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Silhouette Island – The Forest & Trails

Although Silhouette is the third largest island of the Seychelles archipelago and Mont Dauban the second highest mountain (740m) the island’s steep slopes have prevented development – as a result human impact has been less significant than on other islands and much of the original nature of the Seychelles islands is preserved on Silhouette.

Most of Silhouette is formed of Granite some 63 million years old. As with the other granitic islands of the Seychelles, These rocks are remains of the ancient super continent Gondwana. Clinging to these rocks are the remains of the flora and fauna that co-existed with the dinosaurs! At the time when the dinosaurs became extinct, a volcano partially covered Silhouette. Traces of this volcano can still be found at Pointe Ramasse Tout and Pointe Zeng-Zeng.

Four main trails lead to the discovery of seven unique sites of this most fascinating island of the Seychelles:
1. Hotel to Anse Cimitiere (approx. 15 minutes on foot – one way)
2. Hotel to Anse Lascars (approx. 30 minutes on foot – one way)
3. Hotel to Anse Patates (approx. 50 minutes on foot – one way)
4. Hotel to Baie Cipailles (approx. 15 minutes on foot – one way)
5. Hotel to Anse Mondon (approx. 1½ hours on foot – one way)
6. Hotel to Grande Barbe (approx. 3 hours on foot – one way)
7. Hotel to Jardin Marron (approx. 1½ - 2 hours on foot – one way)

 1. Hotel to Anse Cimitiere (approx. 15 minutes on foot – one way)
Past the bridge and through the village of La Passe which is the main settlement of the island. Past the Dauban’s Plantation House (“Grann Kaz”) which is located at the end of this village, past the Nature Protection trust’s Seychelles Giant Tortoise Conservation project the main track leads on to a concrete bridge over the marsh. Just after this concreted bridge there is a path to the left, which leads up to a hill to Anse Cimitiere: the old cemetery. The headland at Anse Cimitiere is an area of volcanic rock, distinct from the granite of most of the rest of the island. The view from there is quite astounding: it is from that vantage point that one starts to realise how savage and beautiful Silhouette has in fact remain.

 2. Hotel to Anse Lascars (approx. 30 minutes on foot – one way)
Same route as above, but instead of turning left after the bridge, one follows the main trail past the Dauban mausoleum, through the old coconut plantation and the regenerating lowland forest. Many native palms can be seen along the path as well as an Ylang-ylang tree. Many of the trees along this path are cinnamon, the bark of which is still cropped for export from this area. Before reaching Anse Lascars the path passes below a large area of “smooth” rock containing many sheltered pockets of soil where rare native plants survive. After this, the path leads down to the two beaches of Anse Lascars.

 3. Hotel to Anse Patates (approx. 50 minutes on foot – one way)
The same coastal path described above continues past Anse Lascars and pointe Zeng Zeng and descends past a stream under natural vegetation of badamier trees and “Bois Tortue” to Anse Patates. This small, secluded beach is the only place where the mangrove with knee shaped roots (Briguiera gymnorhyza) can easily be seen.

 4. Hotel to Baie Cipailles (approx. 15 minutes on foot – one way)
The coastal path North-West of the Hotel will lead to Baie Cipailles. This beautiful and secluded beach is a very good snorkelling site although the sea may tend to be rough on windy days. As it has a coral reef it is affected by the tide phenomena: at low tide pools form and small multicoloured fish are trapped in the reef’s pools…they might appreciate some bread as feed!

 5. Hotel to Anse Mondon (approx. 1½ - 2 hours on foot – one way)
Near the end of Baie Cipailles an arrow on the rock behing the trees indicates the path to Anse Mondon. This path passes inland through old coconut plantations, which are now largely abandoned, and through the secondary forest. Giant millipedes are often seen on this path. Native palms, bamboo and Calice du Pape trees can be seen all along the way. This path is quite steep and must be taken very carefully in wet weather.

 6. Hotel to Grande Barbe (approx. 3 hours on foot – one way)
The Grande Barbe path starts opposite the church at La Passe. It passes through a small agricultural area before entering the main forests. The lower path consists of secondary forest mainly composed of guavas cinnamon, calice du pape and abandoned rubber plantations. Higher up a more natural vegetation is encountered, including a variety of native plants such as the “Bois de Chandelle” (Dracaena Reflexa), wild vanilla and wild pineapples.

 6. Hotel to Jardin Marron (approx. 1 ½ hours on foot – one way.
The assistance of a guide is advised for this trail. Please contact reception for details) The path is the same as Grande Barbe’s until above the rubber plantations where the path forks (to the right) at a large rock. Many of the plants along this path are rare species, including Coco de mer trees. These trees are about 55 years old and are seeding naturally. The forest areas support the most important animal population on the island, including unusual insects, reptiles and birds.

Many of the paths on Silhouette are steep. Sensible footwear should be worn.
Silhouette has a tropical climate. An adequate supply of water should always be carried.
Although most trails are under forest cover, many open sections exist and it is advisable to wear production from the sun.
It is not advisable to take mountain trails in wet weather or after heavy rain as the trails will become very slippery.

Please plan the walks so as to be back at the hotel by 17:30hrs as it is dangerous to be on the trails in failing light or in the dark – it takes but a split second to fall and sustain as injury. Please remember that if you do fall and are unable to walk, it will be necessary to call out the island staff and possibly the emergency services to rescue you. Please be prudent and not take unnecessary risks.