On the Road in a Car
Rental cars are available on Mahé and Praslin and provide a good way to see the islands if you are not afraid of driving on the left (British style) on narrow, winding roads with sometimes sheer drop-offs.
This is a great way to really get to know the islands, but you have to really want to do it. The main roads, while narrow, are generally in good shape and there is guardrail and most of the steepest drops. However, almost everywhere the road drops abruptly at the edge, sometimes only a few inches, but often a foot or more. This makes getting near the edge of the road hazardous even on relatively flat stretches of roadway.
(A relatively short drop, similar to the one we drove off, which was just low enough to avoid damage to the car.)
Despite one little mishap where we went off the edge of the road, I mostly loved our time driving around Mahé. But then, I wasn’t doing the driving either, which probably made it less stressful!
And, while the scenery is stunning, there are very few places to pull over and enjoy it.
(One of the two pull-off areas we found in the mountains, which didn’t actually provide a view through the trees. But note the nice stone wall along the road!)
If you do rent a car, a number of rental agencies operate out of the airport. However, even if you have a pre-booked reservation, it is quite possible that no one will be at the rental spot when you arrive. Make sure you have a way to contact them on arrival.
Also note that the car will be given to you with whatever gas was left in the tank from the last renter – this means it could be bone dry. There is a gas station across the street. Use it. There are very few gas stations on the island and maps indicating the location of gas stations may be out of date or just plain inaccurate.
Taxi service is available on Mahé and Praslin and, to a limited degree, on La Digue and can be hired for touring. In addition, many of the larger, more upscale hotels can arrange drivers.
On the Road in a Bus
Mahé has regular bus service and bus stops throughout the island.
We didn’t use the bus, so can’t vouch for its comfort, schedule or timeliness, but we saw a lot of them on the road and, along with walking, it seems to be a primary mode of transportation for the local population.
On the Road on a Bike
Bikes are available on most islands and are an ideal way to get around on La Digue and parts of Praslin and are readily available. Biking on most of Mahé looked both difficult (hills and mountains) and terrifying (narrow roads with traffic).
Biking and walking are almost the only ways to get around La Digue.