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A view of a bay near Port Victoria Mane Seychelles

Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles



The Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean about 1,000 miles off the east coast of Africa, impresses visitors with its pristine natural beauty and indigenous plants and animals, such as the hawksbill turtle and the magpie robin. On the island of Mahé, Victoria—the nation’s main city and one of the smallest capitals in the world—bustles with activity and is home to nearly a third of the Seychelles’ population. Set against steep, velvet-green mountains that include 905-meter (3,000-foot) Morne Seychellois, the island's highest peak, the city is a colorful patchwork of tin-roofed buildings. It displays a vibrant Creole heritage that’s evident in the conversations of locals (English is the official language, but Seychellois Creole is the lingua franca) and the aroma of fragrant spices wafting from its open-air market. Beyond the market area, Victoria’s main sights are the circa 1903 Victorian clock tower Little Ben, modeled after its larger counterpart in London, and the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar temple, the only Hindu temple on the islands. Just outside of town is the tranquil Seychelles National Botanical Gardens, but to truly appreciate Mahé Island, one must head to the beach—and luckily there are more than 60 from which to choose.