The islands of the Seychelles are known around the world as an unmatched vacation playground, gaining even more acclaim following the news that it was Prince William and Kate’s honeymoon destination of choice. The appeal is apparent in the crystalline waters, sugar-white sand beaches, lush tropical foliage and towering granite rock formations. But the Seychelles’ other claim-to-fame is found in the slow-moving giant tortoises, found only in these small exotic islands of the Indian Ocean.
The Seychelles giant tortoise
The Seychelles giant tortoise – also known as the Aldabra Tortoise – belongs to an ancient group of reptiles that began walking the earth about 250 million years ago. They average 48 inches in length, and weigh in at 450 pounds or more at full maturity. These fascinating creatures are also the longest-lived land animal on the planet, thought to be able to live over 200 years.
One of the oldest living tortoises in the world lives on Bird Island in the Seychelles. Esmeralda is estimated to be 175 years old and was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the heaviest living tortoise – 800 pounds at last weighing! Tourists are welcome to visit Esmeralda and even take pictures with this famous centenarian.
Visiting the Seychelles Tortoise Sanctuary
The only place the Aldabra Tortoise can be found in the wild is in the beautiful islands of the Seychelles. Curieuse Marine National Park on the island of Curieuse is a Seychelles tortoise sanctuary where more than 200 of the gentle giants live out their lives in a protected paradise. Here, you can witness the tortoises roaming freely, and visit the nursery where baby tortoises are housed for protection until they are able to be released into the wild.
The 700 acre island of Curieuse is a natural wonderland for visitors. In between tortoise sightings, follow the marked nature trails that criss-cross the island, leading to picnic spots, snorkeling beaches and even a small museum.
Keep an eye out for another treasure found only in the Seychelles – the rare and legendary coco de mer palm tree. Curieuse is one of only two islands where the palm can be found, and their tall slender trunk produces the world’s largest nuts, each weighing 30 to 65 pounds!
Before departing the Seychelles tortoise sanctuary, you can pick out a tortoise and “adopt” him for even more lasting memories. The sanctuary will email you pictures a
nd updates on your special turtle until you can return for a visit.
Interested in learning more about visiting this Seychelles tortoise island?
One of the best ways to experience the diverse islands of the Seychelles is by yacht charter, where you can island hop through paradise from the comfort of a luxury yacht.
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If you’re new to yacht chartering don’t worry, a by the cabin mini cruise with Dream Yacht Charter is as easy as booking a hotel room. A professional captain and chef care for all your needs, and all meals and drinks are included! If you want to experience something special, a full all-inclusive crewed yacht for your group is the perfect option for the ultimate in luxury sailing vacations.
If you’re a sailor, choose a bareboat yacht charter and experience the freedom of being at the helm and charting your own course in the Seychelles. Need a little extra help but still want to chart your own way?You can select a skippered charter where a professional skipper will sail the boat for you.