You probably already read in my previous posts about how I planned my trip to the Seychelles, including choosing the right hotel, while discovering the best and cheapest way to explore this amazing island. So now, it is finally time for me to tell you all about exploring the city of Victoria and the amazing beaches of Mahè!
In this post, I will share with you my experience on the island of Mahè, which is the biggest island of Seychelles, where 90% of population lives and where one of the smallest capitals of the World, Victoria, is located.
From my “home” in Beau Vallon, Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort & Casino, I have planned my entire week that included alternating a day of relaxation with a day of island hopping.
Victoria is just a 10-15 minute drive from Beau Vallon Beach and it is easily reachable by a local bus that stopped just in front of my hotel, or by a free shuttle that our hotel provided once a day. I decided to take the hotel’s shuttle bus in the morning, and come back with a local bus (# 22), from Victoria’s main bus station.
Victoria is a wonderful, small city, full of colours and with a taste of colonial atmosphere. It is located in the North-East part of Mahè and was originally called “Etablissement du Roi” (in 1778). In 1838, it was renamed after the Queen Victoria.
At that time there were only a few hundred wooden houses, and some of the buildings today still have traditional wooden windows.
Though it is one of the smallest capitals in the world, Victoria is also very lively and is best to be experienced on foot. It lays at the bottom of two tall mountains – the Morne Seychellois, at 905 meters is the highest peak of Seychelles, and the Trois Freres.
Victoria is the administrative, financial, and cultural centre of the island, and it is also the place where the only harbor is located. From Victoria, there is a costal road that practically rings the whole island, reaching some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
Main Sights in Victoria
Upon entering the city you can admire the beautiful and miniature Clock Tower, which is an elegant replica of the clock that was first erected in London in 1897, at the junction of Victoria Street and Vauxhall Bridge Road, near Victoria Station. The clock strikes the hour regularly, having had its mechanism completely replaced in 1998, by a modern quartz marsterclock.
From the Clock Tower, going along the Albert Street, while admiring the shops and the local people, we reached the Market Street. Lots of little food shops are located in this narrow street at the end of which there is the amazing and colourful Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clark Market.
I have to say that I just LOVE the local markets – I like to feel the smell of spices, fruits, and flowers, and I try to go through this experience in every country that I visit.
The Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clark Market was build in 1840, and was completely renovated in 1999. It is the bustling heart of the city and is definitely the best place to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, spices as well as souvenirs especially on a Saturday morning.
I spent a good portion of my morning just strolling around the market and the narrow streets around it, discovering that, just a few steps away from the market – there is the colorful Hindu Temple of Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar. It was build in 1992 and it is the only Hindu Temple on the island.
Finally, Victoria is also a modern city filled with numerous restaurants and cafès where you can relax and have a lunch or a dinner in, before going back to your hotel.
Discovering The Beaches of Mahè
Mahè is not only home to one of the smallest capitals in the World, it is also the place where the World’s most beautiful beaches are located.
If you take an excursion around the island, you will have a chance to enjoy each of these amazing spots. We have literally seen all the main beaches around the main road of Mahè. Mahè has about 70 white sandy beaches although the access to some is rather difficult and the swimming is dangerous like in Grand Anse, Police Bay and the Petite Police.
If you will have an opportunity to have a few days just to explore Mahè – I will suggest for you to rent a car. This is not the cheapest solution, but consider that you will not waste any time waiting for the local buses, which only cost 5 rupies, but require you to wait in the middle of nowhere (and who knows for how long)!
Here is the list of my favorite beaches:
- Beau Vallon – the most popular beach in Mahè, offering watersports and a market on Wednesday nights.
- Port Launay Beach – located on a small bay where one of the most luxurious hotels of the island is located, the Constance Ephelia Resort. It is a stunning beach that will take your breath away; a beautiful place where you can swim and relax.
- Anse Soleil – the access to this beach is quite difficult if you take one of the local buses which will leave you on the road, from where you will have to walk downhill. But with a car or a taxi – one can get you straight to the entrance. This small beach is simply stunning, and offers great swimming opportunities.
- Petite Anse – this is the “private” beach of the Four Seasons Hotel, one of the best and most luxurious hotels on the island. Although the access to this beach is not easy, the scenery is beautiful and the bay is tranquil and ideal for swimming. At the entrance of the hotel’s gate, the security might ask from which hotel you came from, and then a golf cart will escort you to this paradise.
- Baie Lazare – this beach borders the main road, it is tranquil and ideal for small children and gentle swimming.
- Anse Takamaka – this is the classic beach with coconut trees and clear waters, also ideal for swimming.
- Anse Intendance – this is one of the longest and most beautiful beaches of Mahè, however can be dangerous for swimming.
- Anse Royale – this was another “Wow” beach for me! This gorgeous beach borders the main road and has great swimming opportunities, but unfortunately it sometimes has dangerous currents.
So tell me now – which one is your favourite?