Originally called “ Ile d’Abondance” by Lazare Picault (1742 Compagnie francaises de Indes orientales) it was renamed in 1756 after Mahe de La Bourdonnais, governor general of Mauritius then known as “Ile de France”. Mahe is the largest island of the Seychelles covering about 150 sq km and is home to 90% of the population which originates from Africa, India, China and Europe.
In the north East part Mahe is the capital, originally called “Etablissement du Roi” (1778) and renamed Victoria in 1841 after Queen Victoria. At that time there were only a few hundred wooden houses and some of the buildings today still have traditional wooden shutter windows and wood shingles roofs. While being one of the world’s smallest capitals, Victoria is very lively and is best experienced on foot. Victoria is at the foot of two high mountains, the Morne Seychellois, at 905 m, the highest peak in the Seychelles and the Trois Freres peak. Victoria is the administrative, business and cultural centre of the islands and is also where the only port is
situated. From Victoria, there is a coastal road which practically rings the whole island, going past some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, a major attraction of the island. Snorkelers and divers are constantly amazed at the fantastic sites that are quickly reachable. Big game fishing, for those in search of excitement on the high seas, is a very popular tourist activity. Nature lovers will not be disappointed. Thanks to years of isolation, Mahe still has an exceptional natural environment and very well preserved flora. The mountains occupy the heart of the island and there are numerous nature trails winding through them. (eg Morne SeychelloisNational Park).
VICTORIA AND SURROUNDINGS
ANGLICAN ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL (1859)
This church is the oldest church in the Seychelles.
BEL AIR CEMETERY
On the Sans Souci road, this is the oldest cemetery of the islands and is testament to the islands history.
The sculpture «Trwa Zwazo» (3 birds) commemorates Victoria’s bicentennial 1778-1978 and symbolizes the 3 continents that constitute the origins of the population of the Seychelles.
BOTANICAL GARDENS (1901)
Situated at Mont Fleuri, Open 7/7 (8am-6 pm). It houses more than 200 species of plants (tour: about1 hour) . Entrance fee: 100 SCR. Free: -12.
CATHEDRAL OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
Its size demonstrates the importance of the Roman Catholic Church in the Seychelles.
Built in 1903 to commemorate the independence of the Seychelles from Mauritius, it is a miniature replica of Big Ben in London.
Contructed between 1930 – 1933, it is the residenceof the bishop and priests of Victoria.
Facing the Clock Tower, the statue of Queen Victoria sits abouve the Jubilee fountain and was erected in 1901 to commemorate the sixty years of Queen Victoris’s reign. The original statue is in the Natural History Museum.
NATIONAL CULTURAL CENTRE
This centre houses the National Library, National Gallery, National Archives and National Historical Museum. free entrance.
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Independence Av.. Mon to Friday 8.30 am to 12 noon. Entrée: 10 SCR. Flore, faune et histoire géologique des Seychelles
SIR SELWIN SELWYN CLARK MARKET
Weekdays 7am to 4 pm, Saturday 7am to 2pm. Situated in the heart of Victoria, this market is typical of Seychellois culture and is named after the Governor at the time who also commissioned the market.
STATE HOUSE (1913)
The original residence of the British Governors of the colony, it is now the Official Residence of the President.
STATUE OF PIERRE POIVRE
Governor of Ile de France (Mauritius), in 1772 he introduced the cultivation of spices in the Seychelles.
Sans Souci 9 am to 4.30 pm Mon-Fri.
VILLAGE ARTISANAL - CAMION HALL
Camion Hall, Albert Street. Local craft products
Bus 21 direction Danzil. This spectacular trail, sometimes along rock faces dropping off into the sea snakes along the coast on the edge of the National Park (3 - 4 hrs to get to the beach and back).
Bus 14 direction Mission Lodge. 6-7 hrs round trip, a long nature trail with many viewpoints and has wooden stairs in difficult areas.
Bus 14, a mountain top of 497 m, a round trip of 2 1⁄2 hrs, luxuriant forest, amazing rock formations, moderately difficult trail.
DANS GALLAS / LE NIOL TRAIL
Bus 32 Le Niol Terminal. A 3 hr round trip, a moderate to difficult trail with exceptional views along the way. This area takes its name from the “Gallas”, a group of Ethiopians who settled in the area in the 19th Century after having been freed by the British Navy from their Arab masters.
GLACIS LA RESERVE
This easy to moderate trail is on the Montagne Posee Rd, 1-2 1⁄2 h round trip. Spectacular views.
GLACIS TROIS FRERES
A peak of 699 m offering spectacular and stunning views. 1h1⁄2 round trip from the Sans Souci Forestry Station, with the last part being difficult. Trois Freres is the site of a yearly pilgrimage.
MARE AUX COCHONS
Bus 32. Le Niol. There are quite a few trails in that area, each taking about 3-4 hrs and all are difficult. The trail leads to a spectacular viewing point, Glacis d’Antin, to some old ruins, a waterfall and even a cave which, according to folklore, used to be used by the 18th Century pirate “La Buse” .
MISSION LODGE (1875)
Bus 14 Sans Souci Rd. A 15min short and easy walk going past the ruins of Venn’s Town which is testament to Seychelles’ slavery past...An ancien avenue of sandragon trees leads to a spectacular viewing area.
Bus 14 Tea Factory. A 667m high peak, and a 2 1⁄2 hr moderately difficult trail offering spectacular views.
MORNE SEYCHELLOIS NATIONAL PARK
The largest Park in the Seychelles, it was created in 1979 and covers 20% of Mahe. There are 12 trails of varying difficulties covering more than 15km.
At 905 m, it is the highest peak of the islands. A difficult and long 7 hr climb, a guide is recommended, spectacular views all the way, interesting flora and fauna due to the altitude.
. VACOA NATURE TRAIL
A circular 45-60 mn trail with great big granite boulders with spectacular vacoa trees.
Mahe has about 70 white sandy beaches although the access to some is rather difficult and the swimming dangerous, for example Grand Anse, Police Bay and Petite Police.
ANSE AUX PINS, ANSE BOILEAU, ANSE FORBANS
These beaches border the main road and are ideal for a nap or a little swim.
One of the longest & most beautiful beaches on Mahe, however can be dangerous for swimming.
ANSE LA LIBERTE OR PETITE ANSE
Although the access to this beach is not easy, the scenery is beautiful and the bay is tranquil and is ideal for swimming.
ANSE LA MOUCHE
Beautiful beach, calm water, ideal for a nap, games, a gentle swim as the sea is not deep.
A long and quiet beach.
This beach borders the main road, has great swimming but sometimes with current.
Access to this beach is difficult but well worth the effort and offers great swimming.
Very small and often deserted beach.
Coconut trees, clear waters. Ideal for swimming.
The beach borders the road, tranquil, ideal for children, and gentle swimming.
The most popular beach on Mahe, offering watersports and a market on Wednesday nights.
A stunning beach that will take your breath away (swimming and relaxing).