A tickle of a beach, Curieuse Marine National Park is on a small island called Curieuse Island. The granitic island spreads over 1.13 sq mi (2.9 km2) in Seychelles and is situated close to the northern coast of the island of Praslin. The Curieuse Island can trigger your curiosity only after it amazes you with wondrous view of beautifully bare red earth uniquely intermingled with the lined up coco de mer palms, the rarest of the rare sea coconuts that is native to the geography, only found in Seychelles in the whole wide world. Coco De Mer palms also happen to be one of the most celebrated cultural icons of Seychelles. These palms grow only on the two neighbouring islands.
About Curieuse Marine National Park
A visit to the little island of Curieuse Marine National Park will add a much needed hint of nature and wildlife to your Seychelles vacation. Here are the things that you must know about the place before heading there.
History of Curieuse Island
It was originally named “Ile Rouge” after its bright red soil. Back in 1768 the French occupied the land and claimed the Island. They named it after the schooner “La Curieuse” which was a ship under the command of the celebrated explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne. The locale and the geography is famous for its native giant tortoise population which was then quickly extirpated.
Then came the 1771 when sailors set fire to the island, with noble intentions though, help the harvesting of coco de mer nuts. But the fire was a disaster and it completely destroyed many of the islands’ native flora. What is more shocking is that the indications of the fire are still visible at places, even today, nearly 250 years after. During 1829, the Island of Curieuse emerged as a leper colony and functioned till 1965. This had a positive impact on the ecosystem of the planet and protected it from the human influence.
Best time to visit Curieuse Island
Round the year Curieuse Island is blessed with the warm cozy weather. The temperatures average around 80s. But the best time to plan a visit to Curieuse Island is to make it around Spring of Fall. You can smoothly avoid the heavy crowd of tourists flocking the island during the months of December, January, July, and August.
How to reach Curieuse Island
By Air: Fly down at the Seychelles International Airport on the island of Mahé. The distance to the Island from the airport is 49.2 KM.
By Boat: Get onboard a ferry to reach Curieuse Island. It’s prohibited for the visitors to set foot on the Island to preserve the islands eco-system, its flora, and fauna. Tour operators generally take the visitors to Cousin, Cousine, and Curieuse islands in a day. The guided tour of Cousin Island generally spans around 90 minutes.
Flora and fauna of Curieuse Island
The rich soil and a warm weather of Curieuse Marine National Park is perfect for an avid variety of flora and fauna. The most celebrated among these are the Coco De Mer Palms and the incredibly huge tortoises.
Flora: Coco De Mer Palms
Home to a variety of species of Flora, it is famous for the Coco De Mer. You can also explore the mangroves forests. The Island also homes the so-called coral garden (Pointe Rouge) off the eastern coast of Curieus. The species of plants found on the island are mostly all native and endemic to Curieuse. These include Porcher (Cordia subcordata), Bois Chandelle (Dracaena), and Lalyann dile (Secamone schimperiana, Bwa bannann (Gastonia sechellarum) and Bois Cassant de Bord Mer (Guettarda speciosa).
Watch out for: Coco De Mer, mangroves
Fauna: Sanctuary of Giant Tortoises
The clear waters of the beach homes parrotfish and if you are a nature lover you can surely spot some of the sea snails, skinks, geckos and birds populating the rich marine life. But above all what you cannot possibly overlook at Curieuse Marine National Park is the population of Giant tortoises on the Island. You will most likely find another rare species frequenting the island, it’s called Seychelles black parrot, Coracopis nigra barklyi, it is a special species of parrot that are only found here.
Watch out for: Freely roaming giant tortoises
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Highlights of Curieuse Island
- The second and only natural forest of Coco De Mer Palms: Curieuse Island is the only other island that has a natural forest of the unique Coco De Mer.
- The Island where Aldabra giant land tortoise roams free: Curieuse Island is inhabited by more than 300 Aldabra giant tortoises, freely roaming around the island.
- A former leper colony: The Island was a leper colony back in 1829 and it remained the same till 1965.
- A Coral Restoration Marine Park: Curieuse Island and its surrounding waters were declared to be the Curieuse Marine National Park back in 1979.
- Endemic species: Home to several endemic species, the Island is inhabited by a range of marine life and vegetation.
- Interesting nature trails and hikes: Explore a bit of hiking, follow the nature trails to get the feel of Curieuse Island to its core. You can hike from Baie Laraie to Anse St. José on the other side.
- Beautiful rock formations: The giant granite cliffs are one of its kind
- One of the most magnificent views of Seychelles: From Mont Caiman, you can have a 360-degree view of Silhouette, Ile du Nord, Ile au Foux, Ile Aride, Denis, Grande Soeur, Petite Soeur, Ile Round, St Pierre and up to Pointe Chevalier of Praslin.
Are you ready to explore the vivid marine wildlife of Curieuse Marine National Park? Be sue that an altogether different world waits for you out there. So, what are you waiting for? Plan a trip to Seychelles right away and head to Curieuse Marine National Park for a wild and crazy vacation.
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