Outer Islands

“In the heart of the Indian Ocean is one of the last untouched frontiers with a new style of lodging and experiential travel, all while actively conserving this pristine region”

Only a few of the Outer Island groups currently offers accommodation facilities, they do however provide unparalleled opportunities for sailing, fishing and diving in places where few have gone before. Truly exceptional and a clear SAFARI FRANK favourite!

Seychelles outer islands Cosmoledo eco camp aerial1

The Outer Islands are those situated beyond the Seychelles plateau. They comprise 72 low-lying sand cays and atolls lying anywhere between 230 km and 1150 km from Mahé. Less visited than their granitic cousins due to their relative remoteness, these pristine miniature worlds, some little more than sand spits or lonely rocky outcrops, offer untouched habitats for many species of wildlife.

Aldabra Atoll

Aldabra Atoll, situated 1 150 km southwest of Mahé, is the largest raised coral atoll in the world, comprising more than a dozen islands bordering a lagoon so vast the whole of Mahé could fit inside its perimeter. Aldabra’s exceptional and pristine condition has earned it the distinction of being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of two such sites in Seychelles, as well as a Ramsar site. The atoll’s islands nurture a vast array of both unique flora and fauna as well as the world’s largest population of 150 000 giant tortoises, and its lagoon boasts the most vibrant marine life of the entire archipelago. First given its name by Arab seafarers, the atoll’s harsh, sun-baked environment and the fast-flowing waters of its lagoon typically kept all but the most intrepid explorers at bay. But there has been a tiny permanent settlement on the island since 1874, made up chiefly of contract labourers from Mahé engaged at different times in fishing, mining guano and producing coprah for sale on the mainland. The Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF) now supervises the island and strict regulations governing the island’s accessibility are in force to protect its fragile ecosystem. A small research station affords accredited scientists the opportunity to study the atoll’s biodiversity, but there is no hotel accommodation on the island. Yacht charters are available, however.

Astove Atoll

One of the most remote inhabited islands in Seychelles, Astove Atoll features a rugged and dramatic landscape with limestone rock and sand dunes rising against the horizon. It’s an environment which has had very little human impact placed on it in recent decades. Astove, some 1 045 km southwest of Mahé and 16 0km west southwest of Aldabra, is one of the most southerly links in Seychelles’ chain of islands. The atoll is encircled by a coral reef and features a shallow lagoon. Astove is a turtle nesting site and offers the experienced diver extraordinary diving opportunities along the sheer walls of its spectacular coral rampart. Astove also has an airstrip and is serviced by aircraft from Mahé on a charter basis. The Astove Coral House provides wonderful accommodation on the Island.

Cosmoledo Atoll

Some 1 045 km southwest of Mahé and 120 km from Aldabra, the atoll of Cosmoledo comprises a ring of nine main islets surrounding an inner lagoon roughly 16 km long and 11 km wide at the widest point. The sea around Cosmoledo is particularly rich in fish while the atoll itself is home to large colonies of frigate birds, terns and boobies. This hauntingly beautiful atoll is also a nesting site for green turtles.  Committed to the conservation, preservation and protection of the natural resources of Cosmoledo Atoll, the single eco-camp situated on Wizard Island is where nature meets sustainable hospitality, the likes of which you won’t find elsewhere.

Desroches Island

Of all the islands in the Amirantes Group, Desroches is the closest to Mahé (230 km southwest) and the only island in the group offering accommodation. This coral island measures 5 km long and 1.5 km wide, boasting 14 km of immaculate beaches that fringe a lush grove of coconut palms interspersed by casuarina trees. Desroches was named after a former French governor of Mauritius, and like many of Seychelles’ islands, was once a prosperous coconut plantation.

The island and its exclusive Four Seasons Desroches Resort are serviced by air from Mahé in a flight-time of approximately 50 minutes, and offers spectacular opportunities for deep sea fishing, fly-fishing and diving.

Poivre Atoll

Some 270 km southwest of Mahé and 40 km to the south of D’Arros lies Poivre Atoll, famous for its attractive semi-lagoon and also for its deep-sea fishing. The two islands that comprise Poivre atoll, Poivre and Ile du Sud, are very different in nature and separated from one another by a semi-lagoon. Poivre was named after the Intendant of Mauritius, Pierre Poivre, who was instrumental in introducing spices from the far east into Seychelles. Poivre is one of the oldest coconut plantations in the outer islands and this was the main source of income of a succession of individuals who either leased or owned Poivre. There is a population of blue heron, Chinese heron, greater frigate birds, whimbrels and fodys as well as lesser noddies and fairy terns. Poivre is a nesting site for hawksbill and green turtle.

Alphonse Island

Alphonse, the principal island of the Alphonse Group, is a small triangular island barely 1.2 km wide, sheltered by a spectacular coral reef. Located 400 km southwest of Mahé, Alphonse was initially developed around the coconut industry and was also mined for guano (decomposed bird droppings). The island remains an important nesting ground for turtles and colonies of sea birds. Alphonse is one of the few among Seychelles’ outer islands to offer accommodation in 25 luxury bungalows and 5 executive suites at the Alphonse Island Lodge. The island provides excellent opportunities for fly-fishing, deep-sea fishing, and diving in virgin waters. Alphonse is serviced by air from the main island of Mahé in a flight time of one hour. Alphonse’s tiny neighbouring island of Bijoutier occupies pride of place within the waters of a turquoise lagoon. This circular 2-acre island, set like a gemstone as if to crown the beauty of the lagoon, is fringed with beach shrubs and coconut palms. The sand flats surrounding St. François today offer what is widely considered to be the best bone-fishing in the world, for fly-fishing guests staying at Alphonse Island Lodge.

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