The Best Time to Visit the Seychelles

The Seychelles, a group of 115 islands situated in the Indian Ocean, is a tropical paradise. With weather that hardly sees either extreme, and scenery that is unimaginably beautiful. There are three main islands and many smaller, private islands.

 

seychelles_landscape

 

The 3 main islands are:

  • Mahe
  • Praslin
  • La Digue

It is extremely hard to decide on the best time to go to the Seychelles, since almost every day on the island is like paradise. Even during the rainiest parts of the year, the island is still beautiful enough to attract people looking for a tropical getaway.

Of course, when arranging your travels you want to find a time that best fits in with your holiday plans. If you are looking to visit the islands on your honeymoon, you may want to avoid the large crowds. If it’s the sun and beaches that you’re after, then you’d do best to visit outside of the rainy season.

We’ve considered the many different reasons that you would want to visit the Seychelles. Such as busy times, activities and seasonal weather. With that, we were able to decipher the best times of the year to visit this tropical paradise.

When to Travel the Seychelles Depending on Tourist Crowds

 

crowds_beach

 

While the islands don’t have much of low season, May to August is the Seychelles peak tourist season, which means prices for accommodation and travel are high. If you are going to travel during this time, it is wise to plan and book ahead.

In December and January, the islands’ see a lower amount of tourist traffic. This is mostly due to the heavy rains. Travelling during these months would allow you a quieter holiday, but you would need to plan for the expected rain.

For the rest of year, there is an even amount of people flocking to the islands. You can find spots with less traffic or join in the busier fun with other tourists like yourself.


The Best Time to Go for Activities in the Seychelles

 

snorkeling

 

Snorkeling

Snorkeling in the Seychelles is a favourite amongst tourists and locals alike. While you can enjoy this activity throughout the year, the best times would be while the waters are clear and calm. This would be March to May and September to November.

 

diving

 

Diving

The Seychelles have superb diving opportunities offering close encounters with turtles, massive rays and small sharks. If you are visiting from July to October, you will have the chance to meet some Whale Sharks; although there is lower visibility during this season which makes viewing other sea-life slightly harder. The water temperatures also drop during these months.

For calm and clear diving, you’ll find that the waters are calmest during the months of March through May, and September through November. During these months you can experience the best visibility as well as the warmest water temperature.

 

windsurfing

 

Surfing/Windsurfing

If surfing is your game, then visiting the Seychelles in the months from May to September is a great idea. The waves are not excessive, but the beautiful scenery and lack of crowds makes the Seychelles a great place to surf.  If you do visit outside of the recommended months, you will still be able to enjoy surfing as long as you find the right spot.

 

owl_watching

 

Bird-watching

The Seychelles have wonderful opportunities for bird-watchers. The main island is home to two very elusive species of land birds, namely the Seychelles Scops-owl and Seychelles White-eye.

April marks the return of breeding seabirds, with May – September being their nesting season, and migration starting in October.

 

sea_turtle

 

Turtle and Tortoise Monitoring

A large attraction on the islands is the Turtle nesting; you can volunteer to assist the turtle monitoring programme on the beaches of Cousin Island from September to March each year.

The Giant tortoise mates and nests between February and September, while the Hawkesbill turtle nests September to March, and the Green turtle nests January to September.

 

whale_shark

 

Shark and Whale Watching

Since the waters are so clean and clear, you are able to get a really good view on the oceanic wildlife. The whale shark migration takes place between August and November and humpback whales breed (in the south) November-April.


When to Visit the Seychelles According to the Weather

The temperatures in the Seychelles don’t fluctuate tremendously, seldom dropping below 24°C. This means that even in the Winter months you still have amazing tropical weather.

Two opposing trade winds generally govern the weather pattern. The north-westerly trades blow from October to March when wind speeds average from 8 to 12 knots; and the brisker south-easterly trades blow from May to September with winds of between 10 to 20 knots, bringing cooler and windier conditions.

 

seychelles_sunset

 

December-February

As mentioned above, the months of December and January are the rainiest months in the Seychelles.

Although rain is most frequent during this time, showers don’t seem to last long, most just a few minutes, which means that your outdoor activities won’t be interrupted all day.

These months also experience the least amount of sunlight per day, with most days seeing just 5-6 hours of sunlight.

 

March-May

These months are usually the hottest months of each year in the Seychelles.

The humidity is still high and, even though cyclones hardly ever reach the main islands of the Seychelles, these months have the highest possibility of cyclones and tropical storms.

 

June-August

This is the Winter season in the Seychelles, but thanks to the islands’ proximity to the equator, the temperatures drop to a comfortable warm opposed to the extreme summer highs.

There isn’t much rain during this season, leaving mostly sunny, dry days at the beach.

Thanks to the winds, surfing and sailing is perfect but large amounts of seaweed get washed up on a lot of the beaches, somewhat ruining their pristine image.

 

September-November

Once September comes around, tourists start to dwindle and the wind starts to calm down.

The weather is not yet at summer highs, Spring daily highs range from 30.4°C and 28.7°C.

You can expect some rain during this period, but not often and for very short periods.


 

seychelles

 

The Absolute Best Time to go to the Seychelles

As you can see, the best time to go to the Seychelles depends largely on who is going, and what they intend to do while there. Most people agree, though, that visiting the islands during the months of April or November, will ensure you experience an all-round great time. The weather is calm, the crowds are manageable and there are ample activities to keep you busy.

It is safe to say that no matter when you plan to go to the Seychelles, you have an island paradise waiting for you. The fantastic part of visiting such an ideal holiday destination is that there is always the beautiful scenery and island culture to create the perfect relaxing vacation.

Introducing Tulbagh’s Magical Christmas in Winter Festival

Tulbagh Christmas in Winter

 

A cold, winter’s Christmas is not something that South Africans often get to experience. Snow-capped trees and carols at the fireplace are usually just something we see in movies.

 

tulbagh_map

 

But now we’ve found a tiny town in the Western Cape that is bringing Christmas in winter dreams to life. Tulbagh, roughly a 1.5-hour drive from Cape Town, holds its very own Christmas festival, right in the middle of our South African winter.

 

Details About the Festival

 

Every year, this small town gives South Africans a taste of what Christmas is like on the other side of the equator. The festival is held during the weekend closest to the 21st of June, our midwinter solstice. The dates for this year are 22 – 24 June.

 

tulbagh_christmas_winter_crowd

 

The cost for the festival is R80 per adult and R60 per child over the age of 12. Under 12s enter for free.

This covers:

  1. Your festival “passports” which allow you to take part in the activities
  2. Entrance to 4 of Tulbagh’s Museums
  3. A chance for the kids to meet Santa Claus.

 

tulbagh_christmas_winter_streets

 

Accommodation In and Around Tulbagh

 

We suggest finding one of these great places to spend the night. Accommodation books out fast for this weekend, so don’t wait too late. We found a variety of accommodation options, from B&B, self-catering, backpackers and even pet-friendly places.

Here are some that stood out, but be sure to check out all accommodation options.

African Tulip Guesthouse

 

african_tulip

 

Situated at 8 Meiringstreet in Tulbagh, this B&B is within walking distance to the town centre. There is a no smoking policy in the rooms, and children must be over the age of 6 to accompany parents.

Offering you a breakfast buffet in their breakfast room, so that you start your day right. They have four rooms, which are named after and decorated in the style of flowers from their garden.

These luxury rooms require you to stay a minimum of 2 nights, and offer rates from R435 per person sharing, per night. The rooms boast king size beds, private bathrooms, and WIFI.

 

Rijks Country House

 

rijks_hotel

 

You’ll find this luxurious hotel at the Van Der Stel Street Ext, Winterhoek Road just outside of Tulbagh. They have a choice of 15 elegant rooms, ranging from luxury rooms to family cottages.

This hotel is a short drive outside of town. Their rates start at R1250 per person sharing per night. You may be tempted to not leave the farm all weekend, though.

Just a few things on offer are:

  • A private cellar
  • Wellness centre
  • Art gallery
  • Lawns where you can enjoy games or picnics
  • As well fishing in the dams

 

Secret Falls

 

secret_falls_sunbird_cottage

 

Two cottages nestled among the fynbos in the mountains, on the outskirts of Tulbagh. You will find just the right amount of quiet here, allowing you to escape the bustle of the festival once you’ve had your fun.

The cottages are self-catering, with kitchen facilities and bedding included. There are indoor fireplaces and outdoor braais. A dam for swimming and fishing is a short walk away from the cottages. No pets are allowed in these cottages.

Rates start at R900 for 2 people, and R120 per person after that, although it seems the cottage only accommodates 4 people. If you’re feeling adventurous, they also have a 4X4 camping site on offer.

 

Tulbagh Fraaigelegen Farm

 

fraaigelegen_farm_signpost

 

Here you have a choice between cottages or camping. There are three self-catering cottages, called the Shiraz, the Cabernet and the Olive, which each have 2 bedrooms and can sleep up to 4 people. The Olive cottage even allows small to medium dogs to join in the family holiday.

You can bring your caravan or motorhome to one of the three secure campsites if that is what you prefer. There are ablution facilities and electricity points as well as communal South African style Bomas for barbeques (or braaing).

The minimum stay is 2 nights, so definitely make a weekend of it. The cottage rates are from R525 per person sharing, per night; while the camping sites are just R140 per person sharing, per night.

 

Matroosberg

 

matroosberg-50-shades-of-green

 

Enjoy the festival even more by bringing along all your friends and family. Matroosberg offers camping sites and cottages that accommodate 2 – 20 people. Rates are quite affordable, especially if the whole group is chipping in, and there are multiple adventure activities to enjoy as well.

Depending on the level of comfort and luxury that you are looking for, there is a type of cabin or campsite for you. From a romantic cabin for two at the foot of the mountain to a shared bunker for eight friends, the choice is yours. Be warned, though, their website clearly states that the gates will close at 9 am, so don’t get caught up with the festival activities and get locked out of your sleeping quarters.

Some activities you can find on the farm include:

  • 4X4
  • Quad Biking
  • Mountain Biking
  • Game Tours
  • Abseiling
  • Snowboarding
  • Trail Running
  • Paintball
  • Fishing
  • Cherry Picking

 

Food & Drinks (Tulbagh’s best Restaurants, Pubs and Coffee Shops)

 

Always the favourite part of Christmas, the food and drink. Stuffing yourself full of meat, veggies, cake & happiness. This wintery Christmas festival is no different. Choose from a list of restaurants, pub meals and coffee stops along the way.

Most of these restaurants will be offering special Christmas-themed menus, so a good idea would be to phone and find out, as well as book a spot so you don’t miss out.

 

Readers Restaurant

 

readers_restaurant

 

A restaurant established in the oldest house in Church Street, here you can find a simple yet delicious menu. Offering dishes such as Kudu Carpaccio with fresh asparagus and Hollandaise and Wildebeest with gooseberry and amarula sauce, this seems like the perfect lunch spot.

The menu changes, depending on which ingredients are available fresh, so your choices won’t get stale, and neither will your food. You can also pop into their gift store and find a few items to take back home with you.

 

Olive Terrace Bistro @ The Tulbagh Hotel

 

the_tulbagh_hotel_olive_bistro

 

This bistro is the in-house restaurant of The Tulbagh Hotel, situated centrally in Tulbagh. Offering à la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, with a fireplace to keep you warm. They serve everything from breakfast to dessert, with traditional wood oven pizzas that will most definitely tantalize those taste buds.

This is another place where the menu changes according to the availability of fresh produce. Their cakes are freshly baked every day, and they offer freshly squeezed orange juice. The bar has a range of local wine and draught beers, as well as craft gin cocktails.

 

1699 Restaurant

 

1699-restaurant

 

You’ll find this restaurant in Van Der Stel Street, in Tulbagh. They serve everything from breakfast to dinner, and everything in between. A menu that offers nothing but family-favourites in the form of toasted sandwiches, burgers, ribs and mouth-watering milkshakes.

Their deliciously crafted coffee from Blacksmith coffee looks like the perfect addition to any meal. They look like they enjoy a good party, and really get into the spirit of things, so Christmas in Winter is sure to be a great time with them.

 

Coffee and Cream

 

coffee_and_cream

 

Church Street is famous in Tulbagh and holds many gems in the form of local businesses. One such business is Coffee and Cream. For those looking for a coffee stop amid the festivities, have a look at Coffee and Cream’s delectable cakes and other small delights.

A small coffee shop, full of love and sweet treats, this would be the ideal place to rest your feet in between festival activities. The menu changes often, so a surprise delight awaits each new morning.

 

Paddagang Restaurant

 

paddagang_restaurant

 

If you’re looking for some more traditional South African meals to enjoy with the kids, try out Paddagang Restaurant. A comfy looking restaurant, with green lawns and friendly faces to greet you. They seem to have opened just recently but have already found a spot in their customer’s hearts.

They boast the best Crème Brulee in the Western Cape, which is a firm favourite amongst their regulars. They also stock only local craft beers and wines, so a great place to feel like a local while on holiday.

 

Activities To Do in Tulbagh

With so many things to do, you definitely won’t get bored over the weekend. You may, however, have a really hard time deciding which things to do, and which to miss.

  • Arts, crafts, photographic exhibitions, art galleries and quaint shops will be there to browse through and do some early Christmas shopping.
  • Tantalize your taste buds with different cheese, Belgian chocolate, and olive tastings.
  • Work off all those Christmas calories by taking part in a trail run through the vineyards.
  • Enjoy a scenic tractor trip up the historic Oudekloof Pass with interesting stops along the way.
  • A scenic outride on horseback allows you to experience the beauty and tranquillity of nature.
  • Be daring and go on a Zipslide adventure further down the Valley.

 

tulbagh_zipline

 

Kids can have just as much fun with:

  • Jumping castles
  • Face painting
  • Pony rides
  • Tractor trips
  • Meeting Santa Claus

 

kids_meet_santa

 

The wine farms surrounding Tulbagh will be open and offering a variety of wine tastings, as well as cellar tours and an assortment of family entertainment. If the guys get bored with browsing through the streets, leave them at one of the sports pubs with a beer. Be sure to catch some of the live entertainment that will be on show in the streets during the festival.

 

Thanks to the Tulbagh Christmas in Winter Festival, we can now have the best of both worlds – a cold, winter’s Christmas, as well as a Christmas spent in the sun. The festival is bound to bring in a merry crowd, ready to celebrate with cheery spirits. Experience a Christmas spent around the fireplace, with the hopes of snow falling.

It’s the perfect way to spend some quality time with the loved ones. It is also a great excuse to come out of hibernation for some family-friendly, winter fun. With activities for everyone and the entire town on display, expect this to become an annual family favourite.