Pristine palm-fringed beaches, clear cerulean waters, the most hospitable locals, delectable creole seafood, legends of swashbuckling pirates and hidden treasures….just some of the exciting stuff Mahe is made of!
Our first week in Seychelles. We spent hours relaxing at some of Mahe’s idyllic beaches – Beau Vallon, Anse Soleil, Grand Anse and a few other heavenly anses whose names I don’t recall now. (Anse is the French word for ‘cove’ or ‘bay’.)
We couldn’t get ourselves to step away from the comfort of the silky, smooth sand and the cooling ocean breeze. But we had to visit some of Mahe’s other sights. Here’s a summary of our first few days in Mahe:
DAY 1 – Tea Factory
Located in the vicinity of the mist covered Morne Blanc, this 50 year old tea factory produces organic tea for export.
The whole area is enveloped in a warm, tea aroma and the surrounding tea plantations lend an ethereal charm to the place.
The cozy cafe on-site (Tea Tavern) gives visitors an opportunity to sample some of the speciality teas produced here.
Complementing the superb tea experience is the breath-taking view of the western slopes of Mahe.
DAY 1 (con’td) – Ruins of Venn’s Town Mission Lodge
Close to the Tea Factory are the moss covered ruins of a boarding school built by missionaries in 1876 to educate the children of liberated slaves. In its time, it was a symbol of great hope for these children and their families.
Today, the lookout gazebo offers an unparalleled, southward view of Mahe.
DAY 2 – Ste. Anne’s Marine National Park
We rented a glass bottom boat at the pier and headed to Ste. Anne’s Marine Park. En route, our boatman slowed the boat to let us observe the seagrass and colorful fish via the glass bottom.
Our destination for the day was the picturesque Cerf Island (a part of the marine park).
The translucent, teal waters of Cerf Island are a snorkelers delight, with fish visible even from the shore.
We couldn’t believe our eyes when we spotted a reef shark!
After a few hours of glorious sunshine, a vicious storm began to brew on the horizon. We reluctantly decided to head back to Mahe.
The early evening downpour created a dramatic double rainbow, ending the day on a magical note.
Fun Tip: We had rented a car for our week on Mahe. But one of the must dos here is to take the local bus. Be warned! The bus drivers are daredevils – navigating the narrow, winding, hillside roads of Mahe at F1 speeds. Hold on to the handle in front or like us, you could risk being thrown out of the bus. A thrilling joyride for sure! And worry not, their safety record is impeccable.
For more on our time in Mahe, head to Mahe Musings – 2.
Curious about the island of Praslin? Head to my post, Of naughty nuts & giant tortoises.
I leave you now to enjoy some of Mahe’s local Creole dishes. The Seychellois cuisine is heavily influenced by African, French and Indian flavors, making for some really delicious, fusion food. Bon appetit!