The tropical island archipelago of the Seychelles is renowned the world over for its legendary beauty; picture powder white beaches, lush inland forests teeming with wildlife and intriguing British and French colonial architecture. And when you can bear to tear yourself away from those iconic beaches, lace up you walking boots and get to know this little corner of heaven by taking to one of the many walking and hiking trails that dot the islands.
Glacis Trois Freres Trail – At an elevation of 300 metres, this coastal trail on Mahé Island provides amazing views over the Ste Anne Marine Park and Victoria. On clear days, keen walkers can look out over the La Digue and Praslin islands that make up the easterly region of the Seychelles archipelago. Journeying along this easy route only takes around 45 minutes each way. At the top of the trail guests have the opportunity to see the unusual carnivorous Seychelles Pitcher plant that remain part of the natural flora here. A second path known as the Trois Freres Cross ventures further up the mountain, but it’s no longer regularly maintained, so tread carefully.
Vacoa Nature Trail – This easy, circular trail on Mahé Island takes a mere 30 minutes to circumnavigate and provides hikers of all abilities a glimpse of dense mangroves flooded by the Dauban River. The path extends inland into a fragrant pine forest. The curious little path brings visitors face-to-face with a series of foot bridges and a sheltered kiosk. Gaze in awe at the Seychelles screw pines that dominate the area and which grow to a massive size. Other interesting land features also include immense granite boulders.
Cassedent Trail – When in the mood for more of a physical challenge, the Cassedent Trail offers an extensive, moderately difficult path that travels along the ridge of a mountain base. If you’re staying at the nearby Constance Ephelia Resort take advantage of the packed lunches on offer to really make a day of it. The Cassedent route ascends and descends along the way in a series of gentle climbs. The picturesque terrain features groups of screw pines, a palm marsh and a host of other native trees. Along the way, hikers navigate across a series of foot bridges. Upon reaching the end of the trail around three hours later, travellers can take a cooling dip in the soothing waterfall and take a moment in the shady cave, which provides the idyllic setting for a peaceful rest and a possible picnic.
Glacis La Reserve – There are various paths in the Glacis La Reserve area on Mahé Island, varying from easy to moderate in difficulty and which take about one hour per journey. The circular tracks enable hikers to see beautiful palm forests that majestically stand against granite boulders and cliffs. Five of the six native species grow here. Occasional steep climbs along the trails add a bit of a challenge. However, three lookout points provide a unique perspective and rewarding views overlooking stunning Mahé. The variety of endemic wildlife seen in the area includes blue pigeons and bulbuls along with sunbirds and the strange stick insects.
Mare Aux Cochons – The network of trails of Mare Aux Cochons lie within the depths of the Morne Seychellois National Park on Mahé. Spanning various distances and offering different obstacles, the trails through the upper areas of the valley appeal to hikers with a variety of fitness levels. As walks here take three to four hours, pack a lunch and plan on spending the better part of the day here. In addition to the incredible flora and fauna native to the area, visitors have the chance to see a stunning waterfall, views over the Glacis d’Antin, explore several historic ruins and the chance to venture into the cave reputed as being the site where 18th century pirate Las Buse buried his treasure.