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Ste. Anne Marine National Park was created in 1973 to protect a group of 6 islands laying only 5 kilometers from Victoria, the capital city of the Seychelles. It is the South Western Indian Ocean’s first marine protected area. Accessible only by the sea, Sainte-Anne Marine Park provides a unique concentration of underwater ecosystems. It protects coral gardens, but also one of the largest areas of sea grass meadows in the granitic bank of the Seychelles. In the warm waters surrounding the islands, snorkelers can observe a large number of fish species, including manta rays, which are regular visitors to the area from April to December.
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.
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).
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.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.
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.