For visitors to Seychelles interested in exploring special reserves and protected areas, Seychelles' two World Heritage Sites sites are places that warrant a slot on your to-do list.
Both properties are legally protected under national legislation and managed by a public trust, the Seychelles Islands Foundation, with daily operations guided by a management.
A World Heritage Site since 1982, the Aldabra Atoll is an outstanding example of a raised coral atoll. Due to its remoteness and inaccessibility, it has remained largely untouched by humans for the majority of its existence.
Aldabra is one of the largest atolls in the world and contains one of the most important natural habitats for studying evolutionary and ecological processes. It is home to the largest giant tortoise population in the world. The richness and diversity of the ocean and landscapes result in an array of colours and formations that contribute to the atoll's scenic and aesthetic appeal.
As a remote and fragile atoll over 1,000 km southwest of the main island of Mahe, there are significant logistical challenges in getting to Aldabra. All visitors to the atoll must receive prior authorisation from SIF and access is limited to specific areas.
Visitors can get to Aldabra by chartering a boat trip of several days, or on a charter flight to Assumption, and then charter a boat to Aldabra, about 45 km away. There are no scheduled flights and details on charters can be obtained with the Islands Development Company that manages the islands.
Due to the activities of pirates operating from Somalia, the Seychelles Ministry of Internal Affairs and Coast Guard have placed strict restrictions on the movements of commercially hired craft operating in the outer islands, so the company will have to seek permission to provide the required service and will probably have to provide a security detail.
A number of companies have experience in visiting Aldabra. More information can be found here: http://www.seychelles.travel/en/home/index.php#
The link below provides other information if you wish to visit Aldabra.
|(David Stanley/Flickr) Photo License: CC-BY 2.0|
Vallee de Mai
Located on the granitic island of Praslin, the Vallee de Mai reserve has a palm forest which remains largely unchanged since prehistoric times. Dominating the landscape is the world's largest population of endemic coco de mer, a flagship species of global significance as the bearer of the largest seed in the plant kingdom. The forest is also home to five other endemic palms and many endemic fauna species. The property is a scenically attractive area with a distinctive natural beauty. It was named a World Heritage Site in 1983.
Located on Seychelles' second-most populated island, Praslin, the Vallee de Mai is a good deal more accessible than Aldabra.
Visitors can take a public bus scheduled throughout the opening hours on Praslin and there is a stop outside the Visitor Centre. Another option is taking a taxi and asking for Vallee de Mai, or renting your own car on Praslin. A free information booklet is provided at the entrance.
More information is provided with at the link below.
|(Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board) Photo License: CC-BY|