My day off in the mountains


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Africa » Seychelles » Mahé
June 2nd 2007
Published: June 2nd 2007
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The view from the top of Morne BlancThe view from the top of Morne BlancThe view from the top of Morne Blanc

The west coast of Mahe, with Ile Therese in the background.
Finally, a full day off. I decided to take advantage of it by heading up into the mountains. Mahe Island is a granite formation, unlike most oceanic islands which are coral formations. As a result, there are mountains which rise up over 900 metres above sea level. Mostly they are covered by a thick mountain forest, but some places reveal steep granite cliff faces. I caught a bus up the Sans Soucis road which goes across the highest part of the island. The road consists of steep narrow switchbacks, and I tried to avoid thinking about what would happen if the brakes on the bus ever failed. First stop was a place called Mission. Mission or Venn’s Town as it used to be called is the ruins of a school which was established in the late 19th century for freed slave children. The majority of the Seychelles population are descended from slaves brought from Africa. By about 1830, the total Seychelles population was some 7000 people, of whom 90% were slaves. Slavery was abolished by the British in 1836, but for rest of the 19th century Africans continued to arrive. The British Navy rescued slaves from slave traders in the Indian Ocean and brought them to the Seychelles. The Church Missionary Society established this school in the mountains for the children freed in this way who no longer knew their parents.

After visiting Mission, I found the trailhead to Morne Blanc and hiked to the top. The mountain forests are beautiful, and the views from the top were great. Afterwards, because of the bus schedule, I ended up walking all the way down to Port Glaud on the coast, 7 km and 700 metres down. That was my exercise for the day. I checked out a bit of the coast, then eventually caught a bus back via another route, over the La Misere road. All in all I figure it was about 15 km of walking, most of it either up or down. But it was well worth it, and you can check it out for yourself in these pictures.



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The view from the MissionThe view from the Mission
The view from the Mission

That's me with the southwest coast of Mahe in the background.
A remarkable historyA remarkable history
A remarkable history

The Mission was a school set up in the mountains in the late 19th century to educate children freed from slave traders by the British Navy.
Morne SechelloisMorne Sechellois
Morne Sechellois

The highest peak in the Seychelles at over 900 m, it is also the highest point of land for a thousand miles, and almost always catches a mist of cloud around it.
Morne BlancMorne Blanc
Morne Blanc

This is the peak that I climbed, the third highest mountain in the Seychelles. No I didn't go up the cliff face, but it was still a lot of work!
The hike up Morne BlancThe hike up Morne Blanc
The hike up Morne Blanc

These granite mountains are covered in most places by dense tropical vegetation. This is a view up the hiking trail.
Harvesting tea leavesHarvesting tea leaves
Harvesting tea leaves

There are tea plantations carved on the steep slopes of the mountains.
The tops of the acacia treesThe tops of the acacia trees
The tops of the acacia trees

This shot was taken straight down from the top of Morne Blanc, where the acacia trees form a canopy below.
Petite IlePetite Ile
Petite Ile

The granite results in interesting formations along the coast of Mahe


6th June 2007

WOW
Those pics are beautiful Mark! A beautiful way to spend a day off... How about an entry and some photos of the food you are eating? Your pal, Gregor
8th June 2007

Hello Mark, These are wonderful photos! Just to think you can do the hike all over again when your family arrrives! I am really enjoying your journal. Jonathan did a great job writing his report. How's the swimming? Cheers,
9th June 2007

hey big guy
hey dad, nice pics in all and just wondering. can i climb mourn Seychellois? just wondering, anywase have fun down there!

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