The tortoise is one of only a handful of animals ancient enough to have witnessed the rise and fall of the dinosaurs. Many species have an impressive life-span of over 100 years, and the pre-historic looking reptile can vary in size from a few centimetres to two metres. They are shielded from predators by a shell which they are able to retract their limbs into – their only real form of defence as they do not have teeth and their average speed on dry land is only about 0.27km/h. As the largest animal in its environment, the Aldabra tortoise performs a role similar to that of the elephant. Their vigorous search for food fells trees and creates pathways used by other animals.
- Female tortoises dig burrows in which they lay between 1 and 30 eggs.
- The oldest tortoise ever recorded was given as a gift from Captain Cook to the Tongan royal family in 1777. It died in 1965 at the age of 188.
- Tortoises have good eyesight and an excellent sense of smell.
Time of year: The best time to visit the Seychelles is from May to September when it is dryer and slightly cooler.
Destinations: The miniature 2.19 square kilometre Frégate Island Private Resort offers one of the most secluded and exclusive Seychelles experiences. Located on the easternmost of the country’s granitic Inner Islands, this luxury eco-retreat’s beaches have been voted the best in the world (by The Times), and its 16 villas and one Presidential Villa invite guests to experience the island’s unparalleled peace and beauty whilst relaxing in completely private surroundings. Guests can choose between various sports and watersports, nature walks and fishing, and even visiting the library, museum and chapel – or simply relax in their own private infinity pool. The resort prides itself on its huge variety of animal and plant-life, and the Aldabra giant tortoises are sure to impress. For the kids, the Castaway Kids Clubhouse offers exciting activities and games; and the island’s small size certainly doesn’t limit its ability to enchant and entertain the whole family.
Price Guide: From €1,925, per person per night for a 1 bedroom villa.
The Seychelles’ North Island was one of the first to be visited, located north-west of Frégate Island and even smaller. With only 11 guest villas, the North Island Private Resort offers the same secluded paradise Frégate does, giving guests the opportunity to explore the Seychelles’ natural fauna and flora whilst being pampered in absolute luxury. Guests can choose from a range of activities including mountain biking, scuba diving, kayaking, or visiting the island’s historical museum and library – and of course interacting with the island’s oldest inhabitants, the tortoises. In a unique dining concept, the island’s chef discusses with each guest their culinary preferences which recipes are then based on – all produce being either organically grown or reared on the island, or caught fresh from the sea.
Price Guide: From €1,942 per person per night.