Seychelles, a jewel of the Indian Ocean is one of the top beach holiday destinations of the world. This East African archipelago is synonymous with romantic holidays, honeymoons and luxury beach retreats. While the white sandy beaches and lagoons are top class, these islands are also home to some legendary coral and marine life. From the giant land tortoise to the whale sharks and from tiger sharks to manta rays, this coral paradise of the Indian Ocean offers many opportunities to see such exotic plant and marine life. Here are the top 6 national parks of Seychelles that you can add into your itinerary for your next visit to this African archipelago nation.
The world’s largest coral atoll, the Aldabra is the original home of the giant land tortoise. Tiger sharks and manta rays are also seen commonly here. This granitic atoll is home to some 25 endemic plant species and is home of some of the largest seabird colonies in the world, especially on its outer islands. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a classic coral atoll that has built itself up from the seabed. It is the least disturbed large island in the Indian Ocean due to its remote location and hence is home to some flora and fauna where you can sense evolution in action.
Vallee de Mai
An UNESCO World Heritage Site and once believed to the original site of the Garden of Eden, this forest is home to the rare Coco-de-mer trees, considered to be the botanical wonders of the world. The coco-de-mer trees are special as they host the world’s largest seed. This national park is home to six endemic palm species as well as many other indigenous species of trees in addition to the Coco-de-mer. It is also the only place to spot the endangered Black Parrot, the national bird of Seychelles. This heritage site is always a definite part of itineraries in five-star holidays to the Seychelles.
Aride Island Nature Reserve
This is the place to go to if you are a big birdwatcher. Home to many millions of seabirds, the Aride Island Nature Reserve has the world’s largest colony of lesser noddy and is regularly frequented by green turtles and hawksbill turtles. Dubbed as one of the finest jewels of Seychelles, Aride Island is one of the world’s most important nature reserves. It is home to endemic birds such as Magpie Robins, Fodies, Brush Warblers and Blue Pigeon, endemic plants like wrights Gardenia and Turtle beaches and rich marine life.
Curieuse Marine National Park
This small granitic island known for its red coloured soil, is home to Coco de Mer palms, mangrove swamps, giant takamaka trees, large humphead parrotfish, hawksbills turtle rookery, the Seychelles Black Parrot and many other bird and plant species. This national park is home to more than 300 giant land tortoises that have been relocated here from the Aldabra atoll. Even till date many sea turtles come here to lay their eggs. This marine park is also an extremely popular site for scuba diving and snorkelling.
Ile Cocos Marine National Park
These islands surrounded by shallow turquoise sea is one of the main reasons for people visiting Seychelles as it is these photos that are shown in many Seychelles promotional collateral. The coral reefs here offer a rich snorkelling experience.
Silhouette National Park
An island with many green mountains, the Silhouette National Park is famous for being one of the richest biodiversity hotspots in the Western Indian Ocean. Its dramatic mountain peaks and its surrounding forest is home to many endemic and threatened plant and animal species. This island is popular both for its hiking trails that offer scintillating views and for its coral rich marine national park.
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