Environmental protection and an environmentally conscious management of tourism and the associated infrastructure are not just phrases in the Seychelles, but a living reality. In fact, almost half (more than 47%) of the total land area of the island republic (215 of 455 km²) is protected in 20 national parks - a larger proportion than in any other country in the world. Two of the Seychelles' nature reserves are even listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: the Vallée de Mai on Praslin and the Aldabra Atoll.
Seasons are not important for plants, but those who come mainly for the animals should find out beforehand exactly when which species is most likely to be observed. The best time for birdwatching are the months April to October. Between October and April is the ideal time to see whale sharks. Although they are the largest fish in the world, they are pure herbivores that feed mainly on plankton, which at this time of year rises to the higher water layers. The movements of these animals are observed and recorded in the Seychelles so that they can be quickly reached by boat. You can join the whale watchers and swim and dive with the whales. The income from the participation fees will benefit the program.
From a nature lover's point of view, the following islands are of particular interest: Aride, Cousin and Curieuse as well as the hotel islands North, Cousin, Frégate, Silhouette and Bird. Here, not only are animal and plant species preserved, but new or originally native species are even resettled or planted, while traces of earlier human intervention in nature have been removed.
Man muss aber nicht unbedingt einen Ausflug auf eine kleine Insel unternehmen oder dort übernachten. Auch auf der Hauptinsel Mahé gibt es im hochgelegenen Morne-Seychellois-Nationalpark schon interessante Einblicke in die einzigartige Fauna und Flora mit teils sehr seltenen Arten. Der 30 km² große Park umfasst einen großen Teil der Bergregion im Norden und Westen von Mahé, einschließlich des höchsten Berges, nach dem er benannt ist, dem 905 Meter hohen Morne Seychellois. Zugänge zum Park findet man entlang der Sans Souci Road: an der Mission Lodge und über die Wanderwege nach Morne Blanc, Copolia and Trois Frères, all of which are marked and labelled.
The Vallée de Mai (Maital) on Praslin is very easy to explore on foot, as the valley, which is crossed by a stream, is accessible via several marked paths that allow both short and longer circular walks. When paying the entrance fee, one gets a leaflet with information and route descriptions at the entrance, and in the shop in front of the entrance there is also detailed literature.
A detour to Aldabra is much more difficult. Travellers have basically two possibilities to visit the atoll: on a larger cruise, which offers a shore leave here, or on a small cruise from Mahé, e.g. with the expedition ships Indian Ocean Explorer or Maya's Dugong. The atoll consists of four islands, which enclose a lagoon of about 155 km². Because it was not suitable for human settlement, a unique biotope has remained largely intact here.
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