Friday, 15 February 2013

Curieuse Island... Home of the giant tortoise

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.

It all started a bit nasty for settlements on Curieuse. Here, it is much drier than on Praslin - and especially Mahé - as it rains a little bit less and more importantly because the soil cover is too small to store much ground water. Poor soils in general made agriculture a bad idea on Curieuse.

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, and Seychelles Yacht Charter regularly visits Curieuse on charters where it affords guests the opportunity to visit the tortoise sanctuary, and take the mile long hike across across the island, through the nature reserve, and on to the former leper colony where one can visit the doctor's house and museum. It truly is a great day out!

Photos from Curieuse...





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