Complete Seychelles island hopping guide to an unforgettable snorkeling boat excursion at Sainte Anne Marine National Park from Mahe. Discover the best snorkeling locations on Mahe and explore island gems like Moyenne Island and Round Island.
Looking for the best snorkeling experience from Mahé Island in the Seychelles. Look no further than a boat excursion to Sainte Anne Marine National Park. This area has the richest marine life, being home to over 150 species of fish and other magnificent underwater life, making it the best snorkeling spot on Mahe.
In this travel guide, I’ll unpack everything you’d want to know about a Sainte Anne Marine National Park tour. I’ll include tips on booking the best boat trips, what to expect, and of course, photos from my trip.
COVID UPDATE FOR SEYCHELLES
Currently, you need to show proof of a negative PCR test to enter the Seychelles. Upon departure, you can book a rapid antigen or PCR test with Seychelles Medical on Mahe, La Digue or Praslin.
Important: All visitors to the Seychelles must currently show proof of travel insurance covering expenses related to Coronavirus. One of the best offerings with this inclusion is from Safetywing, which has cover starting at under $50. Another popular option for the Seychelles is World Nomads insurance.
Mahe Snorkeling Excursion to Sainte Anne Marine National Park
The best way to get to the Sainte Anne Marine National Park and enjoy an awesome day of island hopping and snorkeling is to book an excursion from Victoria.
Most island hopping excursions to the marine park usually depart from Mahe Marine Charter. You’ll find this next to the Seychelles Yacht Club in Victoria. However, if you book a trip online, you’ll also get hotel pickup and drop-off included from anywhere on Mahe Island.
Most of the boat excursion day trips will take a similar route, stopping by several snorkeling spots and islands including:
- Cerf Island Reef (various spots)
- Moyenne Island
- Round Island
Book in advance: Mahe: Snorkeling & Boat Excursion Trip
About Sainte Anne Marine National park
The Sainte Anne Marine National Park is a protected area on the east coast of Mahe Island in the Seychelles. It was the first Marine Protected Area set up in the West Indian Ocean (March 1973). The park is located directly across from Victoria and Eden Island.
The Sainte Anne Marine Park is a network of six islands where you can enjoy snorkeling, wildlife viewing, hiking, and relaxing in the crystal clear water. These islands include:
- Ste Anne Island
- Ile Moyenne
- Ile aux Cerf
- Chachée Island
- Ile Ronde (Round Island)
- Ile Longue (Long Island)
Unfortunately, due to the el nino (el niño) weather event in the Western Indian Ocean dating back to 1998, 90% of the Seychelle’s corals have been bleached. Today, much of the coral reef is still recovering. Luckily, there is an initiative to restore the coral reefs of Sainte Anne Marine Park called the MCSS Coral Restoration Program. This program continues to see great results and has seen a 10% increase in coral cover, fish density and diversity in the marine park since starting.
Best SNorkeling in Mahe
The Sainte Anne Marine National Park tour is the best snorkeling experience you can have in Mahe, and perhaps even among all the inner islands of the Seychelles.
The first spot on our Mahe snorkeling tour was a stretch of coral reef on the west side of Cerf Island (pronounced “surf”). I spent about 30 minutes free-diving and exploring the underwater world, with some of the deeper sections of reef sitting at approximately 10-12 meters.
Something that really gave me a positive outlook was that the deeper coral patches were much healthier. The abundance and diversity of fish and marine life was also quite impressive! Below are some photos that I took snorkeling in the Sainte Anne Marine National Park so you know what to expect on your tour.
Visiting moyenne island
The second port of call on our island hopping day trip was a visit to Moyenne Island. This particular island has a turtle breeding program, several hiking trails, and a unique history.
The island is roughly 9.9 hectares, or 24 acres in size and has historically been a private island. The most notable occupant and owner was the very famous Mr. Brandon Grimshaw. This unmarried life terraformed Moyenne Island, bringing in several fruit trees and native flora to serve as his private oasis. Interestingly, Mr. Grimshaw also brought several Aldebra Giant Tortoises onto the island, most of which are still alive.
Today, Moyenne Island is part of the Sainte Anne Marine National Park, but Mr. Grimshaw’s history is painted all over it. We spent a fair bit of time exploring the hiking and nature trails to some great viewpoints, learning about the island’s history at the on-site history museum, and admiring all of the diverse plants and animals that call the island home.
Before we ramped up the boat engines and continued on the Mahe snorkeling tour, we had time to enjoy an amazing traditional Creole BBQ lunch, prepared by our boat driver and guide.
Below are some more photos that I captured on Moyenne island.
Visiting ROund Island
After Moyenne Island, our boat driver took us to a couple more great snorkeling spots. While turtles are often seen cruising by, I wasn’t fortunate enough to spot one on my visit. However, I did see many more fish species and a huge school of sergeant major fish, as well as bat fish and other varieties common of coral reef systems in the West Indian Ocean.
Before finishing up the marine park excursion, we made a final stop to Round Island (Ile Ronde). This is a tiny island which you can actually stay on.
STaying in the Sainte Anne Marine National Park
For those on a honeymoon or looking for the ultimate private island getaway, then you’ll definitely want to consider staying at the Sainte Anne Marine National Park. The best-rated private island resort is called Ja Enchanted Island Resort on Round Island.
Since I was just visiting the region on a one-day snorkeling trip, I didn’t stay at the resort. However, I was able to get a peek at some of the facilities and let’s just say they blew me away!
Other Accommodation Recommendations for Mahe
Mahe is the main island and home to Victoria, the capital city of the Seychelles. It’s the largest of the inner islands and has several great places to stay. Here is a quick area guide with some recommendations.
- Victoria and Eden Island for nightlife
- Beau Vallon for beaches and restaurants
- Private islands for the ultimate island experience
Top pick on Mahe: Eden Bleu Hotel (Eden Island)
The Eden Bleu Hotel is one of the best places to stay if you’re looking to be close to the Victoria and on Eden Island. It’s an amazing contemporary hotel on the foreshore of Eden Island’s prestigious marina.
Visitor’s love the infinity pool, clean, modern rooms and world-class restaurant. I stayed at the Eden Blue Hotel for 3 nights and it was my favorite accommodation in the Seychelles!
Mid-range resort: Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort
This beautiful, beachfront resort and casino combo offers elegantly furnished rooms with all the facilities you could ever want. Here, you’ll find a large pool, three restaurants, a pizzeria, fitness centre, PADI diving a centre, and tennis court.
The location is great as it’s away from the hustle and bustle of Victoria with plenty of beautiful beaches and restaurants around.
Budget self-catering Studio: Precious Residence
If you want to explore Mahe on a budget, then a self-catering accommodation is your best bet. Precious Residence is an apartment with excellent reviews (9.5/10), offering budget apartments equipped with free WiFi, air conditioning, and a kitchenette on Grand Anse (west coast).
Ultimate getaway: JA Enchanted Island Resort
Looking for the ultimate Indian Ocean getaway? JA Enchanted Island Resort is an impeccably beautiful resort located on a tiny private island on the footsteps of the St Anne Marine Park.
The French colonial-style villas have a private infinity pool, a terrance with panoramic views and a private walkway to the beach. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind honeymoon getaway, this is your best bet.
Alternative: Stay on the mysterious Silhouette Island (Hilton).
More photos from My Mahe Snorkeling Excursion
Below are some more photos from my boat trip.
More Seychelles Travel Guides
I hope that my experience on a Mahe boat snorkeling tour to Sainte Anne Marine National Park in the Seychelles has inspired you to embark on your own trip. Also, if you have any questions or updates regarding snorkeling in Mahe, the marine protected park, or travel in the Seychelles in genera, please leave a comment below!
Otherwise, while you’re here on my blog, make sure to check out some of my other articles. I’ve written extensively about travel on Mahe, Praslin, and La Digue, and I’m sure you’ll find something to inspire your adventures in the Seychelles.