The Inner Islands of Seychelles are a group of islands which are marked by their granitic forms. Located mainly near the main islands of La Digue, Mahe and Praslin, the Inner Islands are more accessible than the remote Outer Islands of Seychelles. There are a total of 43 Inner Islands in Seychelles, 41 of which are granitic while 2 islands are coralline. Each of the inner islands offers a unique experience that makes them stand out from the rest of the islands and makes them worth visiting.
Generally visited on day trips, these islands, what they represent and their popularity is what makes tonnes of tourists flock to Seychelles. Hence, a large number of the Inner Islands' revenue is generated from tourism activities. That being said, a vast collection of these Islands are protected areas due to their role in the ecological balance or as a refuge to rare or endangered flora and fauna, and should not be tampered with. Mentioned below are few of the most popular and easily accessible islands that offer you an entire package of adventures.
Lying just 10 kilometres off the coast of north Praslin, Aride is one of the northernmost islands. The 68-hectare Aride is surrounded by a coral reef that is also one of the best diving spots in Seychelles, and hence individuals can access this spot through Aride. It is also said that the island has been home to heaps of pirate treasure. However, this breathtaking island is best known for the gathering of seabirds that seems to be more than on all the Inner Islands combined. Out of these birds, at least 30 rare bird species have been spotted. With the help of the guided walking trails and tours that are available here, you can get a closer look at this variety of bird species while also walking through a natural reserve and diverse vegetation.
Approximately 100 kilometres from Mahe, Bird Island lives up to its name by being home to the millions of seabirds of the Indian Ocean. The island is a paradise for bird watchers and also boasts the largest Sooty Tern Colony. The island, which was once called the island of the manatees due to the frequent site of the marine creatures, is now home to not only these millions of birds but also to the oldest giant tortoise in the world, as well as some great snorkelling activities.
Denis, the sister island of Bird, on the other hand, is home to a variety of land birds. The island has also successfully housed the Paradise Flycatcher which is unique to this island and cannot be found anywhere else, hence providing a rare opportunity to witness it.
The Cousine, Curieuse and the Cousin Island lay just a few metres away from each other and can generally be visited together in a day. The three islands together help to make your experience the ultimate adventure. When headed to the Curieuse Island, you will witness several giant tortoises in their natural habitat and the famous Coco De Mer trees which have the largest seeds in the world and mangrove forests thriving here. Coral Gardens off the coast of Curieuse also make for a spectacular diving spot with a variety of colourful reef fish to see.
100 metres away from Curieuse is Cousine Island which is a 25-hectare private island reserved for guests of the hotel on the island. The island forms the picture perfect spot with stunning beaches and even more breathtaking scenery to witness and capture. 2 kilometres away from this remote island lies Cousin which in turn is just 2.5 kilometres from the coast of Praslin. The Cousin Island is a 29 hectare space which is home to a vast number of endemic plant and animal species in Seychelles. Almost 300,000 birds visit and call this island their home and the island, in turn, acts as a refuge. This quality also makes it the most protected island in Seychelles.
Visiting Hours (Cousin):
Tuesday to Friday- 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Landing Fee (Cousin):
The Satellite Islands are part of the Inner Islands and in turn consist of the Felicite Island, Ile Cocos, Les Soeurs, and Marianne Island. These four islands lie close to each other and form the perfect island excursion. Felicite Island lies 4 kilometres north of La Digue and is primarily occupied by staff and guests of the resort on the island. The resort offers luxury amenities that you can indulge yourself with while also enjoying the natural beauty and activities provided by the island itself. In earlier times, Felicite was also used as an exile for nobles who committed crimes even though the island itself means 'bliss' and indeed offers it.
Like the great snorkelling places of Cerf Island (4 snorkelling spots one of which boasts the rare black corals) and St. Pierre Islet which also form a part of the Inner Islands, the satellite island of Ile Cocos offers unique opportunities to snorkel and experience the abundant marine life. Les Soeurs, on the other hand, is divided into two almost connected islands of Grande Les Soeurs and Petite Les Soeurs. Both of these are known for their challenging yet unique hiking trails that also provide great views at different parts of the trails. Marianne, which is at the south-east of Felicite, is, however, known for being one of the best diving spots in the world and hence, should not be missed by the diving and snorkelling enthusiasts.
The 3rd largest island in Seychelles, Silhouette Island is 20 kilometres off the coast of Mahe. This is probably one of the most underdeveloped isles and is hence untouched and completely natural in its wild beauty. In fact, it is home to the endemic carnivorous pitcher plants. The only accommodation of Silhouette Island is the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa which is a 5-star luxurious property. The astounding island is mainly known for its walking trails that may or may not be organised by the resort and as one of the many islands that land themselves as old pirate haunts with buried treasures.
How to Reach Inner Islands
Aride Island is 90 minutes from Praslin by a jetty. However, only administrative boats are allowed to dock on the island, so individuals are expected to change to the administrative boat at sea.
Bird and Denis Island - It takes around 30 minutes to reach Bird or Denis Island via flight. Flights to Bird fly only once a day, and hence individuals should make accommodations to stay overnight.
Silhouette Island - It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach Silhouette by jetty from Mahe or 15 minutes by flight from the Seychelles International Airport in Mahe.