Explore Praslin’s small villages and lush Valle de Mai National Park with its magnificent coco de mer palms then fly to Bird Island’s beautiful beaches and amazing wildlife for a tranquil retreat.
3 nights Praslin, room only; 7 nights Bird Island full board. Includes flights and transfers.
11 days from £2,967pp
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On the beach - 8 days
Bird Island Lodge
With all the charm of a private island without the accompanying price tag, tiny Bird Island makes an ideal, low-key escape on the Seychelles' most northerly archipelago. A relaxed, rustic lodge, it offers utter tranquillity, simplicity and serious eco credentials.
As its name suggests, Bird Island is a nature lovers’ paradise with thousands of birds, giant tortoises and hawksbill turtles all nesting here. The hotel is heavily involved in a number of conservation projects and the passionate, resident guide can lead you across the island for close encounters with some spectacular wildlife. Set amongst coconut palms leading onto a pristine white-sand beach, Bird Island is equally good for laid-back lounging. Although there is no pool here, the white sands completely surround the island and shelve gently into the sea making them ideal for swimming. You can snorkel right off the beach into the brightly coloured coral reefs teeming with exotic fish, wander around the island's sandy five kilometre perimeter in just over an hour or take a boat trip. The hotel's restaurant serves international and Creole cuisine featuring fresh fish and organic meat as well as fruit and vegetables from their own small farm.
The 24 bungalows on Bird Island are simple and rustic and feature handmade furnishings, ceiling fans and verandas with sublime views. In keeping with the spirit of tranquillity and conservation there are no telephones, TV or air-conditioning in the rooms.
After the beach - 4 days
A ridge of mountains blanketed in lush vegetation runs along the spine of Praslin, the second largest island in the Seychelles, while its coast is fringed with powder-white beaches strewn with smooth boulders.
An exceptionally pretty place where the unhurried pace of life lends itself to lazy days, Praslin is criss-crossed with walking trails leading to spectacular viewpoints and deserted coves should you get the urge to explore. At its heart is Vallée de Mai National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to magnificent coco de mer palms, while vibrant reefs rich in colourful marine life surround the island and offer excellent diving and snorkelling.
A small self-catering resort offering spacious free-standing apartments on the edge of an immaculate white-sand beach, Les Villas D'Or is well placed to explore both local villages and the nearby national parks.
Bird Island Lodge
24 rooms, 1 restaurant
A nature lover’s paradise, Bird Island offers a private island, Robinson Crusoe experience without the luxury resort experience and prices that usually goes with it.
A low key, relaxed escape this rustic eco lodge offers a tranquil escape and even when the lodge is full there will only be 80 people on the entire island. Surrounded by beautiful, white sand beaches and clear, turquoise waters, the island has a beautiful setting.
A nature lover’s paradise, the birdlife is spectacular here with large numbers of lesser and brown noddies, fairy terns and waders. You will also see giant tortoises, including Esmeralda, the largest in the world, and the hawksbill turtles that lay their eggs on the shore.
Although familes are welcome, there are no specific children’s facilities and Bird Island would best suit children happy to entertain themselves or who have an interest in birdlife and marine life.
This is one of our favourite eco lodges and is an excellent choice for those wanting to get away from it all without the high end luxuries of a polished resort.
The 24 chalets are simple but comfortable and sit amongst the coconut palms. Each has a spacious veranda which is the perfect spot for relaxing and watching the wildlife.
There are no phones or televisions in the room although wifi has recently been added. Although there is no air conditioning, there is an overhead fan to help the sea breezes cool the rooms.
Activities, diving & excursions
There is no pool at the hotel but miles of beautiful, gently shelving beach to swim from. Many guests enjoy taking in the wonderful scenery walking around the island or exploring the interior with the resident nature expert. And of course, watching the island’s wide array of fascinating wildlife is a key activity for most guests. Fishing can also be arranged.
For those wishing to be a little more active, there are kayaks available to paddle across the bay or around the island, and it is common to see a good variety of marine life include numerous colourful fish and turtles. Snorkelling gear is also available to hire for those wanting to explore the underwater world a little further, and you thirty metres from Hirondelle Beach there is excellent coral with a vast variety of fish to explore.
Whilst snorkelling is available, diving is not possible from Bird Island.
Food & drink
The food at Bird Island is simple but good quality, fresh and wholesome buffet style served in the main restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fresh fish is featured throughout the menu, taking advantage of the wonderful seafood available in this region, and is supplemented by home grown organic fruit and vegetables and home reared pork from the island’s own small farm.
There is also a comfy lounge bar where guests can enjoy pre dinner cocktails or afternoon tea just a stone’s throw from the west beach.
Due to the simple nature of the properties there are no spa facilities.
Praslin is the second-largest island in the Seychelles, at 12 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide. It is exceptionally pretty, with thick emerald vegetation, sugar-white beaches and pale turquoise waters. Offshore, coral reefs surround the island, and small atolls are visited by myriad seabirds and nesting turtles. The pace of life on Praslin is gentle and unhurried. Small villages bask in the sun, and rainbow-coloured shops sell banana bread and smoked sailfish sandwiches.
While a sleepy island, there is plenty to see and do on Praslin. In the centre of the island, the Vallée de Mai National Park is a World Heritage Site, and the best place to see coco de mer palms growing in magnificent profusion. There are walking trails to viewpoints and paths that lead to deserted beaches and coves.
The diving and snorkelling are excellent, with rich reefs surrounded by shoals of butterfly fish, sweetlips, damselfish and more. You might want to take a boat trip to the nature reserve islands of Cousin, Aride or Curieuse, with their thousands of seabirds, or simply snooze on a beach on your own little island, a picnic and snorkel on the sand beside you.
Accommodation: Villas D’Or
The ten self-catering villas at Les Villas D'or have a laid-back tropical feel and are just steps from Côte d'Or Beach. The pretty gardens blend in with the surrounding jungle, creating an exotic and relaxing atmosphere.
Here you can enjoy the freedom and space of self-catering in a beautiful beachfront location with relaxed meals on the veranda and plenty of room to spread out.
Service is friendly and unobtrusive, with guests left to their own devices if they prefer, although the villas have a daily maid service and breakfast is available. The hotel can also arrange dinner at local restaurants. With only a few other guests in residence, it's a particularly tranquil place.
Most people come here to enjoy the stunning beach. Away from the beach there is a pool set amongst the tropical foliage, and the hotel can organise bicycles or excursions to explore the island further.
Day by day
Board your overnight flight to the Seychelles.
On arrival into Mahe you will be met by an Audley representative who will direct you to your 20 minute flight to Praslin. Here you will be met and escorted to your driver for the 25 minute private transfer to Les Villas D'Or. Relax and settle into the hotel, set on one of the best beaches on the island.
A day at leisure. If you'd like to explore the island, why not arrange a visit to the Vallée de Mai. Here a guide will show you some of the plants which are endemic to the Seychelles such as the Coco de mer, and if you're lucky you may even spot the very rare black parrot.
Another day to explore. You might like to take a trip over to quiet La Digue and hire bikes to explore. Anse Source D'Argent is one of the most photographed beaches in the Seychelles. Or take a boat trip out to Coco and Felicite Islands where you may spot turtles.
Today you will be collected for the private transfer back to the airport and short flight back to Mahe. Here you will board the 30 minute flight to Bird Island. This low-key and relaxed, private island offers a rustic retreat and a stunning setting.
Today is your first full day at leisure on Bird Island. This beautiful island is very much a nature paradise, home to giant tortoises and abundant birdlife. The beach is pristine and the snorkelling on the house reefs is superb.
Your time at Bird Island is all about relaxation and natural beauty. Take a walk with the resident conservationist to learn more about the island's eco system, take a boat trip or simply relax and watch the local giant tortoises ambling along. Mid October to mid March you can also spot turtles.
Days 8 - 12
Board your 30 minute flight to Mahe where you will connect with your flight home.
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