Bird Island

  • Located 62 miles from Mahé, Bird Island is the northernmost island in the Seychelles archipelago and is a bird sanctuary. Officially called Ile aux Vaches (literally, 'Cow Island') because of the many sea cows that used to live here, it remains an interesting place that we really recommend visiting. Three million birds (terns, kingfishers, swallows, tropicbirds) inhabit the island, and humans are mere ...
    © Jesper Anhede
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Seychelles

Located 62 miles from Mahé, Bird Island is the northernmost island in the Seychelles archipelago and is a bird sanctuary. Officially called Ile aux Vaches (literally, 'Cow Island') because of the many sea cows that used to live here, it remains an interesting place that we really recommend visiting. Three million birds (terns, kingfishers, swallows, tropicbirds) inhabit the island, and humans are mere intruders who must be very discreet. A genuine giant aviary! The birds establish their colony on Bird Island because it is the first island they reach in the Indian Ocean on returning from Northern Asia. This coral island is home to around thirty bird species, some of which come all the way from Alaska and Siberia, travelling up to 6214 miles in a week! They are not at all shy, though: you can approach them and even touch them, including the chicks in their nests! These are usually found on the ground, hidden in the hollow of a root of a takamaka tree, whose wood is very widely used to make furniture. The most impressive are the frigatebirds with a wingspan of 2 metres! Bird Island is clearly worthy of its name. It's not just birds that call the island home, though, there are also 28 giant tortoises, including the famous Esmeralda, the oldest in the world. Born in 1771 and weighing 400kg, he has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Don't be fooled by the name, Esmeralda is in fact a male! Another interesting fact about the island is that all rats have been eradicated, which is no mean feat! Bird Island is also home to the most affordable hotel in the Seychelles. Let's hope this paradise doesn't fall into the hands of a hotel group with plans to transform it into a luxury resort, which would undoubtedly rid the place of its charm and attraction!

Bird Island: what to do?

Robby the botanist organises tours of the island. The walk lasts an hour and a half and Robby will let you in on all the secrets of the island and its inhabitants.

The aptly named Bird Island is inhabited by a colony of terns, kingfishers and swallows that you can observe at your leisure. On Bird Island, the sea is also a site in its own right. In addition to the corals and seashells, you can see all types of tropical fish and the world's oldest tortoise, Esmeralda. Born in 1771 and weighing 300kg, he has earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records! If you visit in November, you are almost guaranteed to see sea turtles nesting on the beach. The sea on the west coast is more agitated, and this is where you'll see magnificent sunsets. To the north of the island, the beach is inhabited by a colony of birds, and it is a particularly impressive sight at sunset. The noise they make is deafening, but what a show they put on!

  • You are completely immersed in nature.
  • The amazing bird colony.
  • The reasonable prices compared with the other resort islands.
  • The beaches are sublime.
  • Esmeralda, the oldest turtle in the world.
  • The sound of birds between May and September.
  • The isolated location: 50 miles from Mahé, Bird Island is the northernmost island in the Seychelles archipelago.

Reminders

Considering watching Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds' before your trip, just to put you in the mood! There is no diving centre on the island, but masks, flippers and snorkels are available for £2. Drinks are expensive (£5 for a bottle of water, £3 for a beer and £9 for a cocktail), but Bird Island is by far the most affordable of the resort islands in the Seychelles. There's no point in bringing your mobile phone with you as there's no network on the island, and with no television or Internet either, you will be completely isolated! Keep in mind that the bird population can rise up to 2.5 million between June and August, meaning that it can be quite noisy.

To avoid

From May to September in particular, more than one and a half million terns come to seek refuge on the island. Needless to say, the result is a concert of tweeting and chirping, so if you're looking for silence, peace and tranquillity, it's best to look elsewhere! If you are afraid of flying, it is best to avoid the island: the nerve-racking trip consists of a ride in a small propeller plane that lands on a grass-covered runaway. If you prefer to swim without diving gear, you are advised to wear sandals to avoid scraping your feet on the corals, and remember that the many currents around Passe Coco, which is marked by a small orange boat, make it a particularly dangerous place to swim.

Bird Island: what to eat?

Creole cuisine, fruit, banana jam, fish (the job fish fillet is excellent), rice, etc.

Bird Island: what to buy?

Nothing: turtles, birds, seashells or coral, everything should be left where it is, only take back memories and photos!

Bird Island Reviewedhotels
  • 8.0 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Bird Island
    Bird Island - Seychelles
    Hotel Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    This really is a little corner of paradise: an almost deserted ...

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