In search of a true eco holiday? Leading in sustainability initiatives, from banning plastics to protecting 210,000 sq km of its ocean, and setting aside 60% of its land as protected (the highest in the world) Seychelles is the place to go. Find out which islands are the eco hotspots.
Conservation King Cousin Island / National Geographic Live
Cousin Island has been a nature reserve for over 20 years and is completely carbon neutral. Once a coconut plantation, the island has years of careful conservation which has led to a restoration of the island’s rich ecosystem and biodiversity.
Unlike most of the granitic archipelago, Cousin Island’s wildlife is abundant and in close proximity. You are sure to spot a variety of nesting seabirds, foraging birds of the forest, lizards and invertebrates all year round.
There is no accommodation or restaurants on the island (in order to minimise waste production), but you can take 75-minute tours. Apart from the one of a kind experience, your visit will directly fund the maintenance and upkeep of the Special Reserve. And for the serious eco-tourists, Cousin Island offers an exclusive program, the world’s first Conservation Boot Camp!
‘On this island, the birds are in charge’ – Bird Island
Home to over a million migratory seabirds, Bird Island was named in a segment by CNN Inside Africa: ‘On this island, the birds are in charge’. This little coral island is leading in conservation projects, and tourism is designed to have a minimum impact on the environment.
The island only sees a handful of tourists each year. The only hotel on the island, Bird Island Lodge, has limited occupancy so there are never more than 80 people visiting at a time. The eco-lodge’s 24, simple but comfortable, individual chalets have no TVs or phones. Just plenty of birds, turtles and nature.
In fact, the island has no cars and roads. Instead, you can experience a sight that will stay with your forever: turtle hatchlings. As part of the conservation efforts, the Bird Island team rescue vulnerable turtle eggs and keep them safe until their hatching period. The hundreds of tiny turtles are then released when they race down the beach to the sea.
Mahé: Hiking through nature reserves (Morne Seychellois)
Responsible travel is a piece of cake on Seychelles’ main island, Mahé. Many ecotourism trails have been developed and eco-friendly activities can be found in all corners of the island.
Comprising 20% of the island, the Morne Seychellois National Park features diverse habitats, from coastal mangrove forests to the mountainous interior and the country’s highest peak! Most majestic is the central part of the park. The thick forest is essentially deserted and can only be reached by walking trails.
Even in Seychelles’ capital of Victoria, you can meet your eco needs. The Sanctuary at Roche Caiman is a restored wetland habitat created on reclaimed land. Here you can enjoy the restorative qualities of nature including mangrove forest tours and nature trails. You can even take a yoga class in the midst of all the wildlife.