Home to the largest share of the Seychelles population, Mahé offers wonderful beaches and seabed to ocean lovers, as well as beautiful hikes for those seeking wild life. You will see more families on holiday here than you would on the other islands of the archipelago, which generally draw couples on their honeymoon. Mahé counts over seventy sandy beaches, beautiful nature preserve and oddly shaped granite rock formations. It sums up the beauty of all the surrounding islands. After all, it's no wonder it used to be called "the island of plenty". It offers different types of accommodation, from bed and breakfast to upscale hotels, ultimately making the Seychelles a reasonable dream destination.
Days 1-2 – Mahé island
Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke market, the soul of the archipelago
The best way to dive right into the life of a country is to follow locals as they seek out what nature has to offer. Head to the Victoria market – or rather the "bazaar" – and breathe in the intense fragrances: cardamom, coriander, saffron or vanilla. Look at all the vibrant colours - papayas, green bananas, avocados, citrus and tropical fruits creating a marvellous picture.
Watch a pretty postcard come to life before your eyes as farmers come and sell their produce on Saturdays. You will also find extraordinary fish caught the same morning, later grilled to perfection and served with rice and a splash of lime in the island hotels. Do not miss out on unusual creole dishes such as fried bats, grilled fish and sautéed vegetables, or zuri (octopus) curry, somehow recalling a spicy bouillabaisse.
Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke market
Before leaving Victoria, make sure to find an hour to explore the island's rich flora. The botanical gardens, founded in 1901, have gathered 2,000 plant species from the archipelago. You will learn to tell the male and female coconut palms apart, and get a good look at the famous “coco de mer”, these large palm nuts shaped like buttocks, emblematic of the Seychelles. As you stroll through the garden, you will also see hibiscus, fruit trees, majestic flowers, endemic trees, many palm trees... and a turtle park!
Botanical Gardens Victoria
Time to relax
You will want to enjoy the sea, take a nap in the shade by the granite formations and bask in the sun. That's also why you came to the Seychelles. Head to the northern part of the island, an eight-minute drive from Beau Vallon Beach and downtown Victoria, and spend a few hours relaxing at Chill Out 8. Joelle and Jean-Baptiste have revived this spot; enjoy the large mats and mellow music playing in the background at this zen hang out.
Chill Out 8
Glacis Vista Do Mar
Where to go for lunch?
The Lounge 8 restaurant, located on the second floor of Chill Out 8, serves fine cuisine with dishes as good as they look. A sure bet with a solid reputation, which will require a reservation to guarantee a table.
Restaurant Lounge 8
Glacis, Vista Do Mar
+248 2 538 888
Where to sleep?
Right next door, on a secluded beach with white sand, the Bliss is a true gem nestled in the trees, with 24 rooms overlooking a creek. Pick one of the eight bedrooms in the main house with floor-to-ceiling windows and breathtaking panoramic views of the sea. If you prefer to wake up surrounded by greenery hanging from a hill, choose a duplex on the tropical garden side. Enjoy the natural pool carved in stone and watch the sunset from the terrace of the Barefoot Terrace Restaurant, right by the water.
Bliss Hotel Seychelles
Vista Do Mar, Glacis
+248 4 261 369
Days 3-4 – Marvel at the fish in Sainte-Anne's waters and gallop through Mahé beach
The tiny island of Sainte-Anne, stretching over two kilometres in length and one kilometre in width, is located five kilometres from the east coast of Mahé. You will be able to discover the islet as you stroll to the marine national park of Sainte-Anne, an exceptional diving site where coral reefs are outstanding. As a family, if some members do not have a PADI (Scuba diving certification), there is nothing stopping you from sharing intense emotions as you discover fish and sublime corals aboard a glass-bottom boat. Get on a small 8-seater boat at the Mahé marina. After a half-hour ride to the Sainte-Anne marine park, the boat will sail over very clear waters where schools of fish swim. It will slow down so that children can throw their new friends a few pieces of bread. On the way back, stop on the Île au Cerf and find other varieties of fish.
Turn into an island horseman
If you like unusual sports, we suggest you grab the reins, get on a horse and enjoy an exceptional experience. It is a unique way to discover the beautiful landscapes of Mahé. Picture yourself on your horse, riding over a pristine beach after going through mountain trails... Get ready to gallop in the rainforest or on the beach! Beginners are also welcome and trips are scheduled early in the morning or early evening in order to enjoy the beautiful sites without too many visitors. Prefer the evening, as it is just sublime. You'll have to select one of two options: a "tropical trail ride", a 40-minute ride through the rainforest, cinnamon and coconut plantations, or a "beach ride" for an hour split between the forest and the beach. The only stable on the island welcomes you at Anse Barbarons' Turquoise Horse Trails.
Turquoise Horse Trails
West Coast Road
+248 2 638 850
Where to have dinner?
Head for the terrace of the Del Place restaurant to enjoy grilled shrimp with vegetables facing a fabulous view with your toes almost touching the water.
Port Launay Road
+248 2 814 111
Days 5-6 – Escape to Praslin
You'll have to go island hopping in the Seychelles! Escape to one of the most beautiful beaches in Praslin for an unforgettable experience. From Mahé, take a small plane at the airport or a boat if you have more time. When in Praslin, take a taxi to Anse Lazio; the driver will take you to one of the most popular yet untouched beaches on the island. It's so magical that you will not be alone on the beach, so we recommend you go as early as possible. L'Anse Lazio is located beyond the Côte d'Or. When you first see the turquoise to jade-green water, you will realize that this natural heaven exists beyond your computer screensaver! The sand is as soft as talcum powder, the currents and waves unravel little crabs that cling to large rocks that you will climb for a photo.
Snorkelling in Anse Lazio
Do not forget your flippers and tuba so you can go snorkelling in one of Praslin's most beautiful coves. To face this rush of underwater life, head towards the reef at both ends of the beach. To the left, between the rocks, you'll find small schools of pompano and sergeant fish, as well as sea urchins. To the right of the beach, more coral where you will be able to see surgeon fish or blue damsel fish.
Where to have lunch?
After your swim, discover your table – booked ahead of time – at Bonbon Plume. Grilled fish or lobster will turn this meal into an exceptional moment. Finish with a nap beneath the broad leaves of the tropical trees that fall at your feet. Totally beyond compare!
+248 4 232 136
Where to sleep?
Head to Bea Luxury Villa with its 90 sqm two-bedroom apartments. A simple and convenient address for a cosy and reasonable night. Just a few kilometres from the UNESCO World Heritage Vallée de Mai, and eight kilometres from the airport, you may easily head back to Mahé or, if you have a little more time before your homebound flight, discover the breathtaking nature of this must-see park.
Chez Bea Luxury Villa
Marie-Jeanne Estate Praslin
248 4 236 044