A tiny jungle-capped island rising from the cerulean waters of the Indian Ocean, Denis Island is where you go to live out any Robinson Crusoe fantasies. The untamed green interior buzzes with local wildlife, especially rare birds, and the island is edged by white-sand beaches where you won’t see another soul for hours. The sand slopes gently into clear waters, where you can find coral reefs that thrum with sea life.
Hanging to the northern edge of the Seychelles archipelago, this private island has just one mown-grass airstrip, one hotel and the farm that provides it with food. The rest of the island is being carefully restored to its natural ecosystem. You can stroll along paths that weave between the densely growing trees, laced with liana vines, and hear the songs of several endemic bird species.
Conservation plays a key role on Denis Island, led by the Green Islands Foundation. Its rangers lead regular nature walks around the island daily, and a full-time conservation officer provides the hands-on work necessary to preserve this tropical haven. The foundation is rightfully proud of having rid the island of non-native predators, an effort that requires constant vigilance.
Thanks to translocation endeavours, Denis is the last remaining refuge for several of the Seychelles’ endemic bird species. If you’re a birdwatcher, you’ll be able to tick off several species from your life list, including the Seychelles fody, magpie-robin and paradise flycatcher. Even casual observers can admire the melodious whistle of the Seychelles warbler and the sight of the ghost-white fairy tern, with its enormous black eyes and sharp blue beak.
Denis is also a vital breeding habitat for both hawksbill and green sea turtles, one of the largest in the Seychelles. The large offshore beds of seagrass seem to be important to the turtles for foraging, and the undisturbed beaches provide the quiet, dark nesting sites necessary for eggs to hatch successfully. The eradication of rats and other invasive species means the hatchlings can emerge naturally, without any help or protection from humans.
You’re invited to join the conservation team on daily turtle patrols. If you visit during nesting season — May to September for green sea turtles or October to February for hawksbill — you might luck into seeing baby hatchlings swarming down the beach to the ocean.
The waters around Denis Island are officially protected so that the reefs teem with life. As well as turtles, you can often spot lemon, nurse sharks, manta rays and stingrays, dolphins and schools of bright parrotfish and cobalt-and-black blue tangs. Trade winds can cause some visibility issues — October offers the calmest, clearest waters.
Deep-sea anglers are invited to take out a charter boat to the ‘drop-off’. Here, the Seychelles plateau suddenly falls away and the ocean plunges to a depth of 2,000 m (6,560 ft), providing an excellent arena for catching big-game fish.
Best time to visit Denis Island
Just a few degrees south of the Equator, Denis Island enjoys warm temperatures and blue skies all year. If you want to dive, the trade winds drop off in October, improving visibility. It’s also a good time to see sea turtles.
Suggested itineraries featuring Denis Island
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Denis Island, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Denis Island
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Photos of Denis Island
Accommodation choices for Denis Island
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Denis Island. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.