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Places of Interest in Seychelles

Southern Sky Adventures: Places of Interest in Seychelles

Capitol is Victoria

Aldabra Atoll

Aldabra Atoll is a large (20 mile long, maximum 8.5 mile wide, area 60 square miles) raised atoll located on the island of Mahe. It is situated 685 miles southwest of Victoria (the capital of the Seychelles) and 250 miles north of Madagascar. Aldabra has been described as “one of the wonders of the world” by Sir David Attenborough as its isolation in a remote area of the Indian Ocean, combined with an inhospitable terrestrial environment, has helped preserve it in a relatively natural state. Increasing levels of stress from human activities are contributing to the decline of the world’s coral reefs. Aldabra, however, has so far escaped the worst of these stresses and provides an ideal natural laboratory for studying tropical marine ecosystems and scuba diving.

Bird Island

Bird Island is one of the northernmost islands in the Seychelles Islands archipelago, and it is located on the edge of the island chain on the edge of a continental shelf. From the main island of Mahe, it is about 60 miles to Bird Island and is about a half-hour flight from Mahe to Bird Island. From the air, visitors can see the bright and beautiful coral cay of approximately 170 acres. The water varies in shades of blue and turquoise in the Indian Ocean, which bathes the reef and continental shelf. On land, the white sands contrast with the rich green of all the tropical plants. To the east and south of Bird Island is a sheltering coral reef which is the home to numerous bright tropical fish which makes for excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. As for the beaches, the swimming is excellent due to the protection of the coral reef. Home to ‘Esmeralda’, the world’s heaviest land tortoise, this island is also an important nesting site for turtles year-round.

Cousin Island

Cousin Island is a granitic island covering 15 acres and lies approximately 1 mile from Praslin Island. It became the world’s first internationally owned-reserve when it was purchased in 1968 by Birdlife International. The objective was to save the last remaining population of the Seychelles warblers. First made into a Nature Reserve in 1968, it was afforded further protection when it was designated a Special Reserve in 1974. It is not only significant for sea birds and endemic land birds but is also the most important breeding site for Hawksbill turtles in the Western Indian Ocean. The reserve is managed solely by local staff and benefits local communities on the neighboring Praslin Island through eco-tourism.

Looking around Cousin today, it is hard to believe that this vibrant and diverse island ecosystem was once a coconut plantation.  When the island was first settled in the early 1900’s, the original vegetation on the plateau was cleared to make way for profitable coconut trees as well as a small garden. Cousin has been successfully restored to its original vegetation, creating homes for many endemic species of land birds and important breeding sites for seabirds.

Denis Island

Denis Island in the Seychelles Islands was named after Denis de Trobriant, a French explorer, in 1773. He found Denis Island to be a haven for an amazing variety of turtles and birds, sea cows, and seals. Denis Island is a perfect place to spend a vacation soaking up sunshine, but it also offers many great opportunities for fishermen. Denis Island boasts of year-round fishing in the Indian Ocean due to the great abundance of fish. There are fishing charters that operate for hire and some that operate on regular schedules. The crews use high-tech fishing equipment, and are more than happy to show you the art of bottom fishing and bone fishing, two activities that are gaining in popularity.

Denis Island has a small diving center with PADI accredited instructors teaching diving lessons to beginners and advanced divers near where visitors can hire diving and snorkeling tools. The water around Denis Island is protected, and is one of the best diving sites in the Seychelles.

Fregate Island

Fregate is an island in the Seychelles archipelago that is known for having plants and animals not found elsewhere on earth. Naturalist from the world over have come to Fregate to experience the amazing, unspoiled beauty of the island. The island’s name comes from the Fregate bird, which has a 12-foot wingspan and is found on the island. Birdwatchers delight in the variety of birds here, surrounded as they are by lush vegetation. The island also boasts seven white beaches on its one square mile of land. Fregate is located about 1,000 miles east of the Kenyan coast and is one of the 115 Seychelles Islands It is also home to hundreds of wild Aldabra tortoises as well as many bird species. Fregate is the most remote of the Seychelles Islands, and is home to rare reptiles as well. The island is privately owned and is sometimes visited by wealthy celebrities looking for privacy.

Houses on the island are the most comfortable of accommodations in the Seychelles, and they adhere to rules about protection and conservation of the island’s ecosystem. There is a resort as well that has 16 villas that can hold up to 40 visitors. The villas are made of native mahogany that blends in with the natural surroundings. They are very luxurious, each having a large veranda and a Jacuzzi that is the height of sophistication for the high-profile guests that vacation on the island.

La Digue Island

Many of the attractions of La Digue are located only a short boat ride away from the larger island of Praslin. Tourists from every part of the world come to La Digue in the Seychelles so they can enjoy a wonderful vacation in comfortable, affordable accommodations, including the resort, lodges, and guest houses. The amazing land forms of La Digue including the white beaches and the granite cliffs give the island an aura of peace and serenity. The island is quite unspoiled, and life here is reminiscent of what the Seychelles looked like before becoming the tourist heaven it is today. The roads in La Digue are not paved, and there are only a few cars on the island. Most people get around on foot or by bike. Off shore are coral reefs, and snorkeling, swimming, or strolling are all very relaxing activities in this beautiful environment.

Some people consider La Digue to be the most beautiful island because of the combination of palm lined beaches, crystal blue waters, and enormous granite boulders. La Digue is one of the most undeveloped and traditional islands in the entire archipelago. The beaches of Anse Source d’Argent, Grand Anse, Severe Petite Anse, Anse Union are the most well known and beautiful beaches on La Digue.

Mahe Island

The island of Mahe, located in the northeastern part of the Seychelles Island chain, supports a population of about 80,000. Victoria is the capital city, and it is there where 90% of the island’s population lives. Mahe’s capital is the city of Victoria, which is also the seat of the Seychelles Island government. The island was named after Bertrand Francois Mahe La Bourdonnais, of Maritius.

Mahe has a mountain called Morne Seychellois that is over 3,000 feet high that is located in Morne Seychellois Park. The northern and eastern parts of Mahe are where much of the business takes place, and is where the international airport is located. The hills of Mahe are home to thick rain forests that are often cloud covered. On the west part of Mahe is the Beau Vallon, which is a tourism center and has lovely beaches and waters perfect for water sports like wind surfing and sailing as well as banana boat rides. Another popular beach on Mahe is the Baie Lazare beach. The largest hotel in the Seychelles, the Plantation Club, is nearby, and there are artists’ studios at Anse aux Bleues and Anse la Mouche.

Praslin Island

Praslin Island, part of the Seychelles Islands archipelago, is a world famous tourist destination with lovely hotels and beaches that are considered the most beautiful in the world. In fact, Anse Lazio, on Praslin, is considered by some to be the most beautiful beach in the world. Praslin also has tropical forests with rare birds such as the Seychelles Bulbul and the black parrot. A nature preserve called Valee-de-Mai has coco-de-mer trees and vanilla orchards. The Valee de Mai has been compared with the biblical Garden of Eden and has been a UNESCO National Heritage for a quarter of a century.

The beaches on Praslin Island are covered with soft, white sand. Though Anse Lazio is the most famous of them, there are countless other beautiful beaches on Praslin. The beaches in general provide safe swimming and snorkeling. In addition to the coral reefs, the waters are home to nearly 1,000 varieties of fishes. For golfers, Praslin is the only island in the chain that has a championship golf course.

Shark Bank

Situated 5 miles northwest of Mahe, Shark Bank is one of the Seychelles’ premier dive spots. A granite plateau interweaved with massive granite boulders set the scene for this magical underwater seascape teeming with a large variety of tropical reef fish. Go diving on Shark Bank and be awed by the white tip reef sharks. Swim alongside huge schools of fish that are clouds in this dreamy underwater magical adventure. Shark Bank is renowned for the large numbers of grey stingrays that populate it. Dive on Shark Bank and witness the massive grounder fish that lurk in the depths of this spectacular environment. Up-close encounters with some of the majestic, enchanting fish leave you breathless.

Sainte Anne Island

Saint Anne Island, part of the Seychelles Island chain, is the main island in the Marine National Park of Mahe. And is backdropped by a mountain that rises 800 feet. The shorelines of Sainte Anne are quiet except for the sounds of the surf and the rustling leaves of the palm trees. The beaches are white sand, palm tree lined and full of marine wildlife. The clear waters are perfect for snorkeling, and there are also limited guided scuba dives near the coral reefs.

Sainte Anne Resort is a resort with the concept of “single resort, single island” and is set purposely in the center of the Sainte Anne Marine Park. Accommodation consists of the 87 villas on Sainte Anne’s Island. Though 87 is a large number, the island covers around 500 acres, so every building is surrounded by plenty of space, which makes it easier to maintain privacy. Each villa faces the ocean along three different beaches. Every villa has a private terrace and backyard garden and is only a few steps from one of three beaches.

Silhouette Island

Along with Mahe and Praslin, Silhouette is the third of the three major islands in the Seychelles chain. The land area is 4,930 acres, which is actually very large compared to some of the tinier islands in the Seychelles, and at its peak, it is 2,461 feet in elevation. Because of this variety, it is one of the great preserves of biodiversity in the Indian Ocean. Silhouette is hilly and is the least amenable to development, so there is little in the way of infrastructure and only 130 people live on the island.

Valee’ de Mai Reserve

Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve is a jewel of Seychellois ecology that contains all six of the country’s endemic palm species. The Vallée de Mai itself is a valley in the centre of the Praslin National Park on Praslin Island in Seychelles. All of 11 acres in size, it was untouched by humans until the 1930s and still retains a primeval palm forest in almost totally natural state. It was declared a World Heritage Site on ecological grounds.

Moreover, the Vallée de Mai is a kind of natural museum; it represents the kind of tropical palm forest that would have existed in other parts of the world before the evolution of more advanced plant species. It’s therefore an excellent example of an earlier stage in the evolution of the world’s flora.

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