Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum hosts exhibitions that not only illustrate the flora, fauna and geological history of Seychelles, but serve to enlighten visitors about major environmental concerns with the aim of promoting positive attitudes and actions in conserving our natural heritage.
I liked the animals at the gate.
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I would have expected to find this building in the center of Portugal, for instance, but not in Seychelles Islands. I loved it!
La Domus is the imposing residence of the Roman Catholic priesthood. It was built in 1934.
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The bust of Pierre Poivre
In Mahé I visited the Botanical Gardens and I saw this bust devoted to Pierre Poivre. He traveled to many parts of the world (China, Timor, Moluko, Java Island, French Guyana...); he loved adventure. He died in Lyon.
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Swim in the Indian Ocean
Swimming was one of our favorite activities at this resort especially in the ocean. The water here is crystal clear and many shades of blue and green that changes throughout the day. Water temperatures are a little colder than the water in the Caribbean but much warmer than the beaches back home. Depending on the tide and the wind; surf can be very calm with tiny swells or quite rough with huge crashing waves.
We chose to swim during calm ocean currents when the waves were minimal. This was one of my favorite times swimming with my wife, riding a wave in and just holding her in my arms. It's amazing how the water has such a calming and tranquil effect on the body....the stresses of life just melt away.
***Be careful in the water. There are many sharp rocks and hidden reefs that can cut your feet and legs. Water shoes are an excellent choice if you plan on walking beachside or swimming.***
The Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market
This famous market is named after a distinguished English man. He qualified as a doctor, served in WW1 and was awarded the Military Cross. Later he became a Medical Officer in Hong Kong where, in WW2 he was interned during the Japanese occupation in solitary confinement for three years. After his repatriation at the end of the war he was appointed Governor of the Seychelles.
It would be hard to find a less "British" market . This is a bustling, hugely colourful place with lots of fish stalls, and every kind of exotic tropical fruit and vegetable you can imagine.
You could also buy souvenirs to take home from one of the stores selling locally made handicraft work - shells made into jewelry, and crafted coco shells. I bought some hand made soaps containing natural oils and fragrances, beautifuly wrapped and tied with raffia.
Upstairs there is a cafe/restaurant from where you can look down on the colourful scene below as you enjoy some refreshment.
Look out for a most unusual customer at this market- known locally as "Madme Paton" it is a Cattle Egret with a distinctive yellow/orange bill.
Madame Paton ( after an elegant, rather tall French lady of long ago) seems a name more befitting this graceful bird than its other name - which comes from its habit of following the path of cattle as they churn up the soil with their hooves so they can use their long bills to dig up the best worms! I think Madame Paton may have looked rather like the beautiful lady in blue in Picture No 2.
Visit Mahé's Capital - Victoria
Said to be the smallest Capital in the world and Capital of the largest island in the Seychelles Group, it is named after Queen Victoria.
There are echoes of colonial architecture to be seen here - on a small scale.
You will hear English, French and Seychellois spoken reflecting both the original French colonisers of the Islands and the British who seized possession during the Napoleonic wars. An independent colony since 1903, an independent Republic since 1976 Victoria is the seat of givernment and administration.
A short walk of less than 10 minutes or so took us from our ship to the centre of the Capital where the clock tower can be seen. Often described as a mini-Big Ben the tower was in fact a replica of the clock erected in London in 1897 at the junction of Victoria Street and Vauxhall Bridge Road.
Though I must say, it looked remarkably like a miniature Big Ben!
We had not realised that we were visiting on World Aids Day so were suprised to see the Clock Tower, when we passed by the second time, decorated with the universal symbolic red ribbons of the Aids campaign. A theme that was repeated through the shopping centre.
It is an attractively laid out little city and had an air of relaxed bustle. Nobody seemed in too much of a hurry but were getting on with the shopping, stopping to chat or just watch the traffic and people passing by.
There seemed to be a good selection of shops and cafes -but we were heading for the Market!
The Duniye Spa at the Hilton Northolme Resort is a must do. The spa is locate right above the crashing water in it's own hut like building. The massage room is large with big doors that open out to a terrace above the water. Massages here are insanely good (definitely book the couples massage); especially with the relaxing sound of the waves outside. After the massage was incredible. They seat you in these wonderful chaise lounges and give you Citronelle tea to drink as you relax....absolute heaven.
As a Diamond with Hilton we were given two certificates for free twenty minutes massages upon arrival. I can't think of a better way to unwind after many long flights to get here.
Aldabra Giant Tortoises
The Aldabra Giant Tortoise can be found on many of the islands of the Seychelles. While visiting the Botanical Gardens we were able to view some of these large creatures. My wife and I were fortunate enough to see these giants during our tour of the Botanical Gardens. Over a dozen of these Tortoises are in their own habitat right behind the Coco de Mer trees.
The tortoises were oblivious to our intrusion into their domain and continued to sleep, eat and well let nature take it's course.... It's not a place to linger long since the smell is quite overpowering in the heat.
Victoria is the capital city of the Seychelles and is the smallest African capital. Victoria was first established when the island was a British colony. Some of this colonial influence can be seen with the Little Ben monument and Queen Victoria statue in the center of Victoria.
Although this is the capital city it feels like a town with its small downtown area and only one traffic light. The city is quite walkable and had many attractions such as the Botanical Gardens and the Markets.
Beau Vallon Beach
Beau Vallon Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island. The pristine sand, clear water and coral reefs make it an excellent spot for sunbathing, snorkeling, swimming and fishing. The beach was just a short walk from our hotel on the North West side of the island. During our time at the beach we saw first hand its popularity. The Coral Strand Hotel and several popular restaurants are located along the beach which makes for a nice beachside meal or cocktail.
Beau Vallon Market
Beau Vallon Market is right along the beach. Vendors selling prepared food and local crafts line the road. Liz and I decided to check out the night market and see what there was to offer before heading over to the Coral Strand for drinks. The market had some interesting prepared foods; Indian, fresh fish kebobs, lamb stews, fried fish, fruit juices and fruit slices. The market was full of people and this seemed to be a big neighborhood meet up for locals.
Victoria Market is the local food market. Local vendors sell fruit, vegetables, fish, spices and local foods. The market is a bustling place and there is so much to see. We were lucky to visit the market on a "non-busy" day; not Saturday (which we were told is a mad house). My wife and I had a local guide Frank who explained some of the interesting produce to us. It amazed me how unique some of the items were especially the dragon fruit and endless varieties of mangos, bananas and pumpkins. This is a definite must see and taste. We sampled some delicious varieties of mango and banana.
Arrive early before noon when they tend to have fewer products available.
The Mission is now just a crumbling ruin. This site was once a school for liberated slaves on the island. The Anglican Church established this school in 1875 and taught children up to 1892. The school grounds included the school and housing facilities for the students.
All that remains now is a partial foundation and wall from one of the buildings. The large Sandragon trees hanging along the pathways add to the legend that this area is haunted. At the end of the path is a lodge that overlooks the ocean and provides an incredible view.
Tour the Tea Plantation & Factory
During our visit to Mahe we took a tour of the Tea Plantation along with a fellow hotel guest Caroline. The tour is rather inexpensive at 25 rupees a person. The tour is a short one about 15 minutes in duration. The tour begins with the drying of the tea, then sorting, blending and finally the packaging. Our guide was one of the factory workers and was very informative. We even purchased some of her home grown cinnamon for 25 rupees for a nice sized package. After our tour we wandered the plantation and admired the views of Port Glaud.
After wandering the grounds we went to the tea shop and cafe. We decided to sit and have some drinks. the ladies enjoyed some Iced Citronelle tea while I had a Seybrew. Afterwards we purchased some Citronelle tea for home.
The Botanical Gardens was a highlight of our visit to Mahe. We decided to visit the gardens on a Saturday in the early afternoon. I was amazed that there were so few people in the gardens. We only saw three other visitors during our time here.
The gardens are truly beautiful with an amazing variety of palm trees, plants and flowers. Throughout the gardens are plenty of shaded areas with benches to sit back and enjoy nature. My wife and I loved exploring and finding some interesting plants and trees such as the aquatic banana tree and the famous Coco De Mer Tree.
There is also an area with Aldabra giant tortoises. These creatures are big fellows and a bit on the smelly side. My wife said she didn't think anything could smell worse than a Koala until she met this crew.
Price of admission was 2.5 Euro and was very much worth it to us. We had an educational yet relaxing day at the gardens.
The gardens are open daily from 8am-5pm.
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