An unusual destination in the Indian Ocean – Victoria – the smallest capital city in the world is their claim to fame, along with their beautiful water and beaches. Seychelles is a grouping of over 100 islands with the largest/main island called Mahe.
As we enter the port, we see the beautiful forest-covered mountains of the island appear, dotted with homes and wind turbines. Port Victoria is everything to this country – all tourists and goods come in here. It was built in 1973 and the international airport (of one runway) was built in 1972.
Our tour is called Mahe Highlights so that is exactly what we see. No laying on the beach or stopping at beach resorts or shopping areas – thank goodness! It’s 5 degrees south of the equator so it is already in the 90’s at 9 AM.
On the Main Street we see a sculpture in the middle of a traffic circle, several government buildings, and several market shops getting ready for tourist traffic. A clock tower is also a featured landmark in the downtown. The houses and buildings as we begin the climb up the side of the mountain look familiar – think Caribbean.
The road is very steep and the bus stops a number of times so we can get a picture. We are traveling through the Morne Seychellois National Park. Huge trees, vines and lots of foliage is the best description as our bus climbs higher and higher up the mountain. Spectacular views down to the sea.
The first stop is at Venn’s Town – a mission lodge developed as a school for the children of the liberated slaves of the coffee, cocoa and vanilla plantations during the 1880s. Very little of the mission remains, but a viewing platform was completed in 1972 and the area is under consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Great views again, along with amazing huge mahogany trees.
When we depart Venn’s Town, we drive by a tea plantation with people in the field, harvesting tea leaves. Then we stop at a tea factory. Not to be too cynical….I think they brought people to work there for the day so the tourists would have something to see. The only active area was where the tea bags are made by a machine and then boxed. Again great views down to the harbor.
Next stop are the National Botanical Gardens. They are located down near the town of Victoria. We drive along the beach and are able to get nice pictures of the Indian Ocean lapping on the beach. And a bonus – a green turtle has just crawled ashore (see the tracks) and is huddling among the shrubs, getting ready to dig her nest and deposit her eggs. Haven’t seen this kind of live action in Florida!
The Botanical Gardens contain many “Florida plants.” However, there is the amazing Coco de Mer tree – it has the largest nut on the planet. The gardens contain usual flowers (hibiscus), but also plantings you don’t see very often. A Chinese garden and statue tucked away from the main area – for whatever reason. Lilly pad pond with trees – unusual. Of course I always follow the last sign wherever I am.
Back to the ship and out of the heat. We watch an afternoon tropical shower come over the mountain and cool off the city. Our ship doesn’t sail until this evening but really it is just too hot to go out and walk around the smallest capital city. The Seychelles is a beautiful island country where if you want to get as far away from the rest of the world, you would come here.