• Distance 79 km
  • Elevation gain 2320m
  • Difficulty
  • Epic rating

This is a tough, often technical ride, with serious elevation gain over a relatively short distance. It crosses the tropical spine and tea plantations of the Seychelles no less than six times! The good news is that we start with the highest climbs so there’s less ascent on each climb as the ride goes on.

Though it looks like the route gets close to Victoria, we’ve planned it so it avoids the more heavily populated area around the capital and the international airport.

This is a route for all you mountain goats with great bike handling skills. For everyone else, if you’re planning on doing this ride, get fit, get good at riding narrow, twisty mountain roads – and bring the 11-32 cassette!

All metrics in this article are approximate.

Highlights

The highlights of this ride are the views. We loved the panorama across Victoria, Eden Island and St Anne Marine National Park – it sums up the Seychelles perfectly in terms of the diversity between physical beauty and modern development.

We also enjoyed the diversity of the climbs and some very fast descents, particularly the ride down La Misere Road to the west coast which, unlike some of the others, isn’t too hairy.

Cyclist and bike at Anse Royale beach Mahé island SeychellesNot a bad view, at Anse Royal on the east coast
View from La Misere Road over Seychelles islandsView from La Misere Road down to Eden Island and St Anne Marine National Park
Narrow jungle road on the Seychelles with cyclistDame Le Roi Road: narrow with some serious gradients! Here wild banana trees bring some welcome shade

Route notes

1. The Sans Soucis and La Misere Climbs: 0-26 km

This section alone has around 1,000m of climbing over 26 km, with the average gradient on the climbs being in the vicinity of 10%.

The first climb of the day is up Sans Soucis Road (summit at 480m). While the Sans Soucis tea plantations and Mission Lodge are nice enough, frankly, it is the roadside jungle and stunning views that make this climb memorable: stop at Mission Lodge for a great panorama.   For more information on the climb, read our Seychelles North guide which gives further detail.

You descend from the San Soucis Road summit but before you get too far into Victoria, you head south and soon start climbing up La Misere Road. It takes you back from the east coast to the west coast with  439m of climbing. It is worth stopping around two kilometres into this climb to look back towards Eden Island, Victoria and the spectacular Saint Anne Marine National Park.

The descent down La Misere finishes at the very large Grand Anse Petrol Station (on the right hand side) where water and supplies can also be bought. Most of the petrol stations also have cash points/ATMs.

Cyclists on Sans Soucis Road SeychellesBe prepared for the gradients – and the heat!
Road workers taking a break on La Misere Road SeychellesRoad workers admiring the view on La Misere Road
Near the bottom of Sans Soucis road, near VictoriaTowards the bottom of Sans Soucis Road near Victoria

2. Montagne Posee and Mont Plasir Climbs : 32-4​​​​7 km

Travelling south for around five kilometres on the relatively gentle West Coast Road, we get to the next loop: turning left after the supermarkets up the Montagne Posee Road for a total climb of 250m up to Bon Espoir.  This is a very quiet road, with a good surface that starts relatively gently. There’s the odd house but it’s pretty green and rural. It is three kilometres up and three kilometres down.

Once back on the east coast, the route follows the East Coast Road for a flat 4 km before the next climb up Mont Plasir Road (which is next to the University: the first big road on the right after the Anse Royale Petrol Station and the hospital).  The University running track should be on your left hand side after 300m of this climb. This climb starts gently on a narrow road, and then ramps up to 15% cresting at 220m after 2.5km.  The descent down towards the West Coast Road has some tricky corners towards the end; take care.

Once on the West Coast Road turn left, head south for two kilometres to the final loop.

Cyclist cycling up Montagne Possee Road SeychellesTackling Montagne Possee Road: these roads are steep and, in the heat, you lose water fast
Cyclist at Anse Royale beachStunning Anse Royale beach on the east coast
Cyclist cycling Mont Plasir Road SeychellesMont Plasir climb: some sections of these climbs are at gradients of 25% and seriously tested my sense of humour!

3. Les Canelles and Dame le Roi climbs: 48-60 km

The first climb east up Les Canelles Road, towards the famous Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden (more information on this below), is only around a kilometre in length, but the summit is at around 100m, so it’s a 10% gradient, though not for long. The two kilometre descent is more gradual, down towards Anse Royale on the East Coast Road.

Once on the east coast, travel south for a gentle two kilometres past a lovely church on the seafront and then turn right up Dame Le Roi Road for the final traverse of the island!  This road is initially made of concrete and has some leg burning initial sections of 20% gradient. There’s also a double summit to contend with: the first at 190m after only 1.5 km and the second a further 1.5 km at 220m. The road also soon changes from a single normal double width to a single width: it is a hard, twisty road to ride.

It is reasonably important to keep on the Dame Le Roi Road up towards the second summit rather than turning left down the Anse Gaulette Road, but both take you over to the west coast. The final descent down towards the West Coast Road brings you out very close to the junction that takes you to the Kempinski and Four Seasons hotels. You will know you are close when the road turns once more into a concrete ramp descending at a gradient of around 15%. There is a shop close to the junction selling cold soft drinks. Alternatively, a little further down on the left is the Baie Lazare petrol station for water.

4. West Coast Road to Constance Ephelia: 60-79 km

From here, the Constance Ephelia Hotel is 19 km north on the West Coast Road with numerous coves, bobbing boats, swaying palms to keep your grin in place. The fact there’s just one big lump on this return run to home will also come as a relief!

 

Café stops

Petrol stations and small convenience stores are your best bet on this ride: for example,

  • the petrol station at Grand Anse at the bottom of the La Misere climb (hill 2, west coast)
  • the petrol station almost at the bottom of the final Dame Le Roi descent
  • the shop at the top of the Mont Plasir climb – about halfway into the ride. 
  • This ride misses out most of the coffee stops we have mentioned in the other guides such as the Dolce Vita in Victoria (check our Seychelles North loop guide), the Surfers Restaurant further down on the East Coast and La Gaulette further down on the West Coast (both in our Seychelles South loop guide).

In our notes above, we mention the famous Jardin du Roi Spice Garden. We say famous, because we saw adverts for it all over the place. We did stop for food here, but we haven’t included it in the route as we wouldn’t recommend it. Access is on an extremely steep road and (in our opinion) wasn’t worth the effort. We’ve got more information on it in our Seychelles South loop guide.

In better news, the route goes past The Station on Sans Soucis Road – we had a great smoothie here (more details in our Seychelles North loop guide), but this might be too soon into the ride to take a break.

Shop in the SeychellesThe shop at the top of Mont Plasir Road is a good place to stop for water and there is a Java apple tree opposite for some “free” local food!
Apples on a tree in the SeychellesIf you’re feeling adventurous you might want to try picking the Java apples that overhand Mont Plasir Road – we did and lived to tell the tale (though that may be due to our local guides!)

Accommodation

We chose the Constance Ephelia as it is a family-friendly resort spread across 296 acres overlooking the Port Launay marine national park on the west side of the island.

There are full details of this and other accommodation options in our ultimate guide to cycling the Seychelles.

 

Tips

Read our tips for cycling in the Seychelles before you set out.

The roads tend to be narrow, very twisty and sometimes very steep with deep rain drains on both sides of the road. If you’re not that experienced or technically proficient, this is unlikely to be the ride for you. Even if you’ve got lots of experience of riding in mountains, understand that if you take these roads too hard, you’re likely to come unstuck. Take care.

As the route is effectively made up of loops, when you look at the map, you can see it would be quite straightforward to cut it up into sections and just ride part.

On the descent of Sans Soucis towards Victoria we saw some telltale signs of diesel spills where the engine would be positioned on the road – so keep the speed in check.

Out of all the roads crossing the island, we personally found the last one: the Dame le Roi the most difficult as it has some incredibly steep sections and is not wide enough to zig-zag: bring the 11-32 cassette if in doubt.

Bring enough water – we found it seriously humid and got through a huge amount of water. While there are shops and petrol stations scattered around, at times you’re quite remote so make sure you plan ahead.

On the east side of Mont Plasir, we came across a few dogs. They seemed largely relaxed but be ready to use your water bottle if you come across a nastier one!

Be careful swimming in the sea along the south coast between June and September as there are difficult currents: the large red warning signs should not be ignored.

Bicycle against a blue bus - cyclists should watch out for these

Watch out for the buses, they are often driven rather fast…

 

Found this guide useful?

We’d love to hear from you – comment below!

Don’t miss our other ride guides on the Seychelles: see the related rides section above.

Check out our ultimate guide to cycling the Seychelles and our tips for riding the Seychelles.

 

John Maskell

John Maskell is a roving reporter whose mission in life is to find the best coffee stop on any given ride.

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2 Responses to “Loop of the mountains of Mahé island, Seychelles”

    • Thanks so much! It’s at the other end of the warmth spectrum, but look out for our guide to cycling in Flanders coming in a few weeks’ time! Where would you like to see covered?

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