Cruise ships dock at Ogden Point, at the deep- water Port Victoria, able to accommodate several large ships. The terminal is about 15 minutes walking to the city-centre in the North-East. The walk is quite pleasant, however you can also easily catch a taxi, a city bus, hire a bike or a car for the day. The international Airport is 15 minutes drive away, the distance is about 10 km. The terminal itself lacks facilities. There are temporary tent-like shops when there are cruise ships in town where you can buy refreshments and souvenirs.
The local currency is the Seychelles Rupee (SCR). USD and EUR are also widely accepted in the Seychelles, with a strong preference towards the Euro. It’s recommended to arrive with some Euro and exchange your home currency to Rupees once you there. You can pay with both Euro and Rupees at most establishments, but paying in Rupees will save you some cash, as the prices are more favourable. Oddly, some outlets will only accept Euro. Don’t forget to exchange back any Rupees at your departure. There are ATMs and bank offices (Barclays being the most popular), throughout Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, but for exchanging cash we recommend the Cash Plus exchange shops in Victoria. Never exchange money outside of bank offices and exchange shops and avoid exchanging at your hotel – the rates wouldn’t be great. All major credit cards are widely accepted, and you can easily get cash from an ATM. Just remember to notify your bank you would be abroad and make sure you are aware of any fees you would be charged when withdrawing Seychelles Rupees.
Opening hours and bank holidays. Victoria doesn’t have many options for the shopaholics. The Sir Selwyn Selwyn Clarke Market is open from 7 am until 5 pm Monday to Friday and 6 am to 2 pm on Saturdays, closed on Sundays and public holidays. The Eden Plaza Shopping mall – the only shopping mall in Victoria is open Monday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm, 9 am until noon on the weekend. The bank offices are generally open from 8.30 am to 2 pm Monday to Friday and from 8.30 am to 11.30 am on Saturday, closed on Sundays. There aren’t many bank holidays in the Seychelles, but most shops and outlets will be closed for Easter, Christmas, New Years and a couple of other local holidays. Do check if that would affect your stay.
Tipping in the Seychelles is not mandatory but appreciated. A service charge of 5-10 % is added to restaurants bills and a lot of other services. Only tip if it isn’t added, or if you have had exceptional service. Use your discretion on tipping hotel staff and add the equivalent of 2 – 5 GBP in Euro or Rupees. It’s not necessary to tip taxi drivers or tour guides, you can round up the change if you wish.
The local language in the Seychelles is Seychellois Creole, but English and French are also official languages, so you would have no issues of being understood.
The local time in the Seychelles is GMT + 4 and the international dialling code of Victoria is 00 248 3.
Things To Do
Everyone flocks to the Seychelles because of the soft, powdery white beautiful beaches, the unique marine life, the warm ocean and the picturesque and unspoilt surroundings. Hence, the beaches of Mahe are first on our list. We recommend Anse Intendace – across the island from Victoria, about an hour drive away from the port – a postcard perfect beach, best for swimming October – April. Beau Vallon is the longest and most busy with activities beach in Mahe, frequented by locals, as well as tourists. Here you can do anything water related – swim, jet ski, kitesurf, snorkel, scuba dive, fish, or just sunbathe, while sipping a coconut cocktail. These are only two of the 68 different beaches on Mahe. There are many more on the rest of Seychelles islands, including the ones voted amongst the best in the world – Anse Source D’Argent on the island of La Digue, Anse Lazio on Praslin and more. There are idyllic, gorgeous beaches at the nearby islands as well. Most of them would have frequent ferry service from Mahe and you can also book an excursion by speedboat, time permitting.
In Victoria, a city, easily explored by foot, we can recommend seeing the National History Museum for some insight on the geography, flora, fauna and anthropology of these unique islands. The main purpose of the museum is to highlight the environmental issues, faced by the islands, struggling to respond to the tourist demands and at the same time to protect the endemic to Seychelles species such as the various birds, the Aldabra Giant tortoise and the Coco De Mer palm – producing the heaviest seed in the world, weighing up to 17.6kg.
Visit the heart and soul of Victoria – Sir Selwyn Selwyn Clarke Market. Here you can find the freshest local produce of fish, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, also fashion boutiques and souvenir shops for half the price of the rest of the shops and supermarkets. Built in 1840 in early-Victorian style and renovated in 1999, this vibrant and lively market is especially busy on Saturday mornings and closed on Sundays.
The nature lovers – and there is plenty of it in Mahe – should take one of the 12 hiking trails in Morne Seychellois National Park. This impressive nature reserve takes as much as 20% of the land of Mahe Island and is 10km long and between 2 and 4 km wide. It contains a wide variety of habitats, from coastal mangrove forests to the country’s highest peak – the Morne Seychellois at 905m. You would be surrounded by thick greenery and glimpses of the Seychelles bulbul, Seychelles swiftlet, the world smallest frog – the Sooglossus gardineri frog and more. The view from the peak is worth the hike and there is also a beautiful waterfall nearby and the ruins of old cinnamon distilleries.
Interesting features in Victoria are the clock tower – a copy of the one on London’s Vauxhall Bridge Road and the silver painted replica of London’s Big Ben - remains from the time when British ruled the islands from early 19th century to 1976.
Other sights in Mahe include the lush Botanical Gardens, the Tea Plantation and Factory and the Spice Garden.
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