Free shore access
This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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Last updated on August 18, 2023
Port Launay Marine Park, north-west of Mahé, is one of the most popular snorkeling spots on the island. Although this area is protected, the corals are not really healthy, with large expanses of bleached or broken coral. The diversity of reef fish (angelfish, moray eels, sweetlips), the occasional sightings of sea turtles, and the superb beach, however, make it a great snorkeling location.
Port Launay is a small bay in the northwest of Mahé, about a 30-minute drive from Victoria. Port Launay Beach has public access from the main road. Guest of the Constance Ephelia Resort can access the beach via the resort.
To explore the reefs that border the bay (zones 1 and 2 on the map), get in the water to the right or left of Port Launay beach. If you are staying at the Constance Ephelia Resort, a small path starting from the resort leads to Lans Koken, where you can also snorkel from the shore (zone 3 on the map).
Port Launay Beach has two reefs, one to the right-hand side of the beach (area 1 on the map) and one to the left (area 2), both within the Port Launay National Marine Park. The reef edge in area 1 is distinct, with Porites evident for over 250m, with shallow, lagoon-like conditions behind it (sargassum and crowded sea bell are abundant).
Unfortunately, much of the reef edge is moribund, with many areas of coral bleaching present. The habitat changes further out with some interesting expanses of lobed brain coral.
In area 2, the reef edge is more diverse and includes many different Acropora species, often in good condition. The reef can be followed out to the area of the cross, which is a good location to aim for.
In Lans Koken (area 3 on the map), once past the algae, at about 75m from shore, the reef has a distinct edge with a good variety of coral and fish species.
A wide diversity of reef fish (around 60 species) can be easily spotted in the marine park, including several species of angelfish (emperor angelfish, semicircle angelfish), butterflyfish, oriental sweetlips, and many kinds of surgeonfish (especially the beautiful powder blue tang).
Skunk anemonefish are found in magnificent anemones, particularly on the outer edge of the reef, in area 1. Occasional sea turtle sightings are also reported in Port Launay beach area.
This spot is Constance Epehlia Resort‘s house reef. There’s a food truck near the public beach entrance.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Small fringing reef with colorful fish
Free shore access
Coral reefs and manta rays
Coral reef protected by a Marine Park
Fringing reef with colorful fish
Free shore access
Reef drop off with coral and colorful fish
Shallow lagoon with soft coral and colorful fish