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Seychelles TravelSeychelles islands / Silhouette
 

Silhouette Island

Silhouette is the third of the three major islands in the Seychelles chain
Along with Mahe and Praslin, Silhouette is the third of the three major islands in the Seychelles chain. Land area is 4,930 acres, which is actually very large compared to some of the tinier islands in the Seychelles, and at it peak, it is 2,461 feet elevation. Because of this, it one of the great preserves of biodiversity in the Indian Ocean. Because Silhouette is hilly, it is the least amenable to development, so there is little in the way of infrastructure. But the great thing is that it retains many of its natural flora and wildlife. It is home of the main roost of the extremely rare Seychelles Sheath-tailed Bat. This species has declined in population, and the reason for this is not known. Therefore, conservation of Silhouette island is necessary in order to preserve these animals from extinction. Silhouette is part of one of the most famous tourist destinations, the Seychelles Islands, where people come to enjoy a great vacation in a beautiful setting. Visitors come away knowing they have been in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

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If you are on Beau Vallon Beach on Mahe, Silhouette Island makes a beautiful sight as the sun descends at the back of Mount Dauban. Even though it is the third major granite island in the Seychelles in terms of land area, the population of Silhouette is only 130. Silhouette is close to Mahe, and has traditionally had a small number of visitors because the coral reefs made getting into harbor difficult. Now, however, a quay has been built, and furthermore, many visitors arrive by helicopter. Helicopter or boat transfers can be arranged for those staying at Silhouette Island's small house, which is the only hotel on the island. Silhouette is unlike its neighbors, in that it originated from a volcano. It is named after a Frenchman who lived in the 18th century. A privateer named Hodoul lived on Silhouette for a time, and there is speculation that he buried treasure on this island. Lots of people have tried, but nobody has found it yet. A vacation here is an adventure, and is enjoyable for people no matter their age or occupation.

Silhouette has no roads whatsoever, so it is a region for those who enjoy getting about on foot. For serious walking enthusiasts, there are two paths through the equatorial forests that connect La Passe to Grande Barbe. The round trip takes about a day and a half. The island is very rocky, and Mount Dauban is over 2,000 feet high. Much of the area is covered in albizia trees, but at higher elevations there are plants that are native only to the Seychelles. For the few people that live here, there are Creole houses and an old plantation house, which is one of the nicest in the island chain. The Dauban people's mausoleum with its classical architecture looks out of place in its surroundings.

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There used to be unexplained graves at Anse Lascare that were eventually destroyed by the sea. While the graves used to be seen as proof that the islands were known to Arab traders, they were later dated to the time that slaves were brought in. Visitors can now organize day trips by helicopter with personal boat charters from the Beau Vallon region, or throughout the Seychelles. Silhouette is the third of the three major granite islands in the island chain. At night, the peak of the mountain looks like a pyramid when lit by moonlight. The island is approximately circular, and has the single most dense rainforest in the Indian Ocean. For many years it was also the home of the infamous privateer Jean Hodoul. Some believe that he hid treasure in a fissure in the mountainous region of the island.

Because it is relatively untouched by human progress, Silhouette is a perfect retreat for those who love nature. Silhouette Island does not have roads and is accessible only by helicopter or boat. Daubin Mountain is the highest peak on the island, rising to over 2,000 feet. Most of the rainforest surrounding the mountain is uncharted territory and is full of botanical wonders like orchids, hardwoods, the uncommon jug plant, and the anger tree, which is unique to Silhouette.

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The Silhouette Protection Project is designed to conserve all native plants and wildlife on Silhouette island. Much research is being don on the environment and roost ecologies of the Seychelles. The island is also home to the sheath-tailed strike, which is one of the rarest mammals in the world and which is found nowhere else. Inhabitants of the island are very careful to preserve the all-important habitat and keep it secluded.

Another endangered species is the Seychelles terrapin. These huge tortoises were thought to be extinct from 1840 until 1996. Because of the huge coral reef surrounding the island, its clear water is perfect for diving, swimming, fishing, and snorkeling.

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