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The best of Mahé: A one-day Seychelles road trip

The best of Mahé: A one-day Seychelles road trip

The Seychelles isn’t the most obvious destination for a road trip. It’s more of a ‘find a gorgeous beach, lay on a lounger and read a book while someone brings you an endless supply of fruity cocktails’ type of place. But there’s more to the islands than just their sand and sunshine. Mahé is the biggest and most varied of the islands, and it’s where most visitors arrive. Whether you’re on a quick Seychelles stopover or flying into Mahé before heading off to Praslin or La Digue, it’s worth getting out and exploring the island. So here’s my ‘best of Mahé’ one-day driving itinerary. Car hire costs around €40 a day and the whole route is about 57 miles. It would take around three hours if you drove it straight through. But with around 20 beaches, plus viewpoints, local restaurants and a rum distillery along the way, you’ll want to take your time.

The best of Mahé: A one-day Seychelles road trip map

Click on the map to open a larger version you can print or save

Victoria

Start off in Victoria, the Seychelles’ capital – it’s home to a third of the country’s population but is still Africa’s smallest capital city. Take a walk around some of Victoria’s sights before setting off. The market is extra busy early in the morning, with fishermen selling their catch as well as fruit and vegetable stalls, local spices, crafts and souvenirs. Then there’s the Victoria Clocktower, which looks like a mini Big Ben. It’s actually a replica of the clock on Vauxhall Bridge in London which was brought over in 1903 when the Seychelles became a British colony. There’s also a cathedral, Natural History museum, colourful Hindu temple and Botanical Gardens with spice grove and mini rainforest. But this is the Seychelles, so you don’t want to spend all day in a city, so head out of Victoria and off down Mahé’s east coast.

Victoria in Mahé Seychelles

The Victoria Clocktower

The east coast

The east coast of Mahé is the most built-up part of the island, but once you pass the airport and Eden Island development things start to get more relaxed. Which might have something to do with the fact that this is where you’ll find the Takamaka rum distillery. It’s part of a 200-year-old estate which originally made coconut oil and distilled cinnamon and patchouli. The plantation house has been restored to its former glory and is now a restaurant and base for the distillery. If you visit at 11am or 1pm you can do a tour and tasting, otherwise take a walk around the old medicinal gardens and stock up on rum at their shop.

Further on down the coast a line of beaches run from Anse Royale through Anse Bougainville and Anse Parnel to Anse Forbans. The beaches here aren’t the best on the island – they’re a bit narrow and sometimes get seaweed washed up – but this is judging them by Seychelles standards, where even the less-good beaches come with golden sand, palm trees and clear turquoise waters. So you still find some beautiful spots, like the little bay at the far north of Anse Royale, which is separated from the main beach by a pile of perfectly positioned granite boulders that could’ve come straight from a postcard.

Anse Royale beach Mahé Seychelles

Postcard perfection at the north end of Anse Royale

The west coast

The island gets narrow here so if you head inland from Anse Forbans you’ll reach the west coast in about 10 minutes. This side of the island is quieter and wilder, with beaches backed with green jungle-covered hills. You can take your pick from a whole string of amazing beaches. They’re mostly set away from the main road so you’ll need to detour and take one of the narrow winding roads down to reach them.

At the south is Anse Intendance, which has the Banyan Tree resort at one end but the other is usually deserted and good for swimming or snorkelling. Next is Anse Takamaka with the Chez Batista bar and restaurant (complete with a pen of giant tortoises) and Petite Anse which you have to go through the Four Seasons Hotel to get to. Anse Soleil is a tiny cove down a steep road with a beach café that’s a good spot for lunch. They serve a mix of Asian dishes and local seafood (or fruit bat if you’re feeling adventurous). Further north is Anse Louis, another wide, empty stretch of sand with the swanky MAIA resort at one end.

Anse Takamaka beach Mahé Seychelles

Boats on Anse Takamaka beach

The mountains

Once you get up to the edge of Port Glaud, turn inland and follow the Sans Souci road up into the mountains. The Morne Seychellois National Park covers a fifth of Mahé, with a mix of landscapes from coastal mangrove forests to thick mountainous jungle. The road zigzags its way uphill with some steep hairpin bends, so it’s not long until you start getting panoramic views back down to the west coast.

There are a few places to stop through the mountains. There’s a ruined missionary school which was built in the 1870s, and a working tea plantation where you can take a free 20-minute tour of the factory and pick up some of their teas. You also pass the starting point for a couple of Mahé’s best hikes – the trail from the tea factory up to the peak of Morne Blanc, and the route up to the Trois Frères cliffs. Both have fantastic views and take about two hours return (plus an extra hour to reach the summit of the Trois Frères). If that’s too energetic there’s a great view down onto Victoria and the east coast on the road back down.

Morne Seychellois National Park Mahé Seychelles

Views over Morne Seychellois National Park

The far north

Once you get back to the outskirts of Victoria, follow the signposts towards North Point. This takes you up the peninsula to the most northerly part of the island past the beaches at Anse Étoile and Anse Nord d’Est, a deserted stretch of sand with an abandoned hotel development at one end. The road hugs the cliff edge around Northeast and North Points, with glimpses down to little hidden coves at the foot of the cliffs.

Anse Nord d'Est beach Mahé Seychelles

Empty Anse Nord d’Est

Beau Vallon

Finish up in Beau Vallon before heading back to Victoria. Beau Vallon is Mahé’s most popular beach, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll find it packed with sunloungers. It’s a big long curve of sandy with plenty of space and a row of shady palm and takamaka trees behind. At the end of the beach there are usually vendors selling fresh coconuts and local fruit, or if you’re there on a Wednesday you can pick up takeaway curries or grilled fish at the evening market. Otherwise the Boathouse is a good option for dinner, with an open-sided restaurant which let the breeze in and a nightly Creole buffet featuring 20 different local dishes (430 rupees). Then all you need is a sunset cocktail by the beach to finish off a perfect day in Mahé.

Beau Vallon beach Mahé Seychelles

Cocktails in Beau Vallon

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 The best of Mahé, Seychelles: a one-day road trip featuring stunning beaches, mountain viewpoints, restaurants and rum distilleries.

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Travel Candy
    January 12, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    I love that you finish on a cocktail! That’s my kinda road trip: beaches and booze! 🙂 Did you stop at the rum distillery?

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 12, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      But of course! We didn’t get chance to do the rum tour but we did go and try some (and a pina colada or two…).

  • Reply
    aeparker81
    January 12, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    What a gorgeous place for a roadtrip and stunning and varied scenery! Totally the place to do more than just sunbathe

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 16, 2017 at 10:15 am

      The beaches were lovely but it was nice that there were other things to do too – much as I like a good beach I have my lazing limit!

  • Reply
    Zen
    January 13, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Love that this comes with a map : D And 40 EUR split between another one or two people is noooot bad!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 16, 2017 at 10:14 am

      The islands can be quite expensive so €40 is pretty good I thought too (and glad you like the map!).

  • Reply
    Kerry
    January 14, 2017 at 9:19 am

    This looks stunning. I always wrote the Seychelles off as a beaches only holiday which is not my thing at all but you’ve shown me the light! It looks like there are a variety of interesting activities and spreading that trip out over a few days would be fab!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 16, 2017 at 10:13 am

      I had it in the same bracket as the Maldives as being just beaches too so was pleasantly surprised on how many other things there were to see and do – and if you have time you could totally take your time and spread it all out.

  • Reply
    Bama
    January 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    As usual, you seem to always know when to go to certain places. The weather in Mahé looks perfect! Blue skies with a little bit of clouds to add more character, just lovely.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 16, 2017 at 10:12 am

      We did have a few cracking storms too but luckily they were mostly at night! Definitely agree that a few white clouds add something to the photos that you don’t get with just blue skies.

  • Reply
    Suzanne Jones
    January 15, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Those beaches look beautiful – especially on a gloomy January day! Did you go snorkelling while you were there?

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 16, 2017 at 10:05 am

      There were a couple of storms overnight while we were there which had churned the sand up a bit so we didn’t snorkel – hear that it’s usually great though!

  • Reply
    Kathryn Burrington
    January 16, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Would love to do this one day. Road-tripping isn’t something I would have associated with the Seychelles but it’s an excellent idea. Love all your Seychelles posts.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 17, 2017 at 10:53 pm

      No I didn’t expect to be doing a road trip either but it’s the perfect place – small enough to get around easily but plenty to see!

  • Reply
    Jane
    January 17, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Great post, thanks for sharing your experiences and tips. It looks like a truly amazing and relaxing place to visit for a holiday. Although it certainly isn’t the most common destination for a road trip, it definitely looks like a perfect choice for one! Traveling certainly presents such an amazing opportunity and can really broaden your perspectives on life and strengthen your understanding and appreciation for other cultures.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 17, 2017 at 10:52 pm

      Thanks, it was a great trip – and extra special for being unexpected!

  • Reply
    mindoftwo
    January 31, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Amazing pictures! Love your site 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      February 2, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    pam
    February 27, 2017 at 12:57 am

    Did you go to the District 6 museum and the Kirstenboch Gardens? If so, what did you think about them. I will be in Cape Town the end of March for just a few days and trying to plan my time. Thanks!!

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