Silhouette is Seychelles' third largest island, lying 30km off Mahé's western coast and in close proximity to North Island. Despite being Seychelles' largest island, it only a population of around 130 people. 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 116-room 5-star hotel – Labriz Silhouette – replaced the island’s original 12-room lodge.
Things to do
Dauban MausoleumThe Dauban Mausoleum is built in a serene and secluded spot of Silhouette amid luxuriant vegetation of mainly coconut trees.
This imposing architecture, a special landmark of the island ranks high among the work of its kind in Seychelles.
One of its most distinct features is a set of six proportionally massive columns which are aligned on the façade and on part of the lateral sides. Besides its appealing structure, the mausoleum gives an insight into a series of social and economic aspects highlighting both the status of the Dauban family and the level of economic prosperity of the island at that time.
Plantation HouseThe old plantation house at La Passe is a building of great dignity and grace typifying the Creole architectural style of always including a spacious verandah extending all around the building, and a flight of steps on all four sides, affording more than one entrance or exit.
The plantation house at Silhouette was probably constructed around 1861 as the family home of Mr Henri Dauban, Sr, owner of the island who employed around 250 labourers on his 2,000 acre estate. At that time, copra was the main source of revenue for Seychelles, along with cinnamon oil, vanilla and hawksbill turtle shell.
Silhouette Marine National ParkStanding at a height of 740m, Silhouette Island has managed to escape the ravages of deforestation, which has sadly affected some islands.
Silhouette was designated as a Marine Park on 26th October 1987. It is the only “paper park” left in Seychelles and efforts are being sought to establish funds to effectively protect and manage the area.
Silhouette National ParkThe Silhouette National Park was opened on the 07th August 2010 by the President, Mr. James Michel.
Silhouette Island is the third largest island of the inner granitic group of the Seychelles’ archipelago of which the government has designated 93% of the island as protected area.
Silhouette Island is known for its dramatic mountain peaks, Mont Dauban (740m), Mont-Pot-a-Eau (621m), Gratte Fesse (515m) Mont Corgat (502m),Mont Cocos Marrons (500m) and for being one of the richest biodiversity hot-spots in the western Indian Ocean. It is home to many endemic and threatened plant and animal species and has large areas of primeval forest, mist forests as well as breathtaking viewpoints. It is also home to last known Seychelles sheath-tailed bats.
The declaration of the Silhouette National Park reflects the importance of the survival of this important domain and its critically endangered species.
Photos of Silhouette Island...