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Travel Review: Victoria, Seychelles

Adina Oditt 

Known as the smallest African capital, Victoria lies proudly in the shimmering western Indian Ocean. The Seychelles are comprised of 115 archipelagic islands that cluster around the main island of Mahé, home to Victoria, which is the republic’s business and cultural hub. Victoria is the only port of the archipelago and the only town of any size in Seychelles. Some one-third of the people of the Mahé Island live in Victoria. Here is your ultimate guide to the rare and exotic island.

Airlines: Seychelles International Airport was built near Victoria in 1971 and has a number of international flights with the national airline, Air Seychelles. It has flights to and from Bangkok, Johannesburg, London, Milan, Munich, Paris, Port Louis (Mauritius), Rome, and Singapore. Doha (Qatar Airways), Dubai (Emirates), Nairobi (Kenya Airways), Frankfurt and Munich (Condor), and Reunion (Air Austral) have flights to the Seychelles as well. Good luck finding a direct flight to the Seychelles from the U.S.!

Hotels/Accommodations: A wide range of affordable, new, and refurbished hotels is joining the ranks of existing five-star hotels and exclusive island retreats to offer memorable stays. Other major budgeted accommodations include guesthouses, self-catering apartments, and bungalows. While opting for self-catering apartments, you need to take care of a few things. They do not provide meals, but they have kitchen facilities. Famous hotels include the Four Seasons Seychelles, The Hilton Seychelles and Rocky Bay Villa.

Attractions/Tourism: Though a small city, there is an infinite amount of activity on this sizzling island. The center of the city is pinpointed by the clock tower, a copy of the Little Ben outside Victoria station in London, next to which stands the court house. Victoria’s botanical garden stretches over 15 acres and gathers some 200 exotic plant species, including the famous Coco de Mer and the Tortoise of Aldabra. The National Museum’s seashell collections are also worth a peek. You can stop by the King’s Garden, a 124-acre domain displaying exotic spices and birds. Visit the local art galleries and craft markets to soak up the city’s friendly charm. A more lively pleasure is to be found at the morning market, where the stalls are stacked with tropical fruits, spices, and freshly caught fish. If you are interested in an adventure, stay on more than one island. That’s right: Island hop! Island hop in close proximity to Mahé, or carve across the Indian Ocean and head for parts less known. Only two percent of the Seychelles population lives on the outer islands. Just getting from one island to another is part of the fun. Motor boats connect adjacent islands, whereas ferries run regularly between public islands.

Cuisine: The Seychelles offer a unique blend of modern and cultural delight. Seychelles food is very rich and is exotically prepared, having a mixture of French and Indian flavors. Grilled fish or octopus basted with a sauce of crushed ginger, chilies, and garlic are the national favorites. There are dishes that are prepared with coconut milk and inventive chatinis prepared from the local fruits like papaya and golden apple. As can be expected, the seafood dishes are featured predominantly in the local cuisine because of proximity to the Indian Ocean, which is known for its rich bounty of large and flavorful fish. The tuna and king fish are the favorites and are frequently fried or grilled in a garlic butter sauce. Octopus is a big delicacy in the Seychelles. Often, a spicy curry of coconut is served with the Octopus, diced up and put into the seafood cocktail. One common Seychelles food method involves the mixing of shellfish with pumpkin and cooking the mixture as soup. As Seychelles people come from numerous distinct backgrounds, arrays of various tastes are on hand. Chinese, Indian, French, and English food techniques are all incorporated in modern day Seychelles cookery.

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