Mahe Musings – 2

Day 3 of our week in Mahe.

At dawn, we set out with our guide, Steve. He took us along the Mare aux Cochons trail, in the deep interior of the Morne Seychellois National Park. Nestled amidst the thick forest vegetation is Morne Seychellois (905m/2,969 ft), the highest point in the archipelago.

Morne Seychellois - Mahe, Seychelles

As we climbed up to a height of about 500m, we passed fragrant cinnamon and nutmeg groves, vanilla vines, pandanus with its long, aerial roots and many other tropical plants.

Morne Seychellois National Park - Mahe, Seychelles

Wild pineapples, luscious berries and different types of mushrooms added pops of color to the green blanket around us.

Wild berry - Morne Seychellois, Mahe, Seychelles

We also observed several forest creatures like the fruit bat, the endemic Seychelles skink, giant spiders and snails.

Giant Spider - Morne Seychellois, Mahe, Seychelles

Steve shared an interesting insight with us – Seychelles has no large predators or poisonous snakes. Wish he had mentioned that at the start of the trek!

 

DAY 4 – Le Jardin Du Roi (The King’s Garden)

Le Jardin Du Roi is a 35-hectare spice garden, located on a hilltop near Anse Royale with splendid views of the bay below. A wide variety of spices, herbs, fruits and flowering plants are grown here.

Spice Garden - Mahe, Seychelles

Spice Garden - Mahe, Seychelles

The walk around the plantation made us very hungry and we headed to the cozy, garden restaurant. Here, Creole style meals are lovingly prepared from ingredients grown in-house.

Spice Garden Cafe - Mahe, Seychelles

Octopus curry with raw fruit salad

Spice Garden Cafe - Mahe, Seychelles

Fish curry with a plantain side dish

After our delightful lunch, we ordered the restaurant speciality – homemade ice-cream. Hands down, the freshest, creamiest ice-cream I’d ever had!

Spice Garden Cafe - Mahe, Seychelles

Nutmeg, cinnamon and citronelle (lemongrass) icecream

Must do: Take home some of the yummy fruit jams from the store at the Spice Garden.

On a side note – whoever coined the phrase ‘plain vanilla’ obviously never tasted the real thing! Did you know, vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron? When added as a dried pod, it lends a sublime, floral aroma along with a pale yellow color and a multitude of tiny brown specks from the bean. The phrase ‘plain vanilla’ is such an oxymoron.

A short drive from the Spice Garden is the Domaine de Val des Pres (Craft Village) – a colonial plantation lined with frangipani trees.

Craft Village - Mahe, Seychelles

Several artisans are based there including a potter and a ship modeller, among others. The charming 1870 plantation house takes you back to a simpler time.

 

DAY 5 – Around Victoria

A visit to the colourful Victoria market was long overdue.

Victoria Market - Mahe, Seychelles

Victoria Market - Mahe, Seychelles

The busy market (originally built in 1840 and renovated in 1999) is named after Sir Percy Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke, Governor of the Seychelles from 1947–1951.

Victoria Market - Mahe, Seychelles

Victoria Market - Mahe, Seychelles

Later in the day, we drove to Bel Air and did a quick tour of the historic Bel Air cemetery.

Bel Air Cemetery - Mahe, Seychelles

Bel Air Cemetery - Mahe, Seychelles

 

DAY 6 – Bazar Labrin, Beau Vallon beach

Last Saturday of the month. A throng of people had gathered at the evening market on Beau Vallon beachfront.

The atmosphere was festive with serenading musicians, the aroma of barbequed fish and stalls selling local arts and crafts.

Beau Vallon Market - Mahe, Seychelles

We feasted on breadfruit chips and stopped to get a taste of kalou, a mildly intoxicating drink made from the sap of the coconut palm tree (also known as ‘toddy’ or ‘palm wine’ in other parts of the world).

As the sun began to set, we looked back on the week gone by. We had completely forgotten about our ‘real’ lives. Work pressures and city stresses had been replaced with calming visions of golden beaches, azure waters and the smiling faces of the Seychellois people!

We had one more week in this paradise. We were headed to Praslin the next day – home of the exotic coco-de-mer.

For my post on the islands of Praslin, Curieuse & Cousin, head to Of love nuts & giant tortoises.

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2 Comments

Filed under Africa, Seychelles

2 responses to “Mahe Musings – 2

  1. Fantastic post! Thank you so much for this! Regards, Cory

    Liked by 1 person

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