Mahé may be better known for the diving and snorkelling that lies off its miles of beach-lined coast, but the island is also home to the best hiking in the Seychelles.

To help you get out and about and explore yet another wild side of the island, from inland walks up in the mountains through ancient forests to deserted coves and remote stretches of coastline, we’ve picked out some of the best hiking Mahé has to offer.

Copolia Hike

Our first trail winds its way up Mount Copolia. You pick up the route in a signposted layby on Sans Soucis Road, around 6km from the capital, Victoria. You quickly leave civilisation behind as the blue and yellow-marked paths lead you deep into the magnificent Morne Seychellois National Park.

Sprawling over 20% of the island, the park is largely made up of thick forest which is home to some of the island’s more interesting species, from birds like kestrels, blue pigeons and sunbirds to tiny Gardiner’s frogs. To cap things off, on a clear day the views over Victoria, and beyond out to Praslin and La Digue, are absolutely breath-taking.

Length: 2km / 30 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate
Distance from Sea Monkey by car: 15km / 30 minutes

Things to consider: Keep an eye out for Pitcher Plants – these carnivorous plants, also known as Nepenthes Pervillei, can be seen luring insects to their untimely demise on the granite outcrops that stud the summit.

Anse Major Hike

You join this trail at Danzille to the northwest of the island, where the Morne Seychelles National Park dips down languorously to the sea. As well as being a lovely Mahé hiking trail in its own right, this walk provides the only land access to Anse Major, one of the best beaches and snorkelling spots on the island.

Along the way, prehistoric-looking granite rock formations jut out of the undergrowth giving the walk a pronouncedly ‘Lost World’ sort of feel. Stop at the viewing point of Point de Vue sur Anse Major to catch your breath and take in the views out across the bay before cracking on to the beach for a cooling dip.

Length: 2km / 40 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Distance from Sea Monkey by car: 12km / 25 minutes
Things to consider: There’s little in the way of shade along the trail, so it’s a good idea to set off quite early in the morning and make sure you take plenty of water along with your beach and snorkelling gear.

Morne Seychellois Hike

There’s no getting around the fact that this hiking trail is hard work. Winding your way from the Sans Soucis Road up to the highest point of the island, at around 900m above sea level, on a typically hot and humid Seychelles day it can test the endurance of even the fittest of walkers.

As well as being one of the more exertive hikes on the island, it’s also one of the best nature trails in the Seychelles. Mahé generally is a paradise for birdwatchers, but deep in the heart of this large national park you can see some of its most exotic land birds with almost no one else for company. Seychelles White-eyes, a rare type of warbler, are sometimes spotted, while at dusk, if you’re sharp-sighted and listen out for its call, you can often see the elusive Seychelles Scops-owl.

Length: 2km / 1 hour 20 minutes
Difficulty: Hard
Distance from Sea Monkey by car: 15km / 30 minutes

Things to consider: Watch out for Palm Spiders as you force your way through the undergrowth. While harmless to humans, the huge, sticky webs that they cast from tree branch to tree branch can be strong enough to snag small birds in.

Dans Gallas Hike

This is another trek that errs towards the tougher end of the Mahé hiking spectrum – it may not be particularly long, but it certainly is steep. This trail starts from Chemin Le Niol before rising steeply up into the forests on the edge of the Morne Seychellois National Park. It finishes with you leaving the forest behind and taking in rare views of both east and west coasts of the island with everything from Beau Vallon to Victoria stretching away below you. 

Length: 3km / 2 hours 15 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate/difficult
Distance from Sea Monkey by car: 10km / 20 minutes

Things to consider: While it’s only a short hike, it’s a steep one – so a degree of fitness is required. The rocky terrain, which can get extremely slippery after a tropical rainstorm, means that you shouldn’t attempt it in anything less sturdy than trainers. 

Vacoa Nature Hike

After some of the longer, harder hikes on this list, this is really more of a gentle saunter. It’s an attractive, short, circular route, however, and as it winds its way through the mangroves and massive screw pine trees that line the Dauban River you get plenty of opportunities to spot many of the 220 species of birds that call the island home.

Length: 2km / 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Distance from Sea Monkey by car: 21km; 38 minutes’ drive.

Things to consider: If you make it to Victoria Market at some point over the course of your trip you’ll probably see the leaves of the screw pines woven into the traditional ‘carrier bags’ the islanders use.

Liked our guide to hiking on the island, but thinking of something a little more relaxed? See our pick of some of the best Mahé beaches.