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St 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 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 seagrass meadows in the granitic bank of 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.

How to get to St Anne Marine Park snorkeling spot?

A large number of local tour operators organize half-day tours to the National Park, including 1 to 3 snorkeling stops. Most excursions to Saint 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 a permanent population, and offering three beach restaurants), you will enjoy the only underwater trail in Seychelles, a great place for beginners and anyone who wants to learn about marine life.

Snorkeling with manta rays at Ste Anne Marine Park, Seychelles
Manta rays are St Anne’s main attraction.

At last, if you are lucky enough to stay on a resort located inside the Marine Park (Club Med Seychelles on St Anne Island, or Enchanted Island Resort on Round Island), you will enjoy access to the spot just in front of your hotel room.

Entering the water at St Anne Marine Park

Water entrance depends on the option you choose: from the boat if you are participating in an organized tour, or from the beach if you are on the islands.

Ste Anne Marine Park snorkeling map, Mahe, Seychelles

Snorkeling tips to better enjoy the beauty of St Anne Marine Park

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 Seychelles, contrary to hawksbill sea turtles, very common in many areas, especially in La Digue and surrounding islands.

Semicircle angelfish at Ste Anne Marine Park, Seychelles
The semicircle angelfish is a common sighting in the Park’s reef areas.

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.

St Anne Marine Park also supports abundant rays populations: bluespotted ribbontail rays, 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 snorkelers.

Indeed, the high levels of plankton found in St Anne waters attract 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).

Bluespotted stingray at Ste Anne Marine Park, Seychelles
A stingray noted on the Park’s sandy beds.

Restaurants and accommodation around Ste. Anne Marine Park

Three beach restaurants are located on Cerf Island. If you participate in a snorkeling tour, check with your operator if lunch, drinks or snacks are included.

 

  • Level required Intermediate
  • Protected areaSt Anne National Marine Park
  • Maximum depth+8m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat or a beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree (or day tour price)
  • Restaurants nearbyYes, only on Cerf Island

MAP Spot

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.