Seven Nature Reserves You Can’t Miss in the Seychelles
Sailing in the Seychelles offers an exotic paradise that fully deserves the description ‘unique’. Quite simply, it’s home to plants and wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else, such as the black parrot and coco-de-mer.
The archipelago of 115 islands forms two groups, the inner and outer islands, and include the only ocean granitic islands in the world. It’s impossible to describe the Seychelles with words alone and photos of the islands are often used to illustrate the concept of ‘paradise’, with its soft white sand beaches, vivid green forest canopies, deep cobalt seas and a colorful, vibrant underwater world. Its beaches are consistently voted in top 10 lists across the internet for good reason.
The Seychelles is at the core of Dream Yacht Charter, as it’s where our journey to become the world’s leading yacht charter company began in 2000. It was the location of the company’s first base, offering just a handful of yachts. Our founder Loïc Bonnet recognized very early on its potential as an up-and-coming sailing destination. Today our Seychelles fleet operates from our bases, Baie St. Anne marina, Praslin, and Eden Island marina, Mahé. We also offer seven yacht vacation packages ranging from 4 days to 11 days across Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette. Take a look at our Seychelles by the cabin charters.
There is only one mindset to come and sail the Seychelles’ awesome landscapes and that’s with conservation top of mind with ‘leave no trace” sailing. These low lying islands have a delicate ecosystem and while they rely on tourism development, the Seychelles recognizes the fragility of its environment. The islands are striving to set up conservation foundations to protect their natural assets so that the islands can be enjoyed for generations to come.
- Cousin National Park – Just 2km from Mahé, this island protects the Seychelles warblers and giant tortoises. It’s a nesting site for the magpie robin, tropic birds, lesser and greater noddy and the hawksbill turtle
- Aride Island National Reserve – 15km from Praslin, you can see sooty terns, fairy terns, tropic birds, geckos and exotic flowers. Open Monday-Friday, weekend appointments can be arranged with the island manager. It’s often closed May to September because of the strong swell. Entry fee is $50 per person
- Curieuse Marine National Park – 2km from Praslin, this island is home to the curious and friendly Aldabra Giant Tortoise. You can also see the coco de mer tree, an indigenous species, visit the mangrove swamp with its boardwalk or see the nesting sea turtles. Park admission is around $15 per person and overnight mooring fees are $12
- Ste. Anne Marine National Park – Off the Mahé coast, the park includes six islands and is one of the best places to snorkel in the Seychelles. You’ll find a variety of coral, tropical fish, turtles and dolphins
- Ile Coco Marine National Park – Another of the best spots to snorkel in the Seychelles, sail three islets (Ile Cocos, Ile La Fouche and Ilot Plate) for a true deserted island experience with granitic outcrops topped with vegetation. To enter, park fees are $15 per person and $12 for overnight mooring
- Silhouette National Park – 20km from Mahé, this is the largest marine park in the Seychelles and popular for its healthy coral reef, giant tortoises and trails to Mount Dauban’s peak through rainforest. Snorkel at Etienne Rocks, Fusilier Bank, Lascars and Grand Barbe
- Baie Ternay Marine National Park – 5km from Beau Vallon, you can spot whale sharks, turtles and moray eels so have your snorkel gear at the ready. Or you can go ashore and shelter under the Takamaka trees. It’s around $15 per person for park entry and overnight mooring fees are $12
The best time to visit the Seychelles
The best time to visit the Seychelles is during the season shoulders of April to May and October to November, which is when the waters are super clear for snorkeling. The trade winds are north-westerly between December and March, peaking in January, and south-easterly May to September, peaking in July and August. Temperatures are steady between 79-82ºF all year.
Mooring fees in the Seychelles
No night sailing is allowed in the Seychelles and you’ll find designated mooring zones in the marine parks. The fees to enter the park and moor overnight vary from park to park – between $20-$50 per person and around $10-15 for overnight mooring.
In the inner islands, you’ll find mooring buoys off the coast of Mahé and Praslin and some nearby islands. You are not allowed to drop anchor on the coral but the bottom is sandy in most anchorages, so this is easily avoided. Stay alert when sailing remote islands and check the water marker to avoid coral damage.
Investigate if you need permission to land on any of the islands in your planned itinerary before you set out. Some islands are private and you need advance permission, such as Bird, Cousine and Felicite. Cousine Island is eco-designed and carefully manages its conservation by protecting nesting sea turtles, indigenous trees and Aldabra Giant Tortoises, and encourages guests to take part in their protection program. Entry fees are around $50 per person.
If you want to sail the outer islands, you will need to contact the Island Development Company for permission for some of them, including the conservation centers at Silhouette, Alphonse, Desroches and Farquhar.