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On my return from Praslin, I decided to stay in Victoria City. Having arrived a week prior, my adventure unfolded by first exploring the beautiful islands of Praslin and La Digue, before delving into the splendors of Mahé Island and the tranquil city of Victoria.

Standing proudly in the heart of Victoria City since its construction in 1903, this renowned landmark graces the intersection of Independence Avenue and Albert Street. Fondly known as ‘Little Big Ben,’ the Clock Tower draws inspiration from a lesser-known London counterpart situated at the junction of Victoria Street and Vauxhall Bridge Road, existing since 1897.

Located on the northeastern coast of Mahé Island, Victoria stands as the lively capital of the Seychelles—an archipelago boasting 115 islands strewn across the Indian Ocean. Positioned north of Madagascar, it rests approximately 1,600 km (994 mi) east of Kenya in the vast Indian Ocean.

During my week-long stay in Victoria, I rented a small car to explore the entire island of Mahé. Driving around Mahé allowed me to not only visit all the beaches but also drive on the thin winding roads on the hills, which was an experience in itself. Despite this quaint little town having only two traffic signals and about two dozen streets, I still managed to get stuck in a one-lane traffic jam during rush hour on a road leading outside the city center.

The city was initially settled in 1778 by French colonists and was called L’Etablissement. In 1841, it was renamed Victoria, after Queen Victoria, when it became the seat of the British colonial government. Arab navigators and sailors from the region knew about Seychelles for many centuries. However, the first recorded landing was by the crew of the English East India Company ship Ascension, which arrived in Seychelles in January 1609. The islands were claimed by France in 1756, but the first settlers did not arrive until August 1770.

Victoria City is situated on Mahé Island, which is 4 miles (6 km) wide and 16 miles (26 km) long. The island reveals a landscape dominated by granite and crowned with mountains. Morne Seychellois, the island’s tallest peak at 2,969 feet, stands proudly as part of the national park that shares its name.

Victoria, Seychelles

Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market

Walking among people and observing their daily routines is something I enjoy doing. The heartbeat of Victoria, the Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market, also known as Victoria Market, is a lively mosaic of Seychellois life. Nestled in the capital since 1840, this bustling market, named after a French governor, offers a kaleidoscope of colors and flavors.

Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market

The market, open from early morning to late afternoon on weekdays, offers an immersive experience of Victoria’s daily life.

Step into the market in the early morning to witness a lively spectacle—the fishmongers proudly showcasing a mixed array of seafood. Saturdays are when the market hits its crescendo, buzzing with life, while Sundays provide a tranquil pause. For culinary enthusiasts, the Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market is a haven. Fishmongers present an oceanic selection, including grouper, marlin, tuna, parrotfish, kingfish, and red snapper. You can seek their advice on filleting and cooking these marine delights.

Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market

As you wander through, let the tales unfold—locals engaged in conversations, a vegetable seller sharing his expertise with a customer. The market’s charm lies not just in its offerings but in the stories that linger within its vibrant confines. It isn’t merely a place to shop; it’s a place of sensory delights. From the fishmongers’ fresh catches to stalls adorned with colorful spices and herbs, each corner teems with life.

Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market
Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market

The market also offers a variety of fresh produce – from vegetables to exotic fruits, including golden apples, custard apples, passion fruit, jackfruit, coconuts, soursop, breadfruit, mangoes, papaya, star fruit, passion fruit, bananas, guava, and what not. It’s a sensory journey through Seychelles’ rich agricultural landscape.

Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market

She Sells Seashells in Victoria, Seychelles

Ascending the market’s stairs reveals a treasure trove of souvenirs, including the iconic Coco De Mer, the symbol of Seychelles. Venturing upstairs reveals unique finds and local art, turning your visit into a discovery of Seychellois culture. You can embrace the local arts and crafts scene with colorful textiles, wooden art pieces, and coconut shells. These make for unique souvenirs, ensuring your memories of Seychelles linger.

Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market

Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market transcends the ordinary with its vivacious charm. Immerse yourself in this Seychellois spectacle and let the market’s vibrancy add a sparkle to your day.

Victoria Street, Seychelles
Victoria Street, Seychelles
Victoria Street, Seychelles
Victoria Street, Seychelles

Mahé Island hosts nearly 90 percent of Seychelles’ population, predominantly centered in and around Victoria. The people of Seychelles are known as Seychellois and are a unique blend of Créole, Indian, Chinese, French, and British ancestry. Most of the population, however, is of East African and Malagasy origin and is referred to as Créole (over 70% of the entire population). The main languages spoken here are French, English, and Créole.

Victoria Street, Seychelles
Victoria Street, Seychelles
Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple
Adding a burst of color to Victoria’s landscape, the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple is a popular destination for visitors. Approximately 5,000 Hindus call Victoria home. This colorful temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Vinayagar, was erected in 1992, adding cultural richness to the cityscape.
Victoria Street, Seychelles
Victoria, Seychelles
Seychelles Palais de Justice (Justice department).

Various streets in Victoria city center, Seychelles.

Victoria is the largest city in Seychelles with a population of over 26,000 inhabitants, despite being the smallest African capital.


Eden Island

Just a few kilometers outside Victoria you come across Eden Island. It is an artificial island built on the reclaimed coral reef and is home to a luxury residential development. During the 2000s, the Seychelles government partnered with Dubai funds to create the Mahe Port Islands. Eden Island is one of these beautiful islands and boasts various protected bays and beaches, as well as a small port and yacht marina.

Eden Island, Victoria, Seychelles
Eden Island, Victoria, Seychelles
Eden Island, Victoria, Seychelles
Victoria, Seychelles
Eden Island, Victoria, Seychelles

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About

It all began in my late teens with my father’s Mamiya 35mm SLR camera. Back then, learning photography and becoming a photographer in the traditional sense wasn’t my objective. What truly fascinated me was the power of capturing and preserving moments, allowing me to revisit them later.

As time passed I realized that photography is not just about capturing images; it’s a fascinating journey of exploration and observation that connects us with surrounding realities. It’s the art of seeing, exploring, and imagining the world through a lens—a belief in images’ power to stimulate thoughts and evoke emotions. Each captured moment in time tells a story, allowing the viewer to become immersed in the visual narrative commonly known as storytelling.

Travel Photography by Asif Naqvi

It is all about seeing, observing, and making visual notes.

As I spent more time with my camera, I discovered it to be more than just a device—it became an extension of my creativity, a tool that allowed me to express myself in profound ways. Having ventured into the realm of imagination, when life enabled me to step into the real world, I noticed and discovered a newfound appreciation for nature. Vast landscapes, delicate flora, and fascinating fauna inspired me to see the world anew.

When nature becomes overwhelming, I make my way back to human civilization. I wander through diverse cultures and untrodden paths, finding inspiration in the essence of each place and its people. Travel photography, for me, is a way to connect with the soul of a destination.

Constantly seeking fresh perspectives, I try to push boundaries to capture elusive moments that resonate deeply with the audience. Aksgar is not just an expression of my vision, but an invitation to see the world from a different angle, to find beauty in the seemingly mundane, and to appreciate the manners in which we exist.

With boundless enthusiasm in one hand and a camera in the other,

Aksgar by Asif Naqvi

Aksgar Asif Naqvi

Asif Naqvi is a Digital and Creative Nomad, an award-winning UX and UI Designer, a laid-back adventurer, somewhat of a gadget freak, and a husband and father of two. He is also the person behind Aksgar as a visual storyteller.

Aks Gar ( عکس گر ):
A Persian/Urdu compound word to describe an image maker or a photographer.

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