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.
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.
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.
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.