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Experience Mahe Island

What brings visitors to Mahe Island?

Mahe Island is the main and largest of the Seychelles archipelago and home to the capital of Victoria, one of the world’s smallest capital cities. The island boasts dramatic idyllic beauty with a mountainous lush verdant interior and lined by immaculate beaches. Mahe is the gateway to the sun-soaked archipelago and home to 90% of the Seychelles population, a tropical paradise, and a spectacular place to experience the local Creole culture. The island is home to the Morne Seychellois National Park offering endless outdoor activities, hiking trails, rock climbing, and other adventures for a fun day out. The Island’s capital features some historic beauty’s including a Hindu Temple, a Roman Catholic Cathedral, a clock tower, and stunning Victorian architecture.

What are the outdoor activities on Mahe Island?

Mahe Island is a buzzing tourism island, teeming with palm-fringed beaches, verdant forested interiors, and dazzling blue waters that lead visitors to many exciting activities. Hiking the mountains on Mahe is a spectacular experience, visitors can take guided hikes up to astonishing heights for birds-eye views over the surrounding islands. Indulging in snorkeling, and world-class diving while visiting Mahe Island is a must, with the tranquil tropical waters that encircle the island filled with abundant marine life and opportunities for excellent dive sites found in the archipelago which includes 115 islands. Recreational activities on Mahe include world-class golf, tennis, squash, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and horseback riding along the beautiful beaches. Island hopping is another fantastic option with nearby islands such as Praslin, and Cousin Island, home to nature reserves and endangered birds.

Morne Seychellois National Park is the largest national park of the islands covering around 20% of Mahe, a nature lover's paradise in the lush mountainous heart of the island. Morne Seychellois is the highest point on the island soaring to 2,969 feet overlooking the capital of Victoria and featuring hiking trails through tea plantations and the village of Danzil with spectacular views.

Sainte Anne Island encompasses 6 islands just off the coast of Mahe where the Ste Anne National Marine Park is located. The island was the site of a French settlement in 1770, the first in Seychelles. It became the first national park in the Indian Ocean in 1973 and is an important nesting site for hawksbill turtles and other rich diverse marine life. Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular in the park’s coral reefs along with glass-bottom boat excursions.

What are the best beaches on Mahe Island?

Seychelles archipelago comprises 115 islands and home to some of the most undeniably beautiful beaches on the planet. Mahe island features 70 unspoiled beaches lapped by the gorgeous waters of the Indian Ocean. Many of Mahe’s beaches are adorned with the softest, white sand, giant boulders, swaying palms, and backed by verdant hills and majestic mountains. Seychelle beaches are named “Anse” in Creole and each one on the island has a unique charm and signature strip of sensational sand. Beau Vallon Bay is one of the most popular and largest beaches, Intendance, and Takamaka beaches in the south are tranquil and untouched, Anse Royale is simply gorgeous and Grand Anse is a tropical paradise. The beaches are ideal for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, and other water sports, there are many different rental companies where equipment can be picked up. The endless excursions offered on Mahe with island hopping, sailing adventures, and scuba diving.

What are some rare plants and animals found on Mahe?

Seychelles archipelago is home to dozens of species of birds that are unique to the islands including the Seychelles white eye and the magpie robin, some of the rarest species in the world. Aldabra Island is home to the world’s largest giant tortoises, Aride, Bird, and Cousine Island are fantastic locations for bird watching, nesting hawksbill turtles can be seen nesting between October to February. The sparkling reefs offshore the Seychelles archipelago are among some of the best in the entire world home to over 1,000 species of fish. The waters here are home to world-class diving and spectacular snorkeling adventures.

What are some historical sights and the history on Mahe Island?

Seychelles islands gained its independence in 1976, Mahe Island is home to the capital of the Republic of Seychelles, Victoria where a 1/3 of the country’s population resides. Seychelles archipelago is some of the oldest islands on the planet and was uninhabited until French settlers from Mauritius arrived in the 18th century and their slaves planted crops and spices. The British took over in 1814 and ran the islands according to French practices, other than their anti-slavery stance. Seychelles economy has revolved around its plantations, cinnamon, vanilla, and copra being some of the biggest exports, tourism now occupies 30% of the workforce and the country’s economic growth.

There are many historical sights spread throughout Mahe Island with quite a few found in the capital of Victoria. The Bicentennial Monument sits on a round-about in Victoria known locally as “Moniman trwa lezel” translating to “monument with three wings”. The monument was erected in 1978 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the town of Victoria and represents the African, European, and Asian origins of Seychelles.

Seychelles Natural History Museum is also found in Victoria, set in a small colonial-style house with exhibits on the local flora and fauna of the islands as well as exhibits dedicated to the history of the islands' settlement. There are a few historical artifacts on display.

Freedom Square in Victoria is adorned with colonial architecture and home to the prominent historical clock tower that was erected in 1903 and modeled on Big Ben. St. Paul’s Cathedral overlooks the square and was built on the site of the first church of Seychelles. Sir Selwyn Clarke Market is close by and has been around for years selling the freshest fish, fruits, and vegetables on the island of Mahe. The most ancient historical place of Seychelles is the Cemetery of Bel-Air, the first place where the settlers used to bury their dead. There are graves here belonging to several famous people who lived on the islands including the French Corsair Jean-Francois Hoduoul, and Pierre-Louis Poiret.

Where should I eat on Mahe Island?

The island of Mahe has many different dining options to offer, serving up delicious Seychellois Creole cuisine and other international cuisines. There are fine dining options, budget-friendly, along with local authentic joints, and plenty of takeaway options to choose from. It's no surprise that many of the menus on the island are dominated by freshly caught fish and seafood, the main fish caught here is tuna, red snapper is another favorite, and fish curries are a popular dish. There is a lot of French and British influence found in the restaurants on Male due to its colonial past. Resorts and hotels on the islands are home to most of the fine dining experiences serving up world cuisine. Fine dining favorites include La Scala, and La Perle Noire, located in Beau Vallon.

What is the nightlife like on Mahe Island?

The nightlife offerings on Mahe Island are exciting and mainly found around the capital city of Victoria. Mahe is the most popular tourist destination in the Republic of Seychelles and is brimming with luxurious resorts that offer great nightlife entertainment, bountiful beaches with beachfront bars and restaurants, there are casinos and nightclubs plenty. Hotels and resorts have their bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and discos, some even have casinos so there is no need to even travel outside of your accommodations.

Lovenut is situated in the heart of Victoria, an upscale club with a VIP area. Ozone is also located in central Mahe offering a long list of tropical cocktails, outstanding service, and great music. Katiolo is the most popular disco on the island, an open-air establishment with DJs playing the latest hits with a cool ocean breeze.

What is the culture like on Mahe Island?

Seychelles oozes Creole culture along with African, French, Indian, and British influences from its location and past. The culture, art, and architecture of the islands date back to its history of colonialism with a fusion of people who arrived from different countries. Seychellois people have ethnic roots in Africa, Europe, India, and China with a distinct Seychellois culture blending many African and Asian traditions. Creole music and dance incorporate the beat of drums played with stringed instruments, native dances are called ‘Moutai’ with strong African and Malagasy rhythms. The islands host many exciting and colorful annual events including the Festival Kreol which encapsulates all aspects of the Creole culture, in a weeklong celebration held in October.