The largest island in Seychelles, Mahe is the cultural and economic centre of Seychelles. With the Seychelles International Airport located here, every individual travelling to Seychelles is bound to step foot on the island. Mahe's most prominent characteristic is the huge granite mountains that overlook the bays and cover the entire centre, running from north to south and successfully dividing the island into east and west. These two sides of the island consist of several stunning bays that are captivating in their own beauty and look even more mystical with the backdrop of the lush mountains.
The scintillating Mahe island was named after the French Governor, Mahe De La Bourdonnais and is home to Victoria, the capital of Seychelles and the smallest capital city in the world. The original name of Mahe meant the "island of abundance" which perfectly describes the island as Mahe is home to over 60 beaches, waterfalls, hiking trails, freshwater springs, dense forests and every activity that you can think of that is bound to make your stay unforgettable.
Victoria is the capital of Seychelles and also dubbed as the smallest capital city in the world. The tiny city is located in the northeast of Mahe and wonderfully portrays the pros of a small quiet town. The houses in Victoria are made almost entirely of wood and stone, which shows the culture and heritage of the city. Aside from this, the town is flanked with palms trees that give the ultimate laid-back atmosphere.
Divided into two main centres, there's much to see in Victoria. One of the two centres is the Clock Tower which in itself is a depiction of Seychelles History. Around the clock tower, several administrative buildings and other famous landmarks are located. The second main centre is the Sir Selwyn Clarke Market which is a must visit due to the colourful local wares sold here, as well as the joyous atmosphere, that makes it a magical place to walk through. The Seychelles International Airport is also located in Victoria which makes it all the more important. Other notable places include the new pier, various museums such as the History Museum, Botanical gardens, the Kenwyn House, Bicentennial Monument, the Bel Air Cemetery and the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Hindu Temple.
Proclaimed as the best beach in Mahe, the Beau Vallon Bay caters to the needs of all individuals. The bay is often crowded due to its popularity, but a visit here is a must. The shade of the palms provides perfect conditions to take a walk on the long stretch of the beach, whereas the shallow turquoise waters allow individuals to wade in the waters for a swim. The beach is located in the north-west and is a 15-minute drive from Victoria. It is also one of the largest beaches in Seychelles, and the line of shops on the side of the beach render it a bustling tourist centre. Other activities that visitors can partake in are snorkelling, surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, scuba diving, fishing and jet- ski. On Wednesdays, visitors should not miss the Bazar Labrine that is a weekly local market which begins after sunset.
The north of Mahe is the more developed and busy part with several industries, the city of Victoria and other famous tourist attractions located here. This also makes it a great place to explore the culture of Mahe and to try out the adventures and beaches that the island is known for.
Glacis is a European style village in the north of Mahe that is a great place to kick back and relax or walk through the streets that display Creole culture in the most innovative ways. Eden Island, on the other hand, is an artificial island off the coast of Mahe. The flat green island is a 56-hectare space which is approximately 8 kilometres from the Seychelles International Airport. Eden Island is connected to Mahe by a bridge that allows passage to and from the island. For a wonderful panoramic view of the Eden Islands and all the other islets near Mahe, Viewpoint La Misere is the place for you. The high altitudes of this place give you a stunning view and allow you to witness the beauty of Mahe by yourself.
Located in the north-west, Port Glaud is a small coastal village that is home to a tiny beach with magnificent views of the offshore islands. The beach waters create natural lagoons that make swimming, as well as snorkelling possible. At low tide, the waters here are so shallow that one can walk across the seabed to the offshore island of L'Islette. Another attraction near Port Glaud where individuals can swim is Port Launay. This port also has a zip line facility with around eight stages that take you all the way to the Beau Vallon area. Baie Ternay is also a snorkelling area that is famous amongst tourists.
Roche Caiman is a unique attraction in the north of Mahe. The place is a wetland reserve and sanctuary that hosts a variety of flora and fauna, some of which are especially rare. What makes Roche Caiman worth the visit is the fact that the reserve is made entirely of freshwater and hence is exclusive to freshwater flora and marine life.
Grand Anse is a wild beach with exceptional photographic views. The water is not restricted by a coral reef, so swimming is quite dangerous, but the wild waters add to the charm of the beach. This charm along with the majestic granite boulders that overlook the beach make it a one of a kind place. The Vacoa Nature Trail which is a 30-minute trail that leads you to the mangroves of Dauban River is a largely opted activity when in Grand Anse.
The Barbarons Village, on the other hand, is famous for the luxury resorts present here, as well as the Barbarons
beach. The Seychelles National Biodiversity Centre is also an informative and interactive place that falls in Barbarons and is open for visitation.
Operating Hours (Seychelles National Biodiversity Centre):
Monday to Saturday- 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM
In comparison to the north, the South of Mahe is mostly uninhabited and underdeveloped. While this makes some places inaccessible or difficult to reach, it also gives the south its own silent, island charm that is lacking in the north.
Le Domaine De Val De Pres
Le Domaine De Val De Pres or the Artisanal or Craft Village is a unique village in the south where all locals dabbling in art and craft often live and set up shop to display their masterpieces. The village's Maison De Coco house, built entirely from materials of a coconut tree is a must see. The La Marine is another favourite where intricate models of ships are made for sale.
Operating Hours (Maison De Coco):
Monday to Saturday- 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Anse Royale which translates to Royal Bay is a beach village whose main attraction is the Jardin Du Roi or Garden of the King. The Jardin Du Roi is a spice plantation which meticulously grows all kinds of spices and nurtures them to perfection. The 25-hectare plantation is also home to a botanical garden and various sanctuaries, as well as a museum, and a giant tortoise breeding centre. The plantation also has a restaurant where the spices that are grown on the plantation are freshly cut and used in the food, hence giving your food the most delicious tastes.
10:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Anse Forbans and Anse Marie Louise
The Anse Forbans and Anse Marie Louise in the south are entirely underdeveloped bay areas. However, its charm lies in the untouched nature and the privacy that the beaches obtain. In fact, the bays are often referred to as Pirate Bay due to its strategically beneficial location as it is hidden from the view.
Covering roughly 800 metres, Anse Intendance is a picture perfect spot and one of the most famous beaches of Mahe. Despite being a famous place, the beach is never crowded and has an all-round tranquil atmosphere. However, what makes this a truly beautiful place is not only the fact that it is covered in glittering white sands but also the wild jungle path that is dotted with huge mangroves and palm trees that provide shade. The large granite formations visible on the beach also add to its beauty. It is not recommended for swimming due to strong currents during from June to September, but the lack of reef which makes the waters quite deep, attract several daring surfers looking for a challenge.
Anse Aux Poules Bleus
Anse Aux Poules Bleus or the Bay of the Blue Chicken is a version of an artist's quarter. The bay has several galleries and studios that sell the most beautiful art pieces. These pieces often reflect Seychelles culture and inspiration is drawn from different parts of the island life you witness in Seychelles. The English Painter Michael Adams is known for the above art pieces and owns a studio in this very bay. Another renowned studio is the Pineapple Studio which sells handicrafts with the finest and authentic details.
Operating Hours (Michal Adams Studio):
Monday to Friday- 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Island Hopping - Day Trips
St. Anne Marine National Park
St. Anne Marine National Park is located 5 kilometres off the coast of Male and is named after its main island of Saint Anne. It is the oldest Marine Reserve in Seychelles and is home to some of the most diverse aquatic animals in the world. The reserve is made up of eight islands namely - Sainte Anne, Moyenne Island, Long Island, Cerf Island, Ile Cachee, Ile Seche, Harrison Rock and Round Island. These islands are mainly surrounded by coral reefs which give way to an abundance of flora and fauna. They also provide the perfect conditions for deep sea diving and snorkelling in the Sainte Anne Channel which has over 150 species of marine life.
Therese Island and L'Islette
Therese Island and L'Islette are islands just off the coast of Mahe that prove to be great destinations for a day trip. Both islands can only be reached by private boats and are secluded areas that provide stunning views of Mahe. Therese Island is also home to a 160-metre peak which is a perfect viewpoint for Pointe I'Escalier or the Star Point which can be reached through mysterious granite rock stairs that seem to have been in place right from the beginning.
Famous Hiking Trails: 1. Danzil to Anse Major 2. La Bastille to Beau Vallon Bay 3. Dans Gallas 4. Cascade River Waterfall 5. Mountain forests 6. Casse Dent
Famous Diving Spots: 1. Brissare Rocks 2. Shark Bank (8km north-west of Mahe) 3. Aldebaran Wreck (ruins of a fishing boat) 4. Shark Point 5. Lost City
How to Reach Mahe
Since Mahe is home to the Seychelles International Airport, every individual travelling to Seychelles lands at Mahe.
In Land Transport: Travelling by bus is the easiest method of transport. Taking a car is also a great way to explore the island according to your own itinerary. Taxis are also available but extremely expensive and hence not very feasible.