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Mahé is the archipelago's largest island at 27 km by 8 km (17 miles by 5 miles). Home to 90% of the country's population of 90,000, it displays an amazing ethnic diversity, with descendants of European colonists and African slaves living harmoniously with later settlers from Arabia, India, and China.
Mahé also displays the magnificent geology and verdant landscapes of the whole country with its own
3,200-foot granite peaks, virgin mist forests, and more than 65 exceptional beaches, making it the perfect one-stop island for a short visit. Mahé is the main transport hub for transfers to other islands in the archipelago, many of which can be visited on a long day trip. Tours of the capital Victoria or the whole island are enjoyable and educational, but many visitors may prefer to spend their time simply soaking in the tropical ambience on the sugar-white beaches. North Mahé, home to famous Beau Vallon Beach, is more populous than other parts of the island, though its wide range of hotels and restaurants remains discreet and tasteful. In contrast, the farther south you go, the quieter it gets, with some of the most beautiful beaches and Creole villages found around Anse Intendance and Anse Forbans.
Seychelles' tiny capital, Victoria, is a bustling town and the nerve center of the Seychelles. Sheltered under the granite massifs on Mahé's northeast side, this town whose streets are lined with endemic palms is a hodgepodge of Creole-style houses, Indian shops, and British relics. The streets are clean and new buildings are going up all the time, though the variety of items for sale can be somewhat limited. This is the commercial center of Seychelles, all the banks have branches here, and if you need to buy anything (souvenirs or otherwise), this is your best bet. The nearby harbor is where boats of all types dock for travel to many other islands at the inter-island quay (aka wharf), and at the deep-water quay you'll find large cruise ships and cargo vessels. The funny smell in the air may be from the tuna-processing plant, also quayside.
La Digue is the fourth-largest inhabited island of the Seychelles (though only 5 km [3 miles] long and 3 km [2 miles] wide) and the real deal...