Facts About Victoria
|State||Greater Victoria (Mahé Island)|
|Lat Long Coordinates||4°37′S55°27′E|
|area Code||+248 – 3|
|Language||French, English, Seselwa Creole French|
|Major Religion||Christians, Anglican, Hinduism|
|Point of interest||Vauxhall Clock Tower, Victoria National Museum of History, Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market, Victoria Natural History Museum|
About City :
Victoria, named after Queen Victoria of England, is the capital of Seychelles. It has a population of over 25,000 and is the trade center as well as the principal port of the archipelago. It majorly deals in exports of vanilla, tortoise shells, soaps, coconuts, etc. English, Creole and French are the most prevalent languages here.
The French first settled in this area in the year 1778 until it was handed over to the British in 1811 under the Treaty of Paris. The British established various estates of cotton, several food crops and sugar cane. In 1903, Victoria was established as the capital of Seychelles when the country became a Crown Colony. Seychelles gained its independence in 1976. Victoria incurred a lot of damage during the 2004 earthquake including the collapse of one of its biggest bridges.
Victoria is situated at the north eastern coast of the island of Mahé on the Indian Ocean. It covers an area of about 155 sq km. The city is divided into three districts, namely, English River, Saint Louis and Mont Fleuri where English River is the innermost part of the city.
How to Reach (Transport) :
Victoria is served by the Seychelles International Airport which is located at a distance of 11 km from the city. It operates flights to and from cities like Bangkok, Frankfurt, Dubai, Rome, Paris, Nairobi and Milan. Buses and taxis to the city are readily available outside the airport.
Inside the city, bicycles are the most popular means of transport and can be rented at various shops around the city. One can avail of taxis or buses, the latter being cheaper but definitely slower and more crowded than the former. Taxis are usually metered although they can be hired for an entire day for which a previously negotiated price would be safer.
When to Visit :
Victoria features a tropical climate with high humidity and has a uniform temperature between 22 degree Celsius and 31 degree Celsius throughout the year. The city is sunny and dry from May to September which makes it the ideal tourist season. However, one can even visit in the rainy season during the months between October and April which is perfect for marine sports and windsurfing.
Fairs and Festivals :
Victoria celebrates the wealth of culture and heritage unique to Seychelles. Some of the popular festivals celebrated in this city are as listed :
- Carnaval International de Victoria, held in April, is one of the most vibrant festivals in the country. It is celebrated over a period of two days and a colorful parade.
- Thaipusam Kavadi, celebrated in January and February, is a predominantly Hindu festival when the people of this community gather in the city to offer pots of milk to Lord Murugan, their warrior deity.
- Festival Kreol, celebrated in October, is a musical festival and one of the biggest cultural events of the country. It is held over a week and is characterized by vibrant colors and flavors of the Creole community.
The other festivals of the city are Zikanzil International Festival of Music, Christmas, All Saints’ Day and Independence Day.
Points of Interest (Places to Visit) :
Victoria has several beaches nearby and also many colonial buildings. Its architecture truly reflects it cultural diversity, natural beauty and traditions. Some of the must see places to see in this small city are listed below:
- Botanical Gardens, located at a short distance from the city center, have several song birds, streams and beautiful gardens. Some of the rare fruit and spice trees are found here besides the palms and orchids it is famous for.
- Natural History Museum, located at the Independence Avenue, is one of the most popular tourist spots. It houses several exhibits related to the extinct flora and fauna of the country.
- Beau Vallon Beach, located about 3 km away from the city is a white sand beach full of coconut palms as well as a brilliant waterfront. It is a popular snorkeling and scuba diving spot making it an ideal tourist destination.
- St Paul’s Cathedral, built on the site of the very first Seychelles church, is an example of colonial architecture.
Other spots to see in this city are the SPUP Museum, Arulmiqu Navasakti Vinayagar Temple and the Courthouse.
Victoria has both budget and luxury accommodation as per as the requirement. Sunrise Small Hotel, Calypha Guesthouse, Chez Lorna and Le Triskell are some of the popular bed and breakfasts which offer clean and comfortable accommodation for a very reasonable price. Hotel Bel Air and Le Jardin des Palmes are the popular mid-range hotels in the area. Le Jardin des Palmes is a resort surrounded by beautiful beaches and offers facilities like pools, open bathrooms, restaurants and has clean and comfortable rooms. The Wharf Hotel and Marina is a four star hotel close to the Grand Anse Beach as well as Barbarons Beach and offers spa and other recreational activities. For a longer stay, there are many comfortable and fully furnished apartments in Eden Islands, about ten minutes from the city.