Seychelles landscape photography featuring Mahe Island beaches and images of Anse Bazarca beach profile
Mahe Island Beaches
Seychelles Mahe Island has many beaches, bays and secluded coves, some are world class with fine white sand, while others are less impressive and crowed. A photo essay of a clockwise tour around east, south and west coasts of Mahe Island is displayed in the three image collections below. All the beaches are accessible by car although finding parking can sometimes be challenging. I don't have any images of the very popular Beau Vallon beach, on the north-west coast, as I've its never stopped long enough to take photographs.
The fourth images collection features Anse Bazarca beach during the seasonal monsoon change; the last two collections display pictorial beach, inland landscapes and architecture images.
East Coast Mahe
The photo tour starts on the sparsely populated north-east coast of Mahe Island with Anse Nord D'est, a 2km long beach that at low tide has exposed reef limestone rocks. The area south of here is densely populated, partly industrialised with reclaimed land including Eden Island and the airport. The next featured beach is Turtle Bay, bathed in evening light, located just south of the Golf Club, Anse Aux Pins and the village. Hawksbill and green turtles once nested on the east coast but sadly they don’t anymore. One exception is Anse Marie Louise, where hawksbill turtles are making a comeback, see Anse Forbans Chalets Facebook page.
South of Anse Aux Pins is the popular Anse Royale, which has a long sandy beach, a good base for ones stay on Mahe. The image below shows the northern end of the beach and Ile Souris Island. Except for Anse Royale and Anse Forbans few people seem to visit the east coast beaches. A hidden treasure is Anse Marie Louise, just of Anse Forbans Chalets is a dirt road, which leads to the beach, park under the casuarina pine trees.
South Coast Mahe
Drive to the end of Grand Police Bay Road, then along a dirt road on the southern tip of Mahe to the secluded Petite Police Bay. There is a little sand with many rocks and the sea has dangerous currents, which makes swimming dangerous, but the cove offers opportunities for striking seascape photography and is good bird watching. Some casuarina pine trees fringe the dirt track and beach giving some shade from the sun.
Just west of Petit Police is Anse Bazarca beach, my favourite beach, where both Hawksbill and Green Turtles nest and attracts native and migrant birds to photograph. The rocks and strong currents make swimming dangerous. We spent a couple of weeks visiting this beach so I took many photographs.
Anse Intendance is the best beach on Mahe with its long white sandy beach and because it does not have a fringing reef, it is good for swimming. The Banyan Tree resort villas occupy most of the beachfront. Near the carpark, the tourist police hang out on a small shady section of the beach. Hawksbill turtles nest on this beach.
West Coast Mahe
Continuing the photo essay Driving up the West Coast Road from the south the next beach after Anse Intendance is Anse Takamaka. It’s a small cove with Chez Batista Villas at the south end of the beach.
Anse Lazare is splendid, but resort villas occupy some beachfront, which has finer sand than at the public access end, which is coarse. The public end of the beach has a challenging drive to it – just two strips of concrete for the car wheels to follow and these disappear in some sections with few pulls offs for passing traffic. However, it is worth the drive as seascape photography at the north end of the beach can be rewarding and trees give plenty of shade.
The next beach along the west coast road is Anse a la Mouche, which has a spectacular horseshoe bay but is not so good for swimming. There's a few interesting rock formations at the north end of the beach making it interesting for seascape photography.
Anse Boileau has one of the least impressive beaches on the west coast, coarse sand and mud, it has a reef and the locals moor their boats on the beach, next along the road is Grand Anse, a sandy beach. The West Coast Road ends at the junction of the cross-island Sans Soucis Road and the coastal Port Laundry Road. Near the St. Pierre et Paul Church at Port Glaud is Anse L'islette, it may be possible to wade out to island at low tide. The penultimate beach is Port Launay Beach / Marine Park.
The final beach is Anse Major, which is on the northwest coast; it’s within the Morne Seychelles National Park with no access by road. To reach the beach requires a boat trip or a walk along the coastal path.
Anse Bazarca Beach Profile
The beach at Anse Bazarca undergoes a significant change during in October, when the southwest monsoon changes to northwest monsoon.
The ocean currents around Mahe Island in the Seychelles vary seasonally with the monsoons. During the southwest monsoon, from May to September, the prevailing South Equatorial Current flows in a westerly direction across the Indian Ocean towards Mahe and the African Coast. When it reaches the Africa coast, it divides into two becoming the northerly East African Coastal current and southerly East Madagascar and Mozambique current. From October to April, the northwest monsoon the East African Coastal current changes course becoming the Equatorial Counter Current flowing eastwards to the Seychelles.
This change in current directly affects Anse Bazarca beach profile. During the southwest monsoon, the sea sucks sand off the beach exposing the coral limestone rocks. The rocks then get covered up again by the sea throwing sand back onto the beach during the northwest monsoon.
The series of images shows the beach profile changes during October 2012:
Early Oct: The first four images show the result of the southwest monsoon, exposed rocks, maybe a metre of lost sand.
Late Oct: The last four images show a radical improvement in sand level with a significant number rocks covered.
By the time our three-week visit was over the beach had been restored to the same level as our visit in November 2011, see image above.
Beach Pictorial Images
Pictorial images on the beach, washed by the sea and surf.
Travellers don't go to Mahe for it's architecture there few buildings or monuments of note. There are exceptions such as St. Pierre et Pau Church at Port Glaud, a small church clock tower and The Clock Tower in Victoria.
Much of the wetlands on Mahe has been drained and reclaimed, but there still a few areas that survive; for example, the Port Launay Wetlands and a small area behind Anse Marie Louise beach.
There are a few magnificent panoramas from the historic Capuchin Mission Ruins and the spice gardens. Granite boulders a prominent feature on Mahe Island.