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Is Sainte Anne Marine Park the Best Mahé Snorkeling Trip?

Is Sainte Anne Marine Park the Best Mahé Snorkeling Trip?

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

What I learned from a Seychelles island hopping & snorkeling boat excursion at Sainte Anne Marine National Park from Mahé.

I was in search of the best snorkeling spot from Mahé Island in the Seychelles. So, I booked a boat excursion to Sainte Anne Marine National Park. I was told that this area has the richest marine life, being home to over 150 species of fish and other magnificent underwater life.

This park is also home to Moyenne Island and Round Island, which made me pull the trigger.

In this guide, I’ll unpack everything you need to know about a Sainte Anne Marine National Park tour and provide a review to help you find the best boat trips and learn what to expect.

Island in sainte anne marine national park

How to Book a Mahé Snorkeling Trip 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 like I did, you’ll also get hotel pickup and drop-off included from anywhere on Mahé 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
Sainte anne marine national park drone photo

Quick Things to Know 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. Here are some things to know:

  • 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 crystal clear water.
  • The best 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.
Mahe coral reef

Review: Is Sainte Anne Marine Park the Best Snorkeling Spot in Mahe

The boat trip that I went on visited many of the islands and stopped at several coral snorkeling sites. From my experience, 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 the 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!

Yes, I recommend visiting this marine park if you want to see healthy fish populations and corals. Below are some photos that I took snorkeling in the Sainte Anne Marine National Park so you know what to expect on your tour.

Snorkeling in mahe, coral freefs
Mahe snorkeling tour, sergeant major fish
Morne blanc viewpoint seychelles

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Visiting Moyenne Island On the Snorkeling Trip

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.

Baby giant tortoise on moyenne island, sainte anne marine national park, mahe, seychelles

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.

There are also some beautiful secluded beaches on Moyenne that rivaled some of the most famous Mahe beaches like Anse Major.

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.

Beach on moyenne island, sainte anne marine national park, mahe, seychelles
Moyenne island, sainte anne marine national park, mahe, seychelles
Graves on moyenne island
Brandon Grimshaw, his father, and an unnamed pirate are buried next to each other on Moyenne Island
Moyenne island boat trip from mahe
Fresh creole bbq on a mahe boat excursion
Hiking trail viewpoint on moyenne island
Beach 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 batfish and other varieties common to 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.

Round island, ile ronde, in the sainte anne marine national park, the seychelles
Fish on a snorkeling tour from mahe

Staying in the Sainte Anne Marine National Park

Those on a honeymoon or looking for the ultimate private island getaway should seriously 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!

Where Else to Stay on Mahé Before Your Snorkeling Trip

Mahé is the main & largest of the inner islands and home to the capital city of the Seychelles, Victoria. It’s a great place to stay for beaches & convenience. Here is a quick area guide with the top 4 accommodation recommendations below.

  • Victoria and Eden Island for nightlife
  • Beau Vallon for beaches and restaurants
  • Private islands for the ultimate island experience
Indoor swimming pool at the eden bleu hotel on eden island

1. Eden Bleu Hotel

The Eden Bleu Hotel is one of the best places to stay if you’re looking to be close to Victoria and on Eden Island. It’s an amazing contemporary hotel on the foreshore of Eden Island’s prestigious marina.

Precious residence house on mahe island in the seychelles

2. Precious Residence Budget

If you want to explore Mahé on a budget, then 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).

Berjaya beau vallon bay resort and casino, seychelles

2. 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, a fitness center, PADI diving center, and a tennis court.

Ja enchanted island resort seychelles pool view with lounging chairs

3. JA Enchanted Island Resort Top Pick

Looking for the ultimate Indian Ocean getaway? JA Enchanted Island Resort is an impeccably beautiful resort located on a tiny private island in the footsteps of the St Anne Marine Park.

More photos from My Mahe Snorkeling Excursion

Below are some more photos from my boat trip.

Sainte anne island, the seychelles
Mahe boat excursion
Port at mahe
Mahe boat excursion day tour, the seychelles
Moyenne island, the seychelles
Eden island, mahe
Sainte anne marine national park, the seychelles
Mahe marine park

I hope that my experience and short review on the Mahé 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 general, please leave a comment below!

Otherwise, while you’re here on my blog, make sure to check out some of my other helpful guides below.

Seychelles accommodation

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Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.


Thursday 19th of October 2023

Hello Olly, I have loved reading your adventures in the Seychelles. My husband and I fly out in 10days time and I am very excited. I love snorkeling and know I want to book a tour to St. Anne Marine National park but there are so many to choose from. Reading your article you were on a good tour, who did you go with? Is it cheaper to book in person if they don't offer hotel pick up? Thank you

Olly Gaspar

Sunday 22nd of October 2023

Hey Lisa, the company I went with is linked on the blog post! I do recommend them. It's usually the same price to book in person as on line.

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