Aride Island - Seychelles
This is the most northerly of the granitic Seychelles islands and was bought by the Royal Society for Nature Conservation in 1973. It is second only to Aldabra in importance as a nature reserve in Seychelles. On Aride there are more breeding species of sea birds than on any other island in the region, together with the only breeding sites in the granitic islands for red-tailed tropicbirds, roseate terns and the world’s only sooty tern colony in tall woodland. The island’s warden will guide you to the breathtaking clifftops, where hundreds of huge frigatebirds soar above the turquoise sea. If you are lucky, you will glimpse hawksbill turtles and dolphins in the waters below. Seychelles warblers, 29 of which were introduced from Cousin in September 1988, have multiplied to more than two thousand. It is also a botanical treasure house, being the world’s only site for the beautiful Wright’s Gardenia, or bwa sitron, and a species of ’peponium’ that might also be endemic to the island. Visits can be arranged from most Praslin hotels, but landings can sometimes be difficult during the south-east monsoon.
The world’s largest colony of lesser noddies and possibly white-tailed tropicbirds further enhance the island’s reputation as the sea-bird citadel of the Indian Ocean. Recently, it become a home for the endangered Seychelles magpie-robin and the Seychelles fody, which are also found on Cousin, Cousine and Frégate.