Oliver Mills-Nanyn: The Best Things to Do on Mahé Island
Oliver Mills-Nanyn is an experienced superyacht deckhand who has been fortunate enough to travel the world with his work, including visiting the Seychelles and spending time on Mahé Island.
With its white sandy beaches, soaring granite peaks, turquoise waters and abundant wildlife, Mahé Island is a true tropical paradise and dream travel destination. From hiking Morne Seychellois National Park’s incredible nature trails to unwinding on the island’s stunning tropical beaches, there are many unforgettable experiences to be had on Mahé Island.
This article will provide an overview of the main attractions Mahé Island has to offer, outlining some of the activities visitors can enjoy there.
Island Hopping and Snorkelling at Sainte Ann Marine Park
Home to more than 150 fish species and other magnificent marine life, Sainte Anne Marine Park is the first of its kind in the West Indian Ocean, consisting of several coral reefs and six small islands: St Anne Island, Ile aux Cerf, Ile Ronde, Ile Longue, Chachée Island and Ile Moyenne. For those keen to experience the fantastic marine life of the Seychelles, there is no better place to do it.
Easily accessible via boat trips from Victoria, the location is perfect for those staying in Mahé Island’s capital, Eden Island, or on the West Coast. Highlights of this world-class marine park include spotting sea turtles, snorkelling at Cerf reef, visiting the giant tortoise sanctuary on Moyenne Island and relaxing at the sandbar near Ronde Island.
Hiking to Anse Major
When people talk about the Seychelles and Mahé Island, palm-fringed white sandy beaches lapped by crystal-clear azure waters come to mind. Although the Anse Source D’Argent on La Digue and similar beaches are widely credited with putting the Seychelles on the map, those in the know recommend the Anse Lasio on Praslin as the most beautiful beach in the whole of the Seychelles, if not the world.
Tucked behind lush green granite mountains on the northwest coast of Mahé Island, Anse Major is an incredible white stand beach that is so alluring due to its remoteness, with no roads leading to this section of the island, meaning eager visitors need to hike along a jungle nature trail in order to reach it.
With private tours available locally, visitors can enjoy Mahé Island’s untouched natural beauty, trekking through the lush forest and taking in spectacular views of various bays along the northwest coast of Mahé. Although the trip may sound daunting, the hike is suitable for visitors of all ages, including small children, presenting a unique opportunity to learn about Mahé and its countryside and wildlife from an experienced guide.
The Seychelles National Museum of History
Also known as the National Heritage Centre, the National Museum of History showcases Mahé Island’s rich history, including its indigenous peoples and the impact of colonialism and slavery.
Occupying the colonial-era Supreme Court building, the museum showcases traditional Seychellois artifacts, including costumes, pottery, tools and traditional musical instruments, as well as documents and photographs that provide unique insights into Mahé Island’s 300-year history. Visitors to the museum can also see a replica of a ‘Case Palme’, the traditional house of the Seychelles.
Following extensive renovations, the National Museum of History now ranks as one of Mahé’s top attractions and is open Monday to Saturday, except on public holidays.
Hike the Morne Blank Trail
This strenuous and moderately challenging hike incorporates rocky terrain and steep inclines, making it the remit of hikers who are in good physical condition, despite the fact that the hike only takes around an hour to complete. Starting on Sans Soucis Mountain Road, the hike is known for two popular stops: Copolia Trail and Mission Lodge.
As the road winds through tropical jungle, the elevation begins right away. Morne Black viewpoint is a highlight of the hike, presenting breathtaking views across Mahé Island’s western coast. In addition, trekkers are also treated to some spectacular vistas of Port Glaud lagoon and the Therese and Conception Islands along the way.
Mahé’s colourful capital is so small, visitors need little more than a day to take in its main sites. At the heart of the city is a miniature Big Ben, which is known as Victoria Clocktower and ranks among the Seychelles’ most important national monuments. Chiming regularly on the hour, the clocktower helps to ensure that visitors do not lose track of time as they explore this lively city.
Sir Selwyn Clarke Market is a vibrant and bustling marketplace, crammed with stalls packed with fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and spices. In addition, all across the city are boutiques selling trinkets and mementos, as well as local art and clothing stores. With friendly locals and an energetic atmosphere, a trip to Victoria provides visitors with an authentic taste of Seychellois life.
Other highlights of Victoria include Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple, where a rainbow of colours depict Hindu deities, and the National botanical Gardens, which are home to giant tortoises, several of which are more than 150 years old.