When planning your sailing trip around Seychelles, make sure you put Mahé on the list. Mahé is Seychelles’ biggest island and a part of inner granitic islands, in contrast to the outer islands, which are mainly of coral origin. It carries most of the tourism infrastructure, so it is naturally the best starting point for exploring this tropical paradise.
Seychelles is an island country in the Indian Ocean, east of the African coast, with 115 islands scattered across almost 1.4 million square kilometres. The capital of Seychelles Islands is the city of Victoria, one of the smallest capitals in the world. Almost half of the islands’ mass is under environmental protection, and Mahé is no exception. National Park Morne Seychellois expands over half of the island and is home to some endemic species, like vanilla orchids, a blue pigeon, and a rare Seychelles white-eye bird. The highest peak is at 905 m, providing a gorgeous view of the Indian Ocean. So, what are you waiting for?
Exploring Seychelles with Mahé Island as Your Starting Point
The easiest way to arrive in Seychelles is by plane, and the only international airport is on Mahé island. The airport is on the east coast, quite close to the capital city. It’s easy to get around the islands from Mahé. A domestic airline company, Air Seychelles, connects Mahé with Praslin, with a short 20-minute flight. A good ferry network connects the islands as well. Therefore, you can reach Praslin and La Digue approximately within an hour. The most luxurious way to reach the remote islands is by private helicopter. ZilAir company offers transport to many inner island destinations. To get a glimpse of that luxury, you can opt for a helicopter ride above Mahé alone.
Marinas on the Island of Mahé
There are a few reasonably new marinas on Mahé Island, most of them near the capital of Seychelles island, on the east coast. Besides the marinas, there are anchorages on Sainte Anne, Beau Vallon. Baie Ternay and Port Launay.
Eden Island Marina
This is a newer marina, developed with Eden Island luxury residential project, connected with Mahé with a 300 m bridge. The marina is suitable even for superyachts. There are over 1000 m of piled pontoon berths illuminated with solar-powered lights. The marina offers power, water, club cars, and 24h security. It also provides shower facilities and tug service.
Angel Fish Marina
Near Eden bridge, there’s another marina, Angel Fish Marina. It is suitable for pleasure crafts, monohulls, and catamarans up to 30 meters. The marina offers water, electricity, and video surveillance, with access to a restaurant, café, and other amenities. It has the capacity of approximately 30 yachts. The marina is relatively protected from winds, currents, and swell.
L’Escale Resort Marina
L’Escale Resort Marina & Spa is a newly opened resort in 2021. It can accommodate superyachts of up to 100m and provides enough space to fit approximately 19 vessels. It has facilities like water, electricity & black water discharge. Marina is in the suburbs of Seychelles’ capital city Victoria, a 10-minute car ride from the airport. Lush tropical vegetation surrounds the area and provides an intimate atmosphere.
Mahé cruise port is about a 20-minute walking distance from Victoria. It’s the deepest harbour in the area and one of the most important port destinations in the southwest Indian Ocean. Mahé Quay has berthing space of 370 m that, beside cargo, military, and tanker ships, can accommodate mega and superyachts. Seychelles Port Authority is also developing Bel Ombre Jetty for leisure crafts on the north.
Mooring in a protected area
Considering almost half of the Seychelles area is under protection because of its biodiversity importance, there are fees when mooring or entering protected areas. Some islands or moorings are forbidden for visitors due to environmental and conservation reasons. You also have to check opening days and times, as some marine parks & reserves have limited tourist access. Some islands or areas are not open for visitation on public holidays, weekends, or selected weekdays. If you are planning on going on shore, when entering marine parks, there’s a fee of approximately SCR 200 per person, depending on the area. Charges apply for areas like Ste Anne, Bay Ternay, and Port Launay, etc. There’s also a cost of SCR 250 per yacht for overnight mooring, also depending on the area.
Things to do in Seychelles’ Mahé Island
Since Mahé is the main island in Seychelles, it is also the most developed and the most populated island. There are numerous possibilities that this island offers, from hiking to sightseeing, water activity, or just enjoying the tropical paradise. The capital of the Seychelles islands is so small you can easily explore it on foot. The most recognizable is the clocktower, built in 1903 in honour of Queen Victoria.
The country is multi-ethnic, young, and with GDP per capita even higher than some European ones. Thanks to this mixture of cultures, when sightseeing, you can find a Roman Catholic cathedral next to an Anglican cathedral, an Adventist Church, a mosque, and a Hindu Temple. While strolling through the city, don’t miss out on visiting the colourful market and trying all the local specialities. As an island country, there’s an abundance of fresh fish available, the kinds you might have never tried before.
Seychelles is an ideal destination for experiencing all kinds of water activities. There’s so much you can choose to do, like kite-surfing, water-skiing, jet-skiing, kayaking, diving, or snorkelling.
Anse aux Pins is very popular with kite-surfers, located on the southeast coast, close to the airport. The conditions are also good on Cerf Island, a few kilometres from the northeast coast. You can also take surfing lessons, as the conditions are good year-round. For experienced surfers, the best time for surfing is from June to August, when the southeast trade winds are more powerful, and there’s more consistent swell on the south.
When it comes to snorkelling and diving, Seychelles has some of the best spots in the world. The best conditions for snorkelling are during the wind transition periods when the water is more transparent. Best places are not directly by the shore, but rather a few kilometres from the coast. One of the must-see snorkelling spots off the coast of Mahé is Ste Anne Marine Park. It is a protected area that hosts incredible coral reefs and many tropical fish species. If you’re lucky, you can spot sea turtles, manta rays, or dolphins. The most beautiful snorkelling spots on Mahé are on the westernmost point, at marine park area Port Launay and Baie Ternay, and on the south at Baie Lazare, Petite Anse, and Anse Takamaka. Butterflyfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish, and angelfish are only a part of what you might see snorkelling in Seychelles.
Mahé offers probably the most diverse diving experience out of all inner islands. There are over 50 beautiful diving spots around the island, and you can even spot Whale Shark, the world’s biggest fish. The most popular spots are Port Launay Marine Park and Shark Bank on the northeast. Shark Bank area is suitable for more experienced divers. There are also a few PADI diving centres on the island.
Visit Rum Distillery and Tea Factory
After your days filled with gorgeous scenery and adventure sailing, you might want to take a break and experience Seychelles as locals do. Don’t miss out on a tea break or tasting the famous rum locally produced.
A tea factory on the island, founded in 1962, is situated on the hills of Morne Seychellois National Park. SeyTe tea factory is surrounded by terraces with tea plants, with some of the best views on the rest of the island. You can take an educational tour, where you’ll learn about the plantation’s history and witness the whole process of tea making, from drying to packing. Make sure you visit the souvenir shop and get some of this delicious tea to bring with you.
The Trois Frères distillery originating in 2002, started as a family business. Two brothers, Richard and Bernard D’Offay, founded it. Their first interest in rum production came from their great-grandfather, that made the Creole special Rum Arrangé. The distillery is within walls of a more than 200 years old colonial-era plantation estate. The rum is produced based on grandfather D’Offay’s old recipe. The signature product is Takamaka Bay dark rum, but they also produce white rum, coco rum, and vodka.
Zipline Through the Jungle
Looking for some adrenaline rush? Seychelles is again an excellent destination for adrenalin seekers as well. On the west part of Mahé, within Constance Ephelia Resort, you can find SMAC Adventures company that organizes ziplining and rock climbing. If you choose ziplining, a buggy ride and a short walk will take you uphill, where you’ll get to enjoy the amazing view of Port Launay. Experience the unique feeling of riding through a rainforest and get your dose of adrenaline rush. You’ll learn about indigenous flora and fauna while flying between eight platforms. There is also a rock-climbing opportunity up an 18-meter-high granite rock. There are five possible routes, colour-coded according to the difficulty level. Make sure you always respect all safety measures.