Trekking and walking
Seychelles enjoys a rich diversity of flora and fauna to be discovered by organised excursions as well as on walks and trails through lush countryside.
Here are some of the walks and treks suggested by the Seychelles Tourism Board.
Vanilla Orchid © STB
1. Anse Major
Island : Mahe - Difficulty : easy - Duration : 1-1½ hrs each way
This relatively easy trail winds its way along the rocky northwestern coastline of Mahé, leading to the small secluded beach of Anse Major.
Take the road which goes from Beau-Vallon, through Bel Ombre to Danzil, or take the SPTC bus route 21 (Victoria - Bel Ombre), alighting at the Danzil terminus. Follow the road up the hill for about 200m. Your car can be left here. Take the right fork in the road, passing through the small but expanding settlement of Danzil following the yellow route markers.
Much of this trail lies within the boundaries of the Morne Seychellois National Park, with spectacular rock slopes (called ‘glacis’ in Seychelles) and native vegetation typical of the drier areas of Mahé.
Put the hike on pause for a few seconds every 100-200 meters along this trail, to take in the different granite ecology and mountain landscapes, as well as the sea views. The beginning of the trail boasts beautiful views of Beau Vallon Bay, while the viewpoint from the sheltered bench toward the end of the trail looks down on Anse Major.
Island : Mahe - Difficulty : moderate – Duration : 3½ hrs each way
Cassedent is a relatively long walk of continuous ascends and descends through fascinating communities of screw pines, a palm marsh and endemic trees, with a natural waterfall at trail’s end for the perfect resting spot.
From Victoria take the Sans Soucis road, which crosses through to Port Glaud. The trail signboard is located at a bend on the right about 400m from Mission Lodge entrance. SPTC bus route No: 14 (Port Glaud via Sans Soucis) passes along this road, the bus stop is a few metres close to the start of the trail.
The start is a gentle climb up two separate paths that re-join further up on a plateau. For safety purposes, wooden platforms and steps have been placed in areas difficult to cross along this trail. A platform runs along the perimeter of the marsh, taking visitors around safely for viewing pleasure. This trail rests on a ridge at the base of a mountain where water collects and palm trees thrive.
A picturesque viewpoint overlooking West Mahé is situated three quarters of the way through the trail. The unique palm marsh and the screw pine forest are important components for this area’s ecosystem. Ruins along the trail hint at some of the islands’ economic activities of yesteryear, such as the remains of a distillery. The end of the trail may be considered the highlight, with a waterfall and its nearby cave.
3. Glacis La Réserve
Island : Mahe - Difficulty : moderate – Duration : 1 h.
The Glacis La Reserve trail winds through one of the most impressive palm forests on Mahé against a backdrop of granite cliffs and boulders, with three superb viewpoints along the way overlooking several different areas of Mahé.
The starting point for this trail is situated just off the Montagne Posee road that links Anse aux Pins on the eastern side of Mahé to Anse Boileau on the western coast. At the crest of the hill, turn off onto the small paved road leading towards the Cable and Wireless station.
This trail offers quite a bit of flexibility, with a few different circular tracks that can be followed, as well as three different viewing points, allowing less avid hikers shorter alternatives to going to the top of the mountain. The path itself is relatively easy but there are steep inclines at certain segments of the trail.
Spectacular views from three different vantage points on the way up the mountain offer glimpses of Mahé’s eastern and western seaboards. Five of the six endemic palm species of Seychelles can be found along this trail, and other examples of Seychelles’ rare ecology can be seen, such as endemic birds like the Seychelles bulbul, the blue pigeon, the sunbird and the Seychelles stick insect.
4. Mare aux cochons
Island : Mahe - Difficulty : tough – Duration : varies
Deep in the MorneSeychelloisNational Park, this is a series of interlinked trails with the upland valley of Mare aux Cochons as the focus, allowing hikers to customize their experience depending on their own level of fitness and specific interests.
Regardless of which route you wish to take within the Mare aux Cochons network, it is advisable to allow a whole day for your hike as most routes take between 3-4 hours of straight walking, not including diversions and discovery explorations.
Le Niol is the starting point for many of the suggested routes. It can be reached on the bus route 32 (Victoria – Le Niol).
The different trail routes all offer something unique to see, but Seychelles’ incredibly unique ecology is on display throughout. Mare aux Cochons itself is a fresh water marsh fed by a river that runs alongside much of the path, perfect for picnics. The surrounding trails lead to a spectacular viewpoint (Glacis d’Antin), several ruins of historical significance, as well as a cave reputed to have been a treasure burial site of the 18th century pirate La Buse, and an adjacent waterfall.
5. Vallée de mai
Island : Praslin - Difficulty : easy - Duration : 3-4 hrs.
The legendary Vallée de Mai is one of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Seychelles, and was once believed to be the original Garden of Eden. This hauntingly beautiful primeval forest is home to some 6,000 Coco de Mer trees.
The paths allow some flexibility in that hikers can double back before completing the entire track, but to explore all the paths and really absorb the atmosphere of the Vallée de Mai, it’s best to allow 3-4 hours.
From the Praslin airport, turn left onto the main road going towards Grand Anse. You will come to a fork in the road with signs for Vallée de Mai on your left—turn left and follow this road to the Vallée de Mai entrance. The car park and entrance are on your left.
The legendary Vallée de Mai is one of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Seychelles, and was once believed to be the original Garden of Eden.
The Vallée boasts all six of Seychelles’ endemic palm species as well as many other indigenous trees, and is the last habitat of the endangered black parrot.
The Coco de Mer palms which grow abundantly in the valley are among the most interesting highlights, with the female palms bearing double coconuts that resemble a woman’s pelvic region or buttocks, and the male palms bearing an equally suggestive phallus.
Vallée de Mai © STB
A path that branches off from the main circular track leads up to a sheltered viewpoint that looks out across the valley, and a beautiful waterfall is also situated within the forest.
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