For us, these are the highlights and must-sees from Seychelles main island Mahé.
As with most other islands of the Seychelles, the beaches are the main attractions on Mahé. From wild and beautiful Anse Intendance, calm Anse Forbans, wide Baie Lazare, a lot of small remote beaches to the touristic hotspots Beau Vallon and Port Launay, Mahé has a huge lot of beaches to offer. We cover them in detail on our Mahé Beaches page, and also in our Mahé Beaches Video.
Victoria is one of the smallest capitals in the world and at the same time the only city on the Seychelles. 25.000 inhabitants live here.
You can easily walk through the city and visit the main sights: The small, silver Victoria Clock Tower in the centre of a roundabout which was built in 1903 as a memorial to Queen Victoria of England. The Sir Selwyn Clarke Market which was built in 1840 is the busy heart of Victoria, where you can buy fresh fruits, vegetables and fish as well as flowers, spices and souvenirs. La Domus the former residence of the Roman Catholic priesthood (today only three priests live there the other rooms are used as offices). One of the first churches in the Seychelles, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception next to the Domus. The only Hindu temple on the Seychelles is the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar, built in 1992 close to the market. Last but not least, there is also the Botanical Garden.
The Mont Fleuri Botanical Garden is situated next to the hospital in Victoria. There is a small parking place in front of the entrance. For visiting this beautiful gardens a fee has to be paid in the small entrance house, where you get a map and information of all the plants and species in the park. Among many other plants, you can also see the famous Coco de Mer palm which was planted by Prince Phillip on the visit of the royal couple to the Seychelles in 1956. One thing you definitely shouldn´t miss is the pond on the very top of the park with the many flowering lotus.
We point out the Copolia Trail as an example of hikes because the view from the mountaintop is absolutely fantastic and the way up is not too long, although you have to be prepared for steep parts in the forest and sweating a lot ;-). It is recommended to take a guide because there have been some robberies of tourists in the past. We haven´t had any problem, but we need to mention that here. A guide can also tell you interesting things about plants and animals on the way. There are several other hiking opportunities on Mahé, for example, the Mourne Seychellois the highest point of the Seychelles. We´ll try to cover more on one of our next trips. If you are interested, don´t forget to watch our video of the Mount Copolia Trail.
La Plaine St. André is the rum destillery of Takamaka Rum. Beside the destillery, the area hosts a restaurant and a bar in beautiful colonial style. If you like to know how rum is produced, we recommend the guided tour across the whole area followed by a rum tasting All that in a beautiful location where you´ll feel set back hundreds of years. So if you want to see more but beaches during your stay in Seychelles - you really should consider La Plaine St. André.
Mission Lodge is an easily accessible place with an outstanding view over the beauty of Mahés west coast. Known as Venns Town (and later called Capucin) it is also a historical site of the Seychelles where children of freed slaves went to boarding school during the late 19th century. You can see some of the ruins between the small parking area and the path to the amazing viewpoint. The rainforest area around the Mission Lodge is worth taking a closer look, so be sure to calculate some time for this amazing calm and quiet place. Mission Lodge is a Unesco world heritage since 2013.
Up in the steep hills of Anse Royale on Mahé, and a little hard to find is a place that has some magic, especially on a hazy and maybe rainy day when most tourists are looking for a bad-weather-program. The Jardin du Roi is a spice garden - a path through the area with lots of plants that are well labelled. A downside, however, is that there are also a few animals kept in tiny cages. The view from up there is a really nice one and you can get some good food in the restaurant.
You can easily reach Eden Island over the bridge from Providence Highway around 200 meters off Mahe between the airport and Victoria. If you go by car you can park one hour for free in the parking garage. If you´d like to stay longer, rates are really low. Besides the area of luxury private villas where the entrance is prohibited, (except you would like to buy or rent one) there are shops, restaurants and a supermarket, where they sell good bread if you would like to eat something other than pure white bread. An ATM is also in the shopping complex near the supermarket and so are toilets. The Eden Island Marina is the home of hundreds of yachts, reaching from small boats to impressive big ships. Take a fresh fruit juice and a snack in one of the restaurants on the terrace facing the marina and have your jaws drop.
At the foot of Mourne Blanc right on San Souci Road connecting Victoria with Port Launay, you can visit the tea factory and plantation to enjoy a wonderful panoramic view while drinking a cup of real Seychellois tea. Tea plantations can also be seen along the road crossing the island. The tea grows between breathtaking trees - a totally different and calm world compared to busy Victoria that is just a few kilometres away.