Curieuse Island Seychelles
CURIEUSE MARINE NATIONAL PARK
Marine National Park, Nature Reserve, Eco tourism site
Curieuse Island is a small granitic island (1.78 sq mi) in the Seychelles close to the north coast of the island of Praslin. Curieuse is notable for its bare red earth intermingled with the unique Coco de Mer palms, one of the cultural icons of the Seychelles, only being present on the two islands.
Coco de Mer palms
Originally named Ile Rouge due to the red coloured soil, in 1768 the French claimed possession of the island and named it after a schooner "La Curieuse" which was under the command of explorer Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne. Like many of the Seychelles islands there was a native giant tortoise population that was quickly extirpated.
In 1771 sailors set fire to the island, intending to make harvesting the coco de mer nuts easier. The fire destroyed many of the islands forests and its native trees and today indications of the fire can still be seen nearly 250 years on.
In 1833 Curieuse became a leper colony that didn't cease operations until 1965. Today ruins of the leprosarium remain as well as the former physician's residence at Anse St. Joseph which is now an educational center and museum.
The old ruins found on Curieuse Island
In 1979 Curieuse and surrounding waters were declared the Curieuse Marine National Park in order to protect the native wildlife. Today it is the home of roughly 500 Aldabra Giant Tortoise, 300 of which live at the Ranger's Station and approximately 200 in the wild. In the late 1970s a conservation project was started to move tortoises from Aldabra to Curieuse. On the southern part of the island is a mangrove swamp which is traversed by a walkway for park visitors. The island is also known for coco de mer palms, giant takamaka trees, a large hawksbill turtle rookery and several bird species including the rare Seychelles Black Parrot Coracopis nigra barklyi, which is found only here and on Praslin.
Curieuse Island Mangrove
Most visitors disembark at Baie Laraie to the sight of multitudes of giant hump head parrotfish and giant tortoises lazing near the rangers’ headquarters. The trail from Baie Laraie to Anse José passes through thick mangrove forest and is one of the most breathtaking sites on the island. On the way can be found the ruins of the leper colony, now well blended into the landscape.
The Doctor’s House at Anse José, a wonder of Creole colonial architecture, has since been turned into a fascinating museum on whose beach sea turtles still arrive to lay their eggs. A dive at Coral Garden or Pointe Rouge is a MUST as is a snorkelling trip to St. Pierre.
Address : SCMRT-MPA Headquarters, PO Box 1240, Victoria, Mahé, , Ranger Base, Curieuse Island
Tel : +248 4 22 51 15/ Ranger Base: 2 56 03 88 / 2 51 72 21
Email : email@example.com
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