The archipelago’s biggest island, is one of mountains and beaches. Over 60 beaches dust the island edges and a forest covered collection of mountains peak from the island heart. Beyond the beaches and between the forests and mountains, Mahé is a place to discover perfect snorkeling spots, secret sunbathing hideaways and small villages saturated with fascinating Creole culture. And, while Mahé may be the archipelago’s largest island, at just 28km long and 8km wide its size is far from intimidating and ripe for day-trip discovering.
Mountains & Jungles
To truly appreciate the amount of green covering Mahé its best experienced from above. Departing from MAIA’s private helipad, a helicopter flight over this emeraldine island will give you an appreciation for the Morne Seychellois National Park, which covers a fifth of the island. The park is a mix of mountain and jungle, climbing from mangroves on the coast up to the lofty peak of Morne Seychellois. The 950m peak might not be impressive by Alpine OR Himalayan standards, but the endemic vegetation and spectacular views of an ocean of islands makes it truly outstanding. Hike the Morne Blanc hiking trail for (cloud cover dependent) spectacular views. Return to MAIA for a more than well-deserved cocktail and massage.
- Take a helicopter flight above the island for the best view
- A guided tour or self-guided hike in Morne Seychellois National Park gives a new appreciation for Seychelles nature
- Good footwear and sun protection is recommended for any forest exploring
- Morne Seychellois National Park is 20 minutes by car from MAIA
Markets & Souvenirs
With a history dating back to the mid 1,800’s, the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market (often called the Victoria Market) remains one of the islands best examples of Victorian-Seychelles style architecture. Originally a food-centric market, the market still has an almost dizzying variety of fish, fruit, spices and vegetables, along with plenty of tourist-pleasing items from sarongs to coconut oil. Stallholders love to talk and are more than happy to share grandma’s famous recipe for creole curry. Couldn’t resist the fresh fish and forest fruits? Bring it back to MAIA and let the chef team create something from your shopping bag.
- Open from very early to 17h00 Monday to Saturday
- Fruit and fish variety and freshness is a case of the earlier-the-better
- All that fresh fish creates a strong ocean smell, mix that with herbs and spices, things are aroma heavy
- Saturday is often the busiest day, so stay away if you like plenty of personal space
- It’s 30 minutes from the hotel by car, but parking can be difficult on busy days or busy times. Have your butler arrange a taxi drop off.
A visit to Victoria deserves a visit to National Botanical Gardens. A short walk towards the south of the city will take you to the National Botanical Gardens, a relaxed opportunity to spend an hour or two around a well looked after garden with plenty of benches to relax on, as well as giant Aldabra tortoises (some over 150 years old) and fruit bats high in the trees. At over a hundred years old, the five acres are carefully and lovingly landscaped and features. Alongside Seychelles-unique plants, an area set aside for orchids is truly beautiful and not to be missed.
- Entrance fee is SCR100 (Get your butler to check before you head off)
- Open from 08h00 – 17h00 every day
- On hot days the hillside position of the garden, it can get humid. Allow an hour or two for a more leisurely exploration of the garden
A short drive towards the east coast over the central mountains will take you to ‘the kings gardens’ or Le Jardin Du Roi. The royal title sets expectations high, but for lovers of plants, this small garden and self-guided tour encapsulates the best of fruits, spices and plants on the island and is one for the senses. For the adventurous, it’s well worth exploring. The abundance of Seychelles spices is in no small part down to the role of 18th century botanist Pierre Poivre; there are few spots better to get a feel for the spice variety ‘Peter Pepper’ introduced. The reward after exploring the 35-hectare orchard and forest? Taste some of what you’ve seen at the café restaurant. Local specialties, and a menu of garden flavoured temptations from traditional creole curry to lemongrass ice cream.
- A 10-minute drive to this garden winds its way into the hills on some narrow roads. Enjoy the view and drive as a passenger and get your butler to arrange a drop off for you.
- Seeing and smelling is one thing, but tasting in the café is the real highlight for many garden guests.
- Let us arrange a guided tour of MAIA’s award winning garden. 300 plants over 30 acres, with plenty of herbs, fruits and spices, both endemic and exotic. Get a unique insight into the plants and how they are utilized in the kitchen and elsewhere.
Beaches & Watersports
With over 60 to choose from, we’ve dedicated a specific section to Mahé’s best as well as unmissable beaches to visit during your island hops and a guide to our beach, Anse Louis.
Victoria is the island nation capital, but London, Paris or Moscow this is not. Tiny in size (one of the smallest capitals in the world) but not without a smattering of fascinating points of interest both historical and architectural. Aside from the market and the Botanical Gardens, The Victoria Clocktower deserves a mention. Known as little ‘Big Ben’ and installed when the Seychelles was a British colony in 1903, this fascinating clock is still ticking.
Other explorable sites include Kenwyn House (built in the mid 1800’s this is one of the prettiest examples of French colonial architecture you’ll likely see), Capuchin House (near the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, this seminary for priests is perhaps the most impressive historical building in the archipelago) and the National Museum of History (a little museum but the best place to get to know the archipelagos history and see some of the islands’ most important artefacts).
- Talk to your butler about arranging a tour of island highlights
- Choose your itinerary or let a local guide show you the best spots
- Prefer to set your own pace? We can arrange a car and provide a map and recommendation list for you
Part yacht marina, part upscale development, Eden Island has a few worth-while restaurants and bars and a large (by Seychelles standards) mall. Eden Island is a popular place to-be-seen and popular with island visitors and non-locals setting up a second home. The island may be man-made but doesn’t lack in palms and sandy beaches.
- Arriving by Yacht? Moor here and we can arrange a pick up and drop off
- Visit Boardwalk Bar for drinks and yacht views.