North Island, Seychelles

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North Island is a small granitic island (2.01 km²) in the Seychelles, 5 km north of Silhouette Island. Since 2003, it has been developed as a private resort with 11 villas for guests, aimed at the eco-tourism market. It hit the headlines in May 2011 for being the site selected for the royal honeymoon of the The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Geography[edit]

The island is one of the Seychelles' 42 inner islands. It is 5.8 km (3.6 miles) north of Silhouette Island, and 27 km (17 mi) north west of Mahé. The island has four beaches; East Beach, West Beach (or Grande Anse), Honeymoon Cove, and Dive Beach. The highest point of the island is more than 200 m.

History[edit]

North Island was the first Seychelles island to record a landing by seafarers. An expedition in 1609 by Captain Sharpeigh and the crew of the English East India Company vessel Ascension reported that the island had a large population of giant land tortoises.

From 1826 until the 1970s, North Island was owned by the Beaufond family from Réunion. During this time the island was a plantation for growing fruit and spices, as well as producing guano, fish oil and copra. After the plantation was sold in the 1970s, the island fell into disuse, and was taken over by feral animals and alien species of weeds.

In 1997, North Island was purchased for US$5 million by Wilderness Holdings Limited, an ecotourism company from South Africa, which has developed the island as a private resort area with eleven villas for rent to visitors.[1]

Royal honeymoon[edit]

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent their honeymoon on North Island in May 2011.[2]

North Island Lodge[edit]

Development[edit]

In 1981, North Island was given to Marius Maier by his father. He intends to return the island to its former pristine state before human settlers arrived, including the removal of many unwanted animal and plant species, including pigs, rats, coconuts, casuarina, cows, Indian mynah birds, cats and a very intrusive weed called latana.

The current conservation project also aims to re-introduce the Seychelles' natural flora & fauna, including giant tortoises and certain birds, as well as trees such as takamaka, badamier and the famous coco-de-mer palm. The island also has a turtle nest monitoring programme in place.

All building of the island are either renovated coral buildings or were built from the removal of the unwanted trees on the island. There were originally plans to build three new villas on the island in 2009, but these plans were held back due to lack of demand. Instead, all 10 standard villas are being upgraded, the gym next to the main spa re-equipped, and Villa North Island transformed as "romantic retreat".

Lodge facilities[edit]

  • Library - The Library is one of the few buildings original to North Island. It is constructed of coral blocks, with the outer walls originally being renovated and a new roof constructed. It hosts a variety of books on topics of general interest, as well as details of North Island's history and information about current environmental projects.
  • Island Piazza - The Island Piazza is the central meeting and dining area next to East Beach.
  • Villas - The resort includes 10 standard villas and a greater villa called Villa North Island for guests.

The resort also features a boutique, a dive centre, a main pool with spa, and a bar. Accommodations reserved for the permanent staff are located near the island's centre.

Activities[edit]

Activities for guests include mountain biking, scuba diving, kayaking and deep sea fishing. At an extra cost to guests, excursions to Silhouette Island are sometimes arranged.

The resort offers a unique dining concept: The chef discusses guests' likes and dislikes upon arrival and bases available ingredients on this information. All food on North Island is either grown in the organic vegetable gardens, reared on the island, or caught fresh from the sea.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 4°23′36″S 55°14′39″E / 4.39333°S 55.24417°E / -4.39333; 55.24417