Ocean Cruise Expeditions

The Seychelles and Aldabra Atoll

  • Duration 13 Days | Round-trip Victoria, Mahé
  • From $11,390 AUD
Call 1800 889 088

Trip Overview

Start exploring the world with our Welcome Offer and SAVE A$800 per stateroom*! Plus, book early to SAVE up to 25% off^. Call us today on 1800 889 088.

Set sail for a 13-day expedition cruise to discover the most beautiful islands of the Seychelles. PONANT invites you to follow an unforgettable itinerary aboard Le Bougainville, against a backdrop of turquoise waters and coconut palms.

Leaving from Victoria, the archipelago’s capital, fall under the spell of the idyllic landscapes, with their exceptional flora and fauna.

Your first port of call will be in the island of Aride, an unspoiled delight of the Indian Ocean, home to thousands of birds including some endemic species.

In Praslin, don’t miss the chance to visit the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve. There you will find sea coconuts, gigantic fruits with a very evocative shape, nicknamed the “love nut”.

During your cruise, you will have many opportunities to dive or snorkel, notably in Poivre, Astove, and at the heart of the sublime coral reef in the Alphonse lagoon.

Another highlight of your trip will be the port of call at Aldabra, a gigantic coral atoll that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Edged with mangrove and fine sandy beaches, it is home to the largest colony of land turtles in the world.

Before you return to Mahé, Le Bougainville will chart a course for the coral island of Desroches and the sublime beaches of La Digue, some of the most renowned of the Seychelles.

The encounters with the wildlife described above illustrate possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed.

Trip Highlights

  • Outings in Zodiac® inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides and landings on idyllic deserted beaches.
  • UNESCO sites: the Vallée de Mai nature reserve in Praslin and Aldabra, the largest coral atoll in the world.
  • The Aride nature reserve, a treasure of the Seychelles with some 73 hectares of colourful vegetation and more than one million birds.
  • The bare red earth of Curieuse, a granite island in the Seychelles.
  • The coral island of Desroches, an intimate destination home to lush vegetation of coconut palms, takamakas and filaos.
  • Anse Source d’Argent, the most famous beach of La Digue, surrounded by large blocks of granite and edged with coconut palms.
  • Possibility of observing tortoises on Aldabra and Curieuse.
  • Encounters with the locals.
  • Possibility of diving (PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent) with an experienced instructor on board and of snorkelling with your expedition team.

Itinerary - 13 Days

Day 1 VICTORIA, MAHÉ

Embarkation from 16H00 to 17H00. Departure at 18H00.

Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 metres high and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.

Day 2 ARIDE ISLAND

Aride is an island in the Seychelles situated a few kilometres north-west of Praslin. Listed as a nature reserve, this pearl of the Indian Ocean will seduce you with the beauty of its landscapes of wild cliffs and fine-sand beaches. Protected from human impact and sometimes called “bird capital”, it is home to several endemic plants as well as exceptional wildlife. Most notably, it is the refuge of an impressive number of seabirds (Seychelles magpie-robins, terns, noddies, and more), and reptiles, such as Wright’s skinks, which can be found in the island’s wooded areas. Sea turtles can also be observed on the island’s beaches, and boxfish can be admired while scuba diving in the surrounding waters.

Day 3 PRASLIN ISLAND

Situated some forty kilometres away from Victoria, Praslin is the second largest island in the Seychelles. Its idyllic beaches where granite rocks nestle in immaculate sand correspond perfectly to how we imagine the Seychelles to be. They invite visitors to dive into the turquoise waters, which are ideal for snorkelling. In the centre of the island, hidden in the heart of a stunning tropical rainforest, lies the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In this veritable plant sanctuary, several endemic species of palm trees can be observed, as well as the famous sea coconut, which can weigh up to 20 kg and is sometimes called “coco fesse” because its shape calls to mind a pair of buttocks.

Day 4 CURIEUSE ISLAND

Situated off the coast of Praslin, Curieuse has a distinguishing feature: its red earth. Discovered in 1768 by the French explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne, it was ravaged by a fire in 1771 and then home to a leper colony of which a few vestiges still remain. Declared a national marine park in 1979, it is home to many underwater species, which can be discovered while scuba diving or snorkelling in the idyllic waters of the Indian Ocean. But above all, Curieuse is renowned for the hundreds of Aldabra giant tortoises that live there. It is highly likely that you will get the chance to meet these fascinating reptiles. Along with Praslin, it is also the only island on which the sea coconut grows wild.

Day 5 POIVRE ISLAND

At some 200 km south-west of Mahé, discover Poivre Atoll, a small paradise that is part of the Amirantes archipelago, in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. Consisting of two coral islands, Poivre Island and Ile du Sud, separated by a small lagoon, it owes its name to Pierre Poivre, the Mauritius intendant who introduced spices to the Seychelles in the late 18th century. Once used for coconut plantations, Poivre Island is now focused on tourism. Visitors come here for scuba diving or big-game fishing in waters that are particularly rich and clean, where the marine life includes sea turtles.

Day 6 ALPHONSE ISLAND

Alphonse Island is located off the Seychelles archipelago. Discovered in 1730 by the Knight Alphonse de Pontevez, this island, specialised in coconut processing in the past, is now a veritable natural reserve, home to different species of marine mammals, sea turtles and many birds. Alphonse Island is also renowned for its rich underwater life and coral, among the best preserved in the Indian Ocean. A marvellous spectacle that can be admired with just a mask!

Day 7 AT SEA

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 8 ALDABRA ATOLL

Located in the very heart of this faraway archipelago, the Aldabra Atoll is considered to be one of the last virtually untouched sanctuaries on earth, where a large population of sea turtles has found refuge. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this vast tract of land is formed by 4 small coral reef islands separated by narrow passes and containing an emerald-water lagoon lined with mangrove and fine-sand beaches. As your ship slowly nears the clear, reflective waters along its shoreline, do not miss your chance to discover this natural wonder, which is considered to be the largest atoll in the world and once fired the imagination of many an explorer.

Day 9 ASTOVE ISLAND

Closer to Madagascar than to Victoria, Astove is the southernmost island in the Seychelles. It is part of the Aldabra group, in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. Now uninhabited, this coral island covered in coconut trees was once home to the employees that worked on the coconut plantations. Renowned for the richness of its seabeds, Astove Atoll is now a top destination for fishing enthusiasts. It also attracts experienced divers, who visit the atoll to explore the “Astove Wall”, where the sea floor drops to a depth of about 40 metres. The wall is covered in coral and many fish and green sea turtles can be found there.

Day 10 AT SEA

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

Day 11 DESROCHES ISLAND

Coconut trees, she-oak, white-sand beaches, warm and clear waters: everything here is conducive to daydreaming and relaxation in an intimate setting where the blue sky completes the picture postcard. You are on Desroches Island, the largest in the Amirantes group in the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. This 6-km long coral atoll covered in lush vegetation is surrounded by spectacular seabeds where encounters with sharks and manta rays are not uncommon. On the beach, you may be lucky enough to observe sea turtles, there to lay their eggs. In the island’s north, a lighthouse that is still in operation stands guard, and the small village is home to a chapel and a cemetery.

Day 12 LA DIGUE ISLAND

La Digue Island is a veritable concentration of all the beauty of the Seychelles. Located 6 km south-east of Praslin, this small piece of land that looks like paradise is the third-largest island in the Seychelles, despite its modest size (5 km by 3km)! Turquoise waters just asking you to swim in them, lush vegetation sheltering giant tortoises, beaches of fine sand fringed with coconut trees and surrounded with those emblematic large granite rocks with their pink highlights like at the famous Anse Source d’Argent: the perfect picture postcard… Authentic and preserved, the island follows a peaceful rhythm, with the only means of transport along its little roads being bikes or traditional oxcarts.

Day 13 VICTORIA, MAHÉ

Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 metres high and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.

Day 14 VICTORIA, MAHÉ

Discover Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and also the largest of the archipelago, home to the capital, Victoria. Mahé has almost 70 beaches of fine sand, framed by the emblematic granite rocks, and whose crystal clear waters are renowned for their rich underwater life. The island is also famous for its splendid mountain panoramas accessible on hikes, such as the Morne Seychellois, which is 905 metres high and overlooks the Indian Ocean. Mahé is also an island full of history where fine colonial properties rub shoulders with Creole houses - and don’t forget the marvellous Botanical Gardens in Victoria.

 

EXTRAORDINARY PARTNERSHIPS

National Geographic Expeditions has carefully chosen world-leading travel partners to create extraordinary travel experiences. Each expedition offers guests our unique access, knowledge and the ability to give back by supporting the National Geographic Society.

Our Ocean Cruise Expeditions are offered in partnership with PONANT. To learn more about the itinerary, explore the PONANT ship or secure your spot, click here.

*Welcome Offer: A$800 saving is in Australian Dollars (AUD), per stateroom based on a double occupancy, A$400 per stateroom for single occupancy. Offer valid for guests travelling with PONANT for the first time. Offer is not redeemable for cash, not retroactive, and not combinable with any other offer, unless stated otherwise. Valid for new bookings available until further notice, subject to change and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Conditions apply.

 

 

The Seychelles and Aldabra Atoll

From AUD $11,390 Call 1800 889 088

Newsletter

Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
Submit
We use our own and third-party cookies to improve our services, personalise your advertising and remember your preferences. If you continue browsing, or click on the accept button on this banner, we understand that you accept the use of cookies on our website. For more information visit our Cookies Policy AcceptClose cookie policy overlay