As the largest island in the Seychelles, Mahé offers a unique experience to any visitor. It is the most populated island of the Seychelles and home to the capital Victoria.
From the beautiful terrain of Morne Seychellois to the pristine waters of Beau Vallon to the scenic trails of Anse Major, anyone can easily be captivated by Mahé’s nature scene.
If you are seeking a more unconventional experience within nature, you can book a zip line experience at the Constance Ephelia as a guest at this five-start resort or take a quick drive over to Sauzier Waterfall. You might even be interested in diving to view shallow reefs and whale sharks which are great options at Port Launay in Mahé. While the aquatic and environmental aspects of Mahé are bountiful and grand, the island has so much more to offer.
Your Seychelles adventure can begin with a flight to Seychelles International Airport. As of September 14, 2020, its list of visitors from permitted countries was comprised of 28 countries. To stay up to date on this growing list and learn about the government’s Health Certified Tourism Businesses, visit the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marines website.
With history dating back to the 1700s and ground in African, French, and British roots, Mahé is a cultural destination influenced by its multiethnic origins.
We compiled a list of six locations to include in your itinerary in Mahé if you want a break from the beach scene and you are curious to experience a more enriching side of the island.
1. Explore Seychellois History in Victoria
When Victoria was established in the 1700s, the British and French used African slave labor to establish the economy of the Seychelles. After slavery was abolished, the British used Indian indentured servants to continue to grow the commercial activity in the Seychelles.
When the Port of Victoria opened in the 1970, the capital saw mass migrations from ethnic backgrounds including African, Chinese, French and Indian. The capital has been deeply influenced as individuals brought their languages, religions, customs, and other cultural markers to Victoria and to the Seychelles.
While visiting Victoria, you can visit popular landmarks that give insight into the country’s history.
The Bicentenary Monument is a three-winged structure that was built in 1978 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Victoria’s independence and to represent the origins of Seychellois people from Africa, Europe, and Asia.
An iconic symbol to Victoria is the Lorloz or the Victoria Clocktower which pays homage to Queen Victoria of Britain. This is one of Mahé’s oldest monuments as it was built in 1903. You can view the Zonm Lib Monument, also known as the Liberation Monument, which was erected in 1978 to mark the end of colonial oppression in Victoria.
Another landmark to visit is the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market. The market was built in 1840 but renovated in the late 1990s. Frequented by locals and filled with the aroma of various spices, the market is a great spot to purchase local foods like fish, flowers, fruits, vegetables and spices. It is also a great way to see and observe everyday traditions of the Seychellois people.
Places to Stay in Mahé
2. Purchase Handmade Crafts at Domaine de Val des Prés
A visit to Domaine de Val des Près (Craft Village) transports you into a moment into Mahé’s history. It is one of the four sites that make up the “Patrimwann”, meaning Heritage Trail in Seychellois Creole. Homes in the village are built with thatch roofs and it is said to include the last of the authentic traditional Creole homesteads.
Craft Village’s main attractions include: ‘Gran Kraz’ plantation house, 12 craft workshops, ‘La Kaz Rosa’, and The Maison de Coco. The Gran Kraz plantation house was built around 1870 and maintains much of its original structure. The 12 craft workshops are adjoining buildings to the Gran Kraz that visitors can enter and purchase traditional Creole craft. La Kaz Rosa showcases a working class home from the 20th century.
The Maison de Coco is a house built from coconuts and coconut products and visitors can purchase crafts made from coconuts! Lastly, you can stop by Pomme Cannelle Restaurant in Craft Village for a traditional Creole buffet.
3. Explore the Mission Ruins of Venn’s Town
Named after Henry Vence, the Mission Ruins of Venn’s Town are located on the pathway to Morne Seychellois. Henry Vence was a church missionary. Venn’s Town was significant because it was the island’s “first educational institution for the children of liberated slaves”.
The settlement at Venn’s Town was established in 1875 and served as a place of community for African persons who were previously enslaved. The settlement is also recognized for its impact on the development of Creole Seychellois identity. As a result of this impact, the site is one of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Seychelles. The two additional UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the Aldabra Atoll and the Vallee de Mai in Praslin.
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4. Prepare a Tasty Creole Dish with A Local Seychellois Chef
In Seychelles, 93% of people identify as Seychellois Creole and Seychellois Creole (or seselwa) is the official language of the Seychelles. You can visit the International Kreole Institute which is also part of the Patrimwann. The remaining two sites of the Patrimwann are ‘La Bastille’ and ‘Ecomusée La Plaine St. Andre’. Both sites are building structures that are significant to the Creole heritage. The Kreole Institute was constructed in 1920 and created to promote and celebrate the Creole customs and traditions.
However, a great and tasty way to experience Creole influences within Mahé is through the food. At the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles and the Avani Barbarons Seychelles Resort in Mahé, you can create authentic Creole dishes with local chefs. The side by side experience with a Seychellois chef is informative as they give details on Creole ingredients and flavors.
5. See the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple
A large number of Indians emigrated to Mahé as indentured servants and currently, two percent of the Seychelles population identify as Hindu and the Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple is the only Hindu temple in Seychelles.
Named after the Hindu god of safety and prosperity, Lord Vinayagar, the temple is important to this community and many culturally and religiously important festivals for Hindus take place at Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple. One important annual event is the Taippoosam Kavadi Festival in which devotees observe the time with special prayers and a procession through the street
6. Shop for Fresh Vanilla at Le Jardin du Roi
As far back as the 18th century, the Seychelles was known for its spices. Frenchman Pierre Poivre was responsible for creating the Jardin du Roi which was a small spice garden on a plantation near Anse Royale.
When you visit the garden, you are quickly engulfed in the scent of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, citronella, pepper, muscat and other spices. Whether you are a budding historian, admirer of nature or a food lover, the spice garden offers something for everyone.
You can visit the small museum located onsite which provides information on the Seychelles spice trade. You can also grab a bite at the outdoor restaurant with foods that are prepared from the spices and plants from the garden.
Mahé offers an all around experience for any traveler. While we encourage all travelers to walk the white sand beaches of Anse Intendance or take in the wonderful sights at the observation deck of Mirante La Misere, we wanted to share information for a more immersive experience of Mahé. Enjoy!