Seychelles Islands

Seychelles Islands

Mahé Island

Population :   71,456
Area :   154.7 sq.km   

Mahé, measuring 28km long by 8km wide, is the largest island and cultural and economic hub of the Inner Islands, and the international gateway to Seychelles. It is home to the international airport and the nation’s capital, Victoria.
The island is home to almost 90% of the total population (or approximately 72,200 people) reflecting Seychelles' diverse ethnicity and descent from African, Indian, Chinese and European populations, and is the seat of government and the chief centre of commerce.

With a backdrop of towering 1000m granite peaks, Mahé is an extraordinary treasure trove of flora that has evolved over centuries of splendid isolation.

Rare endemic plants found nowhere else in the world adorn Mahé’s mist forests in mountain strongholds, such as the 

Jellyfish Tree, the carnivorous Seychelles Pitcher Plant and the Seychelles Vanilla Orchid.

First visited by the British in 1609, Mahé was not visited again until Lazare Picault's expedition of 1742 when the gradual process of settling the island began, first by the French whose direct influence continued until 1814 and then as a British colony until Seychelles gained independence in 1976.


Mahé is the transportation hub for island-hops and day excursions to neighbouring islands and all other islands within Seychelles. All scheduled domestic flights by Air Seychelles originate from Mahé to the serviced islands.
A leisurely tour of the island by car will take 2 to 2 1/2 hours and reveal the lion’s share of Seychelles’ accommodation facilities, places of cultural interest and other attractions. 



Praslin Island 

Population :   7,103
Distance from Mahé:   45km 
Area :   37.56 sq.km


Praslin  is Seychelles’ second largest island. It lies 45km to the northeast of Mahé and measures 10km by 3.7km. A leisurely tour around the island by car will take approximately 2 hours.
Praslin is the site of the fabulous Vallée de Mai, one of Seychelles’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The island features truly exquisite beaches such as Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette, both appearing on the top-10 list of world’s best beaches in recent years.

Prior to settlement of the islands by the French in the mid-18th century, Praslin's Côte d'Or was a favourite haunt of pirates.
The island was named Praslin after the Duc de Praslin, the French minister of marine in 1768 when the original 'Stone of Possession' was erected on the island in what is still known as Anse Possession.

Almost a century and a half later the visiting General Gordon (of Khartoum fame) became convinced that the Vallée de Mai was the original site of the Garden of Eden. This is where the legendary Coco-de-Mer, the world's heaviest nut, grows high on ancient palms in a primeval forest. The Vallée is host to six species of palm to be found only in Seychelles.

Praslin stands at the forefront of Seychelles’ tourism industry with a strong tradition of hospitality and wide range of accommodation facilities. It also provides a base for excursions to neighbouring islands, some of which are important sanctuaries nurturing rare species of endemic flora and fauna. 


La Digue

Population:   2,104

Distance from Mahé: 50km

Area: 10.1sq.km

La Digue close neighbour to Praslin and to its satellite islands of Félicité, Marianne and the Sisters Islands, La Digue is the fourth largest island in Seychelles. La Digue takes its name from one of the vessels in explorer Marion Dufresne's fleet, sent by the French to explore Seychelles' granitic islands in 1768.

Apart from hosting the Seychelles' black paradise flycatcher, one of the rarest birds on earth, La Digue's biodiversity features such stars as the chinese bittern, cave swiftlet, waxbill as well as two rare species of terrapin.

La Digue's forests also contain a wealth of flora in the form of delicate orchids, tumbling vines of vanilla, as well as trees such as Indian almond and takamaka. Gardens blaze with hibiscus and nepenthes against a backdrop of swaying coconut palms.

La Digue is an island where time stands still and time-honoured traditions such as travelling by ox-cart and bicycle are still king. Traditional methods of boat building and refining of coconut products (copra) are still practised on La Digue.

The friendly atmosphere of this intimate island with its languid pace of life, traditional architecture and breathtaking beaches, such as legendary Anse Source d’Argent, is an absolute must for visitors. La Digue has numerous and diverse accommodation for visitors, and its picturesque satellite islands are ideal for snorkelling and diving excursions. 


Bird Island

Population:   37

Distance from Mahé:   100km   

Bird, Seychelles’ most northerly island is 100km or a 30-minute flight north of Mahé. The island was once known as Ile aux Vaches because of the dugongs (sea cows) that thrived there. During the period of the southeast trade winds (May-September), Bird is colonised by more than a million sooty terns that each lay their eggs on their own exclusive square foot of territory. Bird also hosts populations of lesser noddies and fairy terns as well as white-tailed tropic birds, fodies, plovers and wimbrels.

Situated at the northern edge of the archipelago where the ocean floor plummets to 2000 metres, Bird has extraordinarily rich marine life in the form of hawksbill and green turtles, dolphins and even the occasional whale.


Once famous for its sizeable population of giant land tortoises, Bird now boasts 'Esmeralda,' the world’s h

eaviest giant land tortoise living in the wild, weighing in at over 300kg and reputed to be more than 200 years old. Incidentally, 'Esmeralda' is a male.

In the early 1970's, Bird turned to tourism, and with several conservation programmes in place, the Bird Island Lodge stands at the forefront of eco-tourism in Seychelles.

Twenty-four comfortable bungalows, excellent beaches, a reputation for good cuisine and a convivial atmosphere complement great opportunities for snorkelling, deep-sea fishing, and nature watching.


Cerf

Island

Distance from Mahé:   4km 

Area :   1.27 sq.km

Situated within the Ste Anne Marine National Park, Cerf is Mahé’s closest neighbour and offers excellent swimming and snorkelling as well as memorable sunbathing on several great beaches.

Cerf is a popular picnic venue with Mahé residents on account of its fine beaches and good swimming. 

Cerf earned its name from the navy frigate that visited Seychelles in 1756 to take formal possession of the island in the name of France.

The island once had a thriving coconut industry, the remnants of which are still evident in the form of lush coconut groves. Many exotic shrubs adorn its 116 hectares that is also home to a population of giant land tortoises and flying foxes.

Cerf is the only island in the marine park to have a small local population who commute to Mahé for their daily business, making the 4km trip in a matter of minutes.

A high standard of accommodation is available in three hotel establishments currently on the island as is the opportunity to savour mouth-watering Seychellois Creole cuisine.


Chauve Souris

Area :   0.007 sq.km   

Chauve Souris is a private island only a few hundred metres from the dream beach of Côte d’Or at Anse Volbert on Praslin, which at low tide is merely a walk away.

Leased from the government by a Count Spani in the 1960's, this granite outcrop takes its name from that of the flying fox, but was also once known as Jeanette Island.

As may be expected for such a small island dominated by granite boulders, flora on Chauve Souris consists mainly of exotic decorative shrubs and bushes. Fauna is limited to the likes of skinks, geckoes and limited birdlife that chiefly use the island as a roost.

The Chauve Souris Club is the ideal place for an intimate and secluded vacation, with five luxury rooms suspended between sea and sky amid granite rocks and lush tropical vegetation. 



Cousine

Area :   0.257sq.km   

Cousine Cousin’s close neighbour, Cousine is situated approximately 6km off the west coast of Praslin 

and offers an exclusive island experience with complete privacy found in very few other places on earth.

Cousine is a private nature reserve, home to five of the Seychelles endemic birds such as the Seychelles magpie robin and Seychelles brush warbler, as well as a variety of endemic fauna and spectacular marine life. There are some large specimens of the giant land tortoise wandering the island, which is also a nesting site for the hawksbill turtle.

Cousine was once a coconut plantation but is now home to a superb resort that offers an exceptional experience within a private nature reserve. With four individual Old French Colonial style villas, exclusivity is the order of the day as a maximum of only ten guests are accommodated at any one time. 


Denis Island

Population :   78

Distance from Mahé:   95km 

Area :   1.43 sq.km

Denis lies 95km north of Victoria, Mahé and 45km from Bird Island, making it one of the most northerly of all the Seychelles' islands.


Like many Seychelles islands, in the heyday of the coconut industry Denis was a coconut plantation, whose population of between 70 and 100 persons were engaged in collecting guano (decomposed bird droppings), producing coprah 

(refined coconut flesh) and fishing. In 1975 the island was purchased by Pierre Burkhardt, a French paper magnate who ran the island as a successful lodge with the marketing slogan “the island at the edge of the world.” The island was sold to Mason's Travel, one of Seychelles’ first local ground handling operators, in the mid ‘90s.

Denis' 350 acres is home to a varied vegetation and populations of sea and land birds including frigates, white-tailed tropic birds, whimbrels, doves, wood pigeons, cardinals and mynahs. The island is the recent beneficiary of a successful project to introduce endangered species of birdlife.

For fishermen it is ideally situated for deep-sea fishing expeditions on the nearby edge of the Seychelles’ bank where marlin, sailfish, barracuda, wahoo, dorado and tuna will thrill novice and seasoned fisherman alike.

Denis offers excellent nature walks as well as the facilities of tennis, diving, windsurfing, canoeing and of course sunbathing on its gleaming white beaches and its 5-star 25-chalet lodge is the perfect honeymoon getaway offering seclusion in comfort and with excellent gourmet cuisine. 



Frégate Island

Population :   208

Distance from Mahé:   55km 

Area :   2.19 sq.km

Frégate is situated approximately 55km from Mahé and is the most distant of the granitic Inner Island group.

Frégate was a popular pirate haunt during the latter part of the 17th century and stories persist of treasure hidden somewhere on its 280 hectares.

The Seychellois magnate Harry Savy purchased the island after World War II, transforming it into a highly

profitable venture by growing vegetables, fruit, coffee, vanilla, cinammon and poultry for markets on Mahé. The island sustained a population of some 100 persons, busily engaged in Savy’s several lucrative enterprises.

This island microcosm measuring some 2 square km is home to no less than fifty 

species of birds, among which is the rare Seychelles magpie robin, and also hosts the world’s only population of the giant tenebrionid beetle as well as numerous giant tortoises.

Frégate features a luxurious five-star eco-lodge offering the optimum in comfort and amenities that has become a favourite hideaway for Hollywood stars, with deluxe villas right on the foreshore to ensure each has a million-dollar sea view. Meanwhile guests are encouraged to engage themselves in the island’s many conservation projects, run by ecologists charged with keeping the island naturally pristine. 


North Island

Population :   148

Distance from Mahé:   35km 

Area :   2.01 sq.km

North lies only a few kilometres north of Silhouette and is the smaller of two visible in the distance from the beach at Beau Vallon on Mahé.

North was one of the very first Seychelles islands to be visited in a 1609 expedition under Captain Alexander Sharpeigh who found the island to have excellent ‘cokker nutts’ (i.e. coconuts) as well as a thriving population of giant land tortoises.

Widely regarded as one of Seychelles' most fertile islands, until recently North had been inhabited by

smallholders producing vegetables, tending and harvesting the coconut plantations for shipment to Mahé, and engaging in fishing.

In 2003 Wilderness Safaris opened an 11-chalet, five-star resort on the island targeting the luxury eco-tourism market, promising visitors interaction with the island’s biodiversity at the same time offering a high standard of barefoot luxury.

The management is remaking the island into a wildlife sanctuary it dubs the “Noah’s Ark” project, a long-term plan to rehabilitate the island’s habitats to what it was before the introduction of human settlement, and to introduce endangered flora and fauna on the island to help preserve some of Seychelles’ precious endemic species.

The resort also taps into the abundance of fresh fish and produce on and around the island for almost all of its cuisine, and a “no menu” concept allows guests to personally interact with the head chef for a custom-made culinary experience tailored to their specific tastes. 


Round Island (Praslin)

Area :   0.193 sq.km   

Round Island (Praslin) Standing on the coral reef at the entrance to Baie Ste. Anne, Round possesses few beaches but waters renowned for the excellent snorkeling.

One of the many satellite islands of Praslin, this wonderfully rounded, lushly vegetated, 20-hectare isle 

is just about as round as and island can be. This granitic island was also once home to the Coco-de-Mer be
fore the palms were cut down to make way for a coconut plantation. In the era when coprah still fetched relatively high prices on the world market, Round was once famed for the quality of its coconuts. 


Diving here uncovers multiple treasures such as giant stingrays and sleeping reef sharks. Bumphead parrotfish often swim past while several species of large grouper can also be found, concealed under overhangs and in holes around the rocky shoreline. 



Silhouette Island

Population :   136

Distance from Mahé :   30km 

Area :   19.95 sq.km

Silhouette is Seychelles' third largest island, lying 30km off Mahé's western coast and in close proximity to North Island. Silhouette’s verdant, mountainous profile dominates the view from Mahé’s Beau Vallon beach.

The Arabs used Silhouette as a base for their dhows, probably as early as the 9th century, a fact attested to by the ruins of Arab tombs at Anse Lascars.

Silhouette, together with North Island, was the very first Seychelles' island to be seen by the ships of the Sharpeigh expedition of 1609. It would have to wait until the early 19th century for a permanent settlement.

Protected by the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles, Silhouette remains an untouched, living museum of natural history featuring many unique species of plants and trees. Among these can be counted rare hardwoods, the amazing incense tree as well as the carnivorous pitcher plant. Silhouette is the only other island apart from Mahé to have a mist forest on its lofty 731m peak, Mont Dauban. Silhouette’s primitive beauty is the ideal backdrop for hikers and walkers wishing to penetrate the mysteries of an island once reputed to be the home of the notorious pirate, Hodoul, whose hidden treasure may well lie there still.

A 117-room 5-star hotel – Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa – replaced the island’s original 12-room lodge. 


St. Anne Island

Distance from Mahé :   4km 

Area :   2.19 sq.km

Ste Anne, the largest island in the Ste Anne Marine National Park, lies 4km off the east coast of Mahé and in close proximity to its neighbours, Cerf Island, Round Island and Moyenne Island.

Discovered in 1742 by the famous explorer Lazare Picault, Ste Anne was the first island to be settled 

by the early French settlers before taking up residency on Mahé. The island was later home to a commercial whaling station and World War II gun battery.

Apart from its countless coconut palms, among which may be counted three Coco-de-Mer, cinnamon plants grow wild on the lush hillsides as do casuarinas and many of the same species of plants, trees and shrubs found on neighbouring islands.

Ste Anne is home to Beachcomber’s 5-star Sainte Anne Resort, an 87-villa property that opened in 2002. 


Anonyme

Area :   0.096 sq.km   

Anonyme Island is only a stone’s throw from the international airport on the main island of Mahé.

Amid numerous ghost stories and tales of fabulous buried treasure, Anonyme plays a colourful role in the folklore of the islands that belies its small size.

Once owned by the St Jorre family who were among Seychelles' earliest settlers, Anonyme was destined

 to play an important role in the construction of the airport, becoming the chosen location for the storage of the explosives needed to accomplish the task.

Plant life on Anonyme is plentiful upon its area of 9.6 hectares, and the island plays host to rare species of trees such as bois noir (iron wood) as well as a magnificent banyan tree reputed to be more than 100 years old.

Anonyme boasts more than its fair share of bird life, and fruit bats are also to be found along with a number of giant land tortoises. The waters surrounding this tiny island are ideal for snorkelling and the isle commands spectacular views of sunsets and the other neighbouring inner islands. 


Aride

Distance from Mahé :   50km 

Area :   0.683 sq.km

Aride, perhaps the most unspoiled of all the islands, is situated 10km north of Praslin and is known as the ‘seabird citadel’ of the Indian Ocean.

The island became protected as a reserve in 1967, and since 1973 when it was purchased by Christopher Cadbury for what is now the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, seabird numbers have multiplied and five endemic land bird

s have now returned after having been wiped out with the introduction of man.

Aride’s seabirds include the world's only hilltop colony of sooty terns, the only breeding sites among the granitic islands for the red-tailed tropic bird and roseate tern and the world's largest colony of lesser noddies.

Aride also boasts one of the densest population of lizards on earth and a unique flora, being the only natural home to one of Seychelles' rarest endemic plants, Wright's gardenia, as well as to a species of 'peponium' that might also be endemic only to Aride.

In 2004, management was passed to the Island Conversation Society (ICS), which opened a new conservation centre to support some of the longest continuous scientific monitoring programs in Seychelles.

No accommodation is available, but Aride is open to day visitors 3 days a week (Sun, Mon, Wed). Excursions can be booked through Praslin hotels, boat owners and ground handling operators. 


Conception

Population :   13

Distance from Mahé :   2km 

Area :   0.603 sq.km

Conception Island lies only 2km northwest of Thérèse Island and about 2km northeast of the Mahé headland at Cap Matoopa.

One of the largest of Mahé's satellites, Conception is hilly with a mountainous ridge running virtually its entire length. The island is 1km long, 600m wide, 131m high and covered in coconut trees.

Conception was exploited as a coconut plantation until the mid-1970's but has remained abandoned and uninhabited since then, its hilly aspect and lack of beach placing constraints on its development.

The island has recently been created a wildlife reserve to protect its population of Seychelles white-eyed zosterops, a rare endemic species of bird.

Other birds to be found on Conception include the Seychelles kestrel, Seychelles blue pigeon, malagasy turtle dove as well as such threatened endemic species as the skink, green gecko, bronze eye gecko and hawksbill turtle. 


Cousin

Area :   0.286 sq.km   

Cousin lies just off the southwest coast of its close neighbour Praslin, just next to its island neighbour Cousine. Cousin is a special nature reserve home to some of Seychelles’ rarest birds, such as the Seychelles bush warbler and the Seychelles magpie robin.

Cousin has been a nature reserve since 1968 when it was purchased by the Royal Society for Nature Conservation. In 1975 it was declared a special reserve by the Seychelles government, first managed by Birdlife International and now

by local environment group Nature Seychelles.

Cousin is one of nature's treasure troves where every year 250,000 birds nest, among them the Seychelles sunbird, red turtle dove and moor hen. The island is also home to many fairy terns, noddies, frigate birds and shearwaters as well as being a place where certain species such as the Seychelles bush warbler have recovered from the edge of extinction.

There is a population of geckoes on the island, giant tortoises introduced from Aldabra and Cousin is also a favourite nesting site for hawksbill turtles.

Cousin is a popular venue with visitors for day trips that offer guided tours of this magnificent island sanctuary. Visits are organised from 0930hrs to 1200hrs, from Mondays to Fridays (closed on weekends and public holidays). 


Curieuse

Area :   2.86 sq.km   

Curieuse lies just off the north-western coast of its close neighbour Praslin and is now a reserve managed by the Seychelles Centre for Marine Technology - Marine Parks Authority.

Once known as Ile Rouge on account of its red earth, Curieuse was eventually named after one of explorer Marion Dufresne's vessels which explored the islands of the Praslin group in 1768. This rugged island was once home to a leper colony situated at Anse St. Joseph, and whose resident doctor's house dating back to the 1870's has recently been converted into an eco-museum and visitors centre.

Aside from Praslin, Curieuse is the only other island where the Coco-der-mer grows naturally, and also boasts an endemic vine and eight different species of mangrove. Today Curieuse is home to an exciting giant land tortoise rearing project. The island is also an important nesting site for hawksbill turtles.

No accommodation is offered on this island, but excursions can be arranged through local ground handling operators. 



Félicité Island

Distance from Mahé :   55km 

Area :   2.68 sq.km

Félicité is located 4km from its neighbour La Digue and in close proximity to other La Digue satellites such as the Sisters Islands, Mariannne and Ile Cocos.

This picturesque and steep granitic island was a coconut plantation up to the 1970s and supported a population of some 50 people. In the late 19th century, Félicité was home to the Sultan of Perak, one of Seychelles’ most colourful exiles, who spent five years on the island before moving to Mahé.

Until recently, the island was home to an up-market lodge offering an exclusive island experience to the likes of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

 


Grande Soeur

Distance from Mahé :   60km 

Area :   0.84 sq.km

The islands of Grande Soeur and Petite Soeur are commonly referred to as 'The Sisters Islands.'

Situated 6km northeast of neighbouring La Digue and in close proximity to Félicité and to Ile Cocos, the

se two islands are a popular venue for excursions on account of their spectacular ocean panoramas and the excellent opportunities they offer for trekking and picnicking.

These islands are also famous for snorkelling and diving in waters where the marine life is prolific. The hotel Château de Feuilles on Praslin manages the islands. 


Ile Cocos


Area :   0.018 sq.km   

Ile Cocos can be found 7km north of La Digue and lies in close proximity to La Digue's other neighbours, Félicité and the Sisters Islands. It has been a marine park since 1996 and is a spectacular spot for snorkelling and diving and a popular venue for day excursions from both Praslin and La Digue. No accommodation is offered on this island. 

 



Long Island

Area :   0.212 sq.km   

A former prison, Long Island is located in the midst of the Ste. Anne Marine Park close to Round and 

Moyenne Islands. This coconut palm-covered gem reaches an elevation of 90m, and features fabulous powder soft beaches and beautiful turquoise seas.

Opening soon on the island will be the Shangri-La Resort and Spa which will consist of 55 villas, 32 one-bedroom villas, 7 two-bedroom villas, 5 four-suite villas and a presidential villa. The hotel will feature Seychelles’ first funicular – a cable car system – to take guests to its CHI spa facilities and wedding chapel, poised on the island’s central hilltop.


Moyenne

Distance from Mahé :   6km 

Area :   0.089 sq.km

Some 6km east of Mahé and located within the Ste Anne Marine National Park, Moyenne is situated in close proximity to its neighbours, Round Island, Long Island and Ste Anne.

This beautiful, 10 hectare island is awash with tales of concealed treasure and the ghosts who have remained to guard it, presumably arising from the time when it was a pirate haunt.

The island was once owned by an eccentric English lady, Miss Emma Best, and her menagerie of stray dogs and other animals. From 1915 to the early 1970’s the island was abandoned before being purchased by the late Brendon Grimshaw, an English newspaper editor who restored the island into an easily accessible tropical garden, where he lived Robinson Crusoe-style.

The island offers excellent swimming, snorkelling and trekking - a leisurely stroll around the island will take approximately 1 hour. There is no hotel accommodation offered on Moyenne, but excursions can be arranged through local ground handling operators. 


Petite Soeur

Distance from Mahé :   60km 

Area :   0.34 sq.km

The islands of Grande Soeur and Petite Soeur are commonly referred to as 'The Sisters Islands.'

Situated 6km northeast of neighbouring La Digue and in close proximity to Félicité and to Ile Cocos, these two islands are a popular venue for excursions on account of their spectacular ocean panoramas and the excellent opportunities they offer for trekking and picnicking.

These islands are also famous for snorkelling and diving in waters where the marine life is prolific. The hotel Château de Feuilles on Praslin manages the islands.

 


Round Island

Area :   0.018 sq.km   

A close neighbour to Moyenne in the Ste Anne Marine National Park, Round Island features stunning beaches and coves with memorable swimming. A leisurely stroll around the island takes approximately 15 minutes.


This quaint islet with an elevation of some 26m was, until 1942, used to quarantine 

female lepers in buildings.

The island will soon be home to Enchanted Seychelles, a new boutique resort consisting of some 10 private chalets that will occupy the island’s entire 5 acres, each featuring its own private access to the beach.



St. Pierre

Distance from Mahé:   740km 
Area :   0.005 sq.km

One of several islands in the bay of Côte d'Or on Praslin, this tiny islet with its granite profile interspersed with coconut palms has come, over the years, to represent the quintessential Seychelles island, appearing in numerous advertisment campaigns, posters and evocative photographs.

Once home to a number of Coco-de-mer that grew naturally on the island, St. Pierre lies approximately 1.5km from Pte. Zanguilles on Praslin's fabulous Côte d'Or beach.

St. Pierre is a firm favourite with swimmers, snorkellers and yachtsmen for whom the island provides the ideal backdrop to a spectacular Seychelles sunset.


Aldabra Group

Aldabra Atoll

Distance from Mahé :   1,150km

Area :   153.8 sq.km

Aldabra Atoll, situated 1,150km southwest of Mahé, is the largest raised coral atoll in the world, comprising more than a dozen islands bordering a lagoon so vast the whole of Mahé could fit inside its perimeter.

Aldabra’s exceptional and pristine condition has earned it the distinction of being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of two such sites in Seychelles as well as a Ramsar site.

The atoll’s islands nurture a vast array of both unique flora and fauna as well as the world’s largest population of 150,000 giant tortoises, and its lagoon boasts the most vibrant marine life of the entire archipelago.

First given its name by Arab seafarers, the atoll’s harsh, sun-baked environment and the fast-flowing waters of its lagoon typically kept all but the most intrepid explorers at bay. But there has been a tiny permanent settlement on the island since 1874, made up chiefly of contract labourers from Mahé engaged at different times in fishing, mining guano and producing coprah for sale on the mainland.

The Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF) now supervises the island and strict regulations governing the island’s accessibility are in force to protect its fragile ecosystem. A small research station affords accredited scientists the opportunity to study the atoll's biodiversity, but there is no hotel accommodation on the island. Yacht charters are available, however. 



Assumption

Population :   7

Distance from Mahé:   1,140km       

Area :   11.71 sq.km

The island of Assumption lies 1,140km south west of Mahé, some 40km west southwest of Aldabra, and is nearly 7km long and 2.5km wide. There is little activity on the island although an airstrip was built in 1990 with aircraft from Mahé serving the island on a charter basis, chiefly for scientists visiting neighbouring Aldabra.

Assumption is a nesting site for turtles and its surrounding waters, accessible mainly by chartered yacht, are excellent for diving. 


Astove

Distance from Mahé :   1,045km          

Area :   6.61 sq.km

Astove, some 1,045km southwest of Mahé and 160km west southwest of Aldabra, is one of the most sou

therly links in Seychelles’ chain of islands. The atoll is encircled by a coral reef and 

features a shallow lagoon.

Astove is a turtle nesting site and offers the experienced diver extraordinary diving opportunities along the sheer walls of its spectacular coral rampart. Astove also has an airstrip and is serviced by aircraft from Mahé on a charter basis. 


Cosmoledo Atoll

Distance from Mahé :   1,045 km             

Area :   5.09 sq.km

Some 1,045km southwest of Mahé and 120km from Aldabra, the atoll of Cosmoledo comprises a ring of nine main islets surrounding an inner lagoon roughly 16km long and 11km wide at the widest point.

The sea around Cosmoledo is particularly rich in fish while the atoll itself is home to large colonies of frigate birds, terns and boobies. This hauntingly beautiful atoll is also a nesting site for green turtles. 



Amirantes Group

Distance from Mahé :   235km                    

Area :   0.3 sq.km

African Banks is the northernmost landfall of the Amirantes group and consists of two islets, North and South 

that lie 2km apart, close to the edge of the Amirantes bank.

Once famous for its seabird eggs, these uninhabited islands are surrounded by fish-rich waters that particularly abound in mackerel, tuna and shark.

Both islands are flat and barely three metres above sea level and visible from a distance of 14km by the surf that surges across the nearby reef. 




D'Arros

Population :   Circa 40

Distance from Mahé :   255km 

Area :   1.5 sq.km

Part of the Amirantes Group, D’Arros is situated 255km southwest of Mahé and some 45km west of Desroch

es. Together with the adjoining atoll of St Joseph, D’Arros forms part of a private estate 

with a lagoon of exceptional beauty.

The island hosts a number of colonies of sea birds such as frigates, fairy terns, crested terns, tropic birds and lesser noddies. There is a small population of giant land tortoises and the island is often visited by sea turtles during the nesting season.

Once owned by a prominent local Seychellois family, the island was purchased by Prince Shahram Pahlavi-nia of Iran in 1975 and remains under private ownership until today. 



Desroches

Population :   19

Distance from Mahé :   230km                                        

Area :   3.94 sq.km

Of all the islands in the Amirantes Group, Desroches is the closest to Mahé (230km southwest) and

the only island in the group offering accommodation. This coral island measures 5km long and 

1.5km wide, boasting 14km of immaculate beaches that fringe a lush grove of coconut palms interspersed by casuarina trees.

Desroches was named after a former French governor of Mauritius, and like many of Seychelles’ islands, was once a prosperous coconut plantation.

The island and its exclusive Desroches Island Resort are serviced by air from Mahé in a flight-time of approximately 50 minutes, and offers spectacular opportunities for deep sea fishing, fly-fishing and diving. 


Poivre Atoll

Population :   5

Distance from Mahé :   270km 

Area :   2.48 sq.km

Some 270km southwest of Mahé and 40km to the south of D’Arros lies Poivre Atoll, famous for its attractive semi-lagoon and also for its deep-sea fishing.

The two islands that comprise Poivre atoll, Poivre and Ile du Sud, are very different in nature and separated from one another by a semi-lagoon. Poivre was named after the Intendant of Mauritius, Pierre Poivre, who was instrumental in introducing spices from the far east into Seychelles.

Poivre is one of the oldest coconut plantations in the outer islands and this was the main source of income of a succession of individuals who either leased or owned Poivre.

There is a population of blue heron, chinese heron, greater frigate birds, whimbrels and fodys as well as lesser noddies and fairy terns. Poivre is a nesting site for hawksbill and green turtle. 



Remire

Population :   6

Distance from Mahé :   245km                          

Area :   0.27 sq.km

Remire Island, also known as Eagle, lies approximately 245km south west of Mahé at the northern extremity of the Amirantes Bank.

This charming island surrounded by fish-rich waters was once the home of the American Wendy Veevers-Cater who spent some years on the island with her family before the tiny islet came under the management of the government’s Island Development Company (IDC).

The island was once much prized for its guano deposits and much of this compacted manure was mined after World War I together with the casuarina trees that gave the small island a picturesque profile. After the Veevers-Cater experiment in settling the island, IDC stationed a handful of workers there to keep the island clean, tend the coconut plantation and to maintain a small number of chalets. 


St. Joseph Atoll

Distance from Mahé :   250km 

Area :   1.22 sq.km

The St Joseph Atoll, 250km southwest of Mahé, is situated in close physical proximity to D'Arros Island and the two have always shared a closely tied fortune.

The atoll comprises the islands St. Joseph, Fouquet, Ressource, Ile Varres, Petit Carcassaye, Grand Carcassaye, Benjamin, Banc Ferrari, Chien, Banc de Sable, Banc Cocos, Ile Paul and Pelican. St Joseph Island itself comprises a land area

of 1000 acres and is the largest island in the group.

St Joseph, like d'Arros, was once a thriving coconut plantation, interspersed with such trees as casuarina, bois mapu, cassant, and bois blanc. It traditionally housed a small population of contract workers from its neighbour who, over the years, have been engaged in the coprah (refined coconut flesh) industry and also in fishing.

The atoll’s lagoon is home to a massive population of sting rays and a healthy number of turtles. Giant blue mud crabs migrate from the depths of the lagoon onto the surrounding flats with the high tides. Bone fish abound as do grouper, lobster and several species of coral fish. Oysters grow in profusion on the coral walls and in the weed beds that cover much of the lagoon's surface.

There is a large colony of frigate birds and numbers of blue heron, crested terns, wimbrels and plovers. 



Southern Coral Group

Coëtivy

Population :   252

Distance from Mahé :   290km 

Area :   9.31 sq.km

Coëtivy is the most easterly of Seychelles’ islands, 290km from Mahé. Always a productive agricultural station, the island is now home to an extensive Tiger Prawn farming project and vegetables are also grown for sale on Mahé. 





Platte

Population :   3

Distance from Mahé:   140km                             

Area :   0.54 sq.km

Platte Island, 140km due south of Mahé, is low and flat with an encircling reef containing a lagoon. Known for its rich fish life, Platte has an airstrip and is occasionally serviced by Island Development Company (IDC) aircraft from Mahé. 



Alphonse Group

Alphonse    

Population :   82

Distance from Mahé :   400km                    

Area :   1.74 sq.km

Alphonse, the principal island of the Alphonse Group, is a small triangular island barely 1.2km wide, sheltered by a spectacular coral reef.

Located 400km southwest of Mahé, Alphonse was initially developed around the coconut industry and was also mined for guano (decomposed bird droppings). The island remains an important nesting ground for turtles and colonies of sea birds.

Alphonse is one of the few among Seychelles’ outer islands to offer accommodation in 25 luxury bungalows and 5 executive suites. The island provides excellent opportunities for fly-fishing, deep-sea fishing, and diving in virgin waters. Alphonse is serviced by air from the main island of Mahé in a flight time of one hour. 


Bijoutier

Distance from Mahé :   405km                    

Area :   0.074 sq.km

Alphonse’s tiny neighbouring island of Bijoutier occupies pride of place within the waters of a turquoise lagoon.

This circular 2-acre island, set like a gemstone as if to crown the beauty of the lagoon, is fringed with beach shrubs and coconut palms. A walk around the island will take all of 10 minutes.

Bijoutier, which has never been inhabited, boasts a variety of wildlife that includes colonies of frigate birds, turtles, giant blue mud-crabs as well as, now, a world renowned population of bone-fish.

Excursions to Bijoutier can be made from Alphonse. 




St François

Distance from Mahé :   410km                 

Area :   0.17 sq.km

St. François is a low-lying, v-shaped, flat reef cay with a fringe of coconut palms, separated from its larger neighbour, Alphonse, by a narrow but deep canal.

The island itself only formed relatively recently and is not mature, and its poor topsoil has placed limitations on its development.

The island once supported a population of a handful of men engaged in harvesting coconuts but the plantation was never productive.

The sand flats surrounding St. François today offer what is widely considered to be the best bone-fishing in the world, for fly-fishing guests staying at the nearby Alphonse Island Lodge. 


Farquhar Group

Farquhar Atoll   

Population :   15

Distance from Mahé :   770km                   

Area :   7.99 sq.km

The Farquhar Atoll comprises the islands Ile du Nord, Ile du Sud, Manaha Nord, Manaha Milieu, Manaha Sud, Goëlettes, Lapin, Ile du Milieu, Depose and Bancs de Sable.

This group lies a little over 700km from Mahé and is made up of the atolls of Farquhar and Providence together with the island of St Pierre. Beautiful lagoons within the atolls offer secure anchorages from the sometimes-stormy seas that surround them. There is no accommodation on the islands of the Farquhar Group.

Farquhar, Seychelles’ most southerly outpost, has an airstrip and is serviced by aircraft from Mahé on a charter basis.


Providence Atoll 

Population :   6

Distance from Mahé :   710km                       

Area :   3.95 sq.km

The Providence Atoll comprises the islands Providence, St Pierre and Ile Cerf.

Providence Atoll occupies an extensive bank of shallow water well known for its profusion of fish. Cerf Island, a true coconut island with an almost cartoon-like fringe of green palms, lies at the southern end of the Providence bank.

St. Pierre, some 32km west of Providence, is a small, raised coral island occupying its own small submarine bank and is a popular roost and breeding site for sea-birds. 



Eden Plaza, Eden Island

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