48 Hours In Victoria, Seychelles

Above: Aerial view on the coastline of the Seychelles Islands (Photo: Oleg Znamenskiy/Shutterstock)

Founded in the 18th century as a French colony and then taken by the British as a Crown Colony in 1903, the Seychelles capital of Victoria is undeniably British in nature, with street names and monuments bearing the names of notable British figures, including Queen Victoria which is evident everywhere from the City’s name to the famous Victoria clock tower. After the Socialist one-party state fell in 1992, tourism became a major factor in Victoria’s economy and it is not hard to see why.

What to see

Victoria clock tower, situated at the heart of the capital was erected by British Colonial officials in 1903 and is an exact sized-down replica of the famous Victoria Station clock tower in London. Each and every hour the clock bell rings across the whole of Victoria and stands as a memorial to the late Queen Victoria who was highly regarded in Seychelles. A short boat ride from Victoria Harbour lies Aride Island, a home to over 1 million various seabirds ranging from boobys to cormorants. A little known fact about Aride Island is that it was purchased by Christopher Cadbury, of Cadburys chocolate fame, in 1973 as a safe haven for endangered wildlife. What better way to learn about the natural heritage of the Seychelles than amongst a million birds?

What to eat

Victoria’s culinary heritage comes from the various settlers who have occupied the islands throughout history, ranging from French and British specialities to local Creole dishes. Boat House Restaurant, a friendly and relaxed hut offers local dishes including grilled locally caught fish, breadfruit chips and papaya satini in their sumptuous nightly Creole buffet. There is sure to be something for everyone to sample.

Kaz Zanana Restaurant, on the other hand, offers food that is a little more upmarket. Located just a stone’s throw from heart of Victoria, this atmospheric refurbished Creole townhouse restaurant offers locally produced dishes with a little elegance, including their famous freshly caught octopus.

What to do

Although Victoria is a relatively small city in comparison to Western standards, with a population of around 25,000, there is always something for visitors to do. Grabbing a secluded beach is a definite must for sun worshipers; with over 75 beaches on Mahe Island alone, it is never too difficult to find a quiet sun soaked beach. Beau Vallon Beach is perfect for snorkelling in the crystalline waters or lying in the shade from a hundred coconut trees. Sounds like paradise right? Taking a leisurely hike to the summit of Morne Blanc, Seychelles biggest mountain offers sights across the blue seas of the Indian Ocean unlike anywhere else in the world.

Where to shop

Although shopping is more of a luxury than a pastime in Victoria, given its small size there is more than enough to keep you going. For a unique souvenir made with local ingredients and a lot of passion, visit Kreolfleurage Parfums, the only perfume manufacturer in the Indian Ocean. The owner Dagmar Ehlert often allows guests to watch her making their personalised perfumes. Antik Colony offers over 300 locally produced antique products, with something to suit every taste.

To learn more about the Seychelles capital of Victoria, visit www.seychelles.org/mahe-island-victoria.

Tags: Travel Guide

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