The Essential Seychelles
Considered to be heaven on earth, the Seychelles archipelago actually contains 115 dots of land, some of which remain totally unspoilt and devoid of human activity. On this itinerary, PONANT invites you to discover the must-see jewels of the Seychelles. On Mahé, you will board Le Bougainville for a 9-day expedition cruise to the heart of this archipelago’s Inner Islands for a glimpse of paradise.
DAY 1: 18 JANUARY 2022 VICTORIA, MAHÉ
Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 metres high and overlooks the Indian Ocean.
DAY 2: SAINTE ANNE MARINE NATIONAL PARK
Lying off the coast of Mahé, the Sainte Anne Marine National Park has been protecting the natural riches and exceptional sea beds of the verdant islands and turquoise lagoons of Sainte-Anne, Longue, Ronde, Moyenne and Cerf since 1973. These dream islands with their white sandy beaches edged with granite rock, crystal-clear waters and coconut trees promise unforgettable moments of relaxation and discovery. These colourful reefs and granite rocks and their large swathes of sea grass are home to a multitude of tropical fish as well as sea turtles, dolphins and several species of ray, including the manta ray.
DAY 3: RÉMIRE ISLAND
Remire Island is like a piece of confetti in the Indian Ocean and is a captivating place to visit. Located in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles, it is prized for its unique biodiversity, including its exceptionally rich underwater life. The rare inhabitants of this tropical islet watch over its preservation, and a walk amidst its lush vegetation, home to delightful birds, will delight fans of unspoiled areas. For those who love snorkeling, myriad colourful fish live among the coral reefs that border the island.
DAY 4: DESROCHES ISLAND
Coconut trees, she-oak, white-sand beaches, warm and clear waters: everything here is conducive to daydreaming and relaxation in an intimate setting where the blue sky completes the picture postcard.
You are on Desroches Island, the largest in the Amirantes group in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. This 6 km long coral atoll covered in lush vegetation is surrounded by spectacular seabeds where encounters with sharks and manta rays are not uncommon. On the beach, you may be lucky enough to observe sea turtles, there to lay their eggs. In the island’s north, a lighthouse that is still in operation stands guard, and the small village is home to a chapel and a cemetery.
DAY 4: CURIEUSE ISLAND
Situated off the coast of Praslin, Curieuse has a distinguishing feature: its red earth. Discovered in 1768 by the French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne, it was ravaged by a fire in 1771 and then home to a leper colony of which a few vestiges still remain. Declared a national marine park in 1979, it is home to many underwater species, which can be discovered while scuba diving or snorkeling in the idyllic waters of the Indian Ocean. But above all, Curieuse is renowned for the hundreds of Aldabra giant tortoises that live there. It is highly likely that you will get the chance to meet these fascinating reptiles. Along with Praslin, it is also the only island on which the sea coconut grows wild.
DAY 5: ARIDE ISLAND
Aride is an island in the Seychelles situated a few kilometres north-west of Praslin. Listed as a nature reserve, this pearl of the Indian Ocean will seduce you with the beauty of its landscapes of wild cliffs and fine-sand beaches. Protected from human impact and sometimes called “bird capital”, it is home to several endemic plants as well as exceptional wildlife.
Most notably, it is the refuge of an impressive number of seabirds (Seychelles magpie-robins, terns, noddies, and more), and reptiles, such as Wright’s skinks, which can be found in the island’s wooded areas. Sea turtles can also be observed on the island’s beaches.
DAY 6: GRANDE SŒUR
Located 6 km north of La Digue, Grande Sœur Island is renowned for its two sumptuous beaches and its translucent waters, protected by a coral reef. An ideal spot for snorkeling and observing the sea turtles that co-exist here with the many multi-coloured fish. The pristine Grande Sœur Island is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands in the Seychelles.
DAY 7: PRASLIN ISLAND
Situated some forty kilometres away from Victoria, Praslin is the second largest island in the Seychelles. Its idyllic beaches where granite rocks nestle in immaculate sand correspond perfectly to how we imagine the Seychelles to be. They invite visitors to dive into the turquoise waters, which are ideal for snorkeling. In the center of the island, hidden in the heart of a stunning tropical rain forest, lies the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In this veritable plant
sanctuary, several endemic species of palm trees can be observed, as well as the famous sea coconut, which can weigh up to 20 kg and is sometimes called “coco fesse” because its shape calls to mind a pair of buttocks.
DAY 8: LA DIGUE ISLAND
La Digue Island is a veritable concentration of all the beauty of the Seychelles. Located 6 km south-east of Praslin, this small piece of land that looks like paradise is the third-largest island in the Seychelles, despite its modest size (5 km by 3 km)! Turquoise waters just asking you to swim in them, lush vegetation sheltering giant tortoises, beaches of fine sand fringed with coconut trees and surrounded with those emblematic large granite rocks with their pink highlights like at the famous Anse Source d’Argent: the perfect picture postcard... Authentic and preserved, the island follows a peaceful rhythm, with the only means of transport along its little roads being bikes or traditional oxcarts.
DAY 9: 26 JANUARY 2022 VICTORIA, MAHÉ
Back in Mahé with some time to explore the main island before boarding the flight back home. Mahé is an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria. There is also an option to extend your stay in the beautiful Seychelles.
JOURNEYS PACKAGE INCLUDES:
• Flight in economy class with Qatar Airways Oslo - Mahé, Seychelles 16 - 26 Jan, 2022
• 1 night in a 5* hotel in Mahé
• Cruise with Ponant (Le Bougainville) 9 days/8 nights
• All inclusive onboard
• Excursions with the ship's Zodiac®
• Transfers between the airport and the ship.
Deluxe Stateroom (19 kvm) => from 39 900 NOK
Prestige Stateroom (19 kvm) => from 43 500 NOK
Deluxe Suite (27 kvm) => from 56 500 NOK
Prestige Suite (38 kvm) => from 75 000 NOK
Prices per person sharing a stateroom. The end price is subject to change depending on the availability. Business class available for an additional cost.
Are you interested in experiencing the The Essential Seychelles?
Contact [email protected] and she will help you arrange the trip of a lifetime.
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