Largest of the Seychelles (144 sq.km/43.9 sq.mi) and its political and economic capital, the island is characterized by a covering of tropical vegetation, a ring of 70 sand beaches and the dominating heights of the Morne Seychellois mountain chain. It was originally named Ile d'Abondance for its lush appearance.
Morne Seychellois National Park
The park has an area of 18sq.km/11sq.mi encompassing the mountain chain named after its highest point, Morne Seychellois, which reaches a height of 905m/2968ft and overlooks the capital city Victoria. Hiking paths ascend into the park from the village of Danzil, passing tea plantations on the slopes, and the heights afford the sightseer unobstructed views of the southwest coast of Mahé.Walking through the park to the west brings the hiker to the Baie Ternay and Port Launay Marine Parks. Walking northwest brings one to the hamlet of Bel Ombre and further on the isolated beach at Anse Major.
Flora and Fauna
The islands contain a variety of wildlife, especially birds, tropical fish and tortoises. On land there are skinks, flying foxes, geckoes, insects and the giant rhinoceros beetle. Birds predominate, however, and the major bird sanctuaries are located on Bird, Cousin/Cousine, Aride and Fregate Islands, and in the Morne Seychellois National Park.Whales, dolphin and porpoise can be observed between the islands, and the big-game angler can find shark and barracuda. Snorkellers and divers can see over 150 species of tropical reef fish in many spots, including the four National Marine Parks. In total, some 27,000 ha of marine areas including coral reefs are officially protected.Most of the vegetation on Seychelles is coconut palms and casuarinas. Malé, Silhouette, and the Vallée de Mai on Praslin feature virgin forests containing the giant coco de mer palm, the carnivorous pitcher plants, orchids, bouganvilleas, hibiscuses, gardenias and frangipani.
All hiking trails on Mahé and elsewhere in the Seychelles are well marked and maintained and graded Easy, Medium or Difficult. Trails vary in time and difficulty - for example, walking from Danzil to Anse Major beach through the Morne Seychellois National Park is considered Easy but takes 12 hours each way. By contrast, the Les Trois Freres path leading up to the summit of Morne Seychellois overlooking Victoria is rated Medium to Difficult but can be completed in three hours.
The village of Baie Lazare was named after the 18th-C. French explorer Lazare Picault, who landed here when sent to investigate the islands by the French government. The location of the neo-Gothic church of St Francis of Assisi provides a clear view.
A protected marine park that provides bird watching opportunities as well as snorkelling and scuba diving. A flight of steps at its southern end leads from the shore to the cliff-top, and is thought by some to have been carved by Malays some 2,000 years ago.
Sand beach set with large granite formations; this hamlet was founded in 1772 as one of the islands' first settlements. A Craft Village is located in a restored 1870 plantation house.
La Gogue Reservoir
The Seychelles' only mountain lake is isolated and surrounded by tropical vegetation. It is located in the center of Mahe's northernmost peninsula and is accessible only by hiking trails.
A small isolated beach suitable for sightseeing and beach combing, it features tall waves and wild surf.
Anse Petit Police
A small, isolated palm-fringed beach, it features boulders to dive or snorkel from and marine life to observe.
Anse Souillac, Seychelles
This small village features a sand beach and is located in the cinnamon growing district. Stalls sell cinnamon sticks and powder from the surrounding plantations.
Beau Vallon, Seychelles
This small village features a popular white sand beach, platforms in the ocean to swim to and local craft shops. Fishing boats can be seen bringing in their catch.
A small village by a lagoon, it features the ruins of a colonial watermill, once turned by the Cascade River. The International Airport is nearby.
Small village whose craftspeople specialize in wood carvings and furniture. Native woods are turned in the marquetry workshops.
Grande Anse on Mahé
Located near the hamlet of Port Glaud on the north west coast of Mahé, it is a cascade that empties into a clear water lagoon in which visitors can swim.
Useful tips: Take a bus to Port Glaud from Victoria. If you have a car, park opposite the small island known as L'islette and take the track inland along side the church. Walk straight ahead past the Creole homes for about 10 minutes and when you hear the waterfall, turn left towards it.
This tiny offshore islet marks the location of a snorkelling and swimming spot.