Visiting Aride Island
Over this half term a friend of ours invited the boys and I to go on a trip to Aride Island. We had never been before, so we jumped at the opportunity. I thought I would share our experiences mixed in as part of a little travel guide! I hope you enjoy!
Getting To Aride Island
Aride is only open for visits when the sea conditions are good (i’ll explain why in just a second!). Typically, this means it is closed May – September due to strong surf which makes it very difficult to land by boat. It is also closed on weekends.
From Côte D’Or on Praslin it took us just over 30 minutes by boat to arrive. The conditions were really lovely so I think that is pretty much as quick as the journey would be. There isn’t a lot more my kids love than a boat trip. So for them, the longer the trip the better! They were on super good behaviour so it was really lovely (and a big relief since I was without Mark!)
As the whole island is a nature reserve you can only get onto Aride on their boats, which takes you right up onto the beach. This is to help stop any invasive species finding it’s way onto the island. So whatever boat you arrive in, you stop just off the island and then switch into one of their little boats. All in all this part of the journey added probably another 10-15 minutes to the trip. The kids were super excited about having to get on the speedy little boat!!
Cost of Visiting Aride Island
To visit Aride is free for Seychelles residents but for tourists the price is 650scr per adult. I’m not sure on the age brackets but the guy told me that Arthur would have been half that price (he’s 5) and Freddie would have been free (he is 3).
Prices to get to Aride vary from different vendors. We went with Starfish Boat Charter who are based on Praslin. I would definitely recommend them. They charge 130 euro per adult and that is including the fee mentioned above.
The Tour of Aride Island
With the island being such an important nature reserve, you can’t just wonder off on your own there. When we arrived on the island (after a short but exciting trip right up onto the beach on their little rubber dinghy boats) we were greeted by the conservation team.
Then we met our guide for our trip. He offered us the choice to walk just the flat area or to go up to the view point. It was unanimously decided to go up to the view point…..and I’ll say now, that is definitely the option to choose. The view is stunning, but more on that in a minute.
The walk started off very flat with lots of shade. We came across one of the resident giant tortoises and the boys loved that it followed us for ages.
We then reached the most beautiful Banyan tree. Honestly, I’ve never seen one so amazing as this. So sprawling and just look how it has grown around all of the rocks. Seriously, I could have stayed here all day.
Of course the best bit about this for the kids was that they could play Tarzan on it (we were totally given the permission of the guide by the way!) It took a lot of self control for me not to jump on and have a swing too!
We walked on, surrounded by nesting birds of all kinds. It was so beautiful. There are lots of big skinks there too which are bigger than any others you’ll find around here. The kids were really excited by them.
After a little while we came out at the most beautiful beach. I loved how rugged it was. You can feel how unspoiled this place really is. Coming out from the shade of the trees really added to the ‘wow’ moment of this beautiful little spot, just look at those colours!
The Climb To the Viewpoint
So I feel like this needed it’s own little section. Because seriously, the climb was not easy. The kids really did not manage. So, I ended up carrying Freddie the whole way up (and down again!!!) and I was lucky that a kind guide from another group offered to put Arthur on his shoulders. Obviously, if Mark had been there we would have been fine managing together but this time I was flying solo!
I did have a lovely friend of mine with me who said she would wait down at the bottom with the boys so I could climb to the top. But, I was determined the kids would get up there! I knew they would love the viewpoint so I struggled on.
As you might imagine, I didn’t actually stop and take any pictures of our way up the hill. It was more of a head down and get on with it kind of a deal!!
With older kids, or without kids at all the walk up is totally manageable, although still not what I would consider easy!
We made it to the top!!! Phew! Let me tell you, my face was the reddest of red, and my legs were pretty shaky. Freddie is over 13kgs now so that’s a lot of extra weight to haul up a hill! But it was so worth it (not least because I needed that exercise!). The boys were absolutely delighted!
We are lucky that there are lots of places to get beautiful views here in Seychelles. Aride has something very special though. It is the most Northern island in the Seychelles. This means you get uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean. It’s so beautiful! You really do feel like you’re at the edge of the world!
What impressed the boys most of all, was the Frigatebirds. These huge birds reminded them of Pterodactyl’s. With a wing span over up to almost 2.5m I can see why! I can’t tell you how much this delighted Freddie who is utterly obsessed with Dinosaurs!! We were told that outside of the Aldabra Atol, you won’t find anywhere else in Seychelles you can get so close to these high flying birds!
From where we were stood, there was another drop down you could reach but I wasn’t going to risk that with the kids. It was pretty precarious looking! Anyway, we were more than satisfied with the views we were getting.
I also took the opportunity to let the boys rest a little in the shade and refuel on some crackers I had brought up with me.
The way back down was much easier, although Freddie did still insist on being carried!!
Back at Sea Level
Back down on the beach we were unbelievably lucky to stumble across a couple of baby turtles hatching! The guide told us most of them would wait until the evening to hatch as the tide was very low and it was very hot outside. This was actually my first time seeing hatching turtles, I used to monitor turtles nesting back when we first moved here but I’ve never seen them hatch! It was such an amazing moment, the boys were beside themselves with excitement! I’m afraid to say I don’t actually have any pictures of this, we were far too caught up in the moment.
We then made our way back to where we started our walk. The boys had a little more to eat and then we took a well deserved swim, before it was time to get back on the boat and head home.
We got home around 2:30 and it’s safe to say we all slept very well that night. Such a fantastic day, I can’t wait to visit again. I was a little nervous about taking a trip like this alone with the kids but they were so well behaved and had such a great time. Next time though it would be great to go with Mark too!
I’ve written a post about boat trips you can do from Praslin Island. I would definitely add this one to your list!
Aride: Did you know?
A few little facts about Aride Island!
- Aside Island was once owned by a member of the Cadbury Family! He ensured that the island became the nature reserve that it is today after realising it’s importance for global seabird populations.
- The name ‘Aride’ comes from the fact that there is no natural regular source of fresh water….i.e it’s Arid and dry
- Over 1million seabirds breed on Aride, including 5 species only found in Seychelles.
- The island has one of the highest densities of lizards in the world!
- The nature reserve continues 200m out into the ocean, ensuring the protection of marine life as well around the island.
- You can volunteer to work as part of the conservation team on Aride island.
- The volunteers and island manager are the only people to inhabit the island.