Mahé is the largest island of the Seychelles and is located in the northeastern part of the country. Not only does it dwarf the other islands in size, but it also has the most people, accounting for 86% of the country’s population. Because of this, the capital of the 115 island nation, Victoria, is also found on the island of Mahé. Victoria is one of the smallest world capitals and the only major city and port in the Seychelles.
The history of the island is littered with intrigue and adventure as its strategic location made it a safe haven for pirates until the French invasion in 1756. In 1814, the country was officially ceded to the British after the Treaty of Paris. Seychelles eventually was separated from Mauritius in 1903 and in 1976, the Seychelles gained independence within the Commonwealth.
Today, Mahé is an important biodiversity hotspot. As such, environmental legislation on the island is very strict and Seychelles is a world leader in sustainable development. In 1993, the government in Victoria guaranteed its citizens the right to a clean environment and, in the same breath, charged its citizens with protecting that same environment. Today, with just under 50% of land under conservation, the country of the Seychelles holds the record for the highest percentage of protected land.
Mahé is a tropical destination at its best. The beaches are beautiful and watersports, including diving and snorkeling, abound. Adventure sports like zip lining are also popular with tourists, and hiking trails that crisscross the island offer magnificent views. The National Botanical Gardens showcases some of the rare and endangered trees found on the island and Le Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden teaches guests about the local gastronomy followed by a delicious meal in a jungle setting. Speaking of food, the morning market in Victoria gives guests a glimpse into local shopping patters. While you may be in Mahé for the diving, don’t miss the chance to explore this gorgeous island.
The only airport on Mahé is Seychelles International Airport in Victoria. This airport welcomes direct international flight from Europe, Africa and Asia. It is also possible to enter the Seychelles and dock near Mahé using a private yacht or other vessel.
Once you are on the island, you can to get around by plane, helicopter, boat, car or bus.