Mayotte: what to do, what to see...

In the Indian Ocean, between continental Africa and the island of Madagascar, Mayotte is a paradise for divers, who flock here to see the spectacular coral in the world’s largest enclosed lagoon. On its hiking trails, you’ll encounter protected native species, like the lemur, the drongo or even the amazing Mayotte sunbird. Here we go!

Not to miss sights in Mayotte

• Mont Choungi

Climbing Mount Choungui is one of the essential activities in Mayotte during the dry season. The mountain dominates the south of the island, culminating in a perfect and steep cone that reaches 594 meters (1948.82 feet). It offers a panoramic view of the entire south of the island and its basaltic column is visible from Petite Terre.

• The islet of Saziley

For this nautical escapade at the south of Mayotte, leave by boat from Moutsamoudou—don't forget to take your mask, fins and snorkel, sunscreen, hat and lots of water because there are no shops on this little piece of paradise!

• The Coconi botanic gardens 

Strolling around the botanical garden of Coconi during the rainy season (between November and the end of April) is a verdant treat. In addition to the many flowers and beautiful groves of palm and coconut trees, you can also visit the nursery.

• N'Gouja beach

Located at the extreme south-west of the island in the lagoon, this beach is the most beautiful and best-known of Mayotte. Swimming with turtles and lying on the clear sand, under the baobabs, observing flying bats and lemurs scampering about are some of the pleasures of this little island paradise.

• Lake Karihani

Lake Karihani, or dziani Karihani in Shimaoré, is the only freshwater natural lake in Mayotte. Often covered with water lilies, it serves as a refuge for many birds, egrets, herons and other waterfowl. The lake tour, near the village of Tsingoni, is a quiet and exotic walk.

• Dzaoudzi village

Dzaoudzi, which has 13,000 inhabitants, houses most of the colonial-era buildings of Mayotte, including the hotel "Le rocher", the old post office that dates back to 1845, the former boarding house which is now the the Heritage House or even the former governor's palace, called "Palais Eiffel", named after its designer.

• The fields of the Guerlain plantation

At 800 meters (2624.67 feet) from the village of Combani, the Guerlain plantation aligns its rows of ylang-ylang, and its alley of coconut trees. The house of the famous perfumer, planted in the middle of a neat garden, offers beautiful remains that are worth a visit.

• The 210 steps of Acoua

This staircase with uneven steps gives access to the top of a hill that dominates the Acoua Bay, offering a magnificent view of the Northern Islands. Far away, the Choazil Islands and the Chissioua Mtsamboro seem to swim on the calm waters of the lagoon.

• The small town of Mamoudzou

Mamoudzou, which has only 6,200 inhabitants, is on the edge of two coves separated by Mahabo Point. It concentrates most of the island's businesses and services, the headquarters of the General Council and most of the administrations, notably on Place Mariage in the city center.

• The Bouéni peninsula

Located south of Mayotte, the Boueni peninsula stretches for 4 kilometers (2.48 miles) to the north, facing the town of Sada and partly close the great Bay of Boueni. Fishing villages are located along the coast and trails allow you to visit the peninsula, from Majiméouni to Mzouazia.

Things to do in Mayotte

• Shed a tear as you watch the turtles lay their eggs on Moya beach

Mayotte is one of the places in the Indian Ocean where it is common to see sea turtles laying eggs—and Moya Beach is their favorite site here. Almost every night from March to June, with records in May, turtles come to lay their eggs. Be careful not to disturb them.

• Marvel at the ballet of humpback whales in the lagoon

From Mamoudzou, you can go watch humpback whales and their calves romping in the lagoon's almost-closed turquoise waters from July to the end of October. They come to perform courtship displays, give birth, breastfeed and then educate their young.

• Swim with dolphins and terns off Saziley Point

Dolphins and the seabirds called terns flit about all year round in Mayotte, the lagoon fauna being very rich. For dolphins, the most famous place is M'Tsamboro Island, in the direction of the Great Barrier Reef. Near the tip of Saziley, the "white islet" is the main refuge of the terns.

• Visit a new world by diving in the Passe en S underwater nature reserve

From its real name, Longogori, the "Passe en S" is a famous dive site, protected as a marine reserve since 1990. Fishing is prohibited here. With 13 sites divided between the lagoon and the ocean, it is THE diving spot of Mayotte. This is an oasis for sea turtle spotting.

• Jump back 3 billion years at Dziani crater lake

Dziani Dzaha is an emerald-green crater lake, located north of Petite-Terre. Come and admire the rock of Dzaoudzi and its marina, Grande-Terre, as well as the turquoise waters of the great northeastern reef from the tiny huts that overlook them.

• Explore the Choizil islets with mask and snorkel

Located a few kilometers from the coast, the Choizil islets are the most beautiful dive sites in Mayotte: turquoise water, white sandbanks, black rocks, and green reliefs as far as the eye can see. The gradiated coral bottom abounds with multicolored fish (clownfish, angelfish and more).

• Explore the mangrove swamp by canoe to get up close and personal with its inhabitants

Cruising the Mayotte mangrove by kayak or canoe is definitely worth a visit. This universe is fascinating—a community of the periophthalm, a kind of small amphibious fish; the violin crab; the white crabbird; the Terebralia palustris, a mollusk with a pointed cone and hundreds of other animals.

• Learn the art of Bandrélé salt and have a laugh with the ‘mama shingos’ who make it

The shingo mamas will explain each step of salt production, resulting in a natural product with a unique taste: from pickup to filtration in perforated basins, watering with sea water and heating to evaporate the liquid, leaving only the white gold of Mayotte salt!

• Make friends with the brown lemurs

Easy to approach, these adorable lemurs live in colonies in the trees. They will come close to you and may even try to steal your food! They look like adorable stuffed animals that you want to hug, but please do not feed (it changes their eating habits and can affect their health).

Getting to Mayotte