9D The Essential Seychelles | Date 4 Mar 2021
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 0: 4 MARCH 2021 MAHE (Add on pre-night extension if necessary on own arrangement)
Check in. Free at own leisure for the rest of the evening. Overnight in Mahe
Day 1: 5 MARCH 2021 VICTORIA, MAHÉ
Embarkation from 16h00 to 17h00, Depart at 23h00
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. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.
DAY 2: 6 MARCH 2021 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 seagrass 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: 7 MARCH 2021 SAINT JOSEPH ATOLL
In the heart of the Seychelles’ Outer Islands, the coral islands located more than 200 km south of Mahé, the Saint-Joseph Atoll is a magnificent ring of coral islets surrounding a splendid lagoon sparkling in turquoise and emerald green. Since 2014, it has been an integral part of the “D'Arros and St. Joseph Atoll Special Reserve”, a national park and protected marine area that preserve the unique biodiversity of these sites. This veritable nursery for Hawksbill sea turtles, juvenile reef fish, including several species of ray and shark (blacktip reef shark, sicklefin lemon shark) attracts big fish that swim up from the drop-off of the Amirantes plateau, located only two kilometres from the atoll.
DAY 04: 8 MARCH 2021 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 snorkelling 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 05: 9 MARCH 2021 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 06: 10 MARCH 2021 GRANDE SŒUR
Located 6 km north of La Digue, Grande Soeur Island is renowned for its two sumptuous beaches and its translucent waters, protected by a coral reef. An ideal spot for snorkelling 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 07: 11 MARCH 2021 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 snorkelling. In the centre of the island, hidden in the heart of a stunning tropical rainforest, 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 08: 12 MARCH 2021 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 09: 13 MARCH 2021 VICTORIA, MAHÉ
Disembark at 0700hr. Rest of the day on own arrangement before making your own way to airport
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Do You Need Flight Arrangement?
We can provide international flights if required.
The prices quoted do not include international flights to or from the starting and ending cities.
Internal flights are included in this package. See itinerary for details.