Why we like it
- Vibrant multi-ethnic population and one of the smallest capital cities in the world!
- 44 stunning beaches to choose from, including the popular Beau Vallon beach.
- Wide range of accommodation options available for all budgets.
- Good stopover for a few nights on the way to one of the smaller inner islands or the fabulous outer islands.
- Transport hub for island-hops and day excursions to neighbouring islands, as well as the further away fabulous outer islands.
With a backdrop of towering 1 000 m granite peaks, Mahé is an extraordinary treasure trove of flora that has evolved over centuries of splendid isolation. Rare endemic plants found nowhere else in the world adorn Mahé’s mist forests in mountain strongholds, such as the Jellyfish Tree, the carnivorous Seychelles Pitcher Plant and the Seychelles Vanilla Orchid.
Mahé, measuring 28km long by 8km wide, is the largest island and cultural and economic hub of the Inner Islands, and the international gateway to Seychelles. It hosts the international airport and the nation’s capital, Victoria.
The island is home to almost 90% of the total population (approximately 72 000 people) reflecting Seychelles’ diverse ethnicity and descent from African, Indian, Chinese and European populations, and is the seat of government and the chief centre of commerce.
First visited by the British in 1609, Mahé was not visited again until Lazare Picault’s expedition of 1742 when the gradual process of settling the island began, first by the French whose direct influence continued until 1814 and then as a British colony until Seychelles gained independence in 1976.
Mahé is the transportation hub for island-hops and day excursions to neighbouring islands and all other islands within Seychelles. All scheduled domestic flights by Air Seychelles originate from Mahé to the serviced islands. A leisurely tour of the island by car will take 2 to 2,5 hours and reveal the lion’s share of Seychelles’ accommodation facilities, places of cultural interest and other attractions.
Victoria is one of the world’s smallest capitals and is nestled between soaring granite mountains and the busy harbour. It’s a pleasant town with neat, tree-lined streets, a colourful local market, some souvenir stores and a few bars and restaurants. First established as the seat of British colonial government, it retains remnants such as the roundabout clocktower, modelled on Little Ben in London. There’s enough to merit spending a morning or afternoon here exploring, including the Botanical Gardens, the National Museum of History and the Victoria Natural History Museum.
Mahé boats 44 different beaches, so you will be spoilt for choice!
Beau Vallon is Mahé’s most popular resort beach with both visitors and locals alike. This sweeping bay of white sand and clear waters on the north-western coast of Mahé offers a very safe swimming area. With hotels stretched out along its sand, together with water sport and diving centres, this is the beach for those wishing to do something a little more energetic than soaking up the sun. Beau Vallon is also very safe for children, as there are no strong currents, no rocks or corals underfoot and a lifeguard service is on standby. During the south-eastern trade winds, the sea is extremely calm and the beach is at its absolute best!
Island-hopping possibilities from Mahé is very popular and include the following destinations: Aldabra Atoll, Alphonse, Anonyme, Bird Island, Cerf, Cousine, Denis Island, Desroches, Félicité, Frégate, La Digue, Moyenne, North Island, Praslin, Silhouette and St. Anne.
Driving around the island is straightforward and island maps are easily available from car hire companies and Air Seychelles usually provide a handy, compact map to arriving international guests. There are several roads which cross from the east to west coast of the island and offer a glimpse of the lush interior as well as views of the ocean and beyond.
There are a multitude of accommodation options on Mahé from large luxurious beach resorts to more affordable guest house and self-catering facilities.
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