North Island is not only a granite island in the archipelago of Seychelles filled with vast beauty and four pristine beaches, it is privately owned and dedicated to a project called Noah’s Ark, wherein endemic and endangered species of the Seychelles are bred and released into the wild to strengthen their failing population. The island itself is a resort, too, with only 11 villas to be used at any given time, but designed in such as way as to protect the island’s ecosystem.
| Where to stay
Wondering what's the best place to stay at close to this beach? Book your favorite vacation rental or hotel nearby.
This particular island, purchased by eco-tourism company Wilderness Safaris, based in South Africa, has been abandoned and fallen into disuse. Sadly, many non-indigenous animals and plants had been left behind to corrupt the natural system of the island.
The plan of Wilderness Safari was, and still is, to return the island to its natural state before man arrived, which means to remove all of the non-native species from the islet.
These undesirables include feral cats, cows, rats, Indian mynah birds and a nasty, intrusive weed named latana.
The program is meant for Seychelles flora and fauna only to thrive here, including the exceedingly rare Coco de Mer tree and the giant sea tortoise.
A noble effort, it has done well in the past few decades, with many triumphs. Existing buildings, a small cluster of which had been built of coral blocks near the East Beach, have been renovated and now stand as a library, a boutique and a dive center. All the area buildings now have been constructed of materials gleaned during the island clean up, with nothing of the Seychelles themselves being used.
The entire island is a luxury resort and unabashedly caters to indulgence, but the real focus is the island, the activities and the four beaches. For each cardinal compass point, there is an eponymously named beach, each with a different atmosphere or vibe. All of them are gorgeous stretches of silken white sand and clean, clear ocean water with sumptuous shades of blue. The North Beach has recently been renovated to cater to honeymooners and is called Honeymoon Cove. The 11 lodges are integrated seamlessly into the tree lines, offering spectacular views of their beaches. It is rustic in appearance, but casual in luxury, and nothing has been overlooked. The Island Piazza houses the coral block library and also a wine cellar, activities center, dining area and beach changing rooms. It has all been specifically clustered around an Indian almond tree and comprises the main focal point of the island. There is an Island Sunset bar on the west side, at Grande Anse Beach, a spa for personal rejuvenation, a swimming pool for times when laps must be performed, and a gym with the best views in the world.
Activities available include diving and snorkeling at the myriad coral reefs teeming with life and fish ready to parade their colors, sea kayaking, fly fishing, deep sea fishing, boating, electronic buggies to explore the island, mountain biking for the same reason and day trips to sister islands, such as the main island, Mahé, Silhouette Island, and Praslin. Each of these neighboring islands presents their own activities, too, like hiking and exploring ancient forests.
Only 2.5 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide, North Island is finally reclaiming itself. Species long absent are now seen with frequency, and there is more to enjoy than ever. A unique, extraordinary adventure, Northern Island is a tropical Eden waiting for exploration and appreciation. Like nothing you have experienced before, it will lodge itself in your heart for an unforgettable holiday retreat.