We made use of the local buses most days during our stay on Praslin island in March 2015.
There are only 3 bus routes on the island (#61, 62 and 63) but they cover all the main sights and all 3 routes go via the ferry jetty at Baie Sainte Anne (from where boats connect Praslin with the islands of Mahé and La Digue).
Route 61 travels in a U-shape between Mount Plaisir in the north west of the island and Anse Boudin (the closest stop to the famous Anse Lazio beach) in the north east of the island. It cuts across the middle of the island, stopping at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, as well as Baie Sainte Anne ferry jetty.
Route 62 travels between Mount Plaisir and Grand Fond (Zimabwe), which is just inland from Anse Boudin. The start and end points of this route are very similar to route #61. However, where it differs is that instead of cutting across the middle of the island and stopping at Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, instead it continues along the south east coast, past Anse Consolation, before rejoining the route at Baie Sainte Anne ferry jetty.
Route 63 travels between Mount Plaisir and Anse La Blague (on the east of the island), travelling via Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve and Baie Sainte Anne ferry jetty.
All tickets are purchased from the driver upon boarding the bus and cost 5 Rupees (£0.25) regardless of the length of journey. We always made sure that we had the correct change for our tickets, but noticed locals paying at they boarded the bus and collecting their change as they alighted the bus.
As well as the standard buses there are also air-conditioned buses which cost twice as much – i.e. 10 Rupees (£0.50) per journey – still very good value for money.
The online timetable that we had seen dated back to 2004, but still seemed to be loosely correct. We picked up a more recent timetable (printed in 2014) in Anse Volbert village, but it was no more accurate than the 2004 version. We were never quite sure when a bus was due, and they generally didn't arrive in line with any of our timetables, but we never seemed to wait too long for one. Each timetable suggested that there were 1 or 2 buses per hour, but they seemed to be running more frequently than that during certain times of the day. Furthermore, the air-conditioned buses seemed to be in addition to those listed on the timetables. Probably more by luck than judgement, we always managed to get a bus heading where we wanted. Below is a summary of our bus travels around the island:
Anse Volbert (Cote d'Or) to Anse Boudin Turning Point
Our first bus journey was from the village of Anse Volbert (Cote d'Or) to Anse Boudin Turning Point; the latter being the closest stop to the famous Anse Lazio beach – it is a 15 minute walk, up and over a steep hill, from the bus stop to the beach. We caught the bus at 8:50am from the main road outside the Berjaya Praslin Resort. We hadn't quite made it to the bus stop in time, but flagged the driver down around 50m from the stop and he was happy to pull in and let us on board. The journey took around 15 minutes, via winding coastal roads and some breathtaking views. The bus wasn't very full and around half a dozen of us alighted at the final stop.
Anse Boudin Turning Point to Baie Sainte Anne ferry jetty
After our visit to Anse Lazio beach we returned to the bus stop at Anse Boudin Turning Point. Our plan was to head south and have lunch around Baie Sainte Anne where there are a couple of good value takeaways. Our timetable suggested that the next bus heading in that direction was at 1:35pm. We arrived at Anse Boudin Turning Point at 1:10pm and found an air-conditioned bus just pulling in. We were happy to pay the higher fare of 10 Rupees (£0.50) each and got on board and enjoyed the cool interior. The bus departed around 1:20pm, with only Emma and I on board, and arrived at Baie Sainte Anne jetty around 20-25 minutes later.
Baie Sainte Anne Roman Catholic Church to Grand Anse
After having lunch in Baie Sainte Anne, we decided to visit the beach at Grand Anse on the west coast of the island. With no idea what time a bus was due, we stood at a bus stop outside Baie Sainte Anne Roman Catholic Church and waited for a bus heading in the direction of Mount Plaisir. We waited for 15 minutes or so before boarding a bus at around 3:30pm. This bus went via the steep and winding roads in the centre of the island, past Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, arriving at Grand Anse around 15 minutes later at 3:45pm. We alighted on the main road, cut across a football pitch, passed through some trees and found ourselves on the beach.
Grand Anse to Anse Volbert (Cote d'Or)
After a couple of hours on the beach, we returned to the main road hoping to find a bus heading back to Anse Volbert (Cote d'Or). We knew that the buses only ran until early evening, so we hoped that we hadn't left it too late. We were pretty confident that the buses were still running. On the main road, outside Grand Anse Police Station, we found a bus stop where quite a few people were waiting. We boarded the bus at 5:40pm and it was the busiest bus that we had been on so far. More passengers got on at Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve and at Baie Sainte Anne ferry jetty (where the ferry had just arrived back from La Digue) and it was standing room only until a number of passengers alighted in Anse Volbert village. We arrived back at around 6:10pm.
Anse Volbert (Cote d'Or) to Baie Sainte Anne ferry jetty
This was a particularly useful bus route for us. After confirmation from the owner of our guesthouse that the 8:10am bus listed on our timetable actually existed, we made our way to the nearest bus stop (outside Berjaya Praslin Resort, just a few minutes' walk from our guesthouse) to catch it. It arrived a little late, at 8:16am, but still got us to the ferry jetty by 8:30am which was plenty of time for our 9:00am ferry to La Digue.
Baie Sainte Anne ferry jetty to Anse Volbert (Cote d'Or)
Following our day trip to La Digue, we disembarked the ferry just before 6:00pm and rushed along the jetty to the bus stop at the entrance. We knew that a bus was due about 6:00pm (we had been on said bus a few days earlier on our way back from Grand Anse). It may well have arrived early this day (or very late), for we waited until almost 6:20pm for a bus to arrive. It was busy, but we managed to get seats. The bus really filled up in the centre of Baie Sainte Anne and the 10 minute journey back to Anse Volbert (Cote d'Or) was a somewhat cramped one.
Anse Volbert (Cote d'Or) to Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
Our timetable suggested that there was a 2:25pm bus from Anse Volbert (Cote d'Or) which would get us to Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve at 2:55pm, giving us a couple of hours to enjoy a walk and see the coco de mer trees before the park closed at 5:00pm. We waited at our local bus stop (outside the Berjaya Praslin Resort) and the bus finally arrived, 10 minutes late, at 2:35pm. We arrived at Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve just after 3:00pm. The bus stop at Vallée de Mai is at the side of the road about 100m downhill from the park's entrance (the bus stop directly outside the park is apparently no longer in use).
Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve to Anse Volbert (Cote d'Or)
We had finished exploring the park at about 4:55pm. The timetable suggested that the next bus heading towards Anse Volbert wasn't until 5:55pm. We went to the park's cafe for a drink to kill some time. Typically, as we sat with our drinks we saw a bus go by, completely out of sync with our timetables. Having finished our drinks, we left the park at 5:30pm (it was closing for the evening) and walked downhill to the bus stop. We stood at the side of the road, between the tall trees and watched the fruit bats flying high overhead. The bus arrived at 5:48pm (7 minutes earlier than our timetable suggested!) and we got on board and took the last 2 seats. Several of the Vallée de Mai staff, having finished their day's work, were on the same bus for their homeward commute. The bus got busier and busier, with more passengers getting on at Baie Sainte Anne jetty and nobody getting off, and the driver seemed intent on driving as fast as possible and causing the jam-packed bus to rock from side to side! At Anse Volbert village, a ticket inspector boarded the bus and insisted on seeing everybody's tickets (this was the first time we had seen an inspector on the Praslin buses). We arrived back just after 6:10pm.
An online timetable can be found here:
The local buses on Praslin are a very cost-effective way of seeing the island – just 5 Rupees (£0.25) per journey – but don't expect them to follow the timetables too rigidly!
Cat Cocos ferry between Praslin and Mahé
When we visited the Seychelles for a week in March 2015, we decided to split our stay between the islands of Mahé and Praslin.
We had two options for travelling between Mahé and Praslin. We could take an inter-island flight operated by Air Seychelles or we could take an inter-island ferry operated by Cat Cocos. The flights were quicker (a 15 minute flight versus a 1 hour ferry crossing), but they were also more expensive (ca. €150 return versus €94 return) and the flight times weren't particularly convenient for us (while the ferry time was very convenient). We opted for the ferry.
We landed at Mahé's international airport early on a Sunday morning, caught the first available ferry to Praslin and returned five days later to spend our final two days on Mahé.
We purchased our tickets online at www.seychellesbookings.com prior to leaving the UK. We bought tickets for "Coco de Mer Class" – the cheapest tickets – which were located downstairs in the air-conditioned cabin. It was slightly cheaper to purchase tickets online and we paid €47 per person each way (€94 per person return). We could have sat upstairs for an additional €5 per person each way or in "Business Class" for an additional €15 per person each way.
At the time of our journey there were 3 ferries per day in each direction:
Mahé – Praslin
Mon: 07:30 / 10:30 / 16:30
Tue: 07:30 / 10:30 / 16:00
Wed: 07:30 / 10:30 / 16:30
Thur: 07:30 / 10:00 / 16:30
Fri: 07:30 / 10:30 / 16:30
Sat: 07:30 / 11:30 / 16:30
Sun: 09:00 / 11:00 / 16:30
Praslin – Mahé
Mon: 07:30 / 13:00 / 17:30
Tue: 09:00 / 12:00 / 17:30
Wed: 07:30 / 13:00 / 17:30
Thur: 07:30 / 12:00 / 17:30
Fri: 09:00 / 13:00 / 18:00
Sat: 09:00 / 15:00 / 18:00
Sun: 07:30 / 15:00 / 18:00
The above times are indicative of the approximate ferry times, but the timetables are subject to change (sometimes at short notice). Up-to-date timetables can be found at www.seychellesbookings.com.
The crossing between the two islands takes 1 hour.
While booking our ferry tickets online, we were given the option (which we took) of adding a shuttle bus transfer between the airport and the ferry jetty in Victoria. This costs an additional €10 per person each way.
The following is a summary of our ferry journeys between the islands:
Mahé – Praslin
We landed at Mahé's international airport just before 6:30am on a Sunday morning. Having read that passing through the airport would likely be a quick and simple process, we confidently booked tickets for the 9:00am ferry to Praslin. We also booked tickets for the shuttle bus to the ferry jetty which was scheduled to leave the airport at 8:00am.
We passed through passport control and retrieved our luggage very quickly and found ourselves in the arrivals hall just before 7:00am. We showed our booking confirmation to a lady at the Creole Travel desk and she told us to keep an eye out for somebody holding a name board closer to the time of the shuttle bus departure.
We killed some time in the airport cafe and then made our way outside and located our minibus a short time before 8:00am. Our luggage, along with everybody else's, was hauled up onto the storage rack on top of the bus. The bus finally departed around 8:20am. The journey to the inter-island ferry jetty in Victoria was a fairly short one and we arrived there a little after 8:30am.
The next step of our journey was a little chaotic. As the staff set about unloading all the suitcases from the minibus roof, we joined a queue in the overcrowded ticket office to obtain our boarding passes. We then retrieved our luggage and had to battle back through the ticket office, through the queue that we had just been in, to join another queue to get our luggage weighed and checked in. You are permitted to check in up to 30kg of luggage per person, with a small charge per kg for any excess weight.
Boarding theoretically stops 5 minutes before the ferry departs. We made it on board with 5-10 minutes to spare.
We sat at a table by the window. The cabin was spacious and well air-conditioned. A Seychelles radio breakfast show was playing pop music and there was an on board cafe selling drinks, crisps, chocolates and other snacks.
We departed slightly later than scheduled (at around 9:05am).
A number of flat screen TVs around the cabin showed information about the Seychelles, showcasing the islands' attractions, advertising bars and restaurants and promoting residential property sales on Victoria's Eden Island. When this came to an end, the screens showed a compilation of "Mr Bean" clips for the remainder of the journey.
We arrived at the ferry jetty at Baie Sainte Anne, Praslin just after 10:05am. There were a number of taxis and minibuses waiting for arriving passengers and the local bus stop was just a few minutes walk away (but note that local buses won't allow you to board with large items of luggage).
There was a bit of a scramble as the luggage was offloaded from the ferry and people battled to retrieve their bags and cases. It was a little chaotic, but at least the luggage was being separated into two piles; one for those staying at Praslin and one for those catching the connecting ferry to La Digue.
Praslin – Mahé
We caught the 9:00am Cat Cocos ferry from Praslin to Mahé on the Friday morning.
As we had already obtained our tickets for the return journey at the ticket office in Mahé on our outbound journey, we didn't need to go inside the ticket office at Praslin.
All was going smoothly. We had taken a taxi from Anse Volbert at 8:20am, arriving at Baie Sainte Anne jetty at 8:30am (taxi fare: 150 Rupees / £7.50), with plenty of time before our ferry was due to depart. There was already quite a crowd gathered on the jetty with their luggage. As well as the 9:00am ferry to Mahé, there was also a 9:00am ferry heading to La Digue.
As we walked along the side of the port, a gust of wind blew Emma's sun hat off. As she went to retrieve it, without realising, she dropped something else. A lady pointed into the water and a few people gathered around to see what was happening. Floating on top of the water, several metres below us, was a clear plastic envelope....which contained our ferry tickets!!
As Emma went inside the ticket office to explain the situation and hopefully obtain new tickets, I stayed calm, stood on the end of the jetty smiling and generally offered nothing in the way of useful action! Thankfully, a local man had managed to procure a long stick and I watched with interest (and hope!) as he managed to fish our tickets out of the water. They were a little damp, but we got on board with them!
Unlike at Mahé, we didn't have to weigh our luggage here. We just wheeled it to the back of the ship and left it for the staff to load.
We took our seats in the cool, comfortable downstairs cabin and laughed about how we nearly weren't able to get on the boat!
The ferry left a couple of minutes earlier than scheduled (at 8:58am) and arrived in Mahé at 10:00am.
We watched the same Seychelles promotional video that had been playing on the outbound journey and were then treated to an episode of the Canadian "Just For Laughs: Gags".
By now, we were used to the chaos that awaited us upon arrival at Mahé – another scramble for our heavy suitcases as they were offloaded from the back of the boat and dumped on the jetty.
Ferry between Praslin and La Digue
The islands of Praslin and La Digue are connected by regular inter-island ferries.
There are two ferries (Cat Rose's and Cat Rose's II) and they make the journey between the islands up to 8 times a day.
At the time of our journey in March 2015, the timetable was as follows:
Praslin – La Digue
Mon – Fri: 07:00 / 09:00 / 10:00* / 11:45 / 14:00 / 16:30 / 17:15**
(* 10:30 on Wednesdays. ** 17:45 on Fridays).
Saturday: 07:00 / 09:00 / 10:00 / 11:45 / 13:00 / 14:30 / 16:00 / 17:45
Sunday: 10:00 / 12:30 / 16:00 / 17:45
La Digue – Praslin
Mon – Fri: 07:30 / 09:30 / 10:30* / 12:15 / 15:30 / 16:30** / 17:45***
(* Not on Wednesdays. ** 17:00 on Fridays. *** 18:15 on Fridays).
Saturday: 07:30 / 09:30 / 10:30 / 12:15 / 14:00 / 15:30 / 17:00 / 18:15
Sunday: 10:30 / 14:30 / 17:00 / 18:15
Up-to-date timetables can be found at www.seychellesbookings.com.
We had thought about booking our tickets online before our trip, but decided that booking them while in Praslin would give us more flexibility as to which day we travelled. We decided to travel on a Wednesday and the owner of our guesthouse (Villa Bananier at Anse Volbert) made the booking by telephone on our behalf. We simply turned up at the ticket office on the day of our trip, quoted the name of our guesthouse, paid the fare (€30 per person return – paid in Euros, although we could presumably have paid in Rupees), confirmed the time of the ferry we intended to catch back from La Digue that afternoon and received our boarding passes.
The journey between Praslin and La Digue is only 15 minutes and the early and late ferries are ideal for making a day trip. We caught the 09:00 ferry, which arrived at La Digue at 09:15 and returned on the 17:45 ferry which got us back to Praslin at 18:00.
The inter-island ferry jetty in Praslin is located in Baie Sainte Anne in the south east of the island. All of the island's buses stop at the ferry jetty. The jetty in La Digue is located in the island's main settlement of La Passe in the north west of the island.
the ferry to La Dique
There is a fast ferry from Baie Ste Anne/Praslin to La Dique several times a day and that fast catamaran will get there within less than 20 minutes. We have taken this catamaran, that may take around 200-300 passengers maybe, in order to explore La Dique by ox-wagon, a really funny way to drive through the island - read more about it in my La Dique-page !
For the schedule of the ships between these 2 islands click on my last photo !
- Family Travel
- Sailing and Boating
The tourbuses of praslin
This is the only type of bus that is available in Praslin / Seychelles. They dont have an aircondition but at least you will be able to open the windows, that was really a big help, also in order to take better photographs out of the window, totally without any reflections, you simply had to make sure that you are not hit by trees or branches, when the bus was driving through the forest.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
Praslin has got a small but modern airport which offers direct flights from Praslin to Mahe. Charter flight connections to other islands can be arranged from here as well. One runway is in use and only smaller aircraft can land here.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Family Travel
- Business Travel
Ferry Service to Praslin
Modern ferries connect Mahe with Praslin and also offer services to the island of La Dique next door. The inter island ferry between Mahe and Praslin runs services several times a day in modern and air conditioned ferries, some that offer also business class tickets.
Tickets are sold at all agencies on the islands, via your ground operator and in the ports.
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
The national airline of the Seychelles does not appear to operate a regular schedule of flights. Both the inbound and outbound international flight departed late and from discussions with the tour operator this is a regular occurrence. Residents and guests should be warned if they choose to fly with this airline, since the outbound delay resulted in me missing my onward flight and meant an overnight in Johannesburg.
In case of delays and changes in schedule the airlines airport staff is most incompetent in dealing with the situation.
Inter Island flights also have to be treated with caution. Air Seychelles keeps changing the schedule according to load factor and the scheduled flight may not operate at all. Inner Island flights also are not air-conditioned making the aircraft to resemble a steam bath.
Schedule checks with the airline do not bear any fruits since communication is as incompetent.
My return flight even though it was booked and confirmed on an Air Seychelles aircraft was operated by an Italian/Irish charter airline.
The above is due to the limited aircraft the airline owns that are over scheduled.
Alternatives that operate more securely are Emirates, Qatar Airways and Kenya Airways. All other airlines to the islands operate a charter service only.
In regards to inner island travel one could divert to scheduled ferry services.
- School Holidays
- Family Travel
- Business Travel
There is a surfaced road on Praslin. Driving is on the left. The mini -moke is the car of choice in the Seychelles but you pay a premium for these cute little things.
We rented a regular size jeep for part of a day so we could drive around to see the beautiful beaches.
It cost us $75 and $7 per gal. gas to fill it up.
Maybe we should have shopped around..
- Road Trip
Take the ferry
There is a ferry that travels between Mahe and Praslin . It takes from 2 1/2 - 3 hrs for the trip. The only way to get to LaDigue is by boat.