Mahe Island in Seychelles attracts vacationers from all over the world. Tourists come to sunbathe on the picturesque beaches, swim in the Indian Ocean, look at the local attractions.
Description of the island of Mahe
Previously, the Seychelles archipelago attracted only birds, crocodiles and giant turtles. Now it is a world-class resort with multi-star hotels and infrastructure.
Mahe has the following dimensions:
- 8 km wide;
- 25 km in length.
The total area is 155 km². This is the largest of the Seychelles islands.
About 90,000 people live here. This makes up 90% of the population of the archipelago.
Since Mahe is the capital of the state and the only city – Victoria, it has all the necessary infrastructure:
- trading port;
The area is covered by a network of good roads.
The nature of the island of Mahe
The main plant on the island was the Seychelles palm. The tree reaches a height of 35 m, and its fruits weigh 20 kg and are the largest in the world. Because of the medicinal properties of the pulp, they are in high demand, and the government had to impose restrictions on trade.
There is a palm valley on Mahe where the trees are more than 800 years old. The site belongs to the government and is protected by UNESCO. Tourist visits to this grove are limited.
Other tropical flora also grows here:
- bread tree;
- jellyfish plant.
Common representatives of the local fauna are giant tortoises. The oldest is Esmeralda. She was over 170 years old and weighed 304 kg.
The animal world of the island is rich in birds. Most of them are toucans, parrots. Here you can also see the nightingale Bulbul, which is listed in the Red Book.
In coastal waters almost all the inhabitants of the ocean are represented. More than 20 species of sharks are found here. Locals cook with them in restaurants and make souvenirs for tourists.
Another common ocean dweller was the tuna. Mahe is home to the region’s largest processing center.
Features and interesting facts
The peculiarity of the island was its subequatorial climate.
The year is divided into two seasons:
- humid and hot – from November to April;
- windy and dry – from May to October.
It is better to vacation in the off-season – in April or October. In these months there is no intense heat and rain.
Some interesting facts about Mahe:
- Of the 115 islands, only eight are inhabited;
- Mahe is 16 times smaller than Moscow and 9 times smaller than St. Petersburg;
- The capital of the archipelago, Victoria, is the smallest in Africa by number of inhabitants;
- There are three official languages spoken in the country: French, English, and Seychelles Creole;
- pirate hoards are still sought here, the most famous of which was the treasure of Olivier Levasseur.
The sights of the island of Mahe
Tourists come to Mahe not only to relax on the ocean, hunt marlin or go to La Digue atoll, the beaches of which are surrounded by reefs.
Another attraction for travelers are the local attractions, among which there are monuments of the colonial era and natural reserves.
Victoria is the only city in the archipelago. The capital of Mahe grew out of a settlement of French colonists founded in 1778. After the transition of the islands to British rule, it was renamed in honor of the reigning queen.
Despite the abundance of vacationers, life in the capital is quiet and measured. Guests live in hotels, of which there are more than 30, in coastal bungalows and villas. During the day tourists swim, sunbathe or do water sports.
For fans of culture and history there are several attractions.
It is interesting for travelers to visit such places:
- National History Museum;
- Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception;
- Arul Mihu Nawasakti Vinayagar Hindu temple;
- St. Paul’s Church;
- Muslim mosque;
- at the city market.
Morne National Park Seychelles
About 20% of the territory of Mahe is Morne National Park with an area of 3 thousand hectares. It was founded in 1979, and since then it has become a favorite destination for nature lovers from many countries around the world.
The park consists of 3 relief zones:
- mangrove swamps.
Of the variety of plant life, travelers tend to look at the liana with giant nepenthes lilies and the endangered tree, Medusagina suprostratifolia. It was thought to be missing, but in 1970 it was accidentally discovered in a rocky crevasse.
The forests are inhabited by birds that can only be seen in the Seychelles. Parrots are especially beautiful. Seven of their species are not found anywhere else.
In addition to nature, the reserve is interesting to explore:
- old distilleries;
- the ruins of the first school in the Seychelles;
- The shop where the brown oil is pressed.
Mount Morne Blanc
The height of Morn Blanc is 907 meters above sea level. From the top you can see a panorama of Mahe. This is why visitors to the island come up here. In addition, they are attracted to the clean mountain air and unique nature.
On the slopes you can see:
- relict trees, many of which are rare and endangered;
- of protected animals from the Red Book;
- caves where runaway slaves were hiding;
- picnic area;
- a tea plantation.
On the Morne Blanc for tourists organized horseback riding and hiking for mushrooms. You can eat at a small tavern.
It is better to climb to the top on the elevator, because. The hiking route is quite difficult.
Royal Garden of Spices
The Royal Garden, or Le Jardin du Roi, appeared in 1772 during the French colonization of the Seychelles. Many varieties of spices were grown here, which were valued in European countries. That is why the island was often attacked by the British. Because of this, the garden gradually fell into disrepair.
In the middle of last century, the territory was bought by new owners. They revived the plantations, reconstructed the estate and made it attractive to travelers.
In the Garden of Spices tourists visit:
- A small homestead. Its rooms contain household items used by the planters.
- Bamboo Grove. Almost every type of flora grows here, including the Seychelles palm with its giant nuts.
Exotic plants are of interest:
- Plumeria aromatica;
- sour apple, the taste of the fruit is reminiscent of a pineapple-strawberry custard;
- cocoa trees;
Visitors are allowed to feed the turtles and then have lunch themselves in a Creole restaurant.
Seychelles National Museum of History
On the first floor of the National Library building is an exhibition of the Seychelles History Museum.
Its halls contain the following exhibits:
- artifacts indicating that the archipelago was originally uninhabited;
- evidence of human appearances found in graves from the 9th-10th centuries, presumably belonging to pirates;
- things of the first travelers to the islands: maps, plans, paintings, engravings, etc;
- The colonizers’ household items and slave tools imported from France and England;
- a cube placed by Captain Morfi at the site of the founding of the capital in 1756 and called the “Stone of Possession;
- models of Creole huts;
- a small sculpture depicting Queen Victoria;
- an antique coffee grinder;
- the first state constitution adopted since the British crown’s emancipation in 1976;
- musical instruments.
A separate stand is devoted to World War II and the participation of Seychelles residents in it on the side of the British forces.
Takamaka rum factory
The distillery, which produces the rum beloved by locals and visitors alike, is located in La Plaine Saint Andre, a suburb of the capital. The distillery occupies an old bamboo plantation.
Next to the factory is a souvenir store, a bar and an expensive restaurant. These establishments occupy the building of the colonizers’ house, of which there are few left on the island.
You can visit the factory any weekday at 11:30 and 1:30 p.m. The tour with tasting costs 250 Seychelles rupees.
Victoria’s main street stretches for 10 km and has become an integral part of many tours of the city. Most of the buildings were built in the first decade of the 20th century and are of architectural and historical value.
At the beginning of the street are located:
- Botanical Gardens;
- United Party Museum;
- Historical and Botanical Museum.
Next, travelers will stroll through the markets and stores. On weekends and holidays, Market Street hosts parades and carnivals, musicians perform, and artists exhibit their work.
The only traffic light in the country is located here. Other streets do not have regulated traffic due to low traffic.
In the center of the capital, where Independence and Revolution avenues intersect, there is the main attraction of Mahe – the Clock Tower. It is a scaled-down replica of Westminster’s Little Ben Chapel near Victoria Station in London.
In honor of this queen, the governor of Seychelles in 1903 ordered the erection of a miniature tower. This event is commemorated by an inscription on a stone near the entrance.
According to the idea of the creator, the chimes are supposed to chime every hour that has passed. But the inhabitants of the capital heard them for the first time only in 1999. It happened after the installation of a new clock mechanism.
Excursions and tours of the island
For Russian-speaking travelers travel companies and private guides have prepared several fascinating excursions around the city and the island.
The Seychelles most-most tour includes:
- a sightseeing tour of the capital;
- a visit to the local long-lived turtles;
- a story about the Seychelles miracle nut;
- the ascent to Morne Blanc and the Mission Lodge observation deck;
- a walk through the botanical garden;
- a trip to an artisan village.
The trip is accompanied by a guide about the history and culture of the archipelago. The program can be changed as guests wish.
Excursion “Mahe Island, or Where Seychelles begins” will acquaint guests with the capital city Victoria and the main sights of Mahe:
- Hindu temple in honor of the Indian elephant god Vanayagara;
- market created by Governor Sir Selwyn Clark;
- tea factory, etc.
Tourists will hear about:
- the ancient inhabitants of the archipelago;
- pirate mysteries;
- The rivalry between England and France for the possession of the Seychelles;
- the modern life of the islanders.
How to get to Mahe
The journey to the Seychelles is not a short one. There are several ways to get there.
The distance from Moscow to Seychelles International Airport on Mahe is 6.9 thousand kilometers.
The following airlines fly here:
- “Aeroflot and Qatar Airways from Sheremetyevo;
- “Emirates from Domodedovo;
- “Tokish Airlines from Vnukovo.
Qatar Airways has the fastest flight. It takes 11 hours and 32 minutes with a connection in Doha. The cheapest ticket on Tokish Airlines is about 46 thousand rubles. The airliner is being replaced at the new Istanbul airport. Russian Aeroflot flies to the Seychelles via Tel Aviv. The flight lasts about 13 hours.
By water transport
There are no passenger flights to Seychelles across the Indian Ocean by sea carriers. However, there are several cruise programs with visits to the port of Victoria. They depart from Lisbon in Portugal and from Trieste in Italy.
However, there is communication between the atolls of the archipelago by water. It takes place on high-speed ferries and catamarans. For tourists are available to travel on a yacht or cruise ship.
Where to stay on the island of Mahe
There are many establishments on the island where travelers can stay. Among them are expensive hotels and hotels, as well as hostels for poor tourists.
Among the best hotels on Mahe we should highlight the Banyan Tree. It belongs to the 5-star category and is 40 minutes from the center of the capital and half an hour from the airport. The complex is located on the coast of Intendance Bay. This is one of the most picturesque places in the Seychelles.
- comfortable villas in the middle of tropical thickets;
- entertainment at the Club House;
- Chez Lamar Creole restaurant;
- cafes and bars;
- tennis courts;
- outdoor pool;
The Banyan Lagoon I catamaran with two cabins is available for walks along the shore.
Other hotels on the island are not inferior in quality of service and comfort:
- Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove;
- Maia Luxury & Spa;
- Constance Ephelia Resort;
- Kempinski Seychelles Resort.
Among the hotels of the main atoll Seychelles most of all attract guests:
- Anse Soleil Beachcomber in a palm garden on the south shore of Mahe;
- Romance Bungalow on Beau Vallon Beach;
- Eden’s Holiday Villas in Port Glaude is near Mission Lodge and Tea Factory;
- Auberge Danse Boileau with the restaurant Chez Plume 19 km from the capital;
- Coco D’Or for families.
The most inexpensive accommodation for vacationers on the island are hostels and small private villas:
- Lazare Picault in the city of Be Lazare;
- Blue Lagoon Chalets on Anse a la Mouche beach;
- Bord Mer Villa is close to supermarkets and Boat House restaurant;
- Kokogrove Chalets with 9 rooms, located near the traffic lights on Market Street;
- Armony Residence at Belle Vue – La Misere.
Despite the low cost of living, hostels provide the following services:
- accommodation in rooms with wireless Internet, shower and bathroom;
- meals in a cafe or bar;
- pool outside;
- TV, refrigerator, air conditioning, coffee maker, etc.
You can leave your belongings in the luggage room and valuables in the safe at the reception.