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Curieuse Tortoise Island

Arriving at Curieuse Island

Curiouse Island is a tiny island (2,9km2) just a ten minute boat ride from Anse Boudin/Anse Volbert which was called Ile Rouge (red island) during the French colonial times due to the red soil there. The French used the island as a Leper colony until 1965 and in 1979 the island and its surrounding waters was declared a marine National Park to protect its wildlife. The same year they moved some Aldabra Giant Tortoises to the island and now the population has grown around 300 of them.

I had negotiated a boat taxi to take me over for 20eur (300SCR) and for him to wait for me a couple of hours there. He then took me straight to the turtle farm where I was free to walk around and feed animals grass and leaves as I wanted. Seing these massive, old animals up close and looking them in the eyes was really special to me as I used to have a smaller version pet tortoise as a child.

The Aldabra giant tortoises is the second biggest tortoise in the World, only (barely) rivaled by the Galapagos giant tortoises. They get around 100 years old and weigh on average 250kilograms, so even though land tortoises dont make any sound, these were so big that you could hear them breathing, or more like panting when they were walking.

The turtle farm also had a breeding programme with around 50 small tortoises running around in a enclosed area. Yes, the baby ones were actually quite fast! It surprised me as well..

From the farm I walked a path up the hill with some steps that had probably been there since the leper colony and then a wooden path that lead through a swamp area. I tried looking up as I had heard that curiouse and praslin were the only two Islands that Coco de mer (Worlds biggest nut) palms were endemic to. Apparently they were only in the highlands, but I got to see a nut, which apparently can weigh up to 25kilogrammes.

When I came down from the mountain, I ended up at a beach called Anse San JosΓ© where my boat was waiting for me. The water was so clear and had some of the bluest colors I have seen in the ocean ever. From this moment on, Seychelles has officially surpassed the Maldives on my list of countries with the most beautiful beaches.

Curieuse Island is a must for anyone going to the Seychelles