While visiting the Seychelles last November (2022), Dan & I took a day trip to Moyenne Island from Mahé to “snorkel.” We didn’t really know what to expect besides a boat ride and snorkeling, so here is a review of our day if you are considering something similar. First up, Moyenne Island is a small island in the Seychelles’ Sainte Anne Marine National Park. Hundreds of years ago Moyenne Island was a pirate island, but in the recent past, it was abandoned from 1915 until the 1960s when a sole English newspaper editor purchased the island and lived on Moyenne Island alone until he died 2012. Wild, and kind of scary… Moyenne Island is now a national park and a flora and fauna reserve, and its very popular with tourists.
The easiest way to reach Moyenne Island for many tourists is by way of a group day tour, which is exactly what we did. Due to the relationship our hotel, the Mango House, had with Creole Travel Services, we took our trip to Moyenne with Creole Travel Services. We were happy with the company, but a number of other companies seem to do a very similar tour and I wouldn’t necessarily pick Creole over another company. In any case, our morning started with a pick up at the Mango House and a 25 minute drive to an old, seemingly abandoned, port near the airport. We were a little iffy on entering the abandoned port…
However, our worry was for naught, as this was indeed a real port! We boarded a large catamaran with many other people, which set sail about 15 minutes later. We were initially concerned about the number of people on the catamaran, but there ended up being plenty of room. Most people moved outside once the boat departed, and we were on and off the boat so much the number of people didn’t really matter. The sail out toward Sainte Anne Marine National Park offered great views of Mahé, the airport and planes and some other island en route.
Once reaching Sainte Anne Marine National Park, the catamaran stopped for about 30 minutes for those who wanted to snorkel to do so. The boat offered complimentary rental of life vests, snorkel masks and fins, and a smaller boat drove around to ensure all snorkelers were safe when snorkeling. We both snorkeled and saw many colorful fish and a dying coral reef. I would note that the water was deep with no option to “touch the bottom.”
After snorkeling, we re-boarded the boat and grabbed a local Seychelles beer from the boat bar. Prices were quite reasonable for a boat tour in the Seychelles. I was honestly surprised.
A short sail later, we “parked” the catamaran to disembark for the main event, Moyenne Island. The catamaran took passengers in several trips from the catamaran to Moyenne Island on a tender boat. While the crew did their best, we all got a little wet (which was expected)!
Once on Moyenne Island, we were given a tour of the island, including stopping to see the famous Aldabra Giant Tortoise that live there, including baby ones! The adult turtles freely roam the island and a few people even touched them. It was pretty cool to see them just walking towards us in the wild.
Aside from the turtles, we also saw an old chapel in the forest, with alleged “pirate graves” and some beautiful viewpoints. It was a nice walk. I would suggest walking shoes for anyone with trouble walking on non-flat surfaces – the walk was rocky and uphill.
After our walk to the top of Moyenne Island, we made our way back down to eat at the sole restaurant on Moyenne Island – the Jolly Rodger! The Jolly Rodger is an outdoor restaurant with a little tiki bar situation and a buffet consisting of local Seychellois fare and grilled meat and chicken. The cocktails were a bit pricey, but beer and soft drinks were reasonable. The lunch was actually quite good and plenty of food. A small fruit based dessert was served after lunch.
Depending on how quickly one finished lunch, there was some time to swim prior to tendering back to the catamaran. We did briefly swim, but also played with the adorable beach pup! This was the dog of the restaurant owner – he loves to run in the water and roll in the sand!
After departing Moyenne Island, we made one additional brief stop for snorkeling and ended the tour with a complimentary glass of rum and juice and bread fruit chips (which were great). In sum, it was a very fun day!
In terms of the day and tour, we found the tour to be good for the money. However, most of the other catamaran tour boats that we saw seemed to be doing the same thing, and I cannot tell you if our tour was of a particular value. I would also note that if you only have a couple days in Mahé, I would probably skip Moyenne Island and opt to explore Mahé.
Finally, some tips for visiting Moyenne! Most people worse a bathing suit with a cover up. At least on our boat, there were restrooms but no place to really “change,” so best to come dressed to swim. Guests should also bring sunscreen – there is none on the boat – as well as sunglasses and a hat if you wear them. Many people brought their own snorkel masks, but, as mentioned, they were available to borrow on the boat.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Creole Travel Services: This is the tour company that we used. Our tour was called the Starfish tour. It was a full 8 hours long. We booked through at our hotel with a Creole Travel Services representative. She gave us a paper receipt that we ABSOLUTELY HAD TO HAVE to board the boat. Be warned not to lose the receipt if you take this tour!