Looking at organizing magical holidays in Seychelles? I am excited for you, you are going to love it! In this Mahe travel guide, I gathered all the information your need to organize your trip, including the best places to see, to eat, and stay, the best time to visit, and how to go around the island. I hope you will find this travel guide quite complete but if you have any questions about Mahe or Seychelles, don’t hesitate to reach out!
So without further ado, here is my complete Mahe travel guide.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN MAHE?
Located on the North East of the archipelago, Mahe is Seychelles’ largest island and home to the country’s capital, Victoria. Mahe is usually the point of arrival for travelers, landing in Seychelles only international airport, south of Victoria. Mahe is also a great place of departure to explore Seychelles further, either via plane with Air Seychelles or via one of the high-speed ferries, leaving regularly from Victoria’s ferry terminal.
With stunning white-sand beaches, lush forests, and impressive mountains to hike, Mahe is a tropical paradise with a variety of landscapes that can appeal to all kinds of travelers. It would be easy to spend your entire holidays chilling on the island’s gorgeous beaches, but should you want to explore further there are many beautiful places to visit in Mahe. I wrapped up all the best things to do in this complete Mahe travel guide.
MAHE TRAVEL GUIDE
BEST THINGS TO DO ON THE ISLAND
VISIT VICTORIA, SEYCHELLES’ CAPITAL
Victoria is the capital city of Seychelles and Mahe’s largest town. The smallest capital city in Africa, Mahe is tiny and can be explored in half a day. So if you can find it in you to peel yourself from the beaches, here a few things to do and see in Victoria:
- Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market is the daily fish and vegetable market. Head there early morning for a kaleidoscope of colors, scents, and sounds. Check out the huge freshly captured fishes, the giant avocados, and watch the locals do their shopping. While you are there, pick up some souvenirs: on the ground floor, you can find some spices, coconut oil, vanilla essence, etc; while on the 1st floor you can pick more touristy souvenirs like t-shirt, sarongs, magnets, etc.
- Erected in 1903, the Victoria Clock Tower is a replica of a clock that was first installed in London, near Victoria’s station. Commissioned by Seychelles’s governor of the time, it is a tribute to Queen Victoria who had passed away 2 years earlier, after a 63 years reign.
- Visit the National Museum of History to get a better understanding of Seychelles’ 300 years of history. The museum is small but very well documented, with short information and artifact descriptions in both English and French. Touring the museum takes around 1 hour and is the perfect way to discover the country’s rich history. Entrance fee: 150 SCR.
Opening hours: Monday: 9 am to 12 pm / Tuesday-Friday: 9 am to 5 pm / Saturdays & Sundays: 9 am to 2 pm
- The dominant religion in Seychelles is Roman Catholicism and it coexists peacefully with many other confessions. While in Victoria, take a look at the imposing Cathedrale of our Lady of Immaculate Conception and the nearby La Domus, the residence of the Roman Catholic priesthood in Victoria, the colorful Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Hindu temple, and the modest Sheikh Mohamed bin Khalifa mosque.
- Dating back more than a century, the National Botanical Garden houses a wide collection of exotic and endemic plants, spices, fruit trees, and Seychelles’s native orchids. Look up to the tallest trees and you will spot a huge colony of bats. The coolest attraction in the garden is definitely the giant turtles, some of which are over 150 years old. Enter their enclosure to feed and pet them!
Entrance fee: 150 SCR
Opening hours: Opened daily from 8 am to 5 pm
HIKE TO MAHE’S STUNNING VIEW POINTS
Mahe’s stunning landscape is perfect if you like to hike and walk through untouched natural beauty. The Morne Seychellois Natural park covers 20% of the island and is made up of mangroves, lush tropical jungles, and tall mountains. With more than 15km of trails, there are hikes accessible to all fitness levels.
Serious hikers can do the Morne Seychellois trail, to reach the highest summit on the island (900m above sea level). The hikes takes 5 hours and goes through thicks vegetation and bumpy trails.
If you have an intermediate level of fitness (like me!) I recommend the Dans Gallas trail. It takes about 1h15 min to hike this 3km trail and reach the submit. Along the way, the trail has impressive granite formations and opens up to various panoramic views. The last 500m of the hike are hard but push through, you won’t regret it once you get rewarded by the stunning view of Victoria, Beau Vallon, and the whole North Mahe.
Another favorite among travelers is the Copallia trail which also ends with a beautiful panoramic view. Slightly easiest, the trail is only 1.6km and should take you 45 min (one way). There is an entrance fee of 100 SCR though.
No matter the hike you choose, wear some good shoes and carry plenty of water.
EXPLORE MAHE’S INCREDIBLE BEACHES
Of course while in Mahe, one of the best things to do is to spend time exploring the gorgeous white sand beaches lining the island. Starting from Grande Anse, and driving South, all the beaches are glorious. I really liked Anse a la Mouche and Anse Boileau, but other favorites are Petite Anse (you have to go through the Four Season hotel), Baie Lazare, and Anse Louis. Up North, one of the most popular areas in Mahe is developed around Beau Vallon, a beautiful long stretch of beach with plenty of bars, restaurants and hotels .
At this stage, you might think that all of Mahe’s beaches were born equally gorgeous, but wait for Anse Intendance. Tucked away from the main road, lined up with palm trees and thick tropical vegetation, this half-mile of white sand beach is probably the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. I was completely blown away to see that complete untouched beauty still exists nowadays.
Anse Intendance is a great place to sunbathe in peace, sip a coconut (There is a small stand selling fruits, coconuts, and local rum), or surf. The waves and currents can be quite strong, so be careful if you decide to swim. If you want to stay near Anse Intendance consider the Banyan Tree hotel, tucked away on the green hills at the north end of the beach.
VISIT MISSION LODGE AND THE NEARBY TEA FACTORY
Along the Sans Soucis Road you will find Mission Lodge, the site of a former school for freed slave children. Today nothing remains from the school (except some ruins that have zero interest), but there is a stunning vantage point, with sea and mountain views. If you are a fan of the British monarchy you will be happy to know that Queen Elizabeth II once visited Mission Lodge and sat for tea on the terrasse facing the stunning view.
Entrance fee: 100 SCR.
Further west is a Tea Factory established in 1962. It was closed when we visited Mahe (April 2021), but once it reopens you can take a guided tour to discover the full tea-making process, from picking and drying to packing and shipping. There is a stunning view from there too.
EXPLORE THE JARDIN DU ROI SPICE GARDEN
Le Jardin Du Roi is a pretty garden with loads of different plants, from spices to fruits and other trees. You get a map at the entrance (that doesn’t really match with the signage in the garden, unfortunately) and a list of plants to see. The Jardin du Roi is very rich and diverse, with a beautiful view but could do a lot better on the educational part. I think a guided tour with someone that can give insights on each tree and plant would be great. Otherwise, unless you are an avid botanist, you might get a little bored and won’t learn much. There are a few giant turtles to check out, and the iconic Coco de Mer tree. The “Forest Trail” is a pretty much a hike (10 min), better done with proper closed shoes (not like I did, in my flipflop). The restaurant on site has good reviews, but the prices are steep! Le Jardin du Roi is not very easy to find, and Google Map is not helping. The best way is to look for Ixora Villa, and keep driving uphill. If you are still up for more plants, there is an exotic flowers garden nearby called Kot Man-Ya nearby.
VISIT THE TAKAMAKA RUM DISTILLERY
It shouldn’t take you too long in Mahe to notice a certain brand of rum: TAKAMAKA. I believe this is the only rum produced in Seychelles. The distillery is located in La Plaine St Andre, an estate built in 1792, that was once home to cinnamon and patchouli distilleries. Aside from the distilleries, the estate is home to a famous restaurant: La Grande Maison. Sadly because of COVID, both the distillery and the restaurant were closed when we were in Seychelles (April 2020), so check the latest updates before heading there.
MAHE TRAVEL GUIDE
BEST HOTELS ON THE ISLAND
One of the most popular areas to stay in Mahe is Beau Vallon. It is the most developed area, with a beautiful beach and plenty of restaurants, shops, spas etc.
Here are a few great places to stay in the North of Mahe:
- Bliss Boutique Hotel **** This is where we stayed during our 4 nights in Mahe. I was immediately seduced by the boho beachy vibe of this small boutique hotel, located just north of Beau Vallon. We booked a spacious room with a sea view which was beautifully decorated and super comfortable. The Barefoot restaurant has stunning decoration while the Rockpool restaurant has the most extraordinary sunset view. The hotel has a very small and cozy beach and a natural seawater pool. On the downside, the food is good but not excellent, and the wifi is basically inexistent.
- Carana Beach **** is a modern boutique hotel, with 40 stylish villas. I love the color palette of this hotel: the turquoise blue echoing the sea, the neutrals, and natural wood. All the villas have an ocean view and are framed by a lush tropical garden. Anse Etoile beach is at the doorstep of the hotel.
- Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa *****
- STORY Seychelles *****
Here a a few great places to stay on the East Coast of Mahe:
- Le Nautique Beachfront Appartements: We stayed in Le Nautique in La Digue and loved it, so I thik Le Nautique Mahe should be a great option too!
- Auberge Chez Plume – A very cute little guest house with a pool, right by Anse Boileau beach. Home to the famous Chez Plume restaurant. Anse Boileau
And finally a few great places to stay on the West Coast of Mahe:
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN MAHE
There are quite a few places to eat and drink around Beau Vallon, but I found the rest of the island to be a bit more scarce. All the restaurants we tried were good, but I must admit nothing was mindblowing. This is being said, here are a few restaurants we tried and liked:
- Rockpool Seafood Grill & Bar: The restaurant of the Bliss hotel has a Mediterranean-inspired menu, including tomato bruschettas, tomato mozzarella salads, pasta etc. The food is decent but the key selling point of Rockpool is by far its absolutely gorgeous sunset view. Beau Vallon
- Wooden House: Recently open in Beau Vallon, Wooden house has 2 things on the menu: Sushis and pasta. We tried some sushis that were really good. The outdoor setting is quite cozy. Beau Vallon
- La Plage: As its names suggest, La Plage is located right on the beautiful beach of Beau Vallon. La Plage has an international menu including Seychellois fishes, meat, and vegetarian dishes. We tried the tacos (shrimps & beef) and they were delicious. Beau Vallon
- Boat House: Just across the road from Beau Vallon beach, BoatHouse is a large casual dining space, with a nautical decoration. Good for a few drinks in the evening. I had a veggie curry that was good, but the chicken curry was a miss. Beau Vallon
- Anchor Cafe: This very unassuming, rather charmless little place in Anse a La Mouche is pretty much the only place we could find for a quick lunch on the southwest coast. We had a pizza, a salad, and some aubergine fritters. All surprisingly good given the settingng. Anse a La Mouche
A few more places we didn’t have the chance to try but come highly recommended:
- La Perle Noire: Apparently the best restaurant on the island. Delicious Italian food in a chic white table clothes setting. Beau Vallon
- Chez Plume: Serving a mix of fresh fish and seafood in a French role style. Famous for their crab, ginger, and passion fruit soufflé. Anse Boileau
- Marie Antoinette Restaurant: Famous for their typical creole food, and traditional creole house setting. Victoria
- Del Place Restaurant: Might be the best Seychellois seafood on the island, with a gorgeous view over Port Launey.
HOW TO GO AROUND IN MAHE?
The island of Mahe is only 26 km long and 6 km wide, so it is pretty easy the navigate. The best way to explore Mahe is renting a car, and driving yourself around the island. Car rental from international agency will cost you around 50 EUR / day, but you can probably get a cheaper rate from one of the local companies. There are many options at the airport.
Most of the cars available on the island are small KIA and Hyundai models, both manuals and automatics. The roads are quite narrow in Mahe, so a small car is pretty convenient. However, the roads can be really steep (especially in Morne National Park), so make sure to have a good engine. We rented a manual Hyundai i10 from Sixt while in Mahe, and it was a bit pushy going uphill! Also don’t forget to drive on the left side of the road!
Alternatively, there are a lot of taxis in Mahe and a bus network that can take you to pretty much all the popular spots on the island.
BEST TIME TO VISIT MAHE
Located just below the equator, the Seychelles have a tropical, warm climate all year long with temperatures ranging between mid 20 and mid 30 degrees. Two opposing trade winds affect the weather in Mahe: the northwest trades blow from October to March and the South East trades blow from May to September. The short window between these 2 seasons are the best time to visit Mahe.
April & May – October & November are the hottest months of the year, with temperatures over 30°C, little breeze, and high humidity. The lack of winds means exceptional underwater conditions with visibility reaching 30m and more! Perfect for snorkeling and diving. Even during this normally dry season, you can expect some heavy showers, but they don’t stick around very long.
From June to September the South East trades pick up, leading to lower temperatures (25 to 29°C), comfortable breeze, and very little rain. These are the windiest months in Seychelles, perfect for surfing or windsurfing. That also means a rougher sea though, not ideal to swim. Perfect for sunbathing, sailing, surfing & hiking. Better to stay on the West coast of Mahe as the South East trades bring a lot of seaweeds to the shores.
November to March is the rainy season in Seychelles with strong northwest trade winds. December and January are the rainiest months. If you want to travel during these months, why not consider the Maldives instead, it is the best time to go!
Here you go, this is it for my Mahe travel guide! Hopefully, you now know everything about the best places to visit, the best things to do, and where to stay in Mahe. If you are planning a trip to Mahe, or Seychelles in general and still have some questions, please do not hesitate to drop me a message in the comment box below, by email, or via Instagram. I am always happy to answer questions.