Exploring Mahe island
Did you think that Seychelles is only a beach destination? Well, it’s not and you might be surprised about the marvelous places that you can explore while on the islands. The international airport is on the Mahe – the archipelago’s main island, which was in fact our home for the first week spent there, so in today’s post I will present the top attractions of this beautiful island.
I will start with the capital of Seychelles, the cute and multi-cultural town of Victoria, one of the smallest capitals in the world. Victoria is the republic’s business and cultural hub and its main stars of the city are:
– the Victoria Clocktower, a national monument reminiscent of London’s “Big Ben” that has kept ticking since 1903, unaffected by the modern glass and concrete development around it
– the hindu temple, also called the Navasakti Vinayagar Temple, which is located behind the central market of Victoria. The deity presiding over the temple is the elephant god Ganesh. The temple is a real Instagram star and a must see in Victoria due to its unique architecture and colorful statues.
When in Victoria, stroll along the streets and soak up the city’s friendly charm. The Seychellois culture reflects the traditions of all the different races and nationalities that settled the archipelago, including the Islamic mariners, the French settlers, the British colonials, the Tamil and Chinese traders, and the African slaves. Getting to know their stories, their food and lifestyle is quite an experience and you will be surprised about how kind are the people living there.
The Tea Factory
It’s tea time, darlings! The farm situated in the Morne Seychellois National Park Here, where the cool mountain air of Morne Blanc helps the tea plants grow terrace upon terrace, is responsible for growing and manufacturing the Seychelles tea: the fragrant SeyTe and Citronelle. You can witness the whole process from drying to packing and also enjoy one of the finest views on the island from the Alice in Wonderland styled garden.
Imagine my excitement when I saw it!
If you love panoramic views, Mission Lodge offers spectacular sea and mountain views across Mahe, being very close to the highest point of the island. Here, in the forest, you can still observe the ruins of the school built by the London Missionary Society in the 19th century to care for slave children who had been dumped on the island after the abolition of slavery. Both history and the superb view have contributed to the special and very emotional vibe from the shaded and peaceful confines of a gazebo where Queen Elizabeth II once sat for tea.
The exclusive Eden Island development is an artificial island in Seychelles, lying 3.5 km from the capital Victoria. It is the home of many luxurious villas, sophisticated mansions and stylish apartments. The development also boasts a full-service, deep-water marina with private moorings for each residence in the resort. In addition to exceptional accommodation, Eden Island is also well equipped with secluded beaches, restaurants, bars and some shops located in Eden Plaza. It’s nice to enjoy a pina colada at one of the bars and have a nice view over Mahe, especially of Morne Blanc with his peek covered in fluffy clouds.
The Botanical Garden
Located near Victoria, the Botanical Garden is one of Seychelles’ oldest National Monuments, dating back more than a century. The garden is home for a wide number of exotic and endemic plants, including brightly colored orchids, beautifully organized in that tropical environment. We saw the mango and the starfruit tree and a wide collection of spice trees. There is also a shelter for a population of giant tortoises from Aldabra, some of which are over 150 years old. They are extremely friendly and very hungry all the time so it was a natural thing to do to take some plants and feed the old ladies. Although fruit bats are present all over the island, flying mostly at sunset, the garden also hosts some colonies in the taller trees that in time became huge attractions among tourists. The fruit bats are extremely cute (but big) and they really look like the batman sign while flying.
The Takamaka Rum Distillery
Un mojito, dos mojitos…mira que isla bonita!
Indeed Mahe island is a wonderful place to explore because at every corner you find something authentic creole that is worth a visit. Such a hidden treasure is the Trois Freres distillery which provides the Seychelles islands with high quality rum based on an old family recipe. The well known Takamaka Rum is derived from local sugar cane carefully selected and chosen from the best regions on the island of Mahe. At the establishment you can admire the gorgeous 200 year old colonial era plantation estate, have a taste of the exquisite rum (dark/white/coco/vodka or pineapple), see closely the production mechanism and also enjoy a quite walk in the tropical garden.
Le Jardin du Roi
This spice garden offers a unique experience to visitors to observe a typical Seychelles plantation that grows spices and other rare plants such as pepper tree, cinnamon tree, aromatic plants, vanilla tree, jackfruit tree etc. The 35-hectare orchard-crossed-with-forest is located up in the hills above Anse Royale. This lush garden is a real heaven for botanists, nature lovers and the environmentally conscious. For those who explore the entire domain, there is a beautiful place (that is worth the hike) with a spectacular view over the ocean.
I hope you liked the post and you are now convinced that Seychelles is the perfect mix between pristine beaches, crystal clear water, natural environment and creole culture. Mainly, Seychelles is all about traditions well kept and heavenly nature. The rich culture of Seychelles is a melting pot of all the people that settled the islands. Nowadays you can easily see the effect of those different cultures mixing together, because each wave of new residents contributed something unique to the remarkable blend of language, music, arts and religion that characterizes the archipelago.
In the following posts I will continue to present my incredible journey throughout the islands surrounded by the Indian Ocean and you will find out so many great places to see or do in the area, so don’t forget to follow my Faceebook page Arina In Wonderland and also my Instagram account arinainwonderland for more inspiring stories and photos.