Table of Contents
- Explore the reef
- Hike on Mount Choungui
- Lake Dziani
- Take a tour of the lagoon
- Take a tour of the beaches
- Visit Mamoudzou
- Relax at Gîte du Mont Combani
- Witness the hatching of sea turtles
The small archipelago situated in the Indian Ocean is a great destination for travelers who love coral reefs and diving. However, it is often overlooked in favor of more popular destinations. The two islands, Grande-Terre and Petite-Terre don’t have any big urban locations, however, they are filled with beautiful beaches, exotic fauna, and they’re surrounded by stunning coral reefs. Let’s look at some of the most popular things to do in Mayotte.
Explore the reef
The number one activity for everyone visiting the archipelago is scuba diving. The Reve Bleu Diving Resort is the main place to go to start. After paying the fee, you will be given gear and taken by boat to the best places around the island. The coral reef has hundreds of species of aquatic life you can observe.
If you dare to explore deeper waters, you’ll have the chance to observe whales and sea turtles. There are certified divers to help you every step of the way.
Hike on Mount Choungui
The second-highest elevation on the island, located near the village of Choungui can be conquered after a one-hour hike. The trail is beautiful, going through a plantation of banana trees, woods, and rocky terrain. It’s not the easiest hike, especially after a rain when the path becomes slippery, but once at the top, you will be enchanted by the panoramic view over the island.
Located on Petite-Terre, Lake Dziani can be accessed either on foot or by car. If you have a day to spend, I recommend walking and discovering the area and the locals before reaching your destination. The lake itself was formed in a volcanic crater, so the scenery is unique. Swimming in the lake is forbidden, but you can still admire it from up close, as there is a small beach at the bottom.
Take a tour of the lagoon
It’s the best way to start your day, relax, and discover the beaches. The tour operators will help you discover the best spots, the best beaches, the mangrove, and you can also go on a sea safari. The lagoon fauna is spectacular, and with a bit of luck, you’ll get to meet dolphins, turtles, whales, or manta rays. In Mayotte, turtles are quite friendly, and you can swim and interact with them
Take a tour of the beaches
Some of the most popular beaches in Mayotte are Boueni, Ngouja, Sohoa, and Sakouli. Besides baking in the sun and swimming, you can access the coral reefs from every beach. A unique aspect of your day will be the encounters with lemurs. They’re everywhere, and they are quite used to people, as they get fed and interacted with every day.
If you want to stay away from the more popular beach alternatives, there are a few more that are remote and wild. Mliha beach is surrounded by a lush forest and there are facilities close by. Moya beach is quite wild and remote, with no facilities around. But probably the unique one of these lands is Ilot de Sable Blanc, a small sandy beach formed on the barrier reef. This one can only be reached by boat, and it has no facilities, but it’s the best place to relax surrounded by water.
Despite not being any large urban settlements in the archipelago, Mamoudzou is the center of local life and the best place to explore it. The town market is quite popular with tourists because it offers the best local produce and souvenirs. Here you can visit the Mayotte museum and learn about the local history.
The local cuisine and fast food should not be neglected, especially the famous brochettis that can be found all around the island. Actually, restaurant hopping through Mayotte sounds like a great afternoon activity if your budget allows it.
Relax at Gîte du Mont Combani
Close to Mamoudzou there’s Gîte du Mont Combani, a ylang-ylang plantation near the woods. Other fragrant plants such as vanilla, jasmine, and cinnamon will spoil your senses while you spend your afternoon in a hammock, on one of the exotic suspended terraces. The local fauna around is sociable, a unique experience of your stay. This rustic establishment has accommodations, a restaurant, and a massage package, so if you don’t want to leave, you don’t have to!
Witness the hatching of sea turtles
If you visit when the time is right and if you register with the Oulanga Na Nyamba Association you will get to witness one of the most spectacular events of the Mayotte island when hundreds of newly hatched sea turtles make the journey from the beach to the sea.
The archipelago of Mayotte and its two main islands are not too big, but I advise you to rent a car upon your arrival if you want to explore everything it has to offer.