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.
Many visitors to the Seychelles will land at Mahé's international airport before transferring to the islands of Praslin and La Digue.
Internal flights are available between Mahé and Praslin, while inter-island Cat Cocos ferries connect Mahé with both Praslin and La Digue.
This latter option means travelling from the airport to the ferry jetty in Victoria. This can either be done by shuttle bus or by taxi.
We landed at Mahé airport at 6:30am on a Sunday morning in March 2015 and (having read that passing through the airport would be quick and easy) we had booked tickets for the 9:00am ferry to Praslin.
We decided to book the shuttle bus to transfer us from the airport to the ferry jetty. The shuttle bus for the 9:00am ferry was scheduled to leave the airport at 8:00am. If we were delayed for any reason, and missed the bus, we could always take a taxi for the short 10 minute journey.
I understand that the shuttle bus transfer used to be free when booking ferry tickets, but is now a chargeable service. We booked it online while booking our ferry tickets (at www.seychellesbookings.com) and paid €10 per person for a one way transfer.
Our flight landed a little earlier than scheduled and we were in the arrivals area with our luggage by about 6:50am. We showed our booking confirmation to a lady at the Creole Travel desk and she told us to keep an eye out for somebody displaying a name board closer to the time of departure.
After killing time in the airport cafe, we made our way outside where we had seen various Creole Travel minibuses coming and going. We located our minibus and left the luggage outside for the staff to haul up onto the rooftop storage rack.
Our bus left later than scheduled (at around 8:20am), but we were still at the ferry jetty just after 8:30am, in good time for our 9:00am ferry (boarding theoretically stops at 8:55am). Chaos ensued at the ferry jetty; as the heavy luggage was brought down from the roof of the minibus, we battled through the crowds, queued to get our boarding passes and then, having retrieved our luggage, queued again to get it weighed and checked-in. We boarded the ferry with 5 or 10 minutes to spare.
If we ever make this journey again, I will consider taking a taxi between the airport and ferry jetty. This would allow us the flexibility of leaving when we are ready and arriving before the buses and avoiding the chaos in the ticket office queues. I don't know what the taxi fare would be, but on the basis that we paid 350 Rupees (£17.50 / €23) for a taxi journey from Victoria to the airport at the end of our stay, it probably wouldn't be much more expensive than 2 tickets for the shuttle bus.
Hellicopter Seychelles is another option if you desire to island hop or just have a scenic tour from the air. Although this sounds great is is super expensive and is charge by the hour. A twin engine helicopter ride is 2,800 Euros an hour...Whoa!
Emirates is one of the best airlines I have flow to date. We flew Emirates from London to Dubai then on to Mahe. The airline was excellent. Service was top notch, food was very good, entertainment options were vast and the plane was incredibly clean. Flight attendants were the best I have seen of any airline. They passed out special packets for kids with coloring books, games, bags and toys. People with babies were given packets with baby food, formula and hand puppets for the babies (during our flight we saw camels and tigers handed out for puppets). The in-flight entertainment in each seat has a vast array of movies and TV programs.. there was an extensive selection of new releases as well as a large archive of older movies. I actually watched Ghostbusters on the flight down as my wife watched The King's Speech.
On the way home we flew the A380 and it was incredible. The plane was huge and every detail was perfect. Even the bathrooms were immaculate and had wood accents.
Walking around the island can get rather interesting with the absence of sidewalks once you get out of Victoria. Many times during one of our roadside walks from the hotel we had near misses as trucks and cars sped up around turns and curves cutting it rather close to us. Many of the roads are along high cliffs that leave you no option but to jump down many feet to injury if a car or truck decided to get a bit too close.
Be alert and careful when walking; not all drivers are observant of pedestrians. Leave the walking to the daylight hours when you are visible. Nighttime roads don't have street lights so play it safe and take a bus or cab.
We decided to select the Hotel Transfer as our transportation to and from the airport. The hotel driver met us at the airport gate. He loaded our baggage and got us settled in the air-conditioned SUV. We were handed cold water bottled as well as fresh cold towels to refresh our hands and faces. The ride from the airport was about 30-45 minutes in duration and was very pleasant. Along the way he pointed out local sights and attractions as well as some history of the area. Our return trip to the airport was just as easy and pleasant.
Our transfer cost us 50 Euros but was well worth it for the comfortable ride as well as the air-conditioning.
The Blue Monster is what the locals call th buses on Mahe. Bus stops are stretched all over the island and are marked with little huts and signs indicating the route and stop. For just a few rupees you can get around town on the Blue Monster.
The Seychelles International Airport is the main airport of the Seychelles and is located on the island of Mahe. The airport is small considering it handles big flights from Emirates, Air Seychelles and Qatar Airways. When it comes to facilities it has limited shopping and only one cafe for food. Check in lines can be rather long so make sure to give yourself plenty of time before your flight to check in and clear security.
To my amazement cruise ships dock here in Mahe about every 14 days. While we were staying on the island the Costa cruise line was in port for two days. Mahe would be a wonderful port on a cruise but I would want more than two days to explore.
There is no shortage of available taxis to take you where you need to go. We were fortunate to meet a great taxi driver "Frank" who we used throughout our trip. Most hotels, restuarants and shops are happy to arrange a taxi for you or call a taxi of your preference.
Fares depend on the distance and the taxi driver. A one way trip from our Hotel to Beau Vallon Beach cost us anywhere from 80 Rupees to 150 depending on the driver.
The International Airport of Victoria / Mahe is about 15 km south of Victoria, directely at the ocean. A highway is taking you there, but you better leave Victoria in time, because there might be quite a trafic-jam in Victoria at certain times of the day.
here are some excellent infos about this airport in german !
and here are some infos about it in english
- Family Travel
The Jardin du Roi is one of the highlights of any roundtrip on the island of Mahe. I had booked such a halfday-tour onboard of our cruiseship and payed 45 Euros for it. First we drove along the coast before we went uphill for the farm, that is an openair-museum nowadays : you will see the manor-house, lots of exotic trees and plants (they even have a coco-de-mer), spices like pepper and nutmeg, there are some giant turtles as well as exotic birds and we got a glass of a local drink.
- Road Trip
Walking from your cruiseport to the town is easy and it will not take more than just a few hundred meters untill you are leaving the port-area. Controls at the port-gate are not very severe and it is enough to show your ships-landingcard. First you will walk along some officebuildings on the left and a large park on the right, before you get to the monument
with the 4 fish. From there you will get to the centre of town and the famous clocktower within just 3-5 minutes.
- Road Trip
Mahe International Airport is the gateway to the Seychelles. All international flights both scheduled and chartered land here. There are two terminals one inernational and one for domestic inter island flights. A duty free zone and a bar and restaurant offer services in the international terminal and a small shop allow purchases in the domestic terminal.
- Business Travel
- 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.
- Family Travel
- Business Travel
- School Holidays