Mahé is the largest and most important island of the Seychelles archipelago. This spectacular island is only 27 kilometres long but is dominated by a mountain range that forms the backbone of the island. The highest peak, Morne Seychellois, reaches a height of 905metres and provides a perfect backdrop to the capital city Victoria.
Although Mahé is the economic and political centre of the Seychelles it has still retained its natural charm and beauty. In many ways Mahé is the most spectacular, its huge mountains and lush tropical vegetation provide an inspiring sight. There are over 75 beaches scattered around the island and often you will find that you are the only people present. The beaches are idyllic, soft beautiful sand, fringed by swaying palm trees and a warm and inviting sea to help you cool off from the tropical sun.
All overseas visitors arrive on Mahé, either by the port which is next to Victoria or at the Seychelles International Airport, which can be found on the east coast of the island. Some visitors do not stop in Mahé but rather fly or sail to neighbouring islands, which is a mistake as Mahé has so much to offer. Victoria is small enough that it does not take too long to walk around, it is the best way to see the city and to get a feel of the place and the people. The market is a hive of activity daily except Sundays. Here it is easy to see why the Seychellois are often called the friendliest people in the world.
The market sells locally made crafts, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables. The Botanical Gardens offer the opportunity to see some of Seychelles, unique and endemic plants in easy and comfortable surroundings. The gardens were established nearly 100 years ago and cover an area of 15 acres. The Clock Tower is the focal point of Victoria, it was erected in 1903 to mark Seychelles “coming of age as a separate colony”. It once stood at the harbour front but with resourceful land reclamation it is now back into the heart of the town. Although 90% of the total Seychelles population lives on Mahé (65,000) it still has a quiet and informal atmosphere. Parts of the island look as they did twenty years ago and parts are modern with high tech facilities.
The nightlife is much livelier on Mahé than the neighbouring islands, there are two casinos, one in Beau Vallon Bay and one at the Plantation Club in the south of the island. The restaurants offer fantastic cuisine with a variety of international and local delicacies, each has its own identity. Most of the hotels have entertainment in the evenings by local singers and bands and there are some night clubs in and around Victoria for those who want to dance until the early hours. If you’re in Victoria on a Friday or Saturday evening, you might want to pay a visit to Level 3 Bar in the Docklands Building in Victoria Harbour. It’s only a short walk or taxi ride from the centre of town and is THE place to mingle with the Seychellois revellers before heading out to a night club.
During the day Mahé has an unbelievable amount of activities to choose from with are several well run dive centres and watersport’s operators scattered around the island.
There is also a wide range of accommodation from self catering and small guest houses to large and sophisticated hotels.
Mahé has lots of nature walks and trails amongst the Morne Seychellois National Park which covers an area of 11 square miles. If it is walking around an art gallery or an artist’s studio that takes your fancy then Mahé has this too. In fact Mahé can offer you almost anything you want.