Thursday, 7 February 2013

North Island...

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. From 1826 until the 1970s, North Island was owned by the Beaufond family from Reunion. During this time the island was a plantation for growing fruit and spices, as well as producing guano, fish oil and copra. After the plantation was sold in the 1970s, the island fell into disuse, and was taken over by feral animals and alien species of weeds

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 (a South African comoany) 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. It is one of the most ambitious conservation projects ever undertaken by a private company.

Photos from North Island...

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