Exploring the Inner Islands
115 islands – one of which is artificial – make up the Seychelles archipelago. Choosing which of these untamed treasures to visit isn’t easy. From Mahé, the main island, set off to explore the Inner Islands, unique granitic or coral wonders in the heart of the Indian Ocean.
Curieuse, the island of tortoises
The first stop of the trip, Curieuse, is named after the schooner La Curieuse that discovered the island during a reconnaissance mission. The importance of fauna and flora conservation has never been more evident than in this 3 km² earthly paradise. The island’s main inhabitant is the giant tortoise, an animal weighing up to 300 kg and capable of reaching the venerable age of 200. But Curieuse is also the land of the sea coconut palm. It is home to 3,600 specimens, making it one of the world’s largest reserves of this species which is listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). If it were to die out, its fruit would also die out, and it must be said that a world without “butt nuts” (one of the names of the fruit) would be a little less poetic.
Aride, the island of reptiles
On Aride Island, you have to keep a close eye on the sky and your feet. First off, because it is a wonderful bird nature reserve. The uninitiated will learn that lesser noddies, Audubon’s shearwaters and roseate terns aren’t creatures found at Hogwarts but rather some of the rarest bird species on the planet. Looking down can be equally worthwhile, giving you the chance to enjoy the incredible variety of reptiles that cover the granitic ground. Tortoises, geckos and lizards live peacefully there and are usually quite happy for you to get a closer look at them.
Grande Sœur, the other island of beauty
Like true sisters, the neighbouring islands of Grande Sœur and Petite Sœur are inseparable. Petite Sœur can be seen from one of the wonderful white sand beaches on the tropical Eden of Grande Sœur which is ideal for relaxation. Providing picture-postcard views from halfway around the world, lagoons, coconut trees, crystal-clear water and lush vegetation fight over the prize of a dream snap holiday pic. The island is all about luxury, calm and pleasure – the perfect haven if you are considering a trip for two.
Praslin, the exquisite island
At 38 km², Praslin is the second largest island in the archipelago after Mahé. It too is picture-perfect with idyllic coves, magnificent beaches and a stunning seabed. But Praslin also boasts the Vallée de Mai, one of the largest nature reserves in the world, teeming with a whole host of endemic species including five species of palm tree. Listed as World Heritage of Humanity since 1983, the pirates who used it as a hideaway in the 16th and 17th centuries would probably be none too pleased about such renown.
The third largest island in the archipelago was probably made famous by the Anse Source d’Argent, a fine sand beach surrounded by impressive rock formations and a true ambassador for this granitic island. Like Curieuse, it too was named after the boat that discovered it in the 16th century. The west coast is also home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the region. In a nutshell: it is a real tropical garden that provides the ideal place to linger!
There are plenty of other stops to make during a trip to the Seychelles and plenty of other islands to explore. We highly recommend travelling from one island to another during your stay. Stock up on the vast beauty of the archipelago and be seduced by its other-worldly fragrances.