Non-Seychellois to start paying entrance fee to Venn’s Town Mission Lodge heritage site


The Seychelles Heritage Foundation (SHF) will as from October 15, 2020, be charging an entrance fee of R100 for non-Seychellois visiting the Venn’s Town Mission Lodge heritage site at Sans Souci.
It was the chief executive of SHF, Benjamine Rose, who made the declaration during a briefing with the press at the site yesterday morning. Also present was the chairperson of the foundation board, Tony Mathiot.
Ms Rose said that the foundation has introduced the entrance fee to cover the cost of weekly maintenance and for further development of the local heritage site, all the while respecting its natural beauty.
She said that the plan to introduce the fee had been on the table for a while but not all of the logistics were in place for it to be introduced.
She stated that apart from remaining free for the locals, entrance to the site by non-Seychellois under 12 years old will also be free.
Ms Rose added that the foundation has put in place an entrance gate which will be post guarded by security officers, along with an SHF official to collect the revenue from ticket sales.
She said the foundation has found it fit at this point in time to introduce an entrance fee now that tourists have started coming in with the re-opening of our borders.
Venn’s Town Mission Lodge, situated in the Morne Seychellois National Park, is the first heritage site under SHF to introduce an entrance fee.
She said while some of the revenue will be for maintaining the actual site in its natural state, part of it will be used to help maintain other heritage sites.
The foundation is also building toilet facilities for clients and is also planning to construct a deck facility for people to hold small gatherings during the day. It will be situated next to the car park which will be relocated in future.
Besides the R100 entrance fee for non locals to visit the site, the foundation will charge a fee for use of the site for other purposes by both Seychellois and non Seychellois.
Venn’s Town Mission Lodge heritage site is very popular among the locals and visitors. Among the activities that take place there include weddings, retreats, prayers, friendly gathering, photo sessions and filming sessions.
Among the fees for use of the site for other purposes include R300 for a half-day or R500 for a full day photographic session by local photographers and R1000 for a half-day or R1500 for a full-day photographic session by foreign photographers.
For filming sessions, a local filming crew will pay R600 for a half-day session and R1000 for a full-day session while a foreign filming crew will pay R1200 for a half- day session and R2000 for a full-day filming session.
With regard to holding weddings at Mission Lodge, for a maximum of 25 people, it will cost R1000 for half a day or R500 per hour. There will be new charges with the upcoming construction of the decking. It is to be noted that a half a day equals to 3 hours and a full day equals to 6 hours. The opening of the Venn’s Town Mission Lodge is from 9am to 5pm.
Ms Rose stated that the Domaine de Val des Pres, Au Cap will also be charging the same fees for use of its premises but entrance is free.
According to Mr Mathiot, a freelance writer, researcher and historian, Venn’s Town Mission Lodge which was also named as Capucin initially, was set up as a botanical garden in 1870 but later as industrious school, in 1875, by the Church Missionary Society (a British philanthropic group) to accommodate liberated African slave children. It was mainly to teach them catechism, basic reading and writing, including gardening.
He stated that a statue of priest William Chancellor, the missionary at the industrious school at the time and the statues of a slave boy and girl, will be erected in December 2020, at the ruins of slave burial ground in remembrance of the construction of the school 145 years ago. The Liberated Slaves Cemetery as it was called, was also known as the Capucin cemetery because of the many Capucin trees found in this forest, in the past.
Since the declaration of the ruins of Venn’s Town Mission Lodge heritage site as a National Monument in 1984, the foundation is working to get it listed by Unesco as a world heritage site.
Apart from the quietness and the magnificent panoramic view of the western coast of Mahé, as well as various mountains of virgin and dense forests, Venn’s Town Mission Lodge is also home to endemic flora and fauna.

Source: Seychelles Nation