Located in the heart of the inner islands of the Seychelles, just 2km off the coast of Praslin, Cousin Island is a 62-acre private island that above all else, prizes her natural assets. The second largest island in the Seychelles, it’s just 20 minutes from Mahé by helicopter, and 1 ½ hours from Mahé by catamaran or yacht. Conservation is the cornerstone of life on Cousin Island and some people know it as “the island that was saved by a little bird”.
By 1959, the Seychelles warbler population was reduced to only around 26 individuals which all resided on Cousin Island. In order to protect the near-extinct Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus seychellensis), the island was bought by the International Council for Bird Preservation (now Bird Life International) and was declared a Nature Reserve in 1968.
The entire island, as well as 400 metres of ocean of the island’s perimeter, was declared a ‘Special Reserve’ by the Seychelles Government in 1975, making it one of the world’s first whole island and sea reserves. Aside from the famous Aldabra giant tortoises, visitors may also see Hawksbill turtles and green turtles.
Before the Seychelles warbler population could be restored, the island’s natural habitat had to revert from coconut and cinnamon plantations to its original, natural state. The Pisionia grandis forests – home of the Seychelles warbler – were rehabilitated, and by 1982 the population of warblers had reached around 320 adults. The island has successfully rehabilitated its indigenous vegetation and its landscape spans freshwater swamps, granitic coastlines, lush mangroves, dense indigenous forests, and peaceful sandy beaches.
The story of the little Seychelles warbler is one of the World’s greatest conservation success stories as it was slowly reintroduced to other islands in the Seychelles and now numbers over 3000 individuals, making it viable once again.
Cousin Island is both exclusive and secluded and is a bucket-list destination for birders, scientists, wildlife enthusiasts, eco tourists, or simply travellers who desire a luxury holiday, far from the busyness of modern life.
Cousin Island is a sanctuary for land birds, making highly desirable for birdwatchers. Endemic species such as the Seychelles sunbird (a type of hummingbird), the Seychelles magpie robin, the Seychelles fody, and the Seychelles brush warbler, as well as frigates, turtle doves and terns can be spotted. Other bird species on the island include Madagascar turtle doves and thousands of seabirds including brown noddies, lesser noddies, wedge-tailed shearwaters, Audubon’s shearwaters, bridled terns, and fairy terns.
The tranquil, aquamarine waters and coral reefs of Cousin Island make it an ideal destination for scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking and stand-up paddling. Fishing enthusiasts can cast from the shore, and angling is done on a strict catch-and-release basis.
Cousin Island is the first exclusive eco-luxury private island in the world and the revenue generated from its sustainable ecotourism practices is reinvested in the island’s conservation projects.
Luxury accommodation on Cousin Island is comprised of five villas – one presidential villa and four luxury villas – and a central Pavilion where guests can gather. As a private island, guests can be assured of privacy and uncrowded spaces. It also has a spa which can help weary travellers unwind.
Guests have the opportunity to become immersed in the conservation work that’s conducted on the island. This may entail planting indigenous trees or assisting ecologists to monitor critically endangered marine turtles and birds.
Cousin Islands conservation team is also on hand to take guests on guided nature walks where they will impart knowledge about this unique biome’s fauna and flora.
Luxury accommodation on Cousin Island includes all meals (full board), selected beverages, Wifi, paddle boarding, immersive conservation experiences.