Mahé and Praslin are two of the most sought after holiday destinations, not only within the Seychelles but in the world. They are two of the largest islands in this archipelago and are home to many activities and sightseeing opportunities.
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the island culture, live like a local and explore what these islands truly have to offer, look no further than our mini-guide to Mahé and Praslin.
Make use of public transport
If you’re looking to have a taste of the life of the Seychellois people, then you should make use of the public transport system. Rental cars and taxis are costly. Instead, make use of the public buses and ferries to move around and across the islands.
The Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) is the only public transport service in Seychelles, operating only in Mahé and Praslin. Using this bus service is a more affordable means of transport, charging only Rs7 during the day and Rs8 for special night services.
The buses travel throughout the day, specifically between 05h30 to 20h00. Night services operate only in Mahé from Mondays to Saturdays at a cost of Rs8. This way, you can cover all of your sightseeing spots without breaking the bank. All you need is to purchase your ticket from the bus driver and travel whatever distance you wish.
Perhaps you’d like to rent a bicycle or scooter. These are great options for travelling around considering the hilled landscape of the islands. Moreover, you can make use of the Cat Cocos ferry service if you wish to travel between Praslin and La Digue. This is a highly affordable sea travel service that transports locals and tourists several times a day.
On holiday, it's only natural that you’ll want to dine out. And while you still should, it can quickly become expensive. Consider preparing your own meals at home or enjoy smaller cafés and takeaways that serve local foods for half the price.
Any Seychellois experience includes trying the local Creole cuisine. So, it is highly recommended that you try as much of the street food as you can. Local takeaways are much healthier than the fast-food chains we see in western culture. Instead, enjoy blends of French, Indian, and Chinese snacks, and meals and desserts that are rich in flavour, tradition, and nutrients.
Restaurants generally serve basic seafood and curries. But, for an authentic Creole experience, browse the various food vendors selling samosas, dumplings, as well as fruits and vegetables.
If you’d like to buy groceries to cook at home, there should be a variety of food markets near you. If you’re on Mahé, the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market is the ideal location for you to purchase fresh spices, fruits, vegetables, and fish.
Dance the Moutya at the Creole Festival
Dive into the life of the Seychellois locals and make sure to attend their annual Creole Festival. Every October, tourists and locals alike flock together on the main islands for a major celebration of culture. An entire week is dedicated to celebrating the history of the Seychellois people as well as their traditions. If you really want to take your trip to the next level, join in on the Creole spirit!
Aside from the food and drink, you are likely to see hundreds of dancers performing the Sega or the Moutya (Mootia). The Moutya is a dance that was created by slaves hundreds of years ago to relieve themselves from their daily pressures. Essentially, it was used as a way to survive the long days and harsh working conditions.
Listen to the sounds of songs that speak of emancipation. Enjoy the African influences, and join in on the exotic dance moves of the Seychellois people. It truly is an enriching experience that all are sure to enjoy.
Watch the turtle hatchlings at Anse Georgette, Praslin
Pack up your picnic and snorkelling gear and enjoy two of the most appreciated beaches of the Seychelles in one day. Take a stroll down to Anse Lazio and depart on your trail to Anse Georgette. Once you reach Anse Georgette, enjoy unblemished white sands and fantastic opportunities for snorkelling that you will never forget.
Another unique island experience would be to watch the turtle hatchlings between October and April. The Seychelles is home to two turtle species, that being the hawksbill and green turtles. If this sort of activity interests you, Constance Lemuria is one of the few sites where you can experience this phenomenon. Just ensure that you get permission from the hotel prior to visiting as viewers are limited at events like these.
Snorkelling and diving are still recognised as widely popular tourist activities. But that doesn’t stop the locals from exploring their underwater marine life too. If you’re an avid diver, you’ll want to make sure you spend some time exploring these gorgeous diving spots.
Sainte Anne Marine Park, Mahé
Accessible only by sea, you can take a trip to Sainte Anne Marine Park to explore one of the largest marine ecosystems that exist in the Seychelles. Most excursions to the island will cost around € 50. Alternatively, there is a regular boat service for you to explore on your own. Imagine yourself on a boat just having left Mahé, finally on your journey to being surrounded by the still waters and magical marine life.
This marine park offers some of the greatest snorkelling opportunities being home to vast coral gardens and fish species. Adventurers are sure to see stingrays, manta rays, endemic sea turtles, and an array of unique fish, leaving you in awe of the ocean’s beauty.
Booby Rock, Praslin
Just north of Praslin, the uninhabited island of Booby Rock is yet another experience that should not be missed. Rich in tropical vegetation and granite rocks, this island earns its name from the flocks of booby birds that nest there. Reaching depths of 25 metres, adventurers can experience sightings of grey reef sharks, lobsters, stingrays, and turtles. Consider a nighttime dive, offering an island experience unlike any other.
When visiting Seychelles, there’s more to see than what meets the eye. While we still encourage the exploration of the deep sea, beautiful beaches, and usual tourist activities, the greatest travel experiences come when we choose to embrace the lifestyle and the culture of the Seychellois people. Expand your to-do list with sightseeing opportunities around Praslin and Mahé that are atypical from that of other tourists.