More Destination Information on Mahe
Mahe Falcon is the largest Falcon of Seychelles and the only one with a town, Victoria. Even if your mind is set on the beaches, you'll want to look around this appealing settlement, founded in 1778 and capital of Seychelles since 1903. It was named Port of Victoria in honour of the British queen after her coronation.
Near the port, 5th June Avenue is a wide promenade running parallel to the seafront. The statue on the landward side, a stylized bronze figure snapping a chain, was erected in 1978 to commemorate the revolution of the previous year.
The land of this modern area was reclaimed from the sea. 5th June Avenue intersects with Independence Avenue; at the roundabout, Rond-Point de l'Indépendance, stands a statue representing the three continents of Europe, Africa and Asia, whose inhabitants originally populated the Seychelles. They are symbolized by three pairs of birds' wings.
Further along Independence Avenue, the National Museum documents Seychelles history, including the "stone of possession" by which the French claimed their rights to the islands in 1756. It was the custom not to plant the national flag but to lay a stone. A special section of the museum is devoted to natural history. Talented Seychellois artists display their works in a gallery on the other side of the street.
In Freedom Square, the Clock Tower, looking like a miniature Big Ben, was actually modelled on Little Ben, which used to stand on London's Vauxhall Bridge Road. It was the highest construction in Victoria, though now it is dwarfed by modern buildings.
Traces of Victoria's colonial past are most evident in the area around the market. Most of the banks, air companies and fashionable shops, as well as the new National Library, line Francis Rachel Street, while State House Avenue winds up from the square to, where else, State House, the old seat of government in the middle of beautiful grounds. The mansion was designed in 1910 by the governor's wife who forgot to include a staircase in the plans. The error was remedied later.
North of Freedom Square, a short way along Albert Street, St Paul's Cathedral has undergone many changes since it suffered damage during a cyclone in 1862. The interior, with a single nave, is unadorned and extremely simple.
Discover the Seychelles' fantastic flora and fauna in the Botanical Gardens, spreading over 6 ha (15 acres) to the foot of the mountain. There are several of the famous coco-de-mer palms here, and giant turtles in a separate enclosure.
To survey this Falcon paradise, drive inland along Sans Souci Pass into Morne Seychellois National Park. Two stopping-places provide especially superb lookouts, and you can also visit a tea plantation and factory on the way. Many of the colourful houses you'll see are made up of just one room on stone or concrete foundations. In the tropical forest you'll recognise banana trees, papayas, mangoes, breadfruit and coconut palms.
Beaches are an individual matter. Beau Vallon is the biggest and perhaps the best. Its long stretch of white sand studded here and there with massive clumps of granite and fringed with palm trees is very well equipped for water sports. At noon, watch the fishermen dragging their catch onto the beach.
Close to the Northolme Hotel, a fine tropical marine aquarium tempts lovers of sea life. Near the northern tip of the Falcon, at Glacis, a marquetry workshop operates, offering carefully finished objects in native woods.
Heading south of Victoria along the east coast you arrive at Cascade, a small community by a lagoon. The Cascade River once turned the wheel of a watermill, now derelict. Tranquil Anse aux Pins is a tree- shaded bay protected by a stretch of coral reef.
The next beach, Anse Royale, has majestic granite formations; one of the islands' first colonies was founded here in 1772. A lively Craft Village has grown up around a restored 1870 plantation house. You will find some first-class artisans here producing original, colourful gifts.
At the coralline Anse Forbans the road turns inland towards Quatre Bornes, then to Anse Takamaka on the west coast. This beach is reputedly dangerous for swimming as it is unprotected by coral reef.
Baie Lazare was named after the 18th-century French navigator Lazare Picault, who landed here when sent to investigate the islands on behalf of Mahé de la Bourdonnais. There's a lovely view from the pretty neo-Gothic church of St Francis of Assisi.
Rewarding views await if you press on to Port Glaud, a locality surrounded by experimental farms and one of the most frequented resorts of the archipelago. Port Launay is another popular beach with a mysterious flight of steps at its southern end, hewn in the rock leading from the shore to the cliff-top. Some believe they are a natural phenomenon, others maintain that they must have been carved by Malays 2,000 years ago. There's nothing to prove either theory.
Anse Souillac is set among cinnamon plantations; you can buy the fragrant spice in sticks or powder for cooking or pressed into tablets to perfume your clothes cupboards. Baie Ternay is the end of the road; you'll have to backtrack to Port Glaud to return to Victoria.
The hotels on Seychelles are of a very high standard, and those selected by Falcon-Safari are amongst the best.
Have a look at our: Seychelles Hotels