The Seychelles is a known birding destination, with over 270 species of birds have been recorded
This is actually a staggering amount given the limited land mass of the archipelago. A few are rare and protected, such as the Black Parrot (their national bird) or the Seychelles White-eye, whilst others gather in vast numbers to breed, such as Sooty Terns on the aptly named Bird Island. Frigate birds soar high over the ocean, using their 2 metre wing-span to stay aloft for weeks at a time, whilst white-tailed tropic birds glide majestically over the verdant forests.
Keen birders should consider visits to the protected Cousin and Aride islands (both accessible from Praslin), and be sure to spend some time on Mahé Island with renowned guide Perley Constance.
The Seychelles are also home to giant land tortoises – slow, graceful movers that easily outlive their human counterparts – some have been estimated at over 150 years old. The tortoises are widespread throughout the islands. Numerous beaches in the Seychelles are also preferred nesting sites for Hawksbill and Green turtles (between September and January for Hawksbill and from January onwards for Green). Hatching takes places two months later, when the baby turtles run the gauntlet down to the water.
But it is perhaps in the ocean where the Seychelles ‘safari’ is most amazing. Whether snorkelling, scuba diving or fishing, the waters around the Seychelles are full of life, from colourful parrot and trumpet fish to moray eels, turtles, rays, sharks and dolphins. Some of the best scuba diving is found around the outer atolls of Denis, Desroches and Alphonse, where the sea bed plunges away into the depths. Watching a majestic eagle ray circle gracefully in the crystal clear water is a special experience comparable to most big game sightings in Africa, as is floating through huge schools of colourful reef fish or watching a pod of dolphins cavort effortlessly around you.
Sharks are the apex predators of the ocean, and many can be seen in the shallow waters around the islands – primarily white tip, silver tip, grey reef and nurse. Further out dolphin, sailfish and marlin cruise the open waters in search of food, whilst if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of a gentle whale shark or a gigantic humpback whale breaching in the morning light.
The Seychelles offer stunning beaches, beautiful island scenery, exclusive hotels and a rich cultural heritage, but in addition they offer a truly outstanding wildlife experience.