Article about the ocean in the Seychelles, or which sea surrounds the Seychelles islands. You won’t believe it, but this is one of the most common questions from tourists. I’ll share many interesting facts about the ocean on the islands, you’ll find out who you can encounter while swimming in the ocean, and there will also be important information about waves and currents.

The Ocean in the Seychelles: Interesting Facts

Which sea surrounds the Seychelles?

This is the most common question about the ocean that I get. So here it is: in the Seychelles, it’s not a sea but the mighty Indian Ocean. For those who find this question amusing, read the FAQ article, frequently asked questions from tourists.

And now, the essential points you need to know about the ocean in the Seychelles:

  • It’s summer all year round here, with only a 2-3 degree difference in average daily temperature between the hottest and coldest months. The ocean water is almost the same as the air temperature throughout the year: from +26 to +30. Read more about it in the article: season and weather in the Seychelles.
Ocean in the Seychelles
The warm Indian Ocean and incredibly beautiful Seychellois beaches – that’s what makes the Seychelles a mega-cool resort.
  • Despite some dangers in the Seychelles’ ocean, which I’ll talk about later, in general, all beaches are sandy, without corals, sea urchins, and are safe for recreation. Sea urchins exist, but they rarely appear on the beach and don’t disturb leisure activities at all.

Interesting to know:

Seychelles, almost the entire archipelago, consists of granite islands. There are no coral atolls here, like in the Maldives. The peculiarity of granite islands: no reef around, immediate depth, meaning the beaches have no protection from the ocean. This includes strong waves and sharks near the shore :).

For those who have seen many photos of Seychelles beaches, you may have noticed the massive boulders unique to the Seychelles (see photo above). These are granite, and today these boulders have become a symbol of Seychellois beaches. Read about Seychelles symbols through the link, where you’ll also learn about giant land tortoises and where to find them.

Seychelles Underwater World: Sharks, Turtles, Rays

I won’t list hundreds of fish, like in National Geographic shows; there’s a rich underwater world here, and you can encounter anything underwater. But not everything is rosy. Here are the main points:

  • As mentioned earlier, Seychelles is made up of granite islands, not coral ones. There aren’t many reefs, especially near the coast. And where there are reefs, not all of them are alive (meaning live corals).
  • No living reefs close to shore = no diversity of marine life.

Interesting to know:

Often, tourists who have been to the Maldives before and are now heading to the Seychelles expect similar snorkeling and diving experiences. These countries are in the same waters, not far from each other, so these expectations are understandable. However, snorkeling in the Seychelles is not at all like snorkeling in the Maldives. If you’re looking for exciting snorkeling and enjoy spending hours with a mask near the beach, that’s only possible in the Maldives.
seychelles ocean
And this is a lionfish. It lives in rocks, corals, often near the beach. It’s venomous. Do not touch it and better not approach closely. Photo taken near one of the popular beaches in Praslin – Anse Lazio.

However, if you know the spots, there are good snorkeling locations near Seychelles beaches. Here are two mega-useful articles:

And now specifically, which fish and marine creatures you can, and cannot, encounter in the Seychelles’ ocean. I’ll list the most anticipated underwater residents or those about whom people often inquire.

  • Can you encounter whales in the Seychelles? – No, it’s the equator, and whales do not inhabit the equator; their latitudes may intersect during migration. Occasionally, orcas or whales are encountered 5km from the islands while fishing or diving, but it’s rare and individual cases. Seychelles is not their habitat.

For those dreaming of encountering whales:

There are whale habitats, the northern and southern latitudes, roughly Iceland in the north and South Africa in the south. There are places where whales come annually to reproduce and give birth, for example, the Samana Bay in the Dominican Republic. And there are migration routes between the habitat and reproduction sites. We are not interested in migration routes; it’s a wide corridor of 200-400km. The highest probability of encountering whales is in their breeding and habitat areas, not in migration areas. An excellent article about whales in the Dominican Republic and how to encounter them with a 99% probability.
whales seychelles
The Seychelles’ ocean for the most fearless, and such encounters are possible. In the photo, my wife and I snorkeling near the beach on the Mahe island. 50 meters from the shore.
  • Right on the beach, while snorkeling 50 meters from the shore, you can encounter: rays, sea turtles, and sharks. It’s important that the water visibility is good, but this is not always the case. But if visibility is good, keep an eye out; you’ll see many interesting things.


There are no sharks dangerous to humans near the shore and beaches in Seychelles. Near the beach, you can see reef sharks, lemon sharks, and blacktip sharks. There are also whale sharks, but they can be encountered during diving; whale sharks near the shore are extremely rare. Tiger sharks are potentially dangerous to humans because they feed on very large fish, but they never enter shallow waters. Read about dangers in the Seychelles through the link; believe me, sharks are not something to be afraid of :).

And a bit more about sea turtles in the Seychelles’ ocean. Here, if you know the nuances, you can see how sea turtles nest and lay eggs or how little turtles hatch and crawl into the ocean. Knowledge and luck are needed.

sea turtles seychelles where
These informational signs are on all southern beaches of Mahe. Here’s an instruction on how to behave if you see a nesting sea turtle. You can read about the number of years of imprisonment you’ll get if you violate these rules.
  • The Seychelles – a habitat and breeding ground for sea turtles. They reproduce and give birth to offspring here.
  • In December and May, sea turtles lay their eggs on the beaches of the islands.
  • After 2-2.5 months, the turtle hatchlings emerge and crawl into the ocean.
  • All of this happens on ordinary public beaches. However, the most popular ones where you can witness this natural wonder are all the southern beaches of Mahe island: Takamaka, Intendance, Petite Police Beach, Police Bay, Anse Petit Boileau, Anse Capucins, Anse Petite Marie-Louise. I personally saw turtles nesting on four beaches from this list. Most beaches have informational signs, as seen in the photo above.
  • Review of the best beaches on Mahe.
  • I hope it’s unnecessary to mention that if you’re lucky enough to encounter a turtle, do not approach closely, do not touch, and observe the process from a distance of 3-5 meters. It’s not a petting zoo. Sea turtles should not be touched at all, even if encountered snorkeling underwater; stress can make them ill.
indian ocean seychelles
Don’t approach closer than in the photo. Photo taken on December 16, Police Bay beach, at 8 am.

Useful to know:

If you love the ocean, enjoy observing the underwater world, watching fauna in its natural environment, with proper preparation, you will likely encounter rays, turtles, and sharks in the Seychelles’ ocean. And it’s free, right near the beach. What you almost certainly won’t encounter: whales and manta rays. Dolphins are present in these waters, but they are rarely near the shore; sightings are more common on various marine tours, of which there are plenty in the Seychelles.

About excursions and tours, their types, prices, and where to find them.

Waves and currents in the Seychelles

An important chapter, but very brief. The main thing here is to know and understand some details, and you’ll be safe. In this case, being forewarned is being forearmed.

  • The Seychelles are in the middle of the ocean. Strong waves can occur here. Approximately from November to March, the islands experience westerly winds, resulting in strong waves on western beaches. From May to September, everything reverses: easterly winds and waves on eastern beaches. Consider this information when choosing a beach.
  • Along with strong waves and tidal currents, there are also rip currents. If interested, read about it online. In short, it’s when you are pulled away from the shore into the ocean. In this case, swimming towards the shore is useless; swim along the shore to escape the rip current, which is usually not wider than 50-75 meters.

These currents are not frequent but can occur. For example, from November to March, on the western beaches of Intendance and Takamaka, there are often strong waves and sometimes rip currents. A sign even stands there, warning that swimming during this time is at your own risk. Overall, there’s nothing dangerous; people swim and relax on these beaches, which are very popular with tourists. Just be aware of this, and keep a close eye on children, especially if you have only one.

what sea in seychelles
Takamaka Beach, waves, rip currents; sometimes you can meet turtles here – the full package. What beauty! The ocean in the Seychelles is stunning.

Travel Tips

A few important tips about the ocean in the Seychelles and beach recreation:

  • The Seychelles have a tropical climate. Many interesting creatures live in the water. After sunset, they all swim to the shallows for food, like shrimps, mollusks, and so on. Therefore, never swim after sunset.

This applies to all tropical regions worldwide. At night, sting rays and stonefish swim near the shore; they bury themselves in the sand, and stepping on them is easy. All of them have poisonous spines, and accidental stings can occur. You won’t die, but you’ll be bedridden for a week.

what ocean in seychelles
The ocean in the Seychelles includes such encounters. Cote D’Or Beach on Praslin Island. Sting rays come here right after sunset. The depth here is slightly above the ankles. During the day, children play here, and at night, when the island sleeps, the “mafia” wakes up.
  • Don’t forget that the sun at the equator is the most dangerous. You can get sunburn in just 30 minutes in the daytime sun. Protect yourself well, especially if you’re snorkeling for 1-2 hours.

In conclusion: the ocean in the Seychelles will not disappoint you. Yes, there are dangers, as in any ocean in the world, but if you don’t do foolish things, nothing will threaten you. And this is the place where, with proper preparation, determination, and luck, snorkeling near the beach, you will encounter rays, reef sharks, and sea turtles in their natural environment. Emotions will overflow, especially if it’s sharks 🙂

IMPORTANT: essential links to organize your dream trip to the Seychelles:

  • FLIGHTS: Aviasales – direct flights and best deals.
  • CAR RENTAL: Mahe and Praslin, no deposit required – DiscoverCars.
    • GetYourGuide – 75+ activities on land and water in the Seychelles.
    • Viator – 150 + activities in Seychelles.
    • Hotellook compares prices among a dozen other services and platforms and offers to choose the best one.
    • Booking – the most popular service for booking accommodation.
    • Agoda – the main competitor of Booking.
  • PACKAGES: from budget to luxury – Expedia.
  • INTERNET: eSIM of local telecom operator – Airalo.