Mahe is the biggest island in the Seychelles, and usually the only one people choose to focus on. This is also where all international flights land, so keep in mind you will be arriving here first.
Depending on the time you have, you can decide to either stay here or explore other islands first and then leave Mahe for last. This is what we did. After spending 4 nights in La Digue and 4 nights in Praslin, we came to Mahe to spend the rest of our 2-week Seychelles vacation.
In this blog post I’ll be sharing with you the top 13 things to do in Mahe that you should put on your itinerary. Let’s dive right in.
THINGS TO DO IN MAHE, SEYCHELLES
The capital – Victoria
Victoria is the capital of the Seychelles islands and one of the must-see places here. Victoria is home to most of the Seychellois’ population, but it is still Africa’s smallest capital. As a matter of fact, this is the only city in the Seychelles and it has around 25,000 inhabitants.
Give yourself a couple of hours to walk around Victoria and explore what the capital has to offer. Here are some of the main landmarks in Victoria:
- The Clock Tower (Small Big Ben)
One of the things in Victoria that catches the eye is certainly the Clock Tower – a smaller replica of Big Ben in London. This is the oldest historic and most popular structure in the Seychelles. The small Big Ben was built as a memorial to Queen Victoria, and its inauguration took place on April 1, 1903.
- Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple
The Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar temple is the most unique and colourful building in the Seychelles capital of Victoria. This is also the only Hindu place of worship in the country and it was built in 1992. The temple was named after Lord Vinayagar, who is often known as Ganesh or Ganesha, the remover of obstacles and the god of new beginnings.
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
The cathedral was built in May 1959 by the first Bishop of Mauritius, and it is also known as the Anglican Church, acting as both a cathedral of the diocese and an Anglican Parish Church.
- Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market
The Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market is the main market in Victoria and is the best place to buy fresh produce, fish and meat. You will also find a variety of spices, as well as many souvenirs and local crafts. The market is usually open Monday to Friday from early morning until 4-5pm in the evening. It is most vibrant and busy on Saturdays and generally closed on Sundays.
- National Museum of History
The museum has the mission of collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting the unique historical and cultural heritage of Seychelles.
Takamaka Rum Distillery
Takamaka is a local rum brand, which is produced in a small distillery on Mahe Island. Apart from the Seychelles, you can find this rum only in a few other countries in the world (it is quite rare – you might want to stock up!).
You can take a guided tour of the distillery and even do rum tasting for just 150 SCR. The tours are taking place every day, but I do recommend contacting the distillery directly per e-mail and ask them at what time they will be conducting them. We were 30 minutes late for the tour as the website stated 11:30, but it actually began at 11 (they said they haven’t updated the website for at least a year).
It was very interesting to hear how the company started, how they produce their rum and to see the actual place where this happens. Having a few sips of the different rum sorts was even better – I sincerely recommend the pineapple and the coco one! We may or may not have bought around 6 bottles to bring back home as souvenirs…
The Seychelles are incredible for snorkeling. Any island or beach you go to – you’ll be able to see amazing things underwater. My advice is to bring your own snorkeling gear – goggles, snorkel and if possible – fins. Another must-have when going into the ocean are the water shoes – you should ALWAYS be wearing either that or fins, otherwise you might hurt yourself on all the corals or on a sea urchin.
There are so many beautiful creatures you can see underwater. I was amazed by the fact that I managed to see a sea turtle, a few eagle rays and even a starfish!
Top beaches in Mahe
Beau Vallon is probably the most famous beach in Mahe. The reason for this is that Beau Vallon has such a colorful mix of things to offer – restaurants, bars, little souvenir shops, tons of attractions and daily excursions, and of course – beautiful scenery. You can either come by public transport or park your car at the nearby free parking spots. It is possible to spend a whole day here, enjoying the beautiful beach and underwater scenery which is pretty much what we did. The beach is also being guarded by lifeguards, which gives you that extra bit of feeling of safety.
This is another relatively popular beach on Mahe which, as per usual, has golden-colored sand and turquoise-blue water. Keep in mind that the parking spots here are limited, so be sure to get in early. Anse Soleil is great for snorkeling and even surfing, however, tourists should keep in mind that the water can get quite deep, especially during high tide. Stay close to the shore and you should be fine.
Baie Lazare is a very long beach in the south-west of Mahe, which has been named after a French explorer, called Lazare Picault. In 1742 Lazare Picault landed on Mahe and claimed the island for France and its empire.
The beach is great for snorkeling and windsurfing, and the water here is not very deep, so swimming is no problem even for not-so-good swimmers. Baie Lazare is also a great photo spot – the water is pristine and turquoise, while the sand has a gorgeous bright color that contrasts the ocean brilliantly.
Anse Takamaka is stunning and should definitely be on your list of things to do in Mahe. This beach is best suited for snorkeling thanks to its crystal-clear water and abundance of marine life. Be sure to bring your own snorkeling gear and water shoes, as you won’t be able to rent them on site.
You can enjoy a delicious lunch at the nearby Creole restaurant – Chez Batista. It is possible to spot some giant tortoises nearby, so please be sure not to disturb them.
Viewpoints and hiking in Mahe
The Mission Lodge is one of the most popular viewing points in all of Seychelles, offering a spectacular sea and mountain view. The place where its located – Venn’s Town, is one of the most historically and culturally meaningful site in the Seychelles, as it stands as a testament of the Seychelle’s slavery past.
You can reach Mission Lodge easily by car and park at the entrance, or you can take bus 14 Victoria – Port Launay. It costs 100 rupees to enter and the viewpoint is just a few minutes walking distance away from the entrance. Meanwhile you will pass a monument, which bears testimony to this place. This is where a school was built in the 19th century to care for slave children who had been dumped on the island after the abolition of slavery.
The place is also known for the fact that Queen Elizabeth II visited this place in 1972, which you will see photos of right at the viewpoint.
Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:00
One of the last places we visited on Mahe (which quickly turned into a favourite) was the Morne Blanc peak. The hike is considered of moderate difficulty and takes about 1 hour of going only straight uphill. The good news is that you’d be spared from the sun, as pretty much the whole route is in good shadow thanks to all the trees.
The hike begins from the Sans Souci Road and you can park your car at the free area in front of the tea kiosk. Then continue walking up the road for another 1-2 minutes and you’ll see the sign where the hike begins.
After you’ve hiked all the way up to the 667-metre high peak, you will be rewarded by a breathtaking view. This is where you’ll realize all the sweat from the climb was worth it.
Day Trips from Mahe
Go on a snorkeling adventure in the Marine Park
The highlight of our stay on Mahe was definitely our boat day trip to the Marine Park. This daily excursion allowed us to see some places we otherwise would have never had the chance to. And we got to swim with some REALLY big fish!
The day trip included a hotel pick up (if you’re staying on the west side of Mahe), a visit to the nearby Round Island, Moyenne Island, Cerf Island and Long Island, a delicious creole lunch, prepared and served right at the beach, as well as a few snorkeling sessions at some beautiful spots only locals know about. All of this is accompanied by the fact that you’re on a glass bottom boat the whole time!
For an extra fee of 150 rupees you’re able to walk around the Moyenne Island, which is a reserve and home to many giant tortoises (you’ll also be able to see baby and teenager tortoises!).
This day trip was one of the best things we decided to do on Mahe and I recommend it to anyone! Our guide was also very knowledgeable and kept on sharing interesting facts and information about the Seychelles and the nearby islands. Oh, and we got to feed the fish!
If you’re interested in doing the same day trip excursion, I recommend Dolphin Nemo Charter – a family-owned charter, whose kiosk you’ll find at the beginning of Beau Vallon. You will be met by the lovely Aisha or her husband Michael (who was also our guide during the excursion) and they can tell you all about their services.
The price of the day trip is around 75 euros and it is absolutely worth it!
La Digue is among the top 3 most visited islands in the Seychelles, and it is the smallest one among them. What makes La Digue unique is the fact that there are not many cars on the island and tourists cannot rent a car here – you just get a bike and go everywhere with it.
There are numerous day trips offered from Mahe to La Digue, which are a great option to see some more of the Seychelles if you’re short on time. This is also the island that stood out to us the most and turned out to be our favourite – it was just different from the rest! If there was a place I’d recommend visiting apart from Mahe, this would be La Digue.
If you have more time on your hands, be sure to go there for at least 2-3 days (or even more) to enjoy it fully. Read my full blog post on all the things you can do and see in La Digue, including information about the bike rental, where we stayed, what the costs were etc.
Praslin is the other popular island and tourists usually opt out to visit all three during their stay. This is exactly what we did as well. If I am completely honest, Praslin was our least favourite island. This might be due to the fact that it was raining during 2 out of the 4 days we had there. However, there is also not that much to see there.
You can go on a day trip from Mahe to Praslin with an organized excursion, which will take you to the main sights of the island and I do recommend that if you have the time.
How to get around Mahe
Mahe is big! This is the biggest island on the Seychelles and you have two options for transportation – either use the public transport (which is fairly good and cheap) or rent a car for the duration of your stay. We opted for the second one as we were a group of 4 and it was just way more convenient.
We paid around 40 euros/day for the car rental and this allowed us to be very flexible. Keep in mind that people here drive on the left side and the indicator is actually on the right side of the steering wheel (which is not the case for cars in the UK or Malta, for example)! Not only that, but the roads are not quite secured so you must drive very carefully.
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