Anse Royale Beach
Our flight landed in the morning, and we had several hours to kill before we could check into our self-catering place. Since the weather was nice Eric pointed us to Anse Royal beach, also known as fairyland beach. The water colors were beautiful! We found a parking spot in the large lot off the main road and then found a spot on the sand under the trees. I read while Eric decided to snorkel. Water clarity wasn’t great due to the waves but he did see some interesting fish. There were a lot of families and beach dogs and I enjoyed watching the ghost crabs throw sand out of their homes. The one downside was the proximity to the road – trucks and cars are driving past only a few feet away. We were lucky with the weather, as the rain held off until the afternoon, at which point we could check-in to our apartment.
Morne Blanc Trail Hike
Woke up super early on Wednesday due to an early bedtime the night before, so once the rain stopped we slathered ourselves in sunblock and headed out for a hike. The trailhead was about 30 minutes from our place by car and there were only a few cars parked when we arrived at 9:15am. The air temp was noticeably cooler this high up so that was a big plus because the hike was hard – about 2000 feet elevation gain in a mile! We did see a number of interesting things on the trail including a black snail, a friendly tenrec, and several flowers.
The trail is uneven with lots of slippery stones and tree roots, so I was glad I had my Keens. As advertised the views from the top are stunning. Luckily for us the earlier clouds had cleared out so we had beautiful views from Port Launay to Anse La Mouche. The crowds were picking up as we left the platform so earlier in the day is definitely better.
Anse Major Beach
We read many different reviews of this hike, so while we felt prepared for the heat and distance to get to this secluded beach it was still an experience. We started our hike just before 8am and arrived at the beach 45 minutes later. Much of the trail is exposed to the sun in the afternoon, plus there are lots of boulders and tree roots to navigate. It’s about a 1.5 mile walk from where we parked and we were drenched in sweat about 10 minutes in. We passed some closer parking spots before we reached the trailhead, probably about a dozen spaces were available. Starting early paid off, as we arrived at an empty beach! Thankfully the tide was going out because there was not a lot of dry sand available at high tide.
I immediately hopped in the water to cool off and then traded places with Eric for his first snorkel dive. I went in afterwards as he mentioned the light was good and the waves weren’t too intense. On his later two trips to the east and then the west side of the beach, the wind had picked up and the water was a bit more cloudy. We saw lots of different fish including scorpion fish, parrot fish and surgeon fish.
We stayed for about 3.5 hours which meant the hike back at noon was HOT. We downed a bottle of water and stopped a few times in the shady spots to cool our bodies down. Now I know why people choose to take the water taxi back into town. We were surprised at the number of people starting their hike at this point in the day…. Overall I think the hike to this pretty beach was worth it once, but I would head to other beaches before I hiked to this one again.
Anse a la Mouche Beach
Directly across from our southern Mahe accommodations, we watched the sunset here a few times. The beach seems very popular with locals, especially on the weekend.
Anse Soleil Beach
My favorite snorkeling beach of the trip! Rocks with reef fish are right off the sandy beach so you don’t have to swim far to see anything. We arrived right at 8:30am and got one of the parking spots at the top of the steep road leading down to the beach. It was a tough walk back but parking on that incline would have made me nervous (~½ mile RT). The water clarity was great on the right side of the bay (I saw a large spiny lobster!) but the left side had a lot of underwater life too. This beach has loads of shade in the morning and early afternoon, and while nearly empty when we arrived, people started streaming in after 10am. We stayed for three hours and each did a couple snorkel dives.
We returned two days later, arriving a little earlier and got the same parking spot. The beach was a lot less busy on a Tuesday but by noon we were getting crowded out as newly arriving people were snapping up all the shady spots. We each did a few trips into the water and this time the visibility was better on the left. Recommended!
Cape Launay Marine Park
Arrived at 8:15am to a mostly empty beach, plenty of parking and fishermen bringing in their morning catches. The beach is firm, not great for your butt and harder work for the ghost crabs but less sand in everything! Unfortunately the snorkeling was a total bust. :( Eric swam pretty far out on the left side of the cove around the cross but the visibility was poor and there were hardly any fish. Boo. We packed up the car and decided to drive to Anse Petite.
Anse Petite Beach
Accessed through the Four Seasons Resort, we parked along the road just past the entrance and checked in at the front gate for a wristband. It is about a ⅔ mile walk to the beach, paved but steep, and downhill on the way to the beach. There were some gorgeous views of the cove on the way. The beach is large with most of the shady spots filled with loungers for hotel guests, but we found a good spot near the equipment rentals on the far side near where we wanted to snorkel. Eric went out first while I waited for my second application of sunscreen to absorb. Unfortunately, much of the good stuff was quite a ways off shore and I was both nervous about staying out too long at noon (previous sunburn) and my mask filling with water (previous experience). The currents were sloshing me around, so I decided to head back before my brain panicked too much. Of course, I managed to bump my left shin on a rock near shore, so now Eric and I had matching leg bruises.
Kempinski Hotel + Beach
We had to check out of our accommodations at noon and our flight wasn’t until 7:20pm, so Eric did some research into what we could do for a few hours before our flight. The Kempinkski Hotel staff were very responsive over email and offered a day pass for 700src (~$50pp) which included parking, wifi, access to the hotel pool, beach, and a 500src food credit. Plus, we could reserve access. We arrived before 11am, easily found parking and were greeted warmly by the hotel staff. After finding two shady beach loungers we were given two massive towels, and a waiter brought over some cold water and glasses for us, a nice touch. Eric was back in the water for his final snorkel of the trip, and here the reef is quite close and surprisingly shallow, with a lot of fish.
We had lunch at the beach bar restaurant right on the edge of the beach, then utilized the nice shower area (Ferrigamo soaps and lotions!) to clean off the sun block and sweat before starting our journey back home. The Kempinski day pass was a great experience and definitely recommended.