Mahé Island is the largest and most developed island in the archipelago and is home to 90% of the Seychelles population. It extends over 26 km long and 6 km wide. Here we can find Victoria, the capital of the country.
Numerous beaches, coral reefs, and nature reserves surround it.
Its highest peak, the Morne Seychellois, is located in the park that bears its name, the Morne Seychellois National Park. It rises to 905 meters and offers magnificent panoramic views of the neighboring islands and the Indian Ocean.
Seychelles has three land parks:
- Morne Seychellois National Park
- Praslin National Park
- Ramos National Park
and six marine parks:
- Baie Ternay Marine National Park
- Curieuse Island Marine National Park
- Coco Island Marine National Park
- Port Launay Marine National Park
- Silhouette Island Marine National Park
- and Ste Anne Island Marine National Park.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to explore them all!
The forests of Mahé are home to rare and endemic plants such as the critically endangered jellyfish tree, the carnivore Seychelles pitcher plant, and many unique orchid species.
I highly recommend renting a car on Mahé and Praslin. The islands are not big, but you quickly feel isolated. Without a car, it is difficult to visit or even go to the various magnificent beaches or the departures of the hikes. There is also no bicycle or scooter rental on these two islands. And finally, it is not recommended to walk along the roads which are narrow and do not have a side road. On the other hand, on La Digue, there are only bikes, and it’s an absolute pleasure.
For our five-day stay on the island, we decided to stay in two different places; Anse Royale, in the south, and Beau Vallon, in the north, the most touristic part of Mahé.
My personal opinion:
😍 Do not miss
😃 Go if you have time
😐 Not very interesting
😭 Unfortunately, we couldn’t do it
The south of Mahé
Anse Royale is the second town on Mahé where the Seychelles Academy of Business Studies is located. Therefore, this small university town is a very accessible, lively place.
Every morning, the village hosts a small covered market that offers fruit, vegetables, and fresh fish — an enjoyable experience, a nice change from the usual supermarket ambiance. For the rest, shops located along the main artery provide the necessary.
And for a bite to eat, several restaurants offer varied menus, including the delicious culinary specialties of Seychelles.
😃 Beach and snorkeling in Anse Royale
The main beach of Anse Royale, also a renowned snorkeling spot, is located at the village entrance towards Victoria.
From the shore, one can see a small quaint island like a rocky outcrop. According to the locals, this place is full of fish. We didn’t make it to the islet because of the currents. Despite this, the closer rocks, which are real fish larders, allowed us to admire the underwater life.
A successful first snorkeling experience!
😍 Takamaka rum factory; visit and tasting
The visit was short but informative and very lively. Our guide, the owner of the rum distillery, is so passionate about the craft that her enthusiasm shone through and made the visit a real moment of sharing.
She told us about the techniques of making rums and the evolution of her profession over the years.
Two kinds of rums are produced here: pure cane rum and molasses rum. They are aged, some in wooden barrels, spiced and mixed to obtain different flavors, enriching the range of Takamaka rums.
The tasting that follows the visit allows you to realize the nuances of the taste of each rum.
After the visit, be sure not to miss the surrounding gardens where you can find vestiges of the kitchen of the first house that once stood here, “La Maison de La Plaine Saint-André.” Built in 1792 by Jean-François Jorre de Saint-Jorre, it housed copra ovens — dried coconut albumen — and cinnamon and patchouli distilleries.
There is also a spice garden, a small orchard, a sugar cane plantation, and of course, the enclosure where the house’s pets live, two giant tortoises!
It is also in this garden that we find the only baobab in Seychelles!
😍 Le Jardin du Roi
This garden is located on the heights of Anse Royale, at the top of the Domaine de l’Enfoncement hill.
The Spice Garden was established in 1772 and was one of the many properties where the breeding and cultivation of various spices contributed to the country’s economy. In the 18th century, the islands were a hub for the spice trade.
Unfortunately, in 1780, Lieutenant Romainville set the plantations on fire after seeing a ship approaching and mistakenly believing that the British were going to invade Mahé. The boat turned out to be a French ship.
Now a place of relaxation and discovery, it includes, in addition to the planting of spices, a nature reserve and a botanical garden. Several marked routes allow a walk through this lush 25-hectare domain to discover many species of trees and plants, some of which are endemic.
Visiting the garden can easily take half a day. At the entrance to the estate, a Creole house serves as a museum where photos, old utensils, and household equipment are displayed.
If you go in the morning, a restaurant offers different menus for lunch, including a typical Creole one.
😃 Trail Anse Capucin, a pleasant hike that leads to a remote beach
The starting point of the hike is in Anse Marie-Louise.
The route is short, but it was our first discovery of the Seychelles forest. We had to get used to the hot and humid climate and this short, shady, flat hike was perfect for that.
The walk in pictures
As Anse Capucin is only accessible on foot, it is common to find yourself alone.
I loved these huge green plants, the ones that we have trouble growing in our apartments and which here are giant.
Our walk was punctuated with showers and clearings until the sun set in and allowed us to discover Anse Capucin in its best light!
When you stay on Seychelles paradisiac islands, you know that the landscapes are going to be stunning; it’s a fact. Even though we had already seen exceptional landscapes, we were dazzled by Anse Capucin.
When we reached the end of the path and discovered the white sand beach, with the turquoise blue sea in the background and nobody around, we felt spoiled by such beauty. We just sat on the sand and looked around in silence, enjoying this very moment of delight.
Back from our hike, we decided to explore the southwestern end of the island. We drove to the end of the road, Petite Police Beach on the map.
😐 Grande Police – Petit Police – Anse Bazarca
On this side of the island, the sea is rougher. There are a lot of waves and rocks by the beach, which is not ideal for swimming. There are no shade or pleasant places to settle down. Moreover, we did not meet anyone except a few surfers gathered in a small, less rocky area. So we went back and forth, there was nothing of interest.
The north of Mahé
It is in this part of the island that Victoria is located.
Also here sits the Morne Seychellois, the highest point of the largest national park in Seychelles, the Morne Seychellois Park. We are entering a hiking paradise! The trails allow for the discovery of a wild and luxuriant forest and lead to belvederes that offer breathtaking panoramic views. And even though they are very short, they are often relatively steep.
😍 Our hikes in the Morne Seychellois park in pictures here.
😍 Beau Vallon coast
Beau Vallon is a bay on the northwest coast of Mahé. Its beach is the most popular and touristic beach on the island and is often busy. It is a base for diving and snorkeling due to its clear waters and coral reefs.
Beau Vallon beach
The end of the road to the northeast
😃 Port Launay Marine Park
It is one of the most picturesque seascapes in Seychelles, the only marine park accessible by land. There are a total of eight beautiful beaches.
Port-Launay Beach, the most well-known, is famous on the one hand for diving — you can swim among the corals that are close to the shore — but also for its whale shark observations. Whale sharks come closer to the coast once a year to revel in the rich plankton that accumulates in the park.
Unfortunately, the day we went, the water was cloudy, there was no visibility for diving, and it was not whale shark season. The only option left for us was to bask in the sun with a book on a heavenly beach! No big deal as it is also one of my favorite activities.
😐 NYS Village
After a long time of relaxation, we decided to continue the road until the “Youth Village,” NYS Village on the map, which we had to cross to reach Pointe Matoopa and Baie Ternay.
It wasn’t the best idea we’ve ever had, and I recommend against it.
First of all, the road is in terrible condition, and it wasn’t easy to pass other cars without maneuvering. That should have put us on our toes!
Then we reached the end of the road, we had to park before a gate that looked a bit old and poorly maintained, but that second clue didn’t make us react either.
It wasn’t until after walking a few hundred yards that we realized the place was abandoned entirely. It was even bizarre to be in the middle of these ruins, where nature had taken back its rights. There was only silence and that made it a little bit creepy!
We still made it to the beach, where groups of locals enjoyed a quiet place without tourists. Or almost!
😃 Anse Takamaka
When I opened the Seychelles tourist guide written by the country’s tourism office, in the “What to do in Seychelles” section, the first “activity” mentioned is “marriage.” I was a little surprised before I realized that it was not about the ceremony itself – which can get super expensive if you have to bring the whole family! – but more like a “honeymoon in the sun with a photoshoot in wedding attire.” I found the idea excellent.
And apparently, it’s a successful business.
This activity is the reason why we found ourselves on the beach, in the middle of a few elegantly dressed couples wading in the water or climbing the rocks for poses orchestrated to the millimeter by a photographer. And for the final touch, a small tent with ribbons, cake, and champagne awaits the newlyweds for a souvenir of the “cake ceremony”! The funniest? There are hundreds of wedding photos with the same decor and the exact cake!
When we first arrived in Mahé, we were a little afraid to find an island too urbanized. It is indeed the main island of the Seychelles where Victoria is located, with all the administrations and significant infrastructures. But not at all. The island has kept its authenticity and is a true paradise for fans of short hikes. On this island, I braved the most beautiful and wildest ones in the Morne Seychellois National Park. Hiking in a tropical climate is also an unforgettable experience. In less than 5 minutes, you have the impression of having walked for an hour! Nature is entirely different from that of the mountains that I know. Everything is bigger, plants and spiders, and the sun shining through the layers of vegetation makes the colors all around you vibrant. It’s just wonderful!
If you travel to Seychelles, you should definitely include a few days in Mahé to discover its magnificent trails.