Around The World In 21 Days: Exploring Mahe Island


  1. Introduction
  2. Delta Comfort+ ECP-ATL-JNB
  3. Hilton Sandton
  4. British Airways Economy JNB-PLZ
  5. Conrad Pezula
  6. Knysna and the Garden Route
  7. Westin Cape Town
  8. Exploring Cape Town + Penguins!
  9. British Airways Economy CPT-JNB
  10. Protea Hotel OR Tambo Airport
  11. Kenya Airways Economy JNB-NBO-DXB
  12. DoubleTree Hotel Jumeirah Beach
  13. Exploring Dubai
  14. Kenya Airways Economy DXB-NBO-SEZ
  15. Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort
  16. Exploring Mahe Island
  17. Kenya Airways Economy SEZ-NBO-BKK
  18. W Bangkok Hotel
  19. Exploring Bangkok
  20. Vietnam Airlines Economy BKK-HAN-NRT
  21. Back In Tokyo!
  22. Delta Air Lines Main Cabin NRT-DTW-ATL
  23. DoubleTree Atlanta Airport
  24. Delta Air Lines Comfort+ ATL-ECP
  25. Conclusion

While some of my RTW destinations were easy to decide on (South Africa, Dubai) others were a bit more difficult to decide. The Seychelles were one of those destinations, and it happened to be the one in the middle of my trip. I had looked at not only the Seychelles, but also Zanzibar, the Maldives, and Southern India. Many of these destinations became problematic due to less-than-daily flight schedules or either non-existant or terrible routing to get from one place to another.

One of the rules of RTW itineraries is that you typically cannot backtrack, and that was true with Delta’s SkyMiles RTW award. This meant that, except for connections, any stopover needed to be in the same direction as your overall direction of travel. If you started traveling East, that meant from each stopover, you could only go to places more East of you, based on longitude. North and South, however do not matter.

Zanzibar actually would have been the easiest in that since it is right off the African coast, I would have been able to stop there on the way to Dubai. However, while I would like to go to Zanzibar and wander the alleys in Stone Town, I really wanted a tropical beach getaway. I couldn’t make Southern India work from Dubai (there seems to be an overall lack of SkyTeam coverage in India, it seems), and the Maldives while I could have had an amazing stay I’m sure, the flight schedules weren’t the best and could have seen me having to fly via Moscow on Aeroflot. The Seychelles really did check all the boxes.

Tropical island? Check. Gorgeous beaches? Check. ‘Easy’ to get to? Double Check.

The main island of the Seychelles, Mahe Island, is the primary population center of this small African nation in the middle of the Indian Ocean. As such, this is where you will fly in on any one of number of airlines, including with each of the three major alliances being represented. The majority of destinations are from relatively close-in places (Africa, the Middle East) with a handful of flights to Europe. Coming from Africa, it’s not a bad flight at all with it being about 3.5 hours from Nairobi to Mahe Island.

Obviously getting there is one thing, but being able to get on to the next destination is just as important. Thankfully, Kenya Airways has a surprisingly decent route network, and that made it easy for me to get to my next destination of Thailand afterwards. With everything considered, the Seychelles really did fall into place as being the right fit for my trip…and I’m glad I found myself there!

Near The Resort
My first 24 hours on the island were spent nearly entirely at the Hilton Northolme Resort, aside from my taxi journey from the airport through Victoria to the resort. Which is pretty unusual for me, as I hate being “stuck” at a resort; part of the reason that I think that I let this happen was 1) Really needing to relax and 2) The Hilton Northolme was a small resort that wasn’t overly tourist-ified, like when I think some of the huge resorts you find in your “typical” resort destinations. You can read all my thoughts on that in my previous post here.

As the day started to end though on my first full day on the island, I felt the need to get out and explore. Fortunately, this would be an easy enough of a task; down the hill from the resort is the village of Beau Vallon. It’s a small-ish village, but it’s where a number of the resorts and hotels are located on this side of Mahe Island. This means there are tourists out and about, and for good reasons: the beach unlike the tiny one at the Hilton stretches for a good distance as it frames the edge of the water. There’s restaurants, bars, and everything else a tourist might need on a visit to the Seychelles.

Walking Down The Hill To Beau Vallon

On The Edge Of Town

Beau Vallon

I had not done any research about Beau Vallon to be honest, so I didn’t know what the options were for dining or anything. I checked out a few restaurants, many of which with beachfront dining and even contemplated just going to the Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove so I could say that I’ve been there. To my surprise however, I stumbled on something else. Something better. Under a tree-lined sidewalk barely removed from the beach, I found a number of tents and tables set up. I moved in to get a closer look, which turned out to be a handful of folks cooking up and selling various dishes. It was cheap and served to be in a styrofoam box, but I took my meal of mystery (sometimes it is best to not ask what it is) and found a fallen tree at the edge of the beach to sit at and enjoy a sunset dinner. It’s hard to beat a simple meal like that in a place of beauty. To top it off, another person was selling an alcoholic punch of sorts, which formed a really good way to cap off the evening and the last vestiges of light in the sky.

Beau Vallon Beach

Outdoor Grillin’

I’m Not Entirely Sure What The Meat Was…

The only problem with being in Beau Vallon past sun down was trying to figure out how to get back to the Hilton. I was a little hesitant to walk back up the hill, but I didn’t see any taxis around nor any buses. It’s not a terribly far walk (about 2km), but with it now being night with no shoulder or sidewalk just seemed like a bad idea. I still though without any other option, decided to start walking. I figured that I might luck out and the last bus of the day might pass me before I got too far along and I could ride it for a few stops. Thankfully, a bus did approach not long after I had got out of the village, and so I hopped on for the 5 minute ride the rest of the way and arrived safely at the front gate.

Sunset At Beau Vallon

Around the Island
My second full day on Mahe Island was spent behind the wheel of a rental car. A Hyundai i10 to be exact; provided by a local rental car outfit in Beau Vallon, and arranged for by the Hilton. I figured the best course of action was to do a loop of the Southern half of the Island, as it didn’t look like there would be much of interest on the Northern half (essentially past the Hilton). Unfortunately there isn’t a connection on the Western side of the Island between the North Coast Road and West Coast Road, which makes for having to drive through Victoria each way.

The (Not So) Mighty Rental Car

The traffic around Victoria wasn’t bad and before I knew it I was south of the Airport. From here things started to get more sparse, passing through the occasional small town or village. I didn’t have too much of a goal for driving on this day; I could have gone to a multitude of places, including the Rum distillery, but opted against. Actually, half the attraction was just driving the roads. They may have been of about equal quality to the roads in South Africa, but being on an island the speed limit was set fairly low (40 km/h I believe); when you’re on an island, why would you need to go faster?

What The Roads Are Like In The Seychelles

I didn’t stop until I had pretty much rounded the South end of the road where it meets the Western side of the island. I popped out at Takamaka Beach, to find my first beach of the day. There were maybe two or three other visitors there on the beach, and they left after a few minutes of me standing there. It was a good spot to sit and start thinking about other beaches I wanted to go to as well as where I thought I might want to get lunch.

Takamaka Beach

My plan was to go to Anse Soleil to which there was a small hotel and restaurant. The books and internet had said that this was a beautiful secluded place and that the food wasn’t bad either. This required getting off the main road, which was fine enough. Then I had to turn off the secondary road to go down the hill down what looked like a one-lane driveway. Oh and that it was ridiculously steep. You see, that little Hyundai i10 I was driving already proved to me that it had less-than-decent power to tackle hills, and this had me thinking I was going to get the rental car stuck. After a short distance, I threw it in reverse and decided to inch my way back up.

Faced with that decision, I quickly needed to put into motion a Plan B. Thankfully on the same road as the cutoff for Anse Soleil, is the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles. You might be wondering…why would I be glad that a large luxury resort that I was not staying at is right there? Well, their beach is technically a public beach, and thus they have to let people on to the property for that purpose. It also means that you can take advantage of their restaurant (!) as well as a few other facilities (but not all). The downside is that you can’t drive on to the resort, and unlike the Hilton this resort is huge. As such, you have to park along the road outside the gate, which I happily did. As I started walking down the hill to the main resort, area, I also thankfully got picked up by one of their golf carts that took me the rest of the way.

I headed my way towards Kannel, their more casual restaurant and selected a table outside in the shade. By coming here, I knew that my lunch would likely be more expensive than my dinner that night, and after a few beers and a decent marlin pizza, well I was 60EUR in the hole! I think that took the record for the most expensive lunch that I’ve ever had, but I’m not sure if the quality matched the price. The service was great, but the pizza was just good, just not sure that it was worth the price. From that point, I decided it would be good to check out the beach; as a non-guest you aren’t permitted to use the beach chairs or any of the amenities like the pool, but I honestly don’t know how they would enforce it. I mean perhaps they would notice that as I walked around with a towel from the Hilton? I mean, really I think they are hoping for folks to follow the honor system here.

Kannel – Four Seasons Resort Seychelles

Marlin Pizza With Pineapple At Kannel

I will say that the sand on the beach here is quite possibly the softest that I’ve ever walked on. I mean, almost sink into the sand soft. Plus just in general the beach here is quite beautiful and if you work your way to the ends of the beach you be a bit on your own (it definitely gets crowded around the center where the pool is).

Beach At The Four Seasons Resort Seychelles

After catching a ride back up to the gate, I jumped back in my little Hyundai and kept heading North along the West Coast Road. I took it easy and stopped a few times along the way, but for the most part I just enjoyed the scenic drive. Now, at one point I did have the intention to try to hike a short trail, however as I got into the afternoon clouds were starting to roll in and I wasn’t sure if it would start raining. I opted for the safe bet and decided to take the road back over the mountains to Victoria. However, the Hyundai was really struggling. With the peddle to the floorboard, the car struggled to go up the hill, which only really became scary when a truck came flying up behind me and was clearly able to be in an appropriate gear for going over the mountain.

I weighted the options as to what to do next, and I could have stopped in Victoria to explore, but I decided instead to head back to the Hilton. I gave the front desk the keys to the rental car, and got cleaned up. I was going to go into Victoria, but figured that I would take the bus; so outside the front gate of hotel, I waited for the quite beat-up/run-down bus to come barreling around the corner. After handing over a low five rupees, I jumped on and headed for Victoria.

Going For A Bus Ride

From where I got off, the first site of interest was the Hindu Arulmigu Navasakti Vinayagar Temple; the only Hindu temple in the Seychelles serving the few thousand followers that live there. It’s not huge, but it’s definitely colorful on the outside!

Seychelles Hindu Temple

For the most part, I just walked the streets of Victoria. Most of the shops were closed at this point in the day and there aren’t many things to visit it seemed. One of the few things to see is however the Victoria Clocktower, which is over 100 years old and located in the middle of an intersection as a memorial to Queen Victoria. It kinda helps sums up that when you’re in the Seychelles you aren’t here to see things that are historical, you’re here to be in paradise!

Side Street In Victoria

Canal In Victoria

Victoria Clock Tower

Eventually I found myself what could only be described as a Seychellois dive bar. Foursquare has it listed as ‘Marine Charter’, however I doubt that is the actual name. Heck, it might not even have a name. It’s right at the marina and is not much more than a shack with beer and plastic chairs outside under a covering. I knocked back a few beers as I watched the boat traffic come and go, before eventually heading to dinner.

Boats, Boats, Boats

Like Any Good Dive, The Beer Was Cheap

I headed for The Pirates Arms as it seemed like a place that may be busy and lively based on what I read online. Unfortunately, when I showed up it was anything but that. Plus, I had expected to be somewhat pub-like and it really was just a restaurant. Being a bit underwhelmed by the place, I ordered a beer and a croque maddam which was a bit “meh”, but not really the dining highlight of my trip. I did at least enjoy a table by the window which was opened and let me see how not-busy Victoria is at night after the sun goes down. Note: The Pirates Arms closed in early 2016; apparently the building is going to be demolished and replaced with a modern building which supposedly include the Pirates Arms.

Inside The Now-Closed Pirates Arms

Through The Pirates Arms Window

Wrapping up my day, I had planned to take the bus back to the Hilton, which meant walking to the bus station. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the bus station you could tell that the buses were done running for the day…I was too late! That meant walking back down to the main drag to find a cab. I did manage to catch one back outside the Pirates Arms and found myself back at the Hilton without too much of a dent in my pocket.

Clock Tower By Night

As I wrapped up that full day, I kicked back on the couch and cracked open the tall can of 14% ABV beer that I picked up from a bodega in Victoria. I only managed a few sips though, as it was downright terrible! I thought about heading down to the bar at the Hilton to find something to wash out the foul taste, but opted to just hangout on the patio for a bit and listen to the waves before deciding to retreat to bed. My time in the Seychelles was fast coming to a close!

Do Not Recommend.

The Last Moments
Everything good must eventually come to an end, and my stay in the Seychelles was no exception. It also meant that my trip at this point was “downhill” in that a week while I was only halfway around the globe from Florida, a week from the day of my departure from this tropical isle I would be back home and at work. That weighed on me a little bit and I really wanted to spend some more time on this island!

Because of this I was determined to make my last few hours here to be as lazy as possible, enjoying breakfast at the Hilltop Restaurant one last time at the Hilton before retiring to a hammock in the shade at the resort’s beach. I didn’t want to leave, but eventually a taxi came by to whisk me off to the airport.

The Seychelles really did stand out on this trip. Of course all the locations did in the end for one reason or another, but it was here in the Seychelles where I found myself ridiculously relaxed and not having to worry about anything. I was so relaxed that I didn’t even use my cell phone the entire time I was on the island having decided to skip out on getting a SIM card or paying Verizon exorbitant roaming fees.

I’ve been hard-pressed to find a place with a natural beauty as Mahe Island does. From the secluded beaches to the mountains and everywhere in between, if you don’t find this island to be scenic then I think you have something wrong with you! It’s definitely in my top three destinations for scenic beauty that I’ve visited along with Switzerland and New Zealand. As such, I would recommend a trip here to anyone looking for an island getaway! It may be a little bit difficult to get to depending on where you are located (such as in the US), but it is definitely worth the journey. On the other hand, I kinda hope that not everyone winds up visiting the Seychelles as I think the fact that it isn’t completely overrun with tourists is one of the things that makes the Seychelles a great destination.

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