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The Seychelles ReQuest 2020

The Seychelles offers the visitor a tropical beauty that is difficult, if not impossible to match anywhere else in the world. Spread out over a vast area of the Indian Ocean, they offer everything from quiet sophistication and enchanting scenery to wild and uninhabited nature reserves, where the very remoteness of the islands has protected them from the worst excesses of mankind. Our journey will include all aspects of this extraordinary island nation from the lesser known and rarely visited Outer Seychelles where we visit Aldabra Island Group, the world’s largest coral atoll and a World Heritage Site to the developed Inner Seychelles with staggeringly beautiful islands such as Praslin, La Digue and Aride.

Accommodation: Suite on board MS Caledonian Sky, hotel in Dar es Salaam. Transport: Expedition ship, Zodiacs. Ship: Caledonian Sky. Passengers: Maximum 114 passengers (approx. 20 in the PolarQuest group). Languages: English. Length: 13 days, 11 nights on ship. Price: From USD 10 490. Departure: 8 November 2020

Itinerary

Day 1: Dar es Salaam

Arrive in Dar es Salaam and transfer to a comfortable hotel. We relax after a long flight and enjoy the facilities.

Day 2: Embarkation day

In the afternoon we embark the MS Caledonian Sky. Enjoy welcome dinner and drinks on board as we sail this evening.

Day 3: Zanzibar

Here the colourful harbour, crowded with dhows, very much sets the scene for our visit to this Arab-style city with its long narrow streets, bazaars, houses with overhanging balconies and intricately carved doorways. On a morning walking tour, soak up the timeless atmosphere of Stone Town including Livingstone House, Sultan’s Palace, the slave market and the old Fort. The afternoon is free to relax and explore independently or join a tour to a spice farm to experience the various fruits and spices cultivated on the island. Alternatively, travel to Jozani Forest which sustains a variety of wildlife and birds, including the rare red colobus monkey, indigenous to the island.

Day 4: At Sea

Spend a relaxing day at sea as we cross to the Seychelles.

Day 5 – 7: Aldabra Island Group, Seychelles

We now have two and a half days to enjoy the Aldabra group of islands and our itinerary will be in the hands of our Expedition Leader and Captain who will monitor the local conditions to ensure we maximise our time here. Whilst our itinerary is flexible, after a morning at sea, we will plan to call at the island of mankind, Assumption, for clearance into the Seychelles. Assumption was ruthlessly plundered for its vast deposits of guano in the early 20th century but peace has returned and the wildlife of rare birds and green turtles are once again in abundance. Our time here will be spent beachcombing, on a nature walk or snorkelling. We also hope to reach Cosmoledo where a huge ring of twelve islands circle a lagoon. Many of the atolls are still to be surveyed and we will explore some of them by Zodiac. This is an important bird area with all three species of booby found in the Seychelles including the last breeding site for the brown booby. Also spot sooty terns and great frigate birds.

We also plan time on Aldabra, the island referred to by Sir Julian Huxley as “One of nature’s treasures and should belong to the whole world”. Aldabra is unique and every time we call at what is believed to be the world’s largest atoll, we find something new of interest. Sightings have been made of the extremely rare white throated rail and the atoll is also home to the world’s second largest colony of frigate birds and to the largest crab, the coconut crab. Whilst exploring by Zodiac it is difficult to know in which direction to look. The clear blue seas abound with colourful life, the skies are alive with varied birdlife and ashore giant land tortoises forage as they have done for millions of years.

We will explore Picard Island with a short walk to see some of the thousands of tortoises and numerous robber crabs. We will include as much as possible with our time on Aldabra making landings on South Island and trips into the lagoon, a vast 17 mile stretch of shallow clear water. From our Zodiacs we can watch the everchanging undersea world and snorkel in colourful coral waters teeming with marine life.

Day 8: Farquhar Islands

After a morning at sea we will anchor off Farquhar over lunch where we will use our Zodiacs to explore the sparkling lagoon of this remote atoll ringed island of coconut and casuarina trees. Hawksbill and green sea turtles come to the atoll to lay eggs, and several of the Farquhar Group’s islands are Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas. The island is a haven providing us with a delightful afternoon of bird watching or snorkelling.

Day 8: Farquhar Islands

After a morning at sea we will anchor off Farquhar over lunch where we will use our Zodiacs to explore the sparkling lagoon of this remote atoll ringed island of coconut and casuarina trees. Hawksbill and green sea turtles come to the atoll to lay eggs, and several of the Farquhar Group’s islands are Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas. The island is a haven providing us with a delightful afternoon of bird watching or snorkelling.

 

Day 9: Alphonse Islands

There are three islands in the Alphonse group which is located directly south of the Amirantes. As we approach the islands over lunch you will understand why they are regarded by many to be the most beautiful of the 115 islands in the Seychelles archipelago. On the main island the circular lagoon offers good snorkelling and there are a number of tracks across the island to enjoy island walks.

Day 10: Amirante Islands

This morning we arrive at the 28 islands in the Amirante Group of islands which were discovered by Vasco de Gama in 1501 and are, considered to be, some of the most pristine and untouched islands in the world. If conditions permit we will spend the day on Desroches, the largest of the islands, although still only measuring six kilometres by 1.5 kilometres. Enjoy nature walks with our naturalists and the island’s conservation team observing the flora and fauna and in particular the giant tortoises and nesting turtles. Meanwhile keen snorkellers will have the chance to swim over the outlying coral.

Day 11: Aride & Curieuse

Early this morning we will anchor off Aride, one of the finest and most important seabird islands in the Indian Ocean. Over one million seabirds breed on the island including tropical shearwater, lesser noddy, frigate birds and roseate tern and also five species unique to the Seychelles such as the Seychelles warbler and Seychelles magpie robin. The island is largely covered in native woodland, including the endemic wright’s gardenia, a shrub with beautifully scented flowers found nowhere else in the world. Sail over lunch to Curieuse, a rugged island which was once home to a leper colony and now houses an eco-museum and visitor centre. The island is an important nesting site for hawksbill turtles and boasts endemic vine and mangroves which we explore on an island walk.

Day 12: Praslin & La Digue

From our overnight anchorage we will land on Praslin to explore the ‘Vallee de Mai’, the last remnant of the original high canopied Seychelles palm forest and home to the coco de mer. We will walk its paths looking out for the rare black parrot and enjoying its natural beauty. Return to the ship for lunch as we sail the short distance to La Digue where huge granite boulders that lie like giant sculptures on the brilliant white beaches of the island. Tour the forested nature reserve and the L’Union Estate, a superbly restored 19th century colonial house. Rent a bicycle, relax or swim from one of the beaches. Tonight we will sail to Mahe where we moor overnight.

Day 13: Mahe to London

Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport. 

Please note: Our exact route will depend on weather conditions and local authorities. The itinerary is a subject to change. The Captain and Expedition Leader always strive to maximise your experience. Please remember that flexibility is the key to a successful expedition!

The tour operator of the trip is Noble Caledonia, a company with long experience of operating trips in this area. 

The ship Caledonian Sky

  • James Archibald
  • Panorama lounge
    Sue Flood
  • Lounge
    Sue Flood
  • Restaurant
    Sue Flood
  • Library
    Sue Flood
  • Standard Suite
    Sue Flood
  • Superior Suite
    Sue Flood
  • Premium Balcony Suite
  • Premium Suite
    Sue Flood

On board there are 57 exceptionally spacious and well-designed suites, 23 of which have private balconies located on the Promenade or Bridge Decks. Following a comprehensive refurbishment of the suites in November 2018, the suites on each deck have their own colour theme. Each suite exudes great character and grandeur with wood panelling and brass features found throughout. The large suites are arranged over four decks and all have outside facing views. All suites feature a sitting area complete with coffee table, armchairs and flat screen televisions (DVD players and DVDs can be borrowed from reception for use in your suite). The beds in each cabin offer comfortable mattresses and pillows and can be configured as large double beds or twins. Each suite affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring a country style wash basin, walk-in shower and/or corner bathtub. Dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort.

The spacious and finely decorated public rooms on board the MS Caledonian Sky include a large lounge featuring comfortable seating. Daily briefings given by the onboard team take place in the Main Lounge.

Also, in the Lounge is a 24-hour tea and coffee station along with an elegant bar where the onboard pianist plays periodically throughout the day. There is also the recently refurbished Lounge on the Panorama Deck which has a bar, library and further spacious seating arrangements, ideal for watching the world go by as you cruise to your next destination. In addition, there is an Observation Deck, complete with bar and comfortable cushioned deck furniture for sunbathing, relaxing with a book or catching up with fellow travellers.

In the elegant main dining room, you are served a cuisine of consistent superior quality. Where possible and when it meets their high standards, our accomplished chefs will obtain local produce in markets. Breakfast is served buffet-style, lunch and dinner are à la carte with an excellent choice of dishes. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines is included with both meals.

Cabins & prices

Cabin category Price per person
Standard Suite Portholes USD 10 490
Superior Suite Windows USD 10 990
Premium Suite Windows USD 11 190
Deluxe Balcony Suite Windows USD 12 590
Premium Balcony Suite Windows USD 12 990

Price includes

  • 1 night at a hotel i Dar es Salaam
  • 11 nights aboard the MS Caledonian Sky on a full board basis
  • House wine, beer & soft drinks with lunch & dinner on board
  • An experienced expedition team,
  • Shore excursions
  • Gratuities
  • Transfers
  • Port
  • Taxes

Not included

  • Flights to Dar es Salaam and home from Mahe
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas

Departures & booking

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or wish to make a reservation.

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Departure Return
8 November 2020 20 November 2020