Ultimate Seychelles with Aldabra Atoll

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Tour Description

Zegrahm’s Seychelles expedition takes you all the way from the stunning granitic islands of the north to the remote and rarely visited coral atolls of the south. Our comprehensive Seychelles adventure travel tour to this untouched Eden, led by expert guides, offers spectacular snorkeling and diving, including a two-day Aldabra Atoll tour; beautiful white-sand beaches; and endemic flora and fauna, with rare Seychelles paradise flycatchers, coco-de-mer palms, flying foxes, and giant Indian Ocean tortoises. Our Seychelles tour includes rocky Cousin Island, the breeding place of thousands of fairy terns and home to several endangered land and seabird species.

Seychelles and Aldabra Atoll adventure travel highlights include:

  • Explore La Digue island, a postcard-perfect island of pink granite boulders and white sugar-sand beaches.
  • Drift-snorkeling through Aldabra Atoll’s channels during a rising tide where you see thousands of marine life species.
  • Enjoy close encounters with giant Indian Ocean tortoises throughout this Seychelles expedition.
  • Praslin Island, a World Heritage Site and home to the rare Seychelles black parrot.
  • This Seychelles tour was listed as one of the Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime by National Geographic Traveler.

With Zegrahm Expeditions, virtually everything is included in the cost of your trip. Here is what you can look forward to on this Seychelles with Aldabra Atoll expedition:

  • All gratuities, from porters and ship’s crew to tour guides and leaders
  • All accommodations, including pre- and post-voyage hotel nights
  • Welcome dinner and orientation briefing to get to know one another and get a good sense of what’s to come
  • Daily activity options, from active pursuits to moderately-paced sightseeing
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • All meals onboard and with the group ashore
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges
  • Group arrival and departure transfers
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear and reading materials
  • Comprehensive pre-departure packet to prepare you for your trip, with everything from currency information and weather to shipboard amenities and a packing list
  • Medical and emergency evacuation insurance
  • Dedicated Zegrahm program manager to answer all your questions as well as an air coordinator to assist with flight arrangements
  • Photographic journal documenting the voyage

Itinerary

Day 1-2

Depart USA / Europe

Depart USA and arrive in Europe. Connect with your independent overnight flight to the Seychelles.

Day 3

Victoria, Mahé Island, Seychelles / Embark Clipper Odyssey

Arrive Mahé, transfer to the Clipper Odyssey, and enjoy a day at leisure to relax. Gather this evening for a welcome dinner and briefing.

Day 4

Cerf Island

Enjoy a day of snorkeling in Sainte Anne Marine National Park—a wonderful introduction to the Seychelles. This group of six islands was the first marine park to be founded in the Indian Ocean, over 30 years ago. Its history evokes tales of pirates and buried treasure from centuries past. We enjoy a traditional Creole lunch in the park before returning to Victoria to reboard the ship.

Day 5

Praslin and Curieuse Islands

This morning we arrive at Praslin Island to visit enchanting Vallée de Mai National Park, a World Heritage Site. Here we investigate the high-canopied, primeval palm forest, home to 4,000 coco-de-mer palms. These astonishing trees grow over 100 feet tall and live 800–1,000 years. The palm bears the world’s largest nut, weighing 20–40 pounds. Several other endemic palm species, as well as the Seychelles flying fox, populate this magical valley. We may spot the rare Seychelles black parrot and other birds of notable interest, including the Seychelles blue-pigeon, cave swiftlet, and Seychelles bulbul. Various walks reveal other unique animals such as bronze and green day geckos, the Seychelles skink, and two forms of endemic snail.

In the afternoon we visit Curieuse, a tiny island with a sanctuary for giant land tortoises. On nature walks through dense forest dotted with towering takamaka trees, we search for the free-roaming tortoises. We also have the opportunity to snorkel and dive along the surrounding reef.

Day 6

The Amirante Island Group

During an expedition stop at Poivre Island, we take Zodiacs ashore for beachcombing, nature walks, and a visit to the Poivre copra plantation. Snorkel or dive over coral gardens inhabited by brilliantly colored tropical fish as manta rays glide through the waters below and black-naped terns soar in the skies above.

Day 7

Alphonse Island Group

In the Alphonse Island group we experience the beauty and serenity of the three islands that lie in the heart of the Seychelles Archipelago. Their remote location provides many opportunities for unspoiled exploration, including beachcombing on soft, white-sand beaches, and snorkeling or diving to search for Madras snappers and the nine species of butterflyfish found here.

Day 8

Sailing the Indian Ocean

Relax at sea and enjoy lectures by our expedition staff who prepare us for our time at Aldabra Atoll.

Day 9-10

Aldabra Atoll

We spend two full days at magnificent Aldabra, a World Heritage Site, and a highlight of our voyage. With a perimeter of 70 miles, Aldabra is one of the largest atolls in the world, comprising four major islands separated by channels. Because of the atoll’s extreme isolation, many of Aldabra’s species are unique endemics. Giant Indian Ocean tortoises—which have been estimated to number over 100,000—roam wild on the island. Tide permitting, we take Zodiacs through a narrow pass to a landscape of fascinating eroded limestone topography. The tides have sculpted small islets into fantastic formations known as champignons, or “mushrooms.” Hundreds of lesser and great frigatebirds soar overhead as we search the terrain for the rare, flightless Aldabra white-throated rail. Robber crabs, whose claws are strong enough to crack coconuts, scamper across the turf. Enjoy a drift-snorkel through the pass, where we may spot coral gardens teeming with life, into a lagoon populated by turtles and eagle rays. Visit the small scientific research station on Picard Island and photograph the mighty tortoises of this magical, isolated island that few travelers ever have the opportunity to visit.

Day 11

Astove Atoll

We land by Zodiac on a sandy beach bordered by lush vegetation on this deserted island, part of the Aldabra Group and formerly inhabited by African slaves who escaped a Portuguese ship in 1760. A former copra plantation, the island’s houses, drying sheds, and other buildings are in various states of disrepair since being abandoned in the 1980s. Mature casuarina and Indian almond trees host the finely woven pendant nests of the local sunbird. Along the atoll’s vertical reef wall, snorkelers and divers delight in the crystal clear waters populated by turtles, clouds of tropical fish and colorful corals.

Day 12

Sailing the Indian Ocean

Watch for whales, dolphins, and porpoises cruising the waters as we head northward through the Indian Ocean.

Day 13

Expedition Stop

Make an expedition stop at one of the Seychelles’ many low-lying coral atolls. Snorkel or dive over pristine reefs or beachcomb along powdery, white-sand shores.

Day 14

Cousin and La Digue Islands

Our ship anchors at Cousin, a nature reserve owned by the Royal Society for Nature Conservation and administered by Birdlife International. The reserve protects endangered species, notably the Seychelles fody, brush warbler, magpie robin, and Seychelles blue-pigeon. A nearly uninhabited island, its rocky hills are the breeding place of thousands of fairy terns. The birds are densely clustered and unafraid, making this site like no other on Earth. We may also encounter the resident group of giant tortoises.

In the afternoon we stop at La Digue, an island whose beauty surpasses the imagination. Famed biologist Sir Julian Huxley once described the Seychelles as akin to Hawaii and Tahiti in the 1700s, an untouched Garden of Eden. No island could be more deserving of this description than La Digue, where huge granite boulders and swaying palms frame the picture-perfect, pink- and white-sand beaches. Only about 2,000 people live in this paradise, where ox and cart is the traditional mode of transportation. We travel at the leisurely pace of the locals, on foot or by bicycle along picturesque sandy roads. We pass quaint, balconied houses and shops, a vanilla plantation, and a copra operation to reach the small Veuve Nature Reserve where we may observe the endangered Seychelles paradise-flycatcher in its native habitat. We also watch for the yellow bittern, cave swiftlet, and common waxbill. Enjoy time on one of the world’s most breathtakingly beautiful beaches, Anse La Source d’Argent.

Day 15

Victoria, Mahé Island / Disembark / USA

Disembark in the early morning and transfer to the airport for your independent flights homeward, arriving the same day.

Departures

Pricing Information

Clipper Odyssey

One of the finest adventure ships afloat, the Clipper Odyssey is a 110-passenger luxury expedition vessel, ideally suited for cruising in off-the-beaten-path locales. On all Clipper Odyssey expeditions, guests have access to a fleet of Zodiacs, which allows remote landings anywhere nature or curiosity dictates. All cabins on a Clipper Odyssey cruise have an ocean view, safe, minibar, individually controlled heat/air conditioner, in-room music system, and sitting area with sofa. Beds can be configured for twin or queen-size sleeping arrangements, and all cabins have an en suite bathroom complete with shower and small bathtub. In the comfort of their cabin, passengers can track the progress of their expedition on the Global Positioning System broadcast—a highlight of a Clipper Odyssey voyage for adventure-minded guests. Additional facilities include a gourmet kitchen featuring American and international cuisine, dining room, lounge, small library and gym, outdoor pool, and gift shop. An elevator services all passenger cabin decks. Ship registry: Bahamas.

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Options and Extras

Tour Notes

Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. Since many of our expeditions embark and disembark from remote destinations, the airports that serve these areas often have limited carriers and/or daily flights. As such, our air team is well-versed in planning complex routings for our travelers.