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Aldabra, Seychelles:

A true HIGHLIGHT in any nature lover's life:

An expedition to the largest raised atoll in the world,
on board the MV Maya's Dugong!

The most far-flung island in the Seychelles archipelago and the world's largest raised coral atoll, Aldabra ranks right at the top of the list along with the Galapagos as a „must see" for any avid naturalist. With the world's largest population of giant tortoises and a host of endemic birds and plants found nowhere else, there will be plenty to do and see on our expedition to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In March 2016, the National Geographic Magazine had a good online article on Aldabra and other protected places in the Seychelles: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/03/seychelles-islands-nature-reserve-national-parks/

Aldabra is certainly one of the most exclusive, most remote, least visited and at the same time most fascinating destinations on planet earth. Only very few people have the possibility to see and experience this unique coral atoll which has been declared a UNESCO-world heritage site. Sir David Attenborough described it as "one of the wonders of the world". Now, we are making this journey possible at a price you can probably afford.

Not only the picture-postcard, blinding-white beaches with untouched coral reefs teeming with marine life, but also a huge population of Giant Turtles, frigate and tropic birds, boobies, White-throated Rails, Aldabra-Drongos, sends the nature lover raving.
"I think I heard about it - but where exactly lies Aldabra?", you may ask. Well, about 1150 kms southwest of Mahe, the Seychelles' main island. And 420 kms north of Madagascar.
But a map shows it much better than words can describe it! Please click here for an overview map.


Aldabra has inspired ancient explorers, some of the world's most famous scientists and now the modern travellers of today. The name itself is a mystery, believed to be a word of Arabic origin but with any number of theories about its actual meaning, which could be ‘green’ or ‘door-knocker’ or possibly the navigational star Aldebaran. Indeed, it seems there has always been a mythical aura attached to the name of the most far-flung and isolated of all the islands of the Seychelles archipelago.

Aldabra, the world's largest raised coral atoll, is the finest surviving tropical atoll ecosystem on earth. The giant tortoises on the island form by far the world's largest population and the marine life is prolific. The last surviving flightless bird of the Indian Ocean, the Aldabra rail, is found only here as are many other unique land birds and it is a vital breeding ground for turtles and seabirds.

By the way: Much of Jacques Cousteau’s famous underwater film The Silent World was shot around Assumption and Aldabra.



The Aldabra atoll was known for centuries by Arab navigators and was first charted by the Portuguese in 1511. The French were the first recorded visitors when Captain Lazare Picault, sent to chart Seychelles in 1742, came upon Aldabra.
In more recent times, Aldabra has been the centrepiece of numerous conservation initiatives on account of its unspoilt environment. The unique species that have evolved over time in complete isolation on the atoll have prompted some to call Aldabra the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean”.
In fact, Charles Darwin himself, whose work in the Galapagos is largely responsible for that archipelago’s esteemed status as naturalist’s paradise, recognised Aldabra’s unique natural properties, as well as being the only other place in the world aside from the Galapagos where giant tortoises could be found naturally, and recommended to British authorities that they ensure the atoll would be protected from exploitation or development.
Soon after Seychelles' independence, the government granted Aldabra protected status as a nature reserve, and in 1982 Aldabra became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, only a small team of rangers and scientists inhabit the island, with the limited funding but wholehearted support of the Seychelles Islands Foundation, which manages the atoll for conservation and research purposes. There are hundred thousands of Aldabra tortoises on the islands today, surpassing the number of individuals animals on Galapagos by far.

Despite its status as one of the world's most strictly protected natural wonders, travel to Aldabra is still – and will likely always be - incredibly difficult due to its extreme isolation. But with the MV Maya's Dugong, a handful of visitors will be able to experience the atoll of Aldabra and its fascinating sights and treasures as part of an in-depth seven- or nine-night eco-tourism and diving expedition. This is your opportunity to be one of them.

Weatherwise, the best time for visiting the Outer Islands is from mid October to December and mid/end of February until Mid-May.

Years after all trips were suspended, 2018 presents a window of opportunity!

We have a window of opportunity to offer a trip to Seychelles' Aldabra Group (Aldabra, Cosmoledo & Astove) in February/March and again in April/May 2018. Due to the extremely high costs of operation in the outer islands, the trip can be confirmed to go ahead only after a minimum of 10 passengers are booked. The ship has 7 air-conditioned ensuite cabins and there will be a maximum of 14 passengers for this trip.

Cabins: (see slide show of the vessel for a deck plan)
A) Commander Cabins: These three well-appointed cabins on the two top decks are the largest and most comfortable that the Maya's Dugong has to offer. They boast en-suite bathrooms/showers and windows from which to view the beautiful surroundings. Commander Cabins #1 and #3 offer a double-bed plus an extra single bed, while Commander Cabin #2 offers two single beds.
B) Explorer Cabins: These classic and comfortable cabins are situated below the main public-area decks. Each air-conditioned cabin offers private ensuite bathrooms/showers. There is one Explorer Cabin offering a double bed plus a single bed (#4) and three Explorer Cabins with two single beds and one or two extra fold-out bunks where you may want to spread your stuff. Plus, there is a storage cupboard available in each of Maya's Dugong's cabins.

ALDABRA EXPEDITION 2018

Mahé - Desroches - Alphonse - Cosmoledo - Aldabra - Assumption - Astove - Alphonse / Bijoutier - Amirantes / St. Joseph - Mahé

Timings:
24 February until 10 March 2018 (14 nights on board) --- Only 1 Explorer cabin remaining!
28 April until 12 May 2018 (14 nights on board) --- Only 1 Commander cabin and 1 Explorer cabin remaining!

Day 1. Embarkation aboard the Maya's Dugong at Mahé
Day 2. Amirantes / Visiting Desroches Island
Day 3. Alphonse Group / Visiting Alphonse
Day 4. At sea – on the way to the Aldabra group
Day 5. Aldabra Group / Visiting Cosmoledo
Day 6-7-8. Aldabra Group / Visiting Aldabra.
Day 9. Aldabra Group / Visiting Assumption
Day 10. Aldabra Group / Visiting Astove.
Day 11. Aldabra Group / Visiting Cosmoledo - North Island
Day 12. At sea – Crossing towards Alphonse Group/Bijoutier
Day 13. Alphonse Group / Visiting Bijoutier
Day 14. Amirantes / Visiting St Joseph
Day 15. Disembarkation at Mahe, at approx. 15:00 p.m.

Click here to see a map of the cruise.

The price per person will be (depending on the cabin class) 10,000+ US-Dollars. We will gladly send you detailled prices upon request.

The rate includes: The ship cruise with full board, the SIF / IDC impact fees, the dedicated crew on board, security team, diving with PADI instructor(s), snorkelling with dedicated snorkelling guide and own dinghy, fishing and snorkelling gear.
The rate does not include: International flights to/from Mahe, beverages (table water, coffee and tea are free with meals), diving equipment rental (apart from tanks and weight belts) and personal expenses.

We will be diving & snorkelling more or less every day, which means approximately 2-3 dives and snorkelling trips daily, except on the days spent crossing (days 4 & 12, where only an early morning or evening dive may be possible).
There will be lots of opportunities to discover the islands on foot or with our dinghys!
During the days, we will explore, dive and snorkel, during the nights the ship will cross over to the next group of islands.
(See itinerary).

Please download our Aldabra brochure with the detailed program here.

Further information is available upon request.

For any detailed further information and for bookings please send an email to aldabra@seychelles-info.com, stating the number of people you are and we will revert shortly.
As we have recent first-hand experience with exactly the same trip, we are the ones you should ask and eventually book with.

In case you've had lingering thoughts about going out to Aldabra, this is one of the best chances you've had in years to pull off this very unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience!




Pictures:

copyright SIF

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