Mahé Island is only 17 miles long and five miles wide at its widest point. It is purely granite, with a large spine of mountains running down the middle of it, with the highest peak, Morne Seychellois, reaching upwards of 905 meters. Despite this mountainous terrain that makes Mahé a hikerís Eden, there exists a relatively flat ring around the edge of the island, and it is here that most of the population dwells. It is also here you will find the over 70 beaches the islandís coastline has to offer.
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The southern and western beaches are the most secluded and remote on Mahé, while the eastern coast, where you will find the port city of Victoria, which also the capital, is more developed.
This is thanks to reclaimed ground taken from dredging the ports for better access by larger sea-faring vessels.
The larger areas now available on the eastern side have added land for more local housing. The northern coast has fantastic beaches and a smorgasbord of restaurants to accommodate every gastronomic delight. However, the west coast in best known for the greatest beaches on Mahé.
Beau Vallon is in the top 10 for best beaches of the Seychelles island chain, and certainly boasts the vote of locals, as well as visitors. A quick 10 minutes from the capital, Beau Vallon stretches over a mile long with white, soft sand and crystalline blue waters, making it a true joy for swimmers and snorkelers. In Mahé, the sun rises around 6:15am every morning, year round, and sets at about 6:30pm every night. There is plenty to do during this time to keep you occupied. If you want to see the locals fish for mackerel off the coast of Beau Vallon, be up early; it is a captivating spectacle and you may be able to participate. Around 9 am, fishers will want to cast their lines into the waters, too. Wait for early afternoon, when the shadow of the mountain has lifted its cool finger from the beach, to go swimming. As the sun climbs higher the locals will join you on the beach, and it becomes quite easy to rent some jet skis, or go sail boarding, wind surfing or parasailing. From November to February, the winds blow northerly, and this beach becomes a haven for surfers.
Grand Anse Mahé Beach is also among the top 10 in Mahé for its beauty and splendor, but it is also very powerful and, during certain times of the year, you will not want to swim there. A surferís beach, one must be careful on this sand, which is deceptively lovely. It is a great place for photos, sun lazing, sand castle building and the like, but do exercise caution for swimming. Picturesque and awesome, Grand Anse Mahé Beach is definitely a must-see.
Intendance Beach is located near the southern tip of the island, with the coastline measuring 1,000 meters long of powdery white sands and limpid turquoise waters. Of all the beaches on Mahé, and some would say the archipelago, Intendance is the most visually exciting. Rather than massive amounts of palm trees found on other beaches, this beach sports glossy morning glories, a pinkish-purple flower that grows quite well in the fine sands. The pounding waves beat rhythm over the shore, creating an attraction for the surfers of the world, but may prove dangerous for swimmers. However, the sight of the beach itself is stunning, making this beach worthy of a visit or two.
With over 70 beaches, chances are you will find one on which no other soul hovers and have it to yourself entirely. Explore the island, visit Victoria, hike through the lush forests and climb the mountains. Mahé is much more than a stopover point to other Seychelles islands; it is a paradise adventure in itself.