ARIDE ISLAND - WALKING TOUR GUIDED BY THE LOCAL RANGER
A visit to Aride Island is an essential part of the itinerary for any visitor to Seychelles to discover what the islands were like 250 years ago before human settlement. Aride is the northernmost island of the granitic Seychelles and is 1.6 km long and 0.6 km wide. Aride hosts one of the most important seabird populations in the Indian Ocean with more breeding species than any other island in Seychelles. Eighteen species of native birds (including five only found in Seychelles) breed on Aride. The island is managed as a nature reserve by the Island Conservation Society of Seychelles and the only human inhabitants are the reserve's staff!
Aride Island hosts thousands of breeding seabirds each year, especially during the southeast monsoon and land birds that breed year round. Aride is also an island where native plants find fertile soil for growth. Because of this, it plays a very important role in the conservation of Seychelles wildlife both terrestrial and marine (with a 200m of protected area from the coastline).
CURIEUSE ISLAND - WALKING TOUR GUIDED BY THE LOCAL RANGER
Lying about one mile to the north-east of Praslin, this island of about 2 miles long was first given the name Ile Rouge on account of its red earth. As part of the Marine Park the island is strictly protected and only a few families live there. Like Praslin, Curieuse is home to the Coco de Mer palm. The island has a wild population of about 250 Giant Tortoises, brought over from Aldabra in the 1980s and a breeding scheme has been in place there for several years. Curieuse was once a leper colony, and the ruins of the houses can still be seen. There is also a large, restored colonial villa, known as the Doctor’s House, where the island doctor lived in the 1870s. Nature trails wind their way across the island, notably through the extensive swamps, home to eight different species of mangrove.
COUSIN ISLAND - WALKING TOUR GUIDED BY THE LOCAL RANGER
Cousin Island is a granitic island covering 27 hectares and lies approximately 2km from Praslin Island. It became the world’s first internationally owned-reserve when it was purchased in 1968 by the International Council for the Protection of Birds (ICBP), now 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 neighbouring Praslin Island through eco-tourism. Conservation activities include monitoring of the island's biodiversity, research, re-introduction of endangered species such as the Seychelles Magpie Robin.
* PRASLIN – Half Day
Depart from Praslin Port for Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, via the main mountain pass. Scenic coastal drive through picturesque fishing villages and dense forest of contrasting shades of green. Arrival at Vallée de Mai from where the guided tour starts. Discover this primeval forest with its gigantic palms and its famous Coco de Mer nut, the largest seed in the plant kingdom. Depart the allée de Mai for the Cote d’ Or Beach, voted several times as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, where there is time for a refreshing swim.
Price per person €75
* LA DIGUE – Half Day
Oxcart tour of the Veuve Nature Reserve and Union Plantation and continue to Anse Source d’ Argent beach. Tour of the Union Estate including the copra kiln, traditional coconut oil mill and the colonial plantation house. Spend some time at Anse Source D’Argent one of the most magnificent beaches in the world. Visit La Passe, the island’s main village, before returning to the ship.
Price per person €70
*Orbital Travel act as agents for the activity operator/supplier only. The contract for these excursions, tours and activities is between the client and the local suppliers who offer them. Optional excursions are payable in cash at the time of booking.