can drop to the mid-70s due to the abundant presence of plankton and visibility can also become obscure. If you hope to swim with the whale sharks, the best time is May through September during the monsoon season – for optimal conditions, come at either end of that time frame, in May or September.
To enjoy both the best worlds with idyllic weather, optimal diving and/or snorkeling, and more affordable rates, you may want to plan your trip in late November. Special discounts might be available on some fantastic cruises that depart at this time and include some of the top islands in for experiencing that incredible underwater world. Optional diving excursions are often included on Felicite Island just east of La Digue, famous for its world-class diving areas and stunning beaches.
While these beautiful islands may not immediately come to mind among surfing hotspots, traditional surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing can all be enjoyed among the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and breathtaking coastal scenery. Look forward to relatively undiscovered waves for a less-crowded experience to test out your skills while having a great time.
The best time to go depends on which islands you’ll visit. From April through July, the prevailing monsoon winds are from the south-east, which means the top surfing spots during this period can be found on Mahé, like Intendance Beach which has shore breaks that make it ideal for less-experienced surfers and Grand Anse, better for the more advanced due to the strong currents. There are also some good offshore breaks on Grand Anse, Anse Coco and Petit Anse on La Digue Island. If you visit between October and November, this is when Seychelles is typically under the influence of north-west monsoon winds with the best spots for good waves at Anse Lazio on Praslin Island.
The 10-night Seychelles Cruise Tour offers departure dates and an itinerary that makes it easy to include on any surfing-focused holiday in the magnificent region.
With so many scenic trails, Seychelles isn’t just for water lovers but for hiking enthusiasts too. Over 40% of the land is designated as national park, and the islands boast a rich diversity of fauna and flora just waiting to be discovered, including Mahé, La Dinge and Praslin. These popular isles offer diverse topography, with beaches at sea level giving way to rising mountains inland.
The best time to come for hiking are the drier months, from May through September when the breeze helps to cool things down. While it’s possible to hike in the rainy season, it can be very hot and humid, requiring more effort and lots of sweat.
The Seychelles are filled with wildlife both in the water and on land. They’re the world’s only mid-ocean islands that are granitic rather than volcanic which makes them especially unique in that each has something different to offer, like Praslin, which is home to the rare Seychelles black parrot, a birdpeak that can only be found there. An astounding 250 species of birds have been recorded on the archipelago, a dozen of which are endemic. The peak time for bird watching is during April, which is the breeding season, while May through September brings the nesting of sooty terns, and October sees many migrating birds.
Seychelles is also popular among those who hope to swim with the whale sharks, the world’s largest fish. They’re not whales, although they are massive, growing up to nearly 40 feet in length and weighing as much as 20 tons. These sharks and even larger than great whites, but they’re often referred to as gentle giants, only feeding on plankton. The best time to come to swim with them is from September to November. There are more than 50 popular spots to do so, but the best is at Beau Vallon Bay on Mahé with is right on the animals’ migratory path.
The small island of Cousin is an island-wide nature reserve which hosts a number of conservation projects like turtle conservation. Giant tortoises roam free, and from September through November, and November through January, hawksbill turtles make their nests along the sandy shores. Curieuse is an uninhabited bio-reserve island that’s home to more than giant tortoises as well as eight different species of mangrove trees.
Many cruises include specific wildlife watching opportunities like these on their itineraries, making it easy to do as part of one, and/or include some extra time on Mahé to take a special wildlife focused tour on or off the shores of the island.
There’s a long list of regularly occurring events in this East African island country that provide a great way to get to know the culture. They are mostly public events, including a number of cultural celebrations, traditional and local festivals that are well-worth planning a trip around.
Semaine de la Francophonie is held in March on Mahé, celebrated over the course of a week featuring a variety of art exhibitions, film screenings, song recitals, literary readings and lots of delicious foods. April brings the Seychelles International Carnival of Victoria and Creole Festival, considered two of the country’s best events of the year. They’ve been combined to honor the melting pot of cultures here with incredibly colorful street parades and parties hosted on Mahé.
Independence Day celebrates Seychelles independence from the UK in 1976 on June 29 throughout the islands. Mahé hosts some of the most elaborate events, which includes lots of dancing and singing to local music, with streets, parks and beaches filled with a wide range of festivities, including fireworks after dark.
October’s Creole Festival is a six-day long festival and the most important cultural event in the Seychelles. It’s held on the islands of Mahé, La Digue and Praslin, and includes both paid and free events, with everything from music and dance to customs, craft and cuisine.
Visitors can also enjoy some of the best New Year’s Eve beach parties here too. Many hotels, villas and resorts have their own lounges and bars with live bands for entertainment. Some of the top picks for a NYE party include the gala dinner and party at the Four Seasons Seychelles, the Kempinski Seychelles Resort and Le Méridien Fisherman’s Cove, all on Mahé. In the capital city of Victoria, there will be hundreds taking to the streets to sing along with popular local songs to ring in the New Year too.
With many of the island’s most exciting festivities taking place on Mahé, it makes it easy to combine attending one of the events with a cruise, as most start from the Mahé Inter Island Quay.
The peak travel season in the Seychelles is May through August (although the winter holidays are popular too. If you’d like to avoid the biggest crowds and pay the cheapest prices, particularly on airfare, you can save as much as 80% on flights during the low season, from November through January (with the exception of mid-December through just after the new year rolls around). While you’ll probably have to contend with some rain, it usually only lasts a few hours and is followed by sunshine. You may be able to find special discounts on cruises during these months and perhaps the shoulder months of April and October – they’re also worth considering for a good chance of great weather along with possibilities for bargain airfare and cruise discounts.
There are really only two seasons here, dry and wet.
The Dry Season: May through October. Many feel the dry season is the best time to visit the Seychelles overall, with the weather drier and less humid, while temperatures are typically in the low to mid-80s. If you hope to experience the best snorkeling or diving, aim for the early or later part of that time frame, ideally May or September/October. Plan surfing trips on Mahé for June or July, or for La Digue Island in October. Your best chance for cheaper rates, including airfare, during the dry season will be in October. This is also an ideal time to come for hiking and wildlife watching, including nesting birds. Come in September of October for the whale sharks.
The West Season: November through April. The start of the wet season coincides with the low season, bringing some of the biggest discounts and fewest crowds. Humidity will be higher, 80 to 90 percent, though temperatures remain in about the same range as the dry season. November can still be a great time for snorkeling and diving as well as whale watching, though hiking may be a bit tortuous throughout this period due to the high humidity. When it does rain, as noted previously, it usually doesn’t last that long, bringing plenty of opportunities for soaking up the sun on one of the many beautiful beaches.
You can find all of our cruises to the Seychelles here or you can call our experts on +44 208 004 2345 to find out more.