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Photo essays of scenic walks in Morne Seychelles National Park on Mahe Island

Photo essays of three scenic walks with spectacular panoramas and nature subjects such as endemic flowering pants, shrubs and palms. The endemics include the Seychelles pitcher plant, thief palm, latanier millepattes and millionaire's salad palm.

Glacis Trois Freres Trail

The Glacis Trois Freres trail is within the Mahe Island’s Morne Seychelles National Park and starts near the Sans Soucis Forestry Station, which is on the Sans Soucis to Port Glaud Road. When driving from Victoria take a small side road on the right immediately after the Forestry Station bus stop, drive uphill past several houses and park in the carpark at the entrance to the trail.

It’s an easy-going scenic walk, at first, making its way through tropical forest but gets difficult towards the end. The path opens-up with a couple of vantage points offering panoramas on the east coast. The panoramic views from the top of the new port, the airport, Sainte Anne, Moyenne, Long, Eden and Ile au Cerf islands are stunning.

The last few hundred metres of the trail passes over steep granite slopes with rope handrails or steps helping to make it easier to climb. At the top, there are more vistas of the east coast, islands and Victoria. There is a picnic bench at the top near the edge of the mountain cliff – take a picnic lunch.

Near the end of the trail, there is a marked footpath to where the endemic Seychelles Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes pervillei) grows. This vulnerable carnivorous species found in rocky areas near granitic mountain summits, ICUN Red List (Ref 3). They grow in the nutrient poor soils and extract nitrogen and phosphorous from the bodies of animals trapped inside their pitchers, which are modified parts on the tip of leaves.

It will take about an hour and a half for the round trip allowing about thirty minutes for landscape and nature photography and looking at the varied plant life and vistas.

The start of Glacis Trois Frères Trail, Mahe Island Seychelles airport view from Glacis Trois Frères Trail Steeps on the Glacis Trois Frères Trail Sainte Anne Island panorama from Glacis Trois Frères Trail vantage point Eden Island and Ile au Cerf panorama from Glacis Trois Frères Trail Easy going Glacis Trois Frères Trail, Seychelles Seychelles Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes pervillei) Glacis Trois Frères Trail Forest section of the Glacis Trois Frères Trail Stade Populaire in Victoria from the Glacis Trois Frères Trail Victoria panorama top of the Glacis Trois Frères Trail East coast islands view from Glacis Trois Frères Trail, Seychelles Seychelles airport panorama from the Glacis Trois Frères Trail

Anse Major Beach

The start of this coastal walk is the settlement of Danzil on the north coast of Mahe, reached by driving from Beau-Vallon to Bel Ombre, then to Danzil.

The path winds its way along the rocky coastline much of which is within the Morne Seychelles National Park. Along the way there are some spectacular sea views, interesting granite rock formations, granite slopes (glacis) and plants. There is the aptly named paradise plum or cocoplum, which has become naturalized in the Seychelles, but is native to the Atlantic tropical region. In the photo essay, there is an image of what I assume is a non-indigenous variety of busy lizzie that has become naturalised in the Seychelles but with its origins in East Africa. Interesting there is a critically endangered endemic species – Impatiens gordonii, which looks very similar, but almost a pure whiter form.

The walk culminates at Anse Major beach, which was a major disappointment (lots of rubbish on the beach and crowed) and not worth the climb over the rocks to reach the beach. That said, the walk was rewarding and took about half a day for the round trip although if you are young and fit just allow two to three hours and don't indulge in nature and seascape photography.

Path to Anse Major Mahe Island Seychelles Granite cliff headland north west coast Silhouette island from Anse Major path Granite rock outcrop with palm and Silhouette island Seychelles Busy Lizzie growing in granite rocks Rock Art on Anse Major Coastal Path Cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco) on Anse Major Coastal Path Granite cliffs on the rocky north west coast Storm clouds over Silhouette Island from Anse Major path Foot hold, Anse Major Coastal Walk Boulders at Anse Major beach Anse Major beach Mahe Island Seychelles

Glacis La Reserve - The Trail

The starting point for the Glacis La Reserve scenic walk is the junction of the Cable and Wireless Station tack and the Montagne Posee road, which links Anse Aux Pins on the East Coast to Anse Boileau on the West Coast of Mahe. There is parking on the side road, albeit limited to a few cars.

It’s an essay-going trail and near the start, there is some wild pineapple with more on the granite slopes (glacis) at the end of the trail. The path winds its way through a forest of endemic palms and other plants such as cocoplum. The forest is home to five of the six endemic palms; my photo essay has images of three; thief palm, latanier millepattes and millionaire's salad palm described in the IUCN's Red List (Ref 3) as vulnerable.

Millionaire's salad palm is perhaps the most stunning seen on the trail. Young trees have spines near the base of the palm trunk, which are lost when the tree matures. In mature trees, spathes develop at right angles to the palm trunk just below the crown of leaves. The spathes eventually split to reveal flower branches.

On the return walk, there were fleeting glimpses of the endemic Seychelles Bulbul (Hypsipetes crassirostris), I managed to capture its image albeit with the wrong camera settings.

Footpath at Glacis La Reserve Trail Millionaire's Salad Palm (Deckenia nobilis) at Glacis La Reserve Spines on Millionaire's Salad Palm (Deckenia nobilis) at Glacis La Reserve Spathes and flowers Millionaire's Salad Palm (Deckenia nobilis) at Glacis La Reserve Latanier Millepattes (Nephrosperma vanhoutteanum) at Glacis La Reserve Footpath at Glacis La Reserve Trail Wild Pineapple (Ananas bracteatus) at Glacis La Reserve Cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco) on Glacis La Reserve Thief Palm (Phoenicophorium borsigianum) at Glacis La Reserve Seychelles Bulbul (Hypsipetes crassirostris) at Glacis La Reserve

Glacis La Reserve – The Granite Slopes (Glacis)

The trail fades away on the granite slopes (glacis). From the slopes, there are vistas of granite cliffs and the east coast and a few interesting plants to photograph. Beard lichen, wild pineapple and a Clerodendrum sp. shrub that has yellow and red flowers on the same plant, I assume the green berries turn black when ripe.

The walk took about an hour and a half for the round trip. We spent about thirty minutes with nature photography and looking at the varied plant life and vistas.

Millionaire's Salad Palm (Deckenia nobilis) at Glacis La Reserve Granite Rocks Face at Glacis La Reserve, Seychelles, 2012 Clerodendrum shrub (flowers and fruit) at Glacis La Reserve Wild Pineapple (Ananas bracteatus) at Glacis La Reserve East Coast from Glacis La Reserve Granite Slopes Foothold in the rock at Glacis Rock Glacis La Reserve Clerodendrum shrub (flowers and fruit) at Glacis La Reserve Beard Lichen (Usnea sp.) at Glacis La Reserve

Page Contents

Glacis La Reserve - The Trail

Glacis La Reserve – The Granite Slopes

Glacis Trois Freres Trail

Anse Major Beach

Wildlife Common and Scientific Names List

Seychelles Bulbul– Hypsipetes crassirostris

Pitcher Plant – Nepenthes pervillei

Paradise Plum or Cocoplum – Chrysobalanus icaco

Wild Pineapple – Ananas bracteatus

Thief Palm – Phoenicophorium borsigianum

Latanier Millepattes – Nephrosperma vanhoutteanum

Millionaire's Salad palm – Deckenia nobilis

Beard Lichen – Usnea sp.