Aride Island is the largest nature reserve in the Seychelles. Located 10km North of Praslin, it was purchased in 1973 by Christopher Cadbury, now managed by Island Conservation Seychelles, it has one of the most important seabird populations in the Seychelles with more breeding species than any other island.
You can only visit Aride Island by boat on three days of the week. Upon arrival you must move across to the nature reserve’s rib boat; this is to stop any rats, cockroaches etc from entering the island. After well and truly arriving in style, and slightly wet, you are free to roam the island. We had a tour from one of the Island’s very knowledgeable conservationists. He pointed out different flora and fauna along the way, whilst seeing many of the island’s endemic birds.
Many bird species nest on the ground at Aride, this is due to having no predators, again the reason for changing boats upon arrival. The wildlife is thriving, hermit crabs roam the grounds along with the skinks and lizards, which are the biggest we have seen! Even the millipedes look like they are on steroids!
The scenery is breathtakingly stunning, from white sandy beaches to rocky coasts. We went on a small hike to the highest point on the island, Gros la Tête at 135m. The views here were fantastic as we looked out over the edge of the cliff we tried our luck spotting sharks and rays. Whilst we didn’t see any charismatic marine megafauna, we were lucky to be dazzled by a large group of great frigatebirds!
Aride is known for its rough waters and at certain times of the year it is inaccessible to visitors due to its high waves and swells. We were very fortunate that on our visit the ocean was quite calm and we even had a swim in the magnificently clear waters with only the few small waves to dive into.
We joined the school’s Valle de Mai group for our trip to Aride Island; the children (and parents) loved it and learnt a lot. This is definitely an island we will visit again!