Tucked away on the coastal road between Anse Royale and Anse Forbans lies Anse Parnel, a small but pleasing beach backed by the Surfers restaurant and self catering facilities. It's a quiet beach that shrinks at high tide, but is bound to be peaceful on your visit. The Surfers restaurant is affordable and has great views and an exciting menu ranging from pizzas to octopus curry.
Anse Forbans is a huge bay on the south east coast that is almost completely empty save for a handful of self catering facilities such as the Chalets Anse Forbans and the Hilton Doubletree Allamanda Beach Hotel. The bay is naturally divided into three smaller beaches by granite rocks and boulder, with the area in front of the Allamanda effectively feeling like a private beach thanks to the boulders bordering each side of the hotel.
The waters here are shallow and calm, with a natural lagoon formed by a reef some way off the beach shore, making the sea safe for swimming. Snorkelling is possible here, but you may prefer to head north to Fairyland beach or Port Launay for the best snorkelling beaches. The turquoise waters light up in the sunlight and aside from the patch immediately in front of the Hilton the beach is deserted.
At the southernmost end of Anse Forbans lies Anse Marie Louise. It's best reached down a track behind the Chalets D'Anse Forbans, which loops around their grounds to the start of Marie Louise bay. This secret spot is a peaceful place to hide away, with just a few boats bobbing on the calm waters and one or two houses looking out into the bay. Anse Marie Louise is a calm, blissful corner where there won't be a soul around - a perfect place to sit and contemplate.
The road to Police Bay is longer than it appears on the map, taking you in and out of dense forest and jungle on a raised concrete road - at times the forest floor may be a metre or more below your wheels, so you will be grateful to know the road is practically deserted, rising up a big hill past the turning to Anse Intendance before falling, twisting and turning through the trees
Every now and then you pop out into a small cluster of houses - and amazingly, even on this remote road are bus stops for those travelling by public transport. At last you reach sea south coast, where you're in for a treat.
This beach may not be for swimming - a spine of flat rock runs along the beach just below the waterline, with more jagged rocks out to sea - yet unlike many of the pristine beaches around the islands that are deserted but feel calm, this is a real wild beach with waves crashing against the rocks. If your resort's manicured beach with gentle waves lapping at your feet has grown tiresome, this is where you come to feel the power of the ocean.
Anse Intendance is one of Mahe's most famous beaches, a wild and remote yet beautiful stretch of coastline in the fast south west, populated by just one exclusive resort - The Banyan Tree - which is made up of pool villas spread along part of the beach and the headland to the north of the bay.
Public access is to the south of the bay, where a well marked path through the jungle to the side of the resort leads you to the beach, immersed in the sounds and atmosphere of the forest. There are no shops or houses here but the hotel does run a small bar with wooden stools carved from tree trunks where you can get a drink before the sun sets. The beach is also watched over by a lifeguard from Banyan Tree, though it is said to be unsafe to swim from June to September. From this end of the beach the resort is barely in sight, and the resort is exclusive enough that your view up the beach is not spoilt by hundreds of sunbeds or holidaymakers.
Following a long twisty coastal road from Lazare you reach Takamaka bay, which at the northern end is topped by a collection of boulders, which you may climb to take in the views. At the southern end lies Batista Villas, with great views up the beach and a popular buffet for Sunday lunch, but otherwise the 1.5km long beach is empty, with the few shops, self catering apartments, art galleries and restaurants around Anse Takamaka tucked behind the treeline.
Baie Lazare is a beautiful sweeping bay, with the Kempinski resort at one end and the Lazare Picault hotel at the other, but precious little in between. The waters here can be rough between June and October when swimming is not recommended, but the beach is often empty and the views are stunning, making it a great place for a walk even if the waves are a little large.
At the Lazare Picault end of the bay the small Anse Gaulette offers a great place to watch the sun set from the shade of the almond trees, while at the Kempinski end of the beach the waters are calmer, with the waves being broken by a reef offshore. It's not a bad place for snorkelling - though the hotel run trips to a better spot - but the sand immediately off the beach does have a fair amount of spiky coral and rock so reef shoes are recommended if you're taking a dip - hotel guests can borrow these for free.
Anse Gouvernement is a peaceful, natural cove just around the corner from the much larger Baie Lazare. From the mouth of the bay you can't see the Four Seasons or Kempinski resorts tucked around either corner, and chances are you will have the place to yourself. With a reef offshore and a number of attractive granite boulders dotting the shoreline it creates a little lagoon of shallow water, that makes it easy to take a dip or a paddle around to the smaller Petite Gouvernement which you may need to wade to get to.
Anse Soleil is a drop dead gorgeous beach that is meticulously raked after the high tide. Unlike many of the long beaches in the south west, Anse Soleil is a smallish cove, enclosed on one side and backed by beautiful pine, almond and coconut trees that provide plenty of shade from morning through to the midnight sun. The Beachcomber self catering accommodation here has enviable views across the bay yet doesn't dominate the beachfront for visitors, while the Anse Soleil Cafe which you must walk through on the way to the beach provides a fantastic elevated position to watch the bay, though the food and surly service doesn't quite live up to the excellent view.
Come in the morning, before the cafe is open and you'll have this place all to yourself
Anse A La Mouche is a lovely wide sweeping bay, offering great views and scenery but perhaps not the best beach in the area, as the waters here are relatively shallow and high tide claims a lot of the sand. There are multiple spots along the bay where you can take a dip or relax on the sand but the bay doesn't form a continous stretch of beach like Baie Lazare or Anse Takamaka to the south. The beach is backed by the Anchor restaurant as well as various smallholdings and farms, one of which offers a great organic fruit and veg farm shop. If you time it right you could find the local fisherman selling their catch of the day by the roadside.
There's also couple of local stores and a number of self catering places smattered around the bay, some of which boast incredible views. The village also marks the turning point for the Chemin Les Canelles across to the east coast, which is an easier climb and shorter crossing than Chemin Montagne to the north, and less wild than the south road between Quatre Bournes and Anse Forbans.