Thank you, Mr Cadbury! In the name of the Royal Society for Nature Conservation, the famous British chocolate magnate financed the purchase, in 1973, of this island which has become, after Aldabra, the second largest nature reserve in the archipelago, its management, based on donations, having been entrusted to the Foundation for the Conservation of Islands. Located 8 km north of Praslin, these 73 hectares of preserved nature constitute a precious heritage where more seabirds lay their eggs than on the 31 other granite islands combined: around one million individuals at the time of laying, eleven species of seabirds and eight land birds enjoy this paradise of the winged gentry, without cats or rats. Only five islands in the entire archipelago enjoy the same privilege (Frégate, Cousin, Cousine, Bird and Denis). Terns are the most numerous, but fouquets, peacocks, warblers and frigate birds also nest in this Eden, where small island blackbirds, moorhens, Seychelles warblers and even the rare song magpie still fly around. Countless millipedes and lizards also live happily here, not even frightened by the rare visitors, who are always well-intentioned, nor are the nesting birds, which can be approached very closely. How many unprotagged head-to-heads during the tough climb to the glacis near the summit (134 metres). A rewarding climb, because from up there, what a feeling of freedom and purity! From these steep rocks, you literally plunge into the intense blue sea, with Denis Island in the distance. Discovered in 1756 by Nicolas Morphey, and colonized only in 1852, coconut groves having soon replaced the forests, Aride appears steep, with its imposing cliffs, but it is in no way deserted. On the contrary, the botanical richness of its wooded hills is all the more worthy of interest as it is now the only place on the planet where the magnificent Wright's gardenias (the famous lemon wood) grow, whose white flowers exhale a fragrance reminiscent of the mimosa.
The flora and fauna of this island, surrounded by a coral reef that makes it difficult to access, are well worth a visit. Visits by boat are only organized at certain times of the year (from October to April in general, on weekends by appointment). Tour boats must therefore drop anchor off the coast, with dinghies ensuring a sometimes bumpy ride to the end. Once they have paid the landing fee (SR 650 per adult and SR 325 per child), travellers can take the two- to three-hour guided tour, which wanders around the lowlands and in particular around the old garden, next to an enormous banyan tree with giant tentacles. To reach the heights of this island, 1,500 metres long and 600 metres wide, by shaded paths, you must follow the steps of a guide, thanks to whom the island becomes more "readable".
A natural island where a pirate's treasure would still remain to be discovered! A former owner dynamited huge rocks in vain, hoping to get his hands on the fabulous booty thanks to strange signs engraved in the stone. A skeleton buried in a sitting position and discovered some time earlier had obviously stimulated the imagination. Unfortunately... Treasure or not, the northernmost of the Seychelles granitic islands is in any case revealed as a pure jewel of nature. A sanctuary over which Christopher Cadbury's son, James, now watches over. "A very simple man, who comes twice a year. Not proud, he eats and drinks with the staff, and also sleeps rough", assures one of the three guides, the island has five other employees and the curator. In short, an island of character where only two thousand visitors disembark each year, mostly from Praslin, some 10 km to the south. It is there that several agencies and tour operators offer day trips to this unique reserve. Don't miss this opportunity to discover this precious land, where you can only disembark by canoe, disembarking being impossible on days of heavy swell, between May and September.
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