Copolia Lodge Trail, Mahé
This path in the Morne Seychellois National Park leads up to the 497-metre-high Copolia (1,630 feet). The trail leads through a shady forest onto a plateau, from which hikers can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the Sainte Anne Marine National Park and Victoria, the capital. On particularly clear days, the view stretches all the way across to Praslin and La Digue. Discover numerous spice plants along the way, including cinnamon, vanilla, and pineapple, along with the carnivorous Pitcher Plant. The trail takes about two hours (return trip). To get to the starting point, take the bus from Victoria (number 14) towards Port Launay.
Location: Copolia Lodge, Mahé (-4.646097, 55.452557)
Vallée de Mai, Praslin
The so-called heart of Praslin is home to numerous palm trees, and is often seen as a real 'Garden of Eden' by those who discover its beauty. In 1966, the park was first designated a nature reserve thanks to its unique nature, with over 1,400 Coco de Mer palm trees. This plant produces the largest seed in the world, and it is for this reason that the park was later incorporated into the UNESCO World Heritage. (You can find an iOs app for the Vallée de Mai here: https://itunes.apple.com/sc/app/vallee-de-mai/id826373015?mt=8).
Morne Blanc, Mahé
Anyone wishing to climb Morne Blanc can take this path of medium difficult, which is sure to make you sweat a bit. That said, it's worth the effort, as the end provides you with an incredible view of the western coast of Mahé. The path leads through an old tea plantation up to the top of the mountain. The higher you get, the foggier it tends to be, so you might not see the various plants that grow there, such as bentgrass, moss, or ferns. We also wouldn't recommend straying from the path due to the numerous holes and burrows that can be hard to spot. To get to the starting point, simply follow Sans Soucis Road from Victoria in the direction of Port Glaud. If you didn't book a rental car, then take the number 14 bus towards Port Launay. Alight at the old tea tavern, and follow the road up the mountain. After around 200 metres you will find an information board on the left-hand-side of the road.
Location: Tea factory, Mahé (-4.661193, 55.437733)
Glacis Trois Frères, Mahé
This hiking trail is simple, and well-suited to anyone thanks to its flatness. After a small climb of around 300 metres, hikers will reach a viewpoint, from which there is a widespread view out over the surrounding islands, the Sainte Anne Marine Park, and Victoria. On clear days, you can even see all the way across to Praslin and La Digue in the distance. Bring along sturdy shoes, enough drinking water, and mosquito protection in order to fully enjoy the trail. The return journey leads the same way in reverse, or you can go via Le Niol, from which buses depart until the late afternoon.
Location: Sans Soucis, Mahé
Hikers should make sure that they are properly kitted out for this hike, as it is longer than the others. Bring along plentiful drinking water, some snacks, sturdy footwear, and bathing suits, as the path ends at an idyllic waterfall with a cave. The start of the trail can be found by following Sans Soucis Road from the capital, Victoria, towards Port Glaud. There is then a notice board around 400 metres after the Mission Lodge on the right-hand-side. Or, if you take the bus, the starting point is just a few metres from the bus stop.
Location: Sans Soucis, Mahé
Fond Ferdinand, Praslin
Even though the Vallée de Mai is undoubtedly the main attraction of Praslin, the alternative Fond Ferdinand Nature Reserve is also well-worth a visit. Opened in 2013, this 122-hectare park is six times larger than the Vallée de Mai, and has even more endemic plant species and animals to discover, including a similar number of Coco de Mer palm trees. From the elevated lookout point, guests can enjoy a wonderful view of the rest of Praslin, as well as several other Inner Seychelles Islands, including Curieuse, Grande and Petite Soeur, La Digue, Coco Island, and many more. A guide is also included in your entrance fee, making a visit even more worthwhile.
Location: Anse Marie Lousie, Praslin (-4.354071, 55.758286)
Anse Major Trail, Mahé
Anse Major Trail leads through the Morne Seychellois National Park on the rocky north-west coast of Mahé, before winding down to the small, isolated beach of Anse Major. The starting point is best reached via car or bus; take the bus number 21 from Victoria towards Bel Ombre and then get off at Danzil. From there, follow the road around 200 metres up the mountain. Those who decide to drive will also find parking spaces here. At the fork in the path, head right towards Danzil and follow the yellow markings. The 2.5 kilometre round-trip is then relatively flat.
Location: Danzil, Bel Ombre, Mahé (-4.618753, 55.397537)
Anse Lazio & Anse Georgette Trail, Praslin
Location: Anse Lazio, Praslin (-4.292749, 55.701378)
Vacoa Nature Trail, Mahé
This short hiking trail takes just 30 minutes, and leads across the Dauban river, alongside a network of mangrove trees, and through to a forest in the centre of the island. The forest is home to the panda nut, a tree that also goes by the name "Vacoa", after which the trail itself is named.
Dans Gallas, Mahé
For those who want to enjoy an incredible panoramic view of the picturesque Beau Vallon, this is the hiking trail for you. The name "Gallas" comes from a group of Ethiopians who lived here in the 19th century, after they were freed from British sailors by Arabs. Along the way, the path becomes rather steep and rocky, but there are wooden steps and ladders to help you along the way. To get to the trail, take the number 32 bus to the "Le Niol" stop, where you can find an information centre for the national park.
Location: Grand Anse, Mahé (-4.68061, 55.455921)
Glacis La Réserve, Mahé
The "Glacis La Réserve" trail leads through the thick forest and over impressive granite floors. After a while, follow the arrows to a lookout platform, which has an incredible view of Mahé's eastern coast. The starting point is on the Montagne Posee Road, which joins Anse aux Pins in the east with Anse Boileau in the west. If you turn into the road from the eastern side, then follow it for a few kilometres to the Cable and Wireless Station, then you will come across the sign which indicates the start of the trail.
Location: Montagne Posée Road, Mahé (-4.707262, 55.506645)
This adventurous trail leads along mahogany trees and tee plantations, greeting you with beautiful wood and tea colours. The latter portion of the trail leads past a water tank into the thick forest where it gets darker and you really get the feeling of being surrounded by trees on all sides. Discover the different plants of the Seychelles along the way, before the trail ends at a private settlement.
L'Union Estate & Anse Source d'Argent, La Digue
The beautiful Union Estate park in the west of La Digue is best-discovered on-foot, even though many people simply pass through on bike on the way to Anse Source d'Argent. That is really a shame, as there is much to discover in the park. Visitors to the Union Estate can enjoy numerous glimpses into the colonial history of the Seychelles unlike anywhere else on the island. Right at the entrance to the park is the oldest cemetery on La Digue, where the first settlers to the island are laid to rest. Besides an old coconut and vanilla plantation, an old plantation house, a 700-million-year-old, environmentally-protected monolith, and numerous giant tortoises, visitors can observe how coconut oil is extracted with the help of an ox. The park's shops also offer numerous small souvenirs for you to buy, including coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut products, and much more. The path through the park winds its way eventually to Anse Source d'Argent. This incredible beach possesses a labyrinth of granite boulders and is not just one of the most beautiful beaches in the Seychelles, but ranks highly worldwide, and has won several titles to that effect. The entrance fee to the park is 100 Seychelles rupees.
Location: Union, La Digue (-4.361715, 55.825058)
Grand Anse, Petite Anse & Anse Cocos, La Digue
Each of these three beaches on the eastern coast of La Digue merits its own day trip, so beautiful are all three of them. That having been said, the three beaches can all easily be visited on a singular hike, starting with Grand Anse, followed by Petite Anse, and finally Anse Cocos. Take your bike to the wild Grand Anse, from where you'll have to walk to the other two. It takes about 15 minutes to get to Petite Anse from its neighbour. Looking out to see, the path is towards the left of the beach until you reach a pool, then leads up over boulders to Petite Anse. Those who want to go even further, to Anse Cocos, must go along the path on the left, with the journey taking about 20 to 25 minutes. All three of the beaches do not have an offshore reef, so you should be careful at all times, particularly between May and October. However, on Anse Cocos there are some small natural pools which are protected all year-round by boulders, and it is safe to swim here.
Location: La Digue (-4.373108, 55.844246)
Nid d'Aigle, La Digue
The adventurous among you should consider the climb up to the Nid d'Aigle during your stay on La Digue. This 333-metre 'mountain' (1092 ft) is the highest peak on La Digue, and is also known as the Eagle's Nest. That said, almost everyone can enjoy the view from the heights of La Digue, as the Belle Vue restaurant awaits just over halfway up the climb, with its three-course menu in the evening and an incredible view of the sunset over Praslin. The evening meal price includes a taxi fare up and down the mountain (reservation required). However, the path to the restaurant can also be taken on-foot, although this is the sweatiest option, as the path itself is not to be underestimated. For those who want a cooler option, you can take your own taxi from La Passe. From the restaurant, you can then proceed further to reach the peak. The path winds through soft forest floors, granite boulders, and red earth. Gradually, the jungle thins out, reaching a ridge, which you must climb for the final few metres. The highest point offers an incredible view of Praslin, Félicité, and Marianne, and when it's clear you can even see over to Frégate. Once you've arrived at the top, take a moment to get your bearings, and do not try to climb down through any thick undergrowth. The best way down is, in fact, the same way that you came up, especially if you want to be sure that you won't encounter any problems. In general, you should also make sure to bring enough water (at least 2 litres), and sturdy shoes are a must.
Location: La Passe, La Digue (-4.358597, 55.841377)
Anse Marron, La Digue
The hike to Anse Marron is certainly one of the most adventurous tours on La Digue. The path leads through the wild south of the island, where there are no roads or signposted paths. The destination is the wonderful Anse Marron, an impressive, isolated beach, which is divided into two distinct sections. One is wild with large waves, while the other consists of natural pools, protected from the open ocean by granite boulders. That said, the hike is also the aim here, with it being a fantastic way of discovering the flora and fauna of the Seychelles. Please note that it is highly inadvisable to attempt the hike without a Seychellois tour guide, as the path can be dangerous. Your guide will also tell you much about the history and nature of the island, making it even more worthwhile.
Location: La Digue (-4.383036, 55.838371)
The wild North, La Digue
The wild north of the island is one of the most beautiful regions on La Digue. With highlights of peace, relaxation, nature, and little in terms of touristic disruption, the few accommodations that line the coast here are worth consideration, including the Patatran Hotel, just past Anse Severe on the cliff edge. The region also contains other beautiful, wild beaches where you will barely see another soul. From the harbour, take your bike towards the north, or set off on foot. The second option takes more time, but La Digue was made for taking it slowly. You will need about an hour on-foot to complete the approximately 4.6-kilometre (3 miles) street to Anse Fourmis, assuming you don't stop along the way at one of the numerous juice bars which provide necessary refreshment. The most famous of these is called Chez Jules at Anse Banane, which doesn't just provide the best juice on the island, but also delicious octopus curry and fish dishes.
Location: La Digue (-4.340015, 55.837181)