Hiking is what it's all about in this rugged national park, spread across the interior of Mahé island.
Top Nature Walks in the Morne Seychellois National Park
There are excellent walks in the Morne Seychellois National Park, with a number of hiking trails through the jungle-clad hills. These are detailed in a series of leaflets that are available at the botanical gardens in Victoria. Once you move beyond the trailheads, the trails are poorly signed, so it's not a bad idea to hire a guide, who will also provide natural and cultural insights. Jacques Barreau and Basile Beaudoin lead hiking and birdwatching trips into the park and charge around €80 to €100 for an informative half-day's walk, including transport. You can also contact Terence Belle, but he only works on Saturday and Sunday. Bring plenty of water.
Danzil to Anse Major
The 2.5km walk to this secluded beach takes you along a coast fringed by impressive glacis rock formations. The path starts at the end of the road at Danzil, heading west from Beau Vallon, a few hundred metres further up from La Scala restaurant. It's a fairly easy one-hour romp, but most of the path is exposed to the sun. Before descending to the beach, the path goes past a lookout that affords fantastic vistas of Anse Major. The beach is blissfully quiet, and good for swimming, though there can be strong currents. Return by the same route.
Tea Factory to Morne Blanc
The imposing white bulk of Morne Blanc (667m) and its almost-sheer 500m face make a great hiking destination. Although the track is only 1200m long each way, it is quite steep – climbing 230m from start to finish. Plan on roughly 45 minutes to an hour for the ascent. The reward is a tremendous view over the west coast and the islands of Thérèse and Conception. The path starts 250m up the road from the tea factory on the cross-island road from Victoria to Port Glaud. Along the trail watch for the pendulous jackfruit plant and endemic bird species such as the Seychelles sunbird, Seychelles bulbul and the undeniably lovely blue pigeon; white-tailed tropicbirds soar high above the summit. You'll descend back the way you came.
This is the most popular walk on Mahé, and one of the easiest high-country walks. It also has a pleasant Indiana Jones feel – you walk almost all the way amid a thick jungle, with lots of interesting fauna and flora. Now is your chance to spot leaf insects and the Sooglossus gardineri, the smallest frog on earth. Watch also for the distinctive (and carnivorous) pitcher plants close to the trail's highest point. The trail starts on the cross-island Chemin Forêt Noire about 5km above Victoria. It's only just over 1km to the granite platform of Copolia (497m), but the final section is quite steep; allow roughly two hours there and back. The views of Victoria and Ste Anne Marine National Park are sensational.
Trois Frères (Three Brothers) refers to the three cliffs that tower over Victoria. The path is signed from the Sans Souci forest station on the Chemin Forêt Noire, about 4km from Victoria. The first part of the walk, up to a kiosk from where you get ample views, is fairly easy and can be covered in about one hour. The second leg, to the cross on the summit (699m), is tricky to follow and involves some scrambling – take a guide. Still game? Allow an extra two hours to reach the summit. You have to descend the same way.
Mare aux Cochons
This moderately difficult hike begins at Danzil. It diverts from the main route down to Anse Major to climb past the ruins of an old cinnamon factory, then through abundant groves of fruit and pandanus palms to the upland valley of Mare aux Cochons, with its high-altitude marsh. Return the way you came, or continue down to Port Glaud. Count on three to four hours. The trails can be difficult to follow so take a guide.