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The islands are in the eastern Indian Ocean just south of the equator, part of the African continent. Mahe is the largest of the four main granite islands but there are over 10 other much smaller granite islands and ten times as many outlying coralline islands.
The equatorial climate is hot and humid year-round with most rain falling from October through to April. The Seychelles considered the ultimate paradise destination for sun, sea and sand. Some hotels are very expensive especially on the smaller privately owned islands. However, there is reasonably priced accommodation on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. I prefer self-catering rather than hotels, especially all-inclusive packages, as it gives us flexibility when it comes to dining and touring.
Our first visit to the Seychelles, a destination I had always wanted to visit, was to Mahe Island in November 2011. It’s the rainy season but the showers in November were short, sharp, sometimes heavy but not prolonged. I booked the accommodation, flights and hire car for the three-week trip about one month before flying to Mahe via Dubai. We based ourselves in Aux Les Pins, its not the best location for beaches or restaurants but are easily reached by car. We arrived early in the morning at Mahe airport, built in the seventies but seems to be throwback to the sixties quaint and laid back, a lovely change from other international airports. From aircraft, disembarkation through immigration and customs to the rendezvous area was probably less than a 100m walk. After clearing immigration and customs our host met us at the airport and transported to our accommodation on the south-east coast of the island, we had the car delivered to our apartment the following day.
We were not disappointed with the Seychelles as it had attractive secluded beaches, spectacular seascapes and magnificent wildlife. The highlight of our trip was watching and photographing Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) come ashore in daylight to nest at the back on the sandy beaches.
Car hire is essential to give access to the best-secluded beaches, restaurants and other attractions. It is easy to drive around the island and being on the south-east coast made it central to most places even the north was only 25km away.
We followed our visit with a second to Mahe in October 2012. It was too early to see many turtles nesting, so disappointing in that respect. However, this did allow us time to explore and take some splendid scenic walks and view endemic plant species. Our visits to the Anse Bazarca beach gave me an insight into how the Anse Bazarca beach profile changes with the monsoon seasons and why the turtles chose to nest during the northwest monsoon. On this visit, I booked about three months in advance as October and November along with April and May are the best times to visit accommodation gets booked early. I also booked the car for collection at the airport rather than delivered to our accommodation making it more convenient on arrival and departure. On our return trip, we based ourselves at Au Fond de Mer View in Anse Royale.
The village doesn't have the best beaches; however, it is extremely well located for getting to the south and west coast beaches and other attractions on the island. It has a couple of reasonable restaurants; Kaz Kreol and Les Dauphins Heureux, both are within walking distance of Au Fond de Mer View although its safer to drive at night as there are no pavements. There's a quality restaurant in the Takamaka Rum Distillery a short 5min drive north and a small shop in Anse Royale but Kumar & Kumar Supermarket is better, just a 1Km drive north. The collection of images displays Anse Royale scenes.
The Seychelles main attraction must be its fine white sandy tropical beaches and Mahe Island has several top-notch ones including some that have coral limestone rocks at the high-water mark being which are left exposed at low tide. Rocky beaches are no problem because we go to the beach for scenery, wildlife and photography, not to swim or sunbath. The images highlight twelve white sandy beaches, some with exposed coral limestone or granite rock. More images together with short descriptions feature on the subpage.
Mahe has two formal gardens; Mont Fleuri Botanical Gardens and Le Jardin du Roi Spice Garden, both are worth with visiting. There are collections of some Seychelles endemics and introduced species in the botanical gardens. Le Jardin du Roi has a collection of introduced spices, non-are native. Both gardens attract animals including some endemic species. Mahe wildlife, its flora and fauna, is not extensive but does have some interesting genera including endemic palms, pitcher plant and the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle that nests on the sandy beaches.
In the Seychelles hawksbill turtles come ashore during daylight hours to nest in the undergrowth of sandy beaches. To watch these animals come ashore and nest is a rewarding wildlife experience.
Glacis Trois Frères Trail starts from a carpark near the Sans Soucis Forestry Station bus-stop on the Sans Soucis Road. The trail makes its way through tropical forest where you get occasional glimpses of the east coast. The going gets difficult towards the end but extremely rewarding as the Seychelles endemic pitcher plant grows just of the trail and at the top there are breathtaking panoramas of the east coast, victoria and the airport.
Anse Major is a small cove accessible by boat or walking the coast path from Danzil on the north coast. The path has spectacular sea views, runs though interesting vegetation, crosses large steep granites slopes and culminates in a disappointing crowded and rubbish strewn beach.
Glacis La Reserve Trail starts from junction of the Cable and Wireless Station tack and Montagne Posee road with limited parking. Its an easy-going nature trail winding through a forest of six endemic palm species, wild pineapple and other plants such as cocoplum. The trail opens onto granite slopes (glacis).
Victoria is the tiny capital of the Seychelles. It has no hotels, some reasonable restaurants but few photogenic attractions. The Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market is worth visiting with its fresh produce and fish stalls and on the upper level boutique shops and a cafe/restaurant.