This is an annual report produced
in conjunction with the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Port
Louis, Mauritius, which maintains a virtual presence for Seychelles. OSAC encourages travelers to use this report to gain baseline knowledge of security
conditions in Seychelles. For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s
Seychelles country 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.
The current U.S.
Department of State Travel
at the date of this report’s publication assesses Seychelles at Level 1,
indicating travelers should exercise normal precautions. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular Travel Advisory System.
Overall Crime and Safety Situation
There is minimal risk
from crime in Seychelles. Most visits to Seychelles remain trouble-free. According
to official police figures, there continues to be a decrease in violent crime,
but there has been a slight increase in incidents of petty theft. Burglary,
robbery, and other crimes of opportunity have also decreased. In early 2020,
drug offenses have gone down slightly but are still of concern, as police report
that illegal and abused prescription drugs impacts visitors and locals alike. However,
this should not be a reason to be complacent; crime rates do fluctuate and
incidents against tourists, residents, and expatriates occur frequently. Muggings
and petty crime such as purse snatching and pickpocketing are reportedly on the
increase and can be a problem especially in and around tourist facilities and
ATMs. Theft from vehicles and on beaches or walking trails occurs in areas
foreigners frequent. 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 target trekking tours, walking trails, and beaches due to
the volume of tourists. Use common sense and remain aware of your surroundings.
have been reports in recent years of credit card scams using card-skimming
devices. Review OSAC’s reports, The Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud and Taking Credit.
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 have enabled international crime
organizations to engage in money laundering using these offshore industries.
Keep valuables locked in a hotel room
safe. Review OSAC’s reports, Hotels: The Inns and Outs and Considerations for Hotel Security.
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.
Road Safety and
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. Be alert while driving, especially at
night, as there are minimal streetlights. 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. Drunk
driving is a problem, so be particularly aware of other road users who may
A domestic driver’s
license or an International Driving Permit is acceptable for driving in
Seychelles for up to three months. Any stays longer than three months require a
permit from the Seychelles Licensing Authority.
Review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad, Road Safety
in Africa, Driving Overseas: Best Practices, and
Evasive Driving Techniques; and
read the State Department’s webpage on driving and road safety abroad.
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.
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. Review OSAC’s report, Security In Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
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
and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) broadcast warnings website.
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.
There is minimal risk
from terrorism in Seychelles. Seychelles has
not experienced any terrorist incidents. There are no known terrorist
organizations operating in Seychelles.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
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. Review OSAC’s report, Surviving a Protest.
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. Seychelles lies outside the cyclone belt, so severe storms are
rare. Tropical Storm Felleng in 2013 led to severe flooding and landslides. The
country experiences occasional short droughts. The water supply depends on
catchments to collect rainwater.
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
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. Review OSAC’s reports, Hotels: The Inns and Outs, Considerations for Hotel Security, and
Fire Safety Abroad.
Cellular phones are in widespread use on the
main islands, and service is generally adequate, though there are coverage gaps
in some remote areas. Travelers can purchase local SIM cards to use with
compatible cell phones.
As a very small open
economy dependent on tourism, Seychelles remains vulnerable to developments
such as economic downturns in countries that supply tourists, natural
disasters, and changes in local climatic conditions and ocean temperature. 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
Seychelles fared very
well in Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perception Index ratings, ranked #27
in the world, only four spots behind the United States.
Rape, spousal rape, and domestic abuse are
criminal offenses for which conviction is punishable by up to 20 years’
imprisonment. Nevertheless, rape remains a problem, and the government
generally does not enforce the law effectively. Authorities in general do not
prioritize domestic abuse cases, and police lack proper training in handling
sexual assault cases. Many victims do not report rape due social stigma and a
reluctance to enter into lengthy court case. Review the State Department’s
webpage on security for female travelers.
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. There are few reports of discrimination against LGBTI+ persons,
although activists state discrimination and stigma are common. Review the State Department’s webpage on
security for LGBTI+ travelers.
Persons with disabilities face
limited access to transportation, accommodations, and public buildings. There
are few sidewalks. Most buildings lack functioning elevators. Although the constitution and law provide for
special protections for persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and
mental disabilities, including reasonable provisions for improving quality of
life, no laws address access to public buildings, transportation, or government
services, and the government does not provide such services. Review the State
Department’s webpage on security for travelers with disabilities.
The constitution prohibits discrimination on religious
grounds, as well as laws establishing any religion. The government has
begun drafting a proposed amendment to the law that regulates religions and
associations, to make it stricter. The Seychelles Interfaith Council said it
would like the amendment to impose new criteria for registering heads of
religious groups and establish mechanisms to detect financial fraud and
terrorism financing through religious groups. Review OSAC’s report, Freedom to Practice, and
the State Department’s webpage on security for faith-based travelers.
from the highest rate of heroin abuse in the world; nearly 10% of the working
population is addicted to heroin, according to the Agency for the Prevention of
Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation (APDR). Importation of Afghan heroin is difficult
to stop, given the porous nature of national borders in a country comprising
more than 100 islands. The popularity of synthetic drugs is also on the rise.
Police have increased
enforcement of drug trafficking and drug abuse since 2016. Authorities strictly
enforce drug possession laws. Penalties for possession of any amount include
fines and possible jail time.
The UN Office on
Drugs and Crime announced in 2018 its intent to reestablish a presence in
Seychelles to increase drug trafficking security measures, reduce the demand
for drugs, and enact prison reform. Among the reforms enacted is consideration
of drug addiction as a disease rather than a crime, allowing greater
possibilities for treatment and rehabilitation among drug abusers.
There is minimal threat from kidnapping in
Seychelles. Review OSAC’s report, Kidnapping: The Basics
Prohibited items and those items requiring
permits for importation include pharmaceuticals, tobacco, alcohol, radio
equipment, and any fruits or vegetables. Read the State Department’s webpage on
customs and import restrictions for information on what you cannot take into
or out of other countries.
The emergency line in Seychelles is 999. Report all incidents
of crime to the local police authorities. Remain calm and polite when
interacting with the police to avoid misunderstandings. Download the State Department’s Crime Victims
Seychelles Police, which includes the unarmed police, the armed paramilitary
Police Special Support Wing, the Anti-Narcotics Bureau, and the Marine Police
Unit, have primary responsibility for internal security, and report to the Minister
of Home Affairs. The Seychelles People’s Defense Forces, including infantry,
the Special Forces Unit, the Coast Guard, and the Air Force, are responsible
for external security, and assist police with internal security as needed.
These military services report to the president, who acts as Minister of Defense.
detained, or harassed U.S. citizens should contact the American Citizen
Services (ACS) section at the U.S. Embassy in Mauritius at +230-202-4400 / 32
during business hours, or the U.S. Embassy Duty Officer phone +230-5253-3641
after hours. Find more information at the ACS webpage.
For administrative calls
to local fire and police posts, dial:
Mahé Fire: (+248-432-3242) Police: (+248-428-8000)
Praslin Fire: (+248-423-2149) Police
The medical emergency line in Seychelles is 999. Road and ambulance
conditions may limit emergency response. In the event of an injury, appropriate
medical treatment is typically available only on the main islands of Mahé,
Praslin, and La Digue. First responders are generally unable to access more
remote islands to provide urgent medical treatment, and emergency facilities
and/or medical personnel on individual islands vary, or may not exist at
all. 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
Find contact information for available medical
services and available air ambulance services on the Embassy’s Medical Assistance page.
citizens receive free healthcare from the government, international visitors must
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
OSAC’s report, Medical
Evacuation: A Primer.
diseases are prevalent: Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B,
Rabies, and Typhoid. Passengers traveling from plague-infected countries may face
temporary quarantine during seasonal plague outbreaks. The CDC offers
additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Seychelles.
Review OSAC’s reports, The Healthy Way, Traveling with Medication, I’m Drinking What in My Water?, Shaken: The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad, and Health 101: How to Prepare for Travel.
OSAC Country Council Information
There is no OSAC
Country Council in Seychelles. Interested
private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Africa team with
U.S. Embassy Contact Information
U.S. Consular Agency Seychelles: Suite 23, 2nd floor,
Oliaji Trade Centre, Victoria
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +248-251-5256
U.S. Virtual Presence Post Seychelles website
U.S. Embassy in Mauritius
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: + 230-5253-3641
Before you travel, consider the following