Mahé is the most extensive of the granite islands in the Seychelles. The many beaches, coves and shallow lagoons scattered along its coastline make the main island a great destination for snorkeling, with dozens of spots freely accessible from the shore. Some of Mahé neighboring islands, protected by a National Park, are also abundant with pristine coral reefs. Here, snorkelers can get up-close to manta rays, sea turtles, angelfish and many more.
Mahé is the largest island in Seychelles. With more than 110km of coastline, it is home to many snorkeling spots, mainly concentrated on the west coast, protected from the wind.
Mahé snorkeling locations have varied profiles. You can explore around the island shallow lagoons, narrow fringing reefs, or even mineral underwater landscapes dominated by granite boulders.
The coasts of the Victoria region are very artificial and offer few options for getting into the water. The closest spot to the capital is Beau Vallon Beach, just on the other side of the island, but the seabed is rather average.
Instead, we advise you to go as far as Cap Ternay, the westernmost point of Mahé. This region is home to two famous spots, both protected by marine parks: Port Launay and Baie Ternay. They are often considered the most beautiful on the island, although their coral reefs are in variable condition.
The south of the island undoubtedly offers the greatest concentration of snorkeling spots on Mahé. Along the portion of the west coast that goes from Anse Boileau to the Pointe du Sud, a dozen coves, more or less bordered by coral reefs, follow one another.
From north to south, Anse Soleil, Baie Lazare, Petite Anse (which is accessed via the Four Season Resort Seychelles), and Anse Takamaka are the most famous for snorkeling.
The southeast coast of Mahé, bordered by lagoons, also offers some good options for snorkeling. The lagoon of Anse Forbans and, north of Anse Royale, the spot of Fairyland Beach, are the most recommended.
Mahé is surrounded by several small islands, which can be visited by boat.
For snorkeling enthusiasts, Ste Anne Marine National Park, 3km off Victoria, is a great option. In addition to its coral reefs and seagrass beds, the Park is known for its manta rays, which frequent its waters from April to December.
It is possible to stay on 3 of the 6 islands in the Marine Park: at Club Med Seychelles in Sainte-Anne, at Cerf Island Resort at Cerf Island, and at JA Enchanted Island Resort on Round Island.
Most visitors, however, choose to get to the Marine Park on half-day or full-day boat trips from Victoria.
Around Mahé, you’ll generally find well preserved coral reefs, particularly on the west coast. Hundreds of species of reef fish can be observed here, such as angelfish, butterflyfish, surgeonfish, sweetlips and damselfish.
Groupers and octopuses are also easy to see in protected areas. To see rays, we especially recommend Ste Anne National Park – where manta rays, stingrays, and spotted eagle rays are often reported – because they are rarely seen elsewhere.
Turtles are rather rare on the reefs of Mahé. If you want to see some, also plan a few days on the nearby island of La Digue, which is one of the best places in the world to swim with hawksbill turtles.
Mahe Island, like the other granite islands of the archipelago (La Digue and Praslin in particular), enjoys a tropical climate and pleasant temperatures.
Unlike other groups of islands in Seychelles (Aldabra or the Farquhar islands), they are not in the path of cyclones. Snorkeling is possible all year-round, with average water temperatures of 82°F/28°C.
From October to March, rains are more frequent (with a peak in January), the temperatures are highest (+/-86°F/30°C) and there is most humidity. From April to September there is a cooler and dryer period, but it is also windier (+/-75°F/24°C).
As the wind has a certain amount of importance in snorkeling, you should remember that the prevailing wind is north-westerly from October to March and south-easterly from April to September (choose the most protected sites).
The inter-seasons (March to May and September to November) are the best periods for snorkeling, particularly since they are outside the peak tourist periods in December and in July and August.
450+ spots have been featured on Snorkeling Report with the help of people like you. Share your favorite snorkeling spot and help us cover the world map. Your contribution will help the snorkeling community find sites and enjoy the underwater world!
ADD A SPOT
On all spots; you can’t miss them at Anse Soleil, Anse Royale and Baie Lazare (3 free shore access spots)
Frequently sighted at Anse Soleil and Baie Lazare
Found on all spots; you’ll have good chances of seeing them at Anse Soleil, Baie Lazare and Anse Major
On all spots
On all spots, but uncommon
In Ste. Anne Marine Park, from April to December
Coral reefs and manta rays
Marine Park with coral reefs and colorful fish
Level: Free shore access Resort nearby
Small fringing reef with colorful fish
Level: Free shore access
Fringing reef with colorful fish
Reef drop off with coral and colorful fish
Coral reef protected by a Marine Park
Level: Resort nearby
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Dominated by granite boulders of all shapes, seagrass meadows and coral reefs, Praslin underwater landscapes host a wide variety of marine life. Only 7 miles long, Praslin is, however, the second largest of the granite islands in the Seychelles. It offers a dozen decent snorkeling spots, most of the (...)
Some of the most stunning beaches in the world, hawksbill sea turtles laying just under the surface of the Indian Ocean, and, just before your eyes, vibrant coral reefs where angelfish and spotted eagle rays abound… La Digue and its neighboring islands (Félicité, Coco, Grande Soeur…) are full of sur (...)
Denis Island and Bird Island are the northernmost islands in the Seychelles, and the only two coral cays of the granitic bank of the archipelago. On these sanctuaries islands, where tens of thousands of marine birds comes to nest each year, nature reigns. Fringed by coral reefs, Bird and Denis are t (...)
Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is located off the southeast coast of Africa, in the western Indian Ocean. The coral reef stretching over 450km along its southwestern coast (the fifth largest reef in the world), but also the numerous islands and islets scattered along Madagascar (...)
Mayotte is the hidden gem of Southwestern Indian Ocean. This small French island is surrounded by a 1,500 square kilometers lagoon, the largest in Indian Ocean. Home to dolphins, whales, manta rays and dugong, it is considered one of the most beautiful snorkeling destination in southwestern Indian O (...)
With its seagrass meadows and coral reefs protected by several parks and marine reserves, Kenya is one of the best destinations in mainland Africa for snorkeling. At many shallow water spots, snorkelers can encounter sea turtles, colourful starfish, clownfish in their anemones, angelfish, and dozens (...)
Pristine white-sanded beaches fringed with swaying palms and crystal clear waters... welcome to Mauritius! Bathed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, this idyllic island is surrounded by 100 miles of coral reefs. Although fishing and tourist frequentation has strongly contributed to the deterior (...)
White sand, turquoise blue water, and swaying coconut trees: Zanzibar archipelago, just off the African coast, is a tropical paradise. Its coastline, although overcrowded in some areas, offers good snorkeling, both from the beach and on the surrounding islets. Multicolored starfish, clownfish, butte (...)