Paradise for Nature Lovers | Mahé island, Seychelles
Mahé is the biggest island of the Seychelles, covering around 150km2. At its North-East side is the capital Victoria (named after Queen Victoria in 1838) - one of the smallest capital in the world. The island of Mahé is home to almost 90% of country's population, which originates from Africa, India, China and Europe - over the years, Seychelles have been both a French and a British colony.
However, we chose not to stay in the capital. Seychelles are known for their amazing beaches and lavishly green nature, so we've booked a cute guest house at Anse aux Pins. Located on the East side of the island, it offered stunning sun rising views, even from the balcony of our room. But, being impatient for a great island experience, at our first morning, we did wake up at 6 am and went to the lodging's private beach to observe the sun rising over the ocean.
Renting a car while on an island is essential, in my opinion. Specially if you don't have much time. We only had 3 days to spend in Mahé and even though we were told that buses work fine, we like to have the freedom and explore on our own.
Mahé has more than 70 beaches to choose from, and we knew it would be impossible for us to check them all. So, doing your homework and deciding which ones to visit is important. After breakfast, we crossed the island and headed to the beautiful Grand Anse. As swimming there is not allowed, we continued driving by the shore until we reached Port Glaud beach. Part of it is private for a resort, but there's a public entry as well. The beach itself is a stunning white-sandy bay, surrounded by splendid green vegetation and the so typical for the Seychelles huge, granite rocks. Simply gorgeous.
The Tea Plantation is just a short drive away from Port Glaud. It was founded in 1962 and used to export tea for Britain, Germany and Japan, but nowadays most of the tea on the island is actually imported. However, it still offers a mini-museum dedicated to the tea production, as well as beautiful views, as is located on a hill.
The Mission Lodge is an ancient village, very close to the Tea Plantation, telling the story of slavery in Seychelles. Nowadays it's all ruins, but there are some information panels that deserve attention, in order for the history to not be forgotten. Within a short walk from the ruins there's a pavilion, offering panoramic views.
We ended our first day in Mahé at the beach (of course). Beau Vallon is a large, beautiful beach with calm water and (probably) amazing sunset views. But that afternoon, we were not lucky with it, as it started to rain. We sheltered in a bar near by, having some cocktails and waiting for the rain to stop.
The next morning we did the Anse Major hike - it takes a total of around 3 hours to get to the beach and go back, depending on the pace. The trail offers stunning views, as well as some waterfalls, where we stopped for a while, to refresh and have a snack. But nothing compares to the views of Anse Major - after walking under the hot sun for more than an hour and see that heavenly looking, white sandy, empty beach waiting for you. If you don't feel like hiking, you can also get there or leave by boat - there were taxi boats coming to the bay at every half an hour.
In the afternoon we did another hike - the one to Morne Blanc. It starts between the Tea Plantation and the Mission Ruins, and is part of the Morne Seychellois Natural Park - the largest park in Seychelles. This trail is only 1km long, but having a 270m change of altitude, it led us to a 667m high peak, offering breathtaking views of the coastline. We were walking inside a beautiful forest the entire time, making us forget completely we were at a beach vacation. But because of all the humidity in the forest, the trail was quite muddy and slippery. And the observation deck was not the safest, as some pieces of wood on the floor were missing or being broken. However, with some extra attention, it's easily doable and is worth every step in the mud.
After getting back to the car without falling in the mud, we headed back to Beau Vallon for a second shot to witness the sunset. This time it was successful. And what a sunset it was...
On our last day in Mahé, we went for another hike. This time we headed to the South-West coast. We were determined to find a natural rock pool we saw on some images, and the only thing we knew is that the trail leading to it, starts at Chez Batista at Takamaka beach. Well, we didn't find much of a trail, except for a short one inside the bush, but as soon as we got at the rocks by the sea, we got lost. And we got lost again several times. It was a good thing we were not short in time and our ferry to Praslin was not leaving until some more hours in the afternoon. So, after wandering for some time and walking on the edge of the steep, granite rocks, we finally found it. An almost perfect circular hole in the rock, forming a natural pool thanks to the waves at high tide. But, in my opinion, it's better to go there at low tide, as some waves seemed quite aggressive against the granite formations.
Getting back to our car, we realised we still had some spare time before going to the port, so we decided to check one more of Mahé's beautiful beaches. Baie Lazare was just a short drive from Takamaka and even though it was difficult to find a place to park near by, the hour we spent there was totally worth going up the hill afterwards. Beautiful and peaceful scenery surrounds this calm beach, with natural shadows and thousands of tiny crabs playing around. It was for sure the perfect ending of those 3 days, filled with adventurous hikes, breathtaking views, great food and paradise beaches. But we were still not over with Seychelles, as we had two more islands to explore...
*Bonus: Where to eat in Mahé*
(Have in mind that the day starts and ends early in Seychelles,
so dinner after 9 p.m. might be a tricky task)
Anse aux Pins: La Grande Maison Restaurant
Beau Vallon: Baobab Pizzeria
Beau Vallon: La Plage Restaurant
Beau Vallon: the bar of Savoy Resort
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