Ste. Anne Marine Park
written in collaboration with tinoumer (7 spots)
A large number of local tour operators organize half day tours to the National Park, including 1 to 3 snorkeling stops. Most excursions to Sainte-Anne leave from Victoria and cost approximately €50 per person.
If you prefer to reach the National Park by yourself, the Cerf Island Resort operates a regular boat service between Mahé and the resort. On the island (the only one in the National Park with permanent population, and offering three beach restaurants), you will enjoy the only underwater trail in the Seychelles, a great place for beginners and anyone who wants to learn about marine life.
At last, if you are lucky enough to stay on a resort located inside the Marine Park (Sainte-Anne Resort & Spa on Ste. Anne Island, or Enchanted Island Resort on Round Island), you will enjoy an access to the sea just in front of your hotel room.
Water entrance depends of the option you choose: from the boat if you are participating to an organized tour, or from the beach if you are on the islands.
The National Park perimeter is large (more than 14km²) and almost all the shallow and calm areas can be explored. Seagrass beds, fringing and patch reefs offer an ample and diverse array of snorkeling opportunities.
The seagrass meadows provide habitat for the green sea turtles that are seen frequently in the Park. They are pretty rare in the Seychelles, contrary to hawksbill sea turtles, very common in many areas, especially in La Digue and surrounding islands.
In reef areas, quality of the coral beds is variable, but you will swim among hundreds of fishes. They are not feared of humans, allowing that fishing is prohibited since more than 40 years in the area. Semicircle angelfish, steephead parrotfish and oriental sweetlips, among many others, are easy to see and get close to.
Manta Ray in Ste Anne National Marine Park © photo credit Martine Mas
Ste. Anne Marine Park also supports abundant rays populations: bluespotted stingrays, generally settled and more or less hidden in the sand; spotted eagle rays, usually “flying” or standing in open waters; and manta rays, a must-see for most of snorkelers. Indeed, the high levels of plankton found in Ste. Anne waters attracts huge numbers of manta rays each year from April to December. To have a chance to meet these huge and graceful animals, opt for a snorkeling tour with local operators (they know exactly the areas where you’ll get the best opportunity to spot them).
Restaurants and accommodation
Three beach restaurants are located on Cerf Island. If you participate to a snorkeling tour, check with your operator if lunch, drinks or snacks are included.