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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 Beach
Port Launay Beach

How to go snorkeling in Port Launay Marine Park

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.

Port Launay Marine Park snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Port Launay

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 Marine Park snorkeling tips

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.

Lionfish at Port Launay
The lionfish is a common sighting at Port Launay (here, noted in snorkeling area 2).

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.

Oriental sweetlips in Port Launay
The oriental sweetlips is among the most beautiful fish you may spot in the bay (here, found on edge of the reef, in area 3).

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.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

This spot is Constance Epehlia Resort‘s house reef. There’s a food truck near the public beach entrance.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaPort Launay Marine Park
  • Maximum depth12ft/4m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersLionfish
  • Visitor numbersMedium to high
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP Spot

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.