A local’s Guide to Mahé Island – Holiday in Seychelles

Yay! You’re planning your holiday in Seychelles! When your flight lands at the only international airport in the country, your holiday in Seychelles will have begun on the biggest of the lush islands in the Seychelles archipelago, Mahé island.

Look no further because this is the only list of things to do on Mahé that you’ll ever need!

Of course, you’ll need to find where you’d like to stay on Mahé (I’ve got your covered for that too!), and there are a few things you’ll want to know before you arrive. Then, your adventures around the main island can begin!

It’s quite a small island, you could actually drive around the whole island in less than a day (not factoring the traffic) but there are enough activities to do to keep you busy throughout your entire stay!

31 Things to do on Mahé:

  • The Clock Tower
  • Sir Selwyne Selwyne Clark Market
  • The Natural History Museum
  • The Botanical Gardens
  • Marie Antoinette Restaurant
  • The Tea Plantation
  • Eden Island
  • Beau Vallon Beach & Watersports
  • Bazar Labrin
  • Local buffet at Boat House
  • Pizza at Boabab
  • Dive with whale sharks
  • Bai Ternay Marine Park
  • Domaine des Val de Pres
  • Horse Riding on the beach
  • St Anne Marine Park Glass Bottom Excursion
  • Jardin Du Roi
  • La Plaine St Andre
  • Dans Gallas
  • Zip Lining & Rock climbing at Constance Ephilia
  • Ros Sodyer Rock Pool
  • Yachting in Seychelles
  • Big Game Fishing & Bare Boat Charter
  • Hike at Copolia
  • Helicopter ride with Zil Air
  • Sunset Cruise with Silhouette Cruise
  • The Station – Alternative Healing
  • Mission Lodge
  • Morne Seychellois Mist Forest National Park
  • Port Glaud Waterfall
  • Have a seybrew


The Capital: Victoria

Home to 90% of the population, Mahé Island measures about 28km long by 8km wide and is where you’ll find the capital of the islands; Victoria, about a 20-minute drive from the airport.

There you’ll find the historic remnants of colonisation, like the Clock Tower that stands in the middle of the town, a replica of London’s big ben, and a memory of the days of English rule.

The second stop on your tour of the little town should take you to the National Museum of History found in the National Library on Francis Rachel Street. For a reasonable fee of Rs15, learn the story of the island’s past, from the old coconut plantations to landslides, pirates and hidden treasure.

If you’re interested in animals and botany, the National Museum of Natural History on Independence Avenue is also a must see to learn about the flora and fauna of the places you’ll be visiting.

Another big focal point of the capital for visitors is Sir Selwyn Selwyn Clark Market, a local fish and produce market right in the middle of town. The smells of the catch of the day greet you as you enter, and all the fruits and veggies line the stalls amidst locally made coconut oil and handmade crafts and souvenirs.

A plethora of scents and things to see dropped in the centre of the bustling island town. You’ll want to have some small cash on hand in Rupees because places like the market don’t take credit cards!

Additionally, in the heart of Victoria, you’ll find the 100-year-old Botanical Gardens with its lush collection of local flora and fauna. It’s beautiful for a nice walk around and visitors (non-locals) pay a small admissions ticket.

Ladies, if you’re strolling down Independence Avenue, you’ll want to stop and browse the collections at Kankan Boutique, the brainchild of local designer Karine Dupouy who graduated from the acclaimed London fashion school Central Saint Martins. She’s got some beautiful colourful and tropical designs.

If you’re looking for some delicious local cuisine in the centre of town, Marie Antoinette Restaurant offers authentic Creole comfort food in a warm and homely setting. The menu has remained unchanged since it first opened in 1972 and features signature dishes including grilled fish, tuna steaks and chicken curry.

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Eden Island

Although a separate island in its own right, Eden island is a fairly new reclaimed island connected to Mahé by a bridge.

The island is a big luxury residential complex and visitors can either rent a flat or even invest in a timeshare on one of the properties.

It also houses the biggest Marina on the island for residents and non-residents to moor their boats and yachts.

Eden island is home to one of the island’s most popular bars, The Boardwalk Bar and Grill, which is a thriving nighttime hub for young people on the island.

Although shopping is not a major sport on the islands, Eden Island houses the Eden island shopping complex with around 60 stores. One of my personal favourite places is the popular Sey Si Bon found within the complex, which makes delicious crepes and serves delicious frozen yoghurt to help you cool down after those hot days in the sun.

If you were to book a fishing excursion or a day out on a yatch around Mahé, this would most likely be one of your possible starting points.

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READ MORE: Where to stay on Mahé – Budget-Friendly Holiday


St Anne Marine Park Glass Bottom Excursion

Very close to Mahé Island is a small cluster of islands which include St Anne, Cerf Island, Long Island and Moyenne Island.

The St Anne National Marine Park is protected for the incredible reef and marine ecosystem that thrives around the islands of St Anne and Cerf Island. It’s illegal to fish in the marine park but you can book a snorkelling excursion that allows you to dive into the breathtaking multicoloured world below.

Photo by: Marine Delorme

Swim with the fish of all shapes and sizes, the rays the size of a small boat and marvel at the most vibrant coloured coral. Visitors are encouraged to be careful though not to step on any of the coral and not to leave any litter around.

Book a glass bottom boat and feed the hundreds of little fish that you go past, and when the tide is low enough, walk on the sandbank that connects the few islands in the cluster. Your holiday in Seychelles is not complete without this truly unforgettable experience. Find out more HERE.

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The Tea Plantation

One of my favourite things from home has to be the locally made Vanilla Tea!

You can actually tour the working tea plantation and the SeyTé Teat Factory in the district of Port Glaud.  Watch the process by which the famous teas leaves are made into flavours including Island tea, Vanilla tea and Citronelle tea. After your tour, purchase your packets of tea or even have a cuppa at the Tea Tavern Restaurant.

The factory is open for visits every working day and tourists pay a small fee of Rs25 per head.  In order to see the whole process of Tea manufacturing, you’d have to give them a call in advance to book a tour, as it doesn’t happen every day.

Otherwise, you can just turn up and get a guided tour of the plantation and the packing process, which is done every day.

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Beau Vallon Beach

To the North of Mahé, the beautiful beaches of Beau Vallon and North East Point fish you in (pun intended) for all manner of water sports and beach activities.

Jet skies, parasailing, kayaking and diving, it’s a seaman’s jackpot! Simply walk along the white sandy beach and book your watersports activities on the spot!

On a Wednesday evening, pop by to catch Bazar Labrin, a local market right on the beachfront. Locals and vendors set up stalls to showcase souvenirs and island memorability and there are about a dozen food stalls for you to eat your heart out!

Taste all manner of local cuisine; grilled fish, black pudding, curries, gato piman (chilli cakes) and let’s not forget the Kalou/Todi (fermented juice from the coconut tree).

Have dinner and dessert and wash it down with a fresh coconut, all while watching the sun set from one of the prime sunset spots on the island.

Watch as the bonfire is lit, and the musicians take you back in time with their drums and song, as the moutiya (a traditional dance) around the fire begins.

Photo credit: Patrick Valmont

On any other day of the week, dine at the Boat House Restaurant for an exquisite local buffet or have a cheeky pizza at Boabab Pizzeria, found right on the beach, for a taste of one of the island’s best pizza (at least it’s my favourite!)

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Mission Lodge

This lookout point in the district of Sans Soucis, with its beautiful views, is famous not only for its exceptional views but also for the ruins of the old Venn’s town.

Here, a school was built by the London Missionary Society in the 19th century to care for slave children who had been dumped on the island after the abolition of slavery.

The viewpoint is easily accessible from the main road, there are signs as you get higher into the mountain roads and is free to visit.

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Morne Seychellois National Park

Morne Seychellois in the highest point in the archipelago and for the nature enthusiast, a holiday in Seychelles wasn’t done right if you missed the Morne Blanc Hike. It’s a recommended hike to experience breathtaking views, the misty cloud forest and all the exotic wildlife of the islands. The hike is 90 minutes long and allows the opportunity to see the tiniest frog in the world as well as birdlife in the form of Seychelles Bulbuls, Mynahs and Sunbirds.

Some of the endemic wildlife of the islands also includes the endemic pitcher plant, the smallest falcon in the world (locally known as the Katiti) and some magnificent specimen of insects like the leaf and stick insects.

Encompassing an impressive 20% of the land area of Mahé , the Morne Blanc hike in the Morne Seychellois National Park has a demarcated trail for you to follow and its recommended to start earlier in the day to avoid the midday heat and afternoon mountain mist.

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Dive with Whale Sharks

Dive with whale sharks and spot the dolphins in the bay of Anse A La Mouche or Beau Vallon (depending on the season) with the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles. Diving with these gentle giants is seasonal and very time specific so you’ll need to look into it well in advance of your holiday in Seychelles.

Photo credit: Patrick Valmont

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Bai Ternay Marine Park

In an isolated bay, out of reach of the main roads, is an undeveloped section of the island, the Bai Ternay Marine Park, in the area of Cape Ternay. This area of crystal clear waters is only accessible by boat so if you hire a boat charter, a local skipper should be able to take you.

You’re guaranteed to feel like you’ve entered another world, like the first settlers or the pirates who landed on the uninhabited islands over 100 years ago in search of tropical treasures unknown. Sip a fresh coconut on the beach of Anse DuRi or snorkel the turquoise waters of this paradise on earth.

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Domaine de Val des Prés – Craft Village

Visit the Domaine de Val des Pres Craft Village in the Au Cap district for a glance into the past. Tour a traditional 18-19th century c0lonial house and take a peek at how life used to be lived, with its outdoor kitchen and servants quarters. The little kiosks around the house are a re-creation of a traditional Creole village. Local vendors sell delicate hand-made craft including soaps and intricate 19th century model ships.

Dine at the Pomme Cannelles restaurant for some more authentic local cuisine. Try the Bouillon brède (morringa leaf soup), tuna curry and papaye tournée for a real Creole experience.

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Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden

The Jardin du Roi Spice Garden at Anse Royale was set up by the French in the 19th Century to promote spice trading in the colonies.

Today, you can visit the gardens for €8 per person and it’s highly recommended as one of the most beautiful walks on the island for botanists, nature lovers and environmental conservationists. The road to the Garden is a bit hard to find so you may have to ask a local for directions if you find yourself a bit lost. Don’t worry, everyone is quite friendly when it comes to asking for directions!

At the entrance to the garden is a traditional Creole house from which visitors can see what most of the houses on the island looked like not even over 50 years ago. You can also have lunch at the small restaurant overlooking a beautiful view.

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Zip Lining at Ephilia

Seychelles is covered in lush tropical forest and what could be a more fun way to see that forest than by zooming by on a zip line.

Go rock climbing and Zip Lining at Constance Ephilia at Port Launay. You can call up Constance Ephilia in advance of your trip or once you’re in the country to book your day of adventures through the jungle!

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Hike at Copolia

One of the more popular hikes on Mahé, Copolia is about a one and half hour route which starts at Val Riche, around 6km south from Victoria. The views at the top are of the highest mountain Morne Seychellois, Trois Frères and in the distance, on a clear day, you can even see Praslin and La Digue on the horizon.

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La Plaine St Andre

Seychelles is famous for making 3 types of beverages, we’ve covered the tea, we’ll get to the Seybrew but another is the rum!

La Plaine St Andre was once an expansive estate with copra kilns, cinnamon and patchouli distilleries and a lush garden of fruits and medicinal plants.

These days, La Plaine is the home of the famous Takamaka Rum. You can visit the Rum Distillery during the day and purchase a bottle of the island’s locally made rum, choosing from a wide range including coconut, mango and passion, dark rum and the premium 8 year aged St Andre.

Enjoy a meal at the restaurant La Grande Maison on the property, where you can actually sit at a table in the colonial house or out in the beautiful gardens.

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Ros Sodyer Rock Pool

To the South of the island, in the district of Takamaka, not far from the popular Creole restaurant Chez Batista is the secluded Ros Sodyer Rock Pool. A saltwater pool in a natural granitic basin right by the water.

It’s a small hike to get there and visitors are warned that when the tide comes up the current is known to be a bit dangerous. But on a calm sunny day it can be beautiful to venture.

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Helicopter Ride with Zil Air

For an exclusive aerial view of the islands, book a helicopter ride with Zil Air. The helicopter charter offers a variety of services to over 15 of the islands in the archipelago.

Scenic tours can range between a 15-minute helicopter experience to a 75-minute island hopping experience and you can easily book online or by sending them an email from their website. It’s a perfect activity for couples and families alike to see the islands from above and it’s also a perfect gift for a loved one coming on a holiday in Seychelles.

Photocredit: Jasmine Medina

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Dans Gallas Hike

This lesser-known trail takes you to what was once the settlement of Ethopian poeople who were freed by the British Navy from Arab slavers in the 19th century. It takes about two and a half hours to complete and starts at an information point at Le Niole to the North of the island.

The hike offers amazing views of Beau Vallon Bay and Silhouette Island. On the second half of the journey, you can experience endemic plants as the path ascends into a Cinnamon forest and if you’re lucky you can sight the elusive Scops Owl.

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Sunset Cruise with Silhouette Cruises

Book a cruise around the island on a stunning early 20th-century vessel for a tour of the islands on the water. Or book a 6 or 7-day cruise trip packed with snorkelling, kayaking and island hopping, tailored to your specific interests. Silhouette Cruises has several fun packages that’ll make your island experience even more exceptional.

Watch the sunset after a cruise on the waves around Mahé island, accompanied by a sumptuous Creole meal as the salty sea breeze sweeps all your worries away. Find out more HERE!

Photo credit: Marine Delorme

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Horse Riding on the beach

If you’re an animal lover, or even better, a horse lover, you should definitely book a sunset ride on the beach or on a stunning coastal tropical trail with Turquoise Horse Trails. It’s a unique experience that won’t soon forget!

They’ve got different packages from sunset picnics to wedding or honeymoon photography ranging between £60 to £600.

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The Station – Alternative Healing

At the heart of the island, The Station is a quiet 6-room hotel that offers a unique retreat experience. The hospitality of the hotel and its spa is aimed at recharging the body and mind with homoeopathic therapy and meditation.

The team at The Station aim to encourage everyone to trust in their innate healing nature and to listen to their body’s communication to keep vital and healthy. They keep an extensive range of homeopathic remedies, tinctures and herbal food and they honour age-old holistic principles to nurture your energetic life force at all times.

If you’re looking to rejuvinate for a few days while on your trip, a night or two at The Station could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Check out their website to find out more.

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Port Glaud Waterfall

One of the best weekend activities for my friends and I, and I know it’s the same for many other locals, is to grab a pizza and head to the beach after a trip to the Port Glaud Waterfall.

The waterfall isn’t easily accessible so in order for you to visit, you’d want to get a local to take you. There’s no official entrance or parking and it can get quite busy on weekends but when it’s quiet it’s very calming to swim in the fresh water and immerse yourself in the flow of the falls.


Find some of the best tours of Mahé Island HERE


Have A Seybrew

Last but certainly not least, after a long day of adventuring on one of the most beautiful islands in the world, sit on the beach sipping an ice cool locally brewed beer, a Seybrew, as the sun sets behind the dark silhouette of the coconut trees. Sit back and watch as the stars come out in their multitudes above, take in a breath of fresh island air and simply exist in your moment in time on this beautiful piece of Earth.

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