One private island, 5 kilometers of white sand beaches, 24 giant tortoises, 200 baby turtles, 750,00 sooty tern birds, and you - the ultimate nature lovers' paradise!
No phones, no internet, no t.v, no air con, just you and the sound of the sea – Bird Island is paradise found. Situated in the most northerly archipelago of the Seychelles, it’s about a 30-min island hopper trip from Mahe and is one of the world’s top 10 eco-resorts and a successful nature reserve.
While not your typical resort (don’t expect sun loungers or a pool), Bird Island is one of the most amazing places I’ve visited, the chalet’s remind you of LOST’s ‘Dharma Initiative’, and 24 giant Aldabran tortoises freely roam around the island; they’re quite friendly and do seem to enjoy a good scratch under the chin! You’ll find them everywhere, sleeping in bushes, half way across the island and outside your chalet. The most famous of the tortoise’s is the 240-year-old (yes 240!!) Esmeralda who is in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest living tortoise.
Robbie is the full time conservation officer on the island, his guided nature walks around the island are brilliant, showing you the various birds nests and rare wildlife (on ours we got to see a baby white-tailed Tropicbird, undoubtedly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!). Robbie does his part in the Seychelles wide turtle conservation project, carefully monitoring the laying and hatching of turtle eggs from the endangered Hawsbill and Green turtles. It should also be noted that this is virtually one of the only places in the world where the turtles still lay in broad daylight! The laying period tends to be from mid October to mid January, with the hatchlings emerging from the nests from mid December to mid March.
The island as you may have guessed from the name, is home to roughly 112 species of birds, with at least 20 of the species present on the island at any time. The birds have very little fear of human visitors, while sitting on the porch of your chalet they will come and perch right next to you. They have no predators on the island, and all rats (which would otherwise have eaten the bird and turtle eggs) were fully exterminated from the island in 1996. Perhaps the greatest marvel of the island and one which more than earns its name as ‘Bird Island’ is the yearly migration and nesting of Sooty Tern Birds. There are now an estimated 750,000 pairs that come to the island each year! The birds begin to gather in the sky in March (the sky is virtually filled with birds), and start to land towards the end of May and laying begins in June making the nesting site look like a carpet of birds. The last of the juveniles fledge by the end of October.
The water around the island is warm and crystal clear, we did some amazing snorkeling here, swimming with green turtles, a massive 4-ft long Grouper, rays, and some of the most beautiful tropical fishes you’ll ever see.
The fish served at lunch and dinner was caught daily by their own fishing boat, and deep sea fishing trips on it can be arranged. The beauty and tranquility of the surroundings make it one of the most relaxing places I’ve ever been, we honestly didn’t want to leave!
photos by derrickpeters and shoot_the_piano_player