Curieuse Island Boat Tour – Seychelles

Giant Tortoise

The wildlife, one of the highlights of the whole trip.

We visited the protected Curieuse Marine National Park on an organized day trip from Praslin. We were particularly interested in seeing the giant Aldabra tortoises that roam free around Curieuse Island.

The boat tour was organized via our Resort and a small minivan picked us up at around 9 am from our apartment to take us a mile down the road to a small beach where our tour boat was anchored and waiting for us. Our tour crew consisted of another dozen people from various different resorts around Praslin, our boat Capitan, and one crew. After boarding the boat we were told what our day was going to be like, and all information was given both in French and in English. The boat ride to Curieuse Island from Praslin was a very pleasant ride of only about 20 minutes.

We first arrived in this little granitic island at Baie Laraie where we jumped out of our boat into the silky soft, white, sandy beach and immediately walked towards the park rangers headquarters. The giant tortoises were lazily walking around or just relaxing on the ground and some were being fed by the day visitors. The giant tortoises were moved to this Island from Aldabra Island in the late 1970’s as part of a conservation project. There were originally giant tortoises on most of the Seychelle Islands but they were killed off by generations of visiting sailors for whom the slow moving tortoises were just an easy source of fresh meat on their long voyages. Those on Aldabra Island were the only ones to survive this plunder and are being used to replace their less fortunate cousins on the other islands. We were advised to stay 45 minutes to 1 hour exploring around here, to spend time with the giant tortoises, and to visit the small information centre and conservation area where little baby tortoises are hatching and being looked after.

Curieuse Island

Our landing site on this picture perfect island

The Island is also an important hawksbill and green turtle nestling site , the inaccessibility of its beaches make it perfect and safe for the turtles to lay their eggs, which is good news for these almost extinct sea turtles. There is no overnight stay in the Island, since there are no hotels or camp-sites. Only a handful of rangers live and work here on conservation projects.

Curieuse  Island was so named after a French ship called La Curieuse. The Island is also home to the Coco De Mer, in fact Praslin and Curieuse are the only two places on the planet were this giant palm tree  grows naturally.

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It was such a thrill be be able to get so close to these majestic creatures

 

Coco De Mer

The Coco De Mer, rightly famed for it’s remarkable similarity to a lady’s rear!

After spending a pleasant time exploring Baie Laraie we decided to start the 45 minutes walk that was going to take us to other side of the Island,  Anse St. Jose. We followed the trail via a surreal and amazing mangrove forest,  granite rock and such lush vegetation that we felt like we had landed on some sort of Jurassic Park world, and although no dinosaurs here the giant crabs did scare me a little .

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Low tide in the mangroves, walking made easy by the convenient boardwalk

Walkway

A rocky trail took as to the Island’s Summit with spectacular views of secluded beaches bathed by the Indian Ocean. Only a few visitors are allowed on the Island making for a very peaceful place. We did meet other people walking the trail, but we were also alone for most of the time. We did ask a fellow tourist to take this picture of us(below) at a beautiful view point. The weather was fabulous, warm and sunny with just a light breeze to keep us from cooking in the sunlight.

 

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The lagoon in the background was once used for an ill-fated Hawksbill Turtle farming venture. The stone wall you can see enclosing the lagoon, built to keep the turtles captive in the bay, was badly damaged in the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004

We walked via a board walk for some of the way through the mangrove forest, where apparently there are at least 8 different species of mangrove in the island; we were fascinated by it all.

The Island was once a leper colony, from 1833 until 1965, and you can still see the ruins of the leprosarium crumbling among the vegetation as the jungle reclaims its territory.

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The Doctor’s House is located at Anse St. Jose and is now an educational centre and museum. We managed to visit it just before devouring a delicious barbecue that was cooked for us by our trip hosts. The house is a charming Creole colonial style architecture, and inside the small museum documents the Island’s history as a leper colony. The Doctor it was named after was in fact Scottish, so Brian spent a long time reading the various boards inside the museum charting Dr. William MacGregor’s  travels round the world, and his pioneering work on the island

Doctor's House

Right next to the doctor’s house there was a large seating area where we enjoyed a BBQ lunch. We sat together with our tour group at one of the large picnic tables. Included in our fish and meat barbecue meal was also a selection of salads, bread, condiments and soft drinks. In our group there were various different nationalities, but most people were able to speak some English and we had the opportunity to chat with the others in our table, the conversation was flowing well. I soon found out that the girl sitting next to me was from Portugal, she was visiting the Seychelles with her husband, also Portuguese and they were both staying for few days in Praslin.

Barbecue

After lunch we had more leisure time in the island and some people chose to go for a swim off the beach.  Brian went for a nap on the veranda at the doctor’s house, while I sat on the sand. The sea looked so inviting  with its crystal turquoise clear water, but I just sat on the shade and chatted to a Portuguese couple that I met during the BBQ lunch. The beach offers views across to the north-east coast of Praslin with its exclusive Raffles Praslin Seychelles resort in the distance.

Soon it was time to head for our snorkelling spot near another small Island called St. Pierre, but it was a little rough there so we headed back to near Curieuse again to a quieter spot where we could all go in for some snorkelling. The water was lovely and warm, and we did see few shoals of colourful fish but I was a little disappointed not to see more pretty fish and corals (think we’ve been spoiled by the Red Sea!).

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After the snorkelling, it was time to head back again the way we had come, though on the way back we diverted into the bay by Anse Lazio so we could see this stunning beach from the sea side, and it was just as breathtaking from this vantage point. Then back round the beautiful coastline, taking in the huge granite boulders separating impossibly green jungle from the impossibly blue sea. Passing Anse Georgette and the Lemuria Resort, before cutting in through the reef to the lagoon on the South West of Praslin where the Captain dropped us at the beach right in front of our home – and we just said our Goodbyes to all,  stepped into the sea, and walked the few metres to our apartment. Perfect ending to a wonderful day.

 

 

 

14 Comments on “Curieuse Island Boat Tour – Seychelles

  1. What a beautiful day trip, it must have been amazing to get so close to those giant tortoises. I love the new look of your site! I just noticed a small bug which I’m sure you’ll get sorted soon: some of you photos seem to be the wrong way round. The Seychelles looks so incredible!

  2. Hi Amy, I loved the giant tortoises they are so intriguing. Thanks for your kind words about my site, I was nervous about doing the switch and I am still learning about how things work. I am not a very technical person. Thanks for letting me know about the photos and I will try to fix it soon?

  3. So amazingly beautiful views! And the giant tortoises – left me speechless! I really want to go to Seychelles someday. It would be a dream come true. Thank you for sharing this inspirational post – you made me day dream 🙂

    • You are very welcome, since being back in England I often day dream about the Seychelles. The giant tortoises are amazing and so friendly. I hope you will make it to the Seychelles soon?

  4. Your new website is very attractive and your pictures are gorgeous and displaying perfectly in my browser. I keep running into low airfares to the Seychelles and, while previously they’d never been on my travel radar, your post is definitely making me take another think! What fun to get a chance to see both the giant land tortoises as well as learn that the island is a nesting site for the hawksbill and green sea turtles. And mix that in with a little island history – a great day all the way around! Anita

    • Anita, thank you so much for visiting my new site and your kind words. Self hosting is harder but slowly learning about it and trying to improve the site. I am glad my posts have put the Seychelles on your radar for you, these islands are so beautiful and unspoiled. The giant tortoises were great fun to see. Sounds like you have been exploring quite a bit there in Portugal and having a great time in your newly adopted country?

  5. Beautiful images. I’d love to go back to the Seychelles one day. Just love the geography and fauna in this region – when we were in South Africa earlier this year saw so many weird birds, animals and insects. It was like Jurassic Park at times and Spanky freaked out. I loved it though, seeing variety is why I love travelling.
    I’m sure you saw some weird insects in the Seychelles?

    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Frank, we were blown away with the beauty of these islands and at times we felt like we had landed in a Jurassic world. We did see some rather large insects and lots of geckos. The size of the palm trees were impressive, the mix of heat, humidity and bright sun light makes it perfect for plants to grow like mad. Like Spanky I do freak out a little with the creepy crawlers. I loved all your posts from SA and can’t wait to visit it myself ?

      • South Africa is amazing and we’re hoping to go back this year, visiting the north this time and also going to Zambia and Lesotho. Lots to see!

  6. Somehow I missed this post. I like the photo of the tortoise, it looks as if he is smiling. Smiling for the camera. It would be fun to get up close and personal with the giant tortoises, I’m glad you had the opportunity to do so. And, it looks as if you really enjoyed the day; sometimes day trips can present us with such fun. I have to admit I’m way too phobic to vacation in a Jurassic World setting, not just a little, enough that I’m keenly aware of where we travel and our accommodations, I’m sure I’ll miss out on some experiences, but I figure there are a lot of other experiences out there waiting for us. Anyway, so glad you enjoyed your day trip to the island. p.s. The new site continues to shine, a few photos aren’t loading. 🙂

  7. What a sensational day! I have never heard of the giant Aldabra tortoises. For a moment I thought you had taken a quick trip to the Galapagos Islands when I saw the photo. You are definitely doing the Seychelles proud with your posts!

    • Sue, the giant tortoises were amazing and to see them roaming free around the lush island vegetation was great. I dream of going to the Galápagos Islands one day. Thanks for commenting ?

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