Curieuse Island

Lying about two kilometres (one mile) to the north-east of Praslin, this island of about three kilometres (two miles) long was first given the name Ile Rouge on account of its red earth. As part of the Marine Park the island is strictly protected and only a few families live there. Like Praslin, Curieuse is home to the Coco-de-mer palm.

The island has a wild population of about 250 giant tortoises, brought over from Aldabra in the 1980s and a breeding scheme has been in place there for several years. Curieuse was once a leper colony, and the ruins of the houses can still be seen. There is also a large, restored colonial villa, known as the Doctor’s House, where the island doctor lived in the 1870s. Nature trails wind their way across the island, notably through the extensive swamps, home to eight different species of mangrove. Excursions to Curieuse normally include a barbecue and often a visit to Cousin Island as well.