So you’re planning your holiday in Seychelles! The Seychelles islands are one of the most beautiful in the world and home to one of the richest cultures and cuisines, with a lush flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth!
There are 115 islands in the archipelago! So why chose to base yourself on Mahé for your holiday in Seychelles? Mahé is the biggest Island in the archipelago, home to the majority of the population and the capital Victoria. You can find most of the cultural and historical sites here and it’s very easy to get a ferry from Mahé to all of the islands. So it’s a perfect central place to be from which you can then explore all the other islands.
Step one is, of course, to find where to stay on Mahé and then you’ll want to know all of the amazing things to do on Mahé.
Where to Stay on Mahé – Budget-Friendly Holiday on Mahé
Just because you’re planning a trip to paradise does not mean you have to spend thousands of pounds or dollars on a luxury 5-star resort to have the most beautiful holiday of your life. If you’re planning a trip to Seychelles, there are plenty of budget-friendly options, various small family owned guest houses and self-catering residences that you can pick from.
With many of these budget-friendly places, you’ll often get to interact with locals and see the real Creole culture and lifestyle. Many places offer authentic local breakfast, lunch and dinner, served just like our grandparents would make them, with fresh fruit and veg from the local farmer’s garden and fish caught the same day by the district fisherman.
Getting around Mahé – Hotel Transfers vs Public Transport
There are 26 Districts on Mahé island and the central area is the capital Victoria.
Your international flight will land at the Seychelles International Airport at Anse Aux Pins (a 15-minute drive from the capital) and from there you’ll make your way to your hotel in paradise.
All of the hotels offer transfers from the airport but you can just as easily get a taxi right outside the arrivals terminal to take you where you need to go.
You could also rent a car and make your own way to your hotel which can be a fun way to see your first glimpses of the island at your own pace. There are several rentals located outside the arrivals terminal at the airport or to get yourself ready to go you can prepare your booking online!
Public transport is available in the form of buses but I wouldn’t recommend trying to take the bus upon arrival with all your suitcases. Taking the bus is an experience in itself and you don’t want to be doing that with your heavy suitcases right off a plane. If you do decide to take the bus, you don’t need to get a bus pass (there are none!), so do have some cash (Rs7 per person) on hand to pay the driver for your ticket.
The North vs the South of Mahé
The North and central areas of the island tends to be the more populated area. The whole island is stunning and although I don’t believe one area is better to stay than the other, there are some differences you may want to consider when making your decisions.
In the North, you’ve got the popular beaches of Beau Vallon and North East point as well as the town of Victoria which has all of the popular historical attractions, the banks, offices, the hospital, the ports and marinas. The areas are more developed, so if you wanted to be right in the middle of all the activity then the North is where you want to be.
The only downside is that it can get very busy and the traffic is quite heavy especially during the week, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when planning trips around the island.
To the South, going towards the village area of Anse Royale, you essentially run into another little town here, bustling with activity; fish markets and schools and a few popular restaurants along the beachfront. It’s close enough to the South to be at the end of the traffic but a little over an hour’s drive to Victoria and the North.
Going even further South you reach the more remote areas such as Port Launay and Takamaka and there you’ll find yourself deep in the undeveloped rainforest and untouched island landscape, save for the hotels and accommodation. The only downside is it is quite far from the rest of the island.
Location: in the district of Anse Royale
Distance from Airport: 20 minutes drive
Nearest beach: Anse Royale, Anse Aux Pins, Fairyland Beach
What’s in the area: Café Kreol restaurant, Domaine des Val des Pres Crafts Village, Anse Royal fishing village (has a bank, some shops and a clinic), La Plaine St André distillery,
Le Relax is in the popular area of Anse Royale, in a prime spot which is close enough to the capital Victoria, but also close enough to all the gems that lie in the South. The hotel is fairly small but intimate, with 3 standard rooms, 5 superior and 7 deluxe rooms with access to a swimming pool, a hotel library, boutique and it’s only a 5 minute walk from the beautiful Anse Royale beach.
They offer transfers from the airport and baby-sitting so parents can have some time to explore the area. It’s very well known for its popular Indian and Creole menu in their elegant poolside restaurant.
Location: to the North in the district of Bel Ombre
Distance from Airport: 4o minute drive
Nearest beach: Beau Vallon Beach
What’s in the area: Boat House restaurant, Baobab Pizzeria, several dive centers, Anse Major trail, Bazar labrin (on Wednesdays), Coral strand sushi restaurant, Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Casino, several souvenir shops, banks and grocery shops
Marie Laure Suites offers packages for bed and breakfast as well as self catering holiday apartments perfect for all types of holidays in Seychelles, from solo travellers, couples or families looking to call the islands their home while on holiday. The rooms have access to a swimming pool, a gazebo with bbq facilities, wifi and satellite services and top notch 24/7 security.
With a cozy living space, a kitchen, wifi and satellite television, daily complimentary room cleaning and in close travel distance to the thriving hub of the Beau Vallon area. It’s also close to the Anse Majore Hiking trail as well as the Morne Seychellois National Park.
Location: in the North at Beau Vallon
Distance from Airport: 35 minutes drive
Nearest beach: Beach Vallon beach, Bel Ombre
What’s in the area: Boat House restaurant, Baobab Pizzeria, several dive centers, Anse Major trail, Bazar labrin (on Wednesdays), Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Casino, several souvenir shops, banks and grocery shops
Coral Strand Hotel is in a prime location right on the doorstep of one of the most popular beaches on Mahé island. Watersports, various dining options such as the boat house restaurant and Baobab pizzeria and the popular night market Bazar Labrin are all a sandy stroll away. The hotel also has a popular sushi bar, one of the only ones on the island, with authentic japanese chefs.
The hotel is also the winner of Seychelles Sustainable Tourism label for its efforts at environment protection and sustainability.
Location: In the South in the Baie Lazare District
Distance from Airport: 30-35 minute drive
Nearest beach: Baie Lazare beach
What’s in the area: Anchor Café, Michael Adam’s art studio, Maria’s Rock Café, several dive centers,
The family-run luxury Resort, nestled in the Baie Lazare area, has 28 rooms altogether including Ocean View Villas, a villa with a private pool and a family villa. They’ve got a beautiful infinity pool framed by natural granitic rock, 2 restaurants serving traditional creole dishes and the Frangipane Spa offers services by trained Balinese professionals.
The area is surrounded by lush greenery and faces a stunning view of the ocean and the bay.
Location: Cerf Island
Distance from Airport: 20 minute drive to Victoria, 10 minute boat ride to Cerf
Nearest beach: Cerf Island
Although not technically on Mahé island itself, Cerf Island is a 10-minute boat ride off the coast of Mahé and if you’re looking for a quiet place to stay off the main island but not too far from all the action, this is a perfect place to go.
They’ve got rooms right on the beach front with a stunning view of Mahé Island, a swimming pool, friendly staff and a restaurant that serves a traditional local menu. The strip of white sandy beach right in front of the hotel is perfect for watching the sunset over the stunning mountain peaks on Mahé.
Location: on the South Eastern coast of Anse a La Mouche
Distance from the airport: 30 minute drive
Nearest beach: Anse a La Mouche
What’s in the area: Anchor Café, Michael Adam’s art studio, Maria’s Rock Café, several dive centers,
This bed and breakfast villa overlooking the stunning bay of Anse a La Mouche is very popular with couples who are looking for a more intimate budget setting for their holiday in Seychelles.
All their rooms come equipt with air conditioning and wifi as well as access to an outdoor pool, a garden and a sun terrace. The villa is 6km away from the town of Victoria at the same time being close to the quieter Southern beaches of the island such as Port Launay and the popular village area of Anse Royale.
Safety tricks & Island tips
Like with any holiday, it’s advisable not to walk around with your valuable possession such as jewellery, your passport or large amounts of money. Always keep an eye on your belongings when you’re on the beach and be sure to walk in large groups when you go hiking or exploring among trails or in the forest.
Keep an eye out on some beaches for signs warning against strong currents and take care of children on those beaches.
If you’re driving, take care on the roads because they can be quite narrow or steep and if you run into a bus in a sharp bend, don’t panic (it happens more often than you think!), just move out of the way slowly if you can, otherwise the driver will probably be able to manoeuvre his way around you.
Finally, don’t forget to pack your sunscreen, stay hydrated and most importantly, have a fabulous time in Seychelles!
Don’t forget travel insurance!
Sometimes luggage gets lost and sometimes things happen that you can’t avoid while on holiday. So, take the precaution of planning your insurance before your trip. I recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance, they’ve got the best deals and they’re very reliable.