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Overseas Security Advisory Council
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
U.S. Department of State

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Seychelles 2019 Crime & Safety Report

The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Seychelles at Level 1, indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions.

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

The U.S. Embassy in Port Louis does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The American Citizen Services unit (ACS) cannot recommend a particular individual or establishment, and assumes no responsibility for the quality of services provided.

Review OSAC’s Seychelles-specific page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.

Crime Threats

There is minimal risk from crime in Victoria. Most visits to Seychelles remain trouble-free. According to official police figures, there has been a decrease in incidents of petty theft, burglary, robbery, and other crime of opportunity. In 2018, robbery and burglary cases decreased by 45% and 17% respectively compared to 2017. However, this should not be a reason to be complacent; crime rates do fluctuate and incidents against tourists, residents, and expatriates occur frequently. Exercise extra caution near ATMs and in the back streets of Beau Vallon and Victoria. Theft from vehicles also occurs in areas foreigners frequent. Criminals often target trekking tours, walking trails, and beaches due to the volume of tourists. Despite the decrease of opportunistic crimes reported in 2018, there were a spate of robberies and attacks on and around the Cote D’Or beach on the island of Praslin.

The Seychellois rupee (SCR) is the local currency. ATMs are available at the airport and at major tourist destinations, but dispense only SCR. Credit cards are not widely accepted outside of resorts. There have been reports in recent years of credit card scams using card skimming devices. Seychellois enjoy a lower tax rate due to the offshore financial services industry’s significant economic contributions to the country, which has the second highest per capita income in Africa. The flexibility of the international tax system and the lack of legislation concerning high-value transactions has enabled international crime organizations to engage in money laundering using these offshore industries.

Reports of pirates operating in the western region of Seychelles have decreased substantially in recent years. Refer to the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) website for additional information and advisories.

Cybersecurity Issues

Seychelles does not have an officially approved national cybersecurity roadmap or internationally recognized Computer Incident Response Team. The government has created several legal measures in recent years (e.g. Computer Misuse Act, the Electronic Transactions Act, and the Data Protection Act) in an effort to address cybersecurity issues. The country signed agreements with India and Cyprus in 2018 to bolster cybersecurity, but has not implemented wider security measures on public systems.

Other Areas of Concern

The popular tourist beach in Beau Vallon is host to powerful rip currents. Exercise caution by staying alert to changes in sea conditions. Do not fish, swim, or snorkel alone. Always seek expert local advice about which areas are safe for swimming, as this can differ based on seasonal weather patterns and time of day. Many beaches have varying strong/rip currents. Most beaches do not have a regular lifeguard presence.

Transportation-Safety Situation

For more information, review OSAC’s Report, Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.

Road Safety and Road Conditions

Road conditions in Seychelles are fair. Driving is only practical on Praslin and Mahé. Motor vehicles are right-side drive, and traffic moves on the left. There are few safety barriers in Seychelles; roads are often adjacent to sheer drops and contain hairpin bends. Animals and pedestrians can make driving on unlighted roads at night hazardous. During the December-March rainy season, roads can often become flooded, and the narrow and winding mountain roads on Mahé can become dangerous.

A domestic driver’s license or an International Driving Permit is acceptable in Seychelles for up to three months. Any stays longer than three months require a permit from the Seychelles Licensing Authority.

For more information on self-driving, review OSAC’s reports, Driving Overseas: Best Practices and Road Safety in Africa

Public Transportation Conditions

Several taxi services in Mahé and Praslin charge by distance, although some taxis may not be equipped with a meter. Negotiate the fare before beginning your journey.

Identify public buses by their blue color. Schedules can be unreliable. Services are infrequent on some routes, tend to be crowded during rush hours, and may require a transfer. On the islands of Mahé and Praslin, buses operate from early morning to early evening. A timetable is available from the bus station in Victoria.

Most of the inner islands are accessible by boat or ferry; there are also a number of day trips available to tourists. Check that there is sufficient safety equipment including life jackets and ship-to-shore radio. Travel by ship to the outer islands, including the Amirantes, Cosmoledo, and Aldabra groups requires prior approval from the Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority. Mariners planning travel to Seychelles should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may appear on the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) broadcast warnings website.

Aviation/Airport Conditions

At Seychelles Pointe Larue International Airport (SEZ), there have been reports of items stolen from checked baggage or lost. Passengers should maintain awareness of their belongings at all times, use Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved locks, and retrieve checked bags as soon as possible. As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Seychelles, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Seychelles’ Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.

Terrorism Threat

There is minimal risk from terrorism in Victoria. Seychelles has not experienced any terrorist incidents. There are no known terrorist organizations operating in Seychelles.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

Civil Unrest 

There is minimal risk from political violence in Victoria. While demonstrations and protests occur, they are not common and usually relate to elections. Most protests, both scheduled and spontaneous, end peacefully. 

Post-specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards

Seychelles is an island nation subject to a range of natural disasters, including tropical cyclones, tsunamis, coastal floods, storm surge, and landslides due to the mountainous terrain on Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue. Tropical Storm Felleng in 2013 led to severe flooding and landslides on these islands.

Critical Infrastructure

In recent years, the installation of fire alarm detectors and fire suppression equipment in homes and businesses has increased, but coverage continues to be sporadic. Most popular tourist hotels have implemented evacuation plans and installed smoke detectors. For more information on hotel safety, review OSAC’s reports, Fire Safety Abroad and Considerations for Hotel Security.

Economic Concerns

Seychelles is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). However, stores continue to sell pirated copies of movies, television shows, music, counterfeit clothing, jewelry, and other luxury goods.

Personal Identity Concerns

Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Seychelles. Seychelles is one of the more progressive countries (relative to other countries in Africa) regarding LGBTI rights and protections, as the law prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. LGBTI persons have reported instances of discrimination.

Persons with disabilities face limited access to transportation, accommodations, and public buildings. There are few sidewalks. Most buildings lack functioning elevators.

Drug-related Crimes

Seychellois Police have increased their enforcement of drug trafficking and drug abuse since 2016. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime announced in 2018 their intent to reestablish a presence in Seychelles to increase drug trafficking security measures, reduce the demand for drugs, and enact prison reform.

Authorities strictly enforce drug possession laws. Penalties for possession of any amount include fines and possible jail time.

Police Response

Report all incidents of crime to the local police authorities. Remain calm and polite when interacting with the police to avoid misunderstandings.

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

Arrested, detained, or harassed U.S. citizens should contact the American Citizen Services (ACS) section at the U.S. Embassy in Port Louis, Mauritius at (+230) 202-4400 or (+230) 202-4432 during business hours, or the U.S. Embassy Duty Officer phone (+230) 5253-3641 after hours. Find more information at the ACS webpage.

Crime Victim Assistance

For emergencies requiring fire and police, dial 999.

For emergency medical assistance, dial 151.  

For administrative calls to local fire and police posts, dial:

Mahé               Fire:     (+248 4 323 242)                    Police: (+248 428 8000)

Praslin             Fire:     (+248 4 232 149)                   Police (+248 428 8123)

Medical Emergencies

Seychelles Hospital is the national referral hospital, located in Mahé. The hospital offers most general services and provides specialist inpatient and outpatient care. Carry adequate supplies of any needed prescription medicines, along with copies of prescriptions, the generic name of the drugs, and a supply of preferred over-the-counter medications. For more information, refer to OSAC’s report, Traveling with Medications.

Road and ambulance conditions may limit emergency response. Individuals requiring an ambulance should call 999 or the Seychelles Hospital (+248 4 388 000).

Contact Information for Available Medical Services

For a list of available medical facilities, including private and public locations, refer to the Embassy’s Medical Assistance page.

Available Air Ambulance Services

Seychelles Hospital works frequently with international evacuation services.

Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance: 17851 N. 85th St., Ste. 350, Scottsdale, AZ 85255

Insurance Guidance

While Seychellois citizens receive free healthcare from the government, international visitors are required to pay for treatment. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services rendered.

Persons with medical emergencies may require medical evacuation (medevac) to Kenya or South Africa, likely costing thousands of dollars and considered only if the patient has adequate insurance or pays up front. In some cases, medevac may require a medical visa. The U.S. Embassy recommends all travelers have travel and medical insurance. Note that you usually must purchase medevac insurance separately from other policies. For more information, please refer to OSAC’s report, Medical Evacuation: A Primer.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

The following diseases are prevalent: Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, and Typhoid. The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Seychelles.

OSAC Country Council Information

There is no OSAC Country Council in Seychelles. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Africa team with any questions.

U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information

Embassy Address and Hours of Operation

The U.S. Embassy in Port Louis is located on the fourth floor of Rogers House, President John Kennedy Blvd.

Working hours: 0730-1630 Monday-Thursday, 0730-1200 Friday

Embassy Contact Numbers

+230 202-4400 during working hours, or + 230 5253-3641 for the U.S. Embassy Duty Officer

Websites: U.S. Virtual Presence Post Seychelles, U.S. Embassy Mauritius

Embassy Guidance

Stay informed of the security situation in Mauritius through the media and the U.S. Embassy's website, and register with the Embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Additional Resource: Seychelles Country Information Sheet

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