Thursday, 31 January 2013

Frégate Island... Treasure Island?

Situated approximately 55km from Mahé, Frégate and is the most distant of the granitic Inner Island group. It was a popular pirate haunt during the latter part of the 17th century and stories persist of treasure hidden somewhere on its 280 hectares, although I am yet to confirm those stories!
A three-kilometre square fragment splintered from the prehistoric ark-continent of Gondwana, which once united South America, Africa, India and the Antarctic: like much of the Seychelles, Frégate Island remained beyond the reach of the major evolutionary developments, and man, for hundreds of millions of years. This allowed secluded pockets of untouched nature to flourish.

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.

The island 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.


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Denis Island... The island at the edge of the world.

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.

Photos from Denis...



Thursday, 17 January 2013

Cerf Island...

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.

Photos from Cerf Island...



Thursday, 10 January 2013

Bird Island...

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 heaviest 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.

Photos from Bird Island...



Thursday, 3 January 2013

Saint Anne Island

Sainte Anne Island is the largest island in the Marine National Park off Mahé, with a peak reaching 800 feet. Discovered on Sainte Anne's Day, it was the first place the early French settlers lived before colonising nearby Mahé. In its recent history the island has been used as a place of refuge for escaped prisoners and as a whaling base during the early 20th century. Up until 1992 it was used to house the National Youth Service where young people aged between 15 - 17 would spend some time living on the island as part of their state education. Now amidst the islands tropical unspoilt vegetation lie the 87 Villas of Sainte Anne Resort and Spa, Private Island.

Occupying nearly a mile of undulating coastline the only sounds are rustling palm trees and gentle waves lapping at white sandy beaches. Teeming with marine life the three beaches at Sainte Anne offer a unique experience of complete harmony and nature.

Sainte Anne Island is surrounded by a Marine National Park, home to more than 150 species of fish and magnificent underwater life. No motorized water sports are permitted to disturb this natural paradise where the treasures of the sea have thrived over thousands of years. Don a snorkel and flippers and discover the magic beneath the blue. Or venture deeper on specially organized scuba diving expeditions.

Exert your energy paddling a kayak and laze away the days under sail in the gentle breeze. Play a game of floodlit tennis in the cool of the evening or hire a bike to explore the island. Whether lazy strolls or enjoying the islands many nature trails, Sainte Anne provides a pure and authentic experience of the island's magnificence.

Images of Sainte Anne Island...