Emanating from Victoria the capital city, a well maintained road network circles the main island of Mahé and cross the country’s sharply rising mountains in a number of places, allowing tourists and environmental enthusiasts to explore the island’s interior and making a drive from the top to the bottom of the island an enjoyable one hour cruise. From 2006 figures, the major islands were served by a network of 502 kilometers of roads, of which 482 kilometers were paved.
On shore, the principal manufacturing zone in Seychelles, the Providence Industrial Estate, is connected by the country’s only stretch of highway to the international airport, a five minute drive away. Main roads connect the estate to the capital, Victoria, which can be reached in ten minutes.
Getting to and from Seychelles is easier today than it has ever been. Air links to major European capitals are provided by the national carrier Air Seychelles, while a number of other internationally respected airlines also operate services to the islands.
With direct flights to major international hubs such as London, Dubai and Singapore, almost any major city in the world is no more than a one stop flight from Seychelles.
Thanks to the country’s industrial fishing industry, Port Victoria has developed to a level possibly unexpected for such a small country.
The high level of shipping crossing from south Asia and the Gulf to the east coast of Africa has led to Seychelles being added to the itineraries of a number of major shipping lines, confident that Port Victoria can provide the on-shore services they and their clients expect.
Getting around the island is not a problem as there exist great number of car hire and Taxi operators to commute at your convenience, and if you preferred there is also the bus services which is reasonably cheap.
Taxis are available at the Airport, prices usually calculated by meter. Taxi cabs are are easy to find at all the major hotels, the Barclays bank branch in town and at its stand in the heart of Victoria.
Hired Car is usually the most efficient means to go around. There are several car hire operator base at the airport. To hire a car the driver must be in possession of a full driving license. A deposit is usually required.
To obtain the full list of all the car hire operators visit the STB Website.
Seychelles only public transport are the buses which is run by the the Seychelles Public Transport Corporation. Bus services on Mahe and Praslin are reasonably reliable. On the main roads crossing the islands there is usually a bus once every half an hour, sometimes even every fifteen or ten minutes. The price is reasonable but however, takes note that there is the morning and evening rush hour.
Inter island Flight and Ferry
Seychelles’ second island, Praslin, is a one hour boat ride away onboard a fast catamaran service, or a 15 minute flight, via the regular Air Seychelles inter island service, which runs throughout the day.
Island hopping helicopter flights are offered by two helicopter charter companies and Air Seychelles provides both scheduled and charter flights to many of the air strip equipped outer islands. Visitors with more time on their hands can cruise around the archipelago onboard a sail boat provided by one of the numerous yacht charter companies operating out of Mahé and Praslin.
Not recommended or widely available for Mahe’s steep roads. Visitors looking for a slower pace of life can then make the 20 minute schooner crossing to the third island of La Digue, where the bicycle is the favoured mode of transport.
Despite a relatively high level of rainfall, the steep topography of Seychelles’ main islands has presented challenges for fresh water catchment. Dams dating back to colonial times provide an adequate supply throughout the majority of the year, with any shortfalls made up by the desalination units built during the late 1990s.
At present the vast majority of the country’s electricity needs are met by the oil powered generators at Roche Caiman, on the east coast of Mahé and operated by the state owned Public Utilities Corporation (PUC).
However, a number of pioneering privately owned islands, especially those focusing on environmental conservation, are successfully pioneering environmentally sustainable electricity generating methods, improving their green credentials and helping reduce the need for foreign currency-draining fuel imports.
One of the constraints to doing business in many small island environments is the unavailability of suitable land. The sheer granite mountains, rising sharply out of the Indian Ocean, which make up the main islands of Seychelles, previously provided a perfect example of this check to development.
Successive administrations, however, have tackled this problem by extending the area around Victoria on the east coast of Mahé out to sea.
Land reclaimed from the sea is today the site of much of Victoria’s central business district and is the ground on which the country’s National Assembly sits.
More recent reclamation projects have created space for the country’s power station, national stadium, housing projects, schools and industrial estates.
After waiting for the reclaimed land to settle, the most recently acquired batch of reclaimed islands are starting to be developed, providing Seychelles with a luxury housing resort, land on which to expand its port and fishing facilities, an area of low cost, state provided housing, a five star hotel and golf course, and a range of other projects generating revenue for the country or meeting its social needs.
By reaching out to sea to create usable flat land, Seychelles’ governments have been able to protect the country’s mountainous interior from the environmental impacts of development and today over 45% of the Seychelles land mass is afforded some degree of environmental protection.
The outer islands also offer possibilities for investment and there are presently a number of success stories especially for tourism establishments operating on some of the other islands such as Desroches, North Island, Silhouette, Fregate.....
Two giants of the telecommunications world provide Seychelles’ telephone communications network.
Cable and Wireless has been present in the country since colonial times and have recently been joined by Airtel, the local subsidiary of the Indian firm, Bharti Group, providing the country with reliable round the clock telephone communications.
Internet access is maintained by two local firms and is based around a 24 hour satellite connection; keeping you connected around the clock.
A percentage literacy rate in the upper nineties and free health care has contributed to creating an educated and healthy workforce in Seychelles.
English, French and Seychelles’ Kreol are spoken almost universally, and not insignificant immigrant communities make a wide range of other languages available in the islands.
Indeed, the constant flux of immigrants to Seychelles, initially from continental Africa, Europe and the Indian sub-continent, and later from China, have created an ethnically diverse, harmonious people, accustomed to meeting and working alongside people from places and backgrounds vastly different to their own.